Book Review: A Tale of Two Rivers by Ron Lasko


In planning a fishing trip, what do you think of? For many, the answer is a place far away. This is partly due to the decline of local rivers and streams over the 20th century, and partly due to fly fishing’s affinity for adventure and for beauty, a pair most often found out there and not right here.

How refreshing it is, then, to discover a fishing destination close to home. This discovery is what the best of Ron Lasko’s book, A Tale of Two Rivers, provides.

The book focuses on two of Cape Cod’s rivers — the Mashpee and the Quashnet. While Cape Cod is already a destination for many fly fishermen, it’s fair to say that most are headed for salt, not fresh, water. The waters off Cape Cod — from the canal to the lighthouse — are famous for their striper and blues fishing. According to Lasko, you can add another species to that list: sea run brook trout.

Though greatly diminished from their historic runs, Lasko documents in great detail this fish’s presence on Cape Cod. And though his work is focused on fishing the Mashpee and Quashnet, his book covers everything from early Massachusetts history to contemporary environmental issues, about which Lasko is passionate.

This latter point is one on which I could not agree with him more: his calls to protect our environment are earnest and repeated, especially as he points out their future is in doubt. He writes:

“In spite of some recent hopeful signs I still fear for the future of these little rivers and their unique sea run brook trout. My hope is that they will be here for future generations to enjoy these waters and their speckled inhabitants. / They have no voice. They can not speak for themselves. Only we can speak for them. / May there be no end to their story.”

This is a statement that could be made of many fish species, and many rivers. The statement is all the more powerful as a consequence. It is the rare trout fisherman that would not nod in agreement.

Lasko’s taste is strongly for bamboo, Barbour, and Balvenie, which may be off-putting to readers who don’t share these preferences, or for those who prefer GoreTex, graphite, and a Geary’s. However, the book is at its best when it reveals that which has been under our noses, in need of our attention, and worthy of our protection.

(Note 1/8/14: I did not mention this upon first publishing this review, but Lasko’s environmental calls go so far to be opposed to Cape Wind project. I know the troublesome politics here, but it did strike me as an inconsistency.)


Note: If you would like a a signed and numbered limited edition copy, Lasko suggests you email him directly. Simply click here.Watch a video of Ron discuss his book here:

And another here:

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: A Tale of Two Rivers by Ron Lasko

  1. Alan, Please read pages 147 & 148 of my A TALE OF TWO RIVERS where Red Brook is duly noted & referenced. In fact I suggest that future restoration efforts look to the work on Red Brook accomplished by Warren Winders (SETU) & Steve Hurley (MA F & W); along with the restoration work led by Fran Smith & CCTU on the Quashnet as examples for restoring the lost 30 plus Cape Cod Rivers. That said, this book’s focus is about the Quashnet & Mashpee Rivers which are the two remaining fully wild sea run brook trout self sustaining fishable rivers. And the Mashpee is the only river with the full spectrum of mayfly hatches. Both these rivers are on Cape Cod and are the most historically important compared to Red Brook being smaller, off Cape & in the early stages of reclamation. I worked on the original restoration work on Red Brook 1991-1993 before it was turned over to the SETU Chapter. Much has been accomplished on Red Brook but it still has a long way to go before it will have the significance of the Quashnet & Mashpee as a self sustaining viable fishable sea run brook trout water. It will get there one day…. & I suspect a book will be written on Red Brook one day & Warren Winders is the one who should write it. Best, Ron Lasko, Author

  2. 1/12/15-my environmental position when it comes to opposing the CAPE WIND TURBINE project (which appears to finally be dead in the water) is totally consistent with environmental issues facing the Sea Run Brook Trout (SRBT) of Cape Cod. This project was going to place 130 building structures, each 50 stories tall with each having turbine blades 150 feet in diameter. It was to be built 3 miles off the mouths of these 2 SRBT rivers and a dozen others in need of restoration. It was to be sited in the middle of the ATLANTIC FLYWAY where millions of ducks, geese, loons, songbirds, shorebirds, woodcock, raptors, etc migrate twice annually. Thousands of these birds (many inhabitat these SRBT river valleys) would be killed every year. Both used dirty oil & unused oil needed to run each turbine would be constantly on barges in Nantucket Sound. Spillage & Leakage of oil into the Sound would kill finfish, shellfish & trout & the marine foods these trout depend on. It would harm the Striped Bass Fishery as well. England just closed its major offshore Wind Turbine Farm due to saltwater corroision & oil leakage. Denmark has banned any new Wind Turbine Farms to 20 miles offshore & they must be outside bird migratory routes because they kill so many thousands of birdlife. My opposition to Wind Turbines being placed near the shores of a dozen SRBT trout rivers here on Cape Cod is consistent with my positions on the environment. Ron Lasko, author, Tale of Two Rivers

    • Ron: Thanks for your comment. As you know, I respectfully disagree with you on this particular issue, but appreciate the work you’re doing to try to restore these fish to their native habitat. Best, Ben

  3. Ben: Thank you.. I too respectfully disagree as I have for 15 years regarding this specific Nantucket Sound site. I would respectfully discuss & debate this issue anywhere & anytime as I have over the years. However, it may be a moot point. It appears the Project is finally dead with the pullout of NSTAR & NATIONAL GRID…Wind Turbines need to be placed on appropriate sites. This site was simply inappropriate and would cause too much environmental damage & environmental risk. I am receiveing about 20 to 1 thanks from others for my opposition. Best always, Ron Lasko, author of A TALE OF TWO RIVERS

  4. 1/12/2015-Anyone who has questions over positions taken against the proposed 130 Wind Turbine Plant for Nantucket Sound should go to the website and review the categories on this website ABOUT US, NANTUCKET SOUND, CAPE WIND THREATS, & EUROPEAN TRENDS. One would see the threats to the Sea Run Brook Trout existing rivers and to the potential rivers in need of reclamation, restoration and reintroduction of the species. These experts explain it all in a more detailed manner that allows one to make a decision based on your own analysis. Best, Ron Lasko, author

    • Ron: And I would direct people to the good work of organizations like Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) — full disclosure, I used to work there — to ensure projects like Cape Wind are successfully built. For more info:

      For more on the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, I suggest another perspective (again, full disclosure, I helped with the Cape Wind Now project):

      You and I, Ron, or reenacting the very disagreement that this project has engendered for so long. I fully recognize that fly fishing is closely tied to environmental issues, but this is one that wherein we will need to agree to disagree.


  5. Good morning Ben,
    Each citizen should research the world wide information available on Wind Turbines (not just CLF & SOS) and also look to where the funds come from for both the propponet organizations and the opponet organizations of placing this plant in the environmentally sensitive waters and center of the Atlantic Flyway used by millions of birds & fish known as Nantucket Sound. Then when each citizen fully looks at each side; they then should vote their own conscience. However this project appears to be dead. But everyone needs to fully review the issues now and be well prepared for the future so that future appropriate sites are selected to be utilized for effective safe generation of power thru Wind Turbines. Best wishes to all. Ron Lasko, author

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