Published Oct 16. 2019 - 4 years ago
Updated or edited Jan 11. 2020

Book review: Trout are stupid

and other uncomfortable truths

A small book that debunks a lot of myths surrounding trout fishing – including the one that trout are cunning and intelligent hunters, able to trick anglers. They are not! Trout are stupid!

Walt Fulps
Mykiss Media
Publishing year: 
Reviewed by: 

This is a delightful little book! I know I may offend the author, Walt Fulps, slightly by calling it "little", which I also have to admit can be considered disparaging. Well, I promise you that it is not meant that way. By little, I simply mean small, like in not so large, which is also kind of unfair, because it just appears small.

The book is a paperback, and my first thought was "oh, what a great little book, that's gonna be a fast read". But appearances can be deceiving.
First of all, it's not that small at all. It's actually about 200 pages. Also it's dense. With dense I mean that it's concentrated, very focused and has no "fluff" in the text or in the presentation. It does contain anecdotes and stories from Fulps' childhood and youth, but most of the book is stuffed with facts and observations, and tends to be more scientific in its approach to the subject than the average fishing book. It reminds me of Jason Randall's "Trout Sense" and Colin Kageyama's "What Fish See" and to some extent Datus Proper's "What the Trout Said" in the sense that it covers fish behavior and physiology in a way that's aimed at anglers, but very much with an outset in precise and well researched scientific observations.

This book has a lighthearted and entertaining angle of observation, but readers should not be fooled by that. I'm certain that Fulps has spent a lot of time researching – and not only by the water, but also in the library. You feel that you are in safe hands when the talk falls on trout physiology and ethology as well as when it comes to trout behavior on the water in a fishing situation.

Sample pages
Sample pages
Sample pages
Walt Fulp

Just like the three titles mentioned above, the book takes an angle different from the traditional one when it comes to fishing tactics, fly selection and much more. They try to give you an understanding and try to enable you to learn to draw your won conclusions at waterside. Many other books will conclude for you and teach you "facts", but I certainly prefer to be taught the underlying principles and learn to "think" rather than learning hard facts.

This book does that in a direct and entertaining way. Sure, you have to be able to cope with some tables, graphs and schematics, but you will also be rewarded with some nice fishing stories and some captivating anecdotes. The book is mainly aimed at stream anglers, but there is something to take away for most anglers, even a saltwater guy like myself.
At US$ 25.- it's not a cheap book, but not very expensive either. 25 dollars for almost 200 pages is not a bad price at all. A lot of work has gone into these pages.

It's not a beautiful book. It's printed on fairly thin, dull paper and although photos and illustrations are clear and useful, some even beautiful, and the layout, text and typography is simple and legible, the book will probably not win any design prizes.

That's not a worrying issue. Books like this are not made to awe, but made to be useful. And this book is.


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