Earlier this year, one of my co-workers at the James River Basin Partnership gave me a copy of Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler as a birthday present.
First published in 1653, the book is an idyllic look at the English countryside of Walton’s day, with songs and poems extolling the virtues of fishing.
Fans of Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It will remember a mention Norman made of Walton, with the son of the Presbyterian Rev. Maclean dismissing him as an “Episcopalian and a bait fisherman.”
Yet Walton’s book has had over 300 editions since it was first published, and his memory lives on in the conservationist organization formed in 1922 by 54 Chicago sportsmen concerned about the “deteriorating conditions of America’s top fishing streams.”