Nine Passes / Fly Fishing through the Past and Present of the High Sierra

Nine Passes / Fly Fishing through the Past and Present of the High Sierra

photo--Nine Passes_ Fly Fishing through the Past and Present of the High Sierra

-Nine Passes_ Fly Fishing through the Past and Present of the High Sierra

This book is a well written narration of a history involving an adventure, between the past and the present. If a reader judges a book by a title, then a non-fishing individual would probably pass on this book, and miss out on an actual history. This book is not guide to fishing, but a tale of a life long dream to retrace a past long gone by.

The history is three-fold in dimension, as it is a tale of a treasure discovered in grandma’s bookshelf. The author’s family hiked the trails of the Sierra Nevada mountains, following the John Muir Trail, when the author ” Todd Bruce ” was a child.

Todd had in turn found a book, given to his grandfather, George R Goldman, with an inscription written by a man named Les in the 1940’s. That book, a family treasure was read, and re-read by Todd while he was growing up. Todd’s family were avid hikers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts, who spent many vacations following the John Muir Trail.
That book was titled ” Waters of the Golden Trout Country “, written by a man named Charles “Mac” McDermand. Todd had learned fly fishing from an early age, and had honed his skill fly fishing on those hikes. That book inspired Todd to follow the routes “Mac” had followed, and to see if the lakes and streams, described in that book, were as they had once been.

That dream to retrace “Mac’s” adventures took many years to come to fruition. Todd had grown up, married, and raised a family, before he was able to actually follow his dream. This book describes his jubilation, rediscovering not only Mac’s past, but his own, as he discovered he had camped at some of the same locations he had read about, as a child.

Never having fly fished myself, I was intrigued with this adventure. The author describes the trails, and scenic wonders of the High Sierra Mountains, and the John Muir Trail in detail. He followed his childhood dream over a 5 week period, hiking a 300 mile trek, remembering not only his childhood, but revisiting the places he had read about, so many years ago.

The author, Todd Bruce, studied the region, flora and fauna extensively, over his lifetime and brings all of that knowledge to us in this book. The photographs and maps are stunning, and in many cases, Todd has also included photos from his treasured, ” Waters of the Golden Trout Country ”

I highly recommend this book to all, whether you are a fishing nut, history buff, or interested in hiking the High Sierra Mountains, and following the famous John Muir Trail. As an experienced back packer, I look forward to visiting the locations described by Todd, and even find myself interested in trying my hand at fly fishing in those remote lakes and streams of the High Sierra Mountains, along the John Muir Trail.

This book is available at in Kindle form and paperback

This review was written by Rusty Garner-Smith 03/19/2015

One thought on “Nine Passes / Fly Fishing through the Past and Present of the High Sierra

  1. Hello Rusty! This is Todd Bruce, the author of Nine Passes. My brother Scott found your review today. I wanted to personally thank you for the fantastic review. The best that I have received so far. How did you find my book?
    If you are interested, check out our next project. My kids and I are filming a feature length documentary along similar themes as Nine Passes. We will be retracing the route my great grand uncle traveled in 1905 and 1906 through Baja California while studying the flora and fauna for the U. S. Biological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution. They did over two thousand miles on horseback. We will do it on motorcycles following the old El Camino Real as much as possible. The film is called The Devil’s Road. You can find more information about the project on our website:

    Liked by 1 person

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