Book review: King of Fish [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Book review: King of Fish

03-18-2004, 12:37 PM
I just finished reading "King of Fish" by David Montgomery, and it's a book that I recommend to anyone interested in salmon, salmon fishing, or dams.

While the book is sketchy on plot (and for you very literal types, there is NO plot-- this is a non-fiction discourse), it does an excellent job of taking you through the destruction of the great salmon runs of the world. While "King of Fish" has a Northwest bias, it discusses in length salmon in Europe, salmon in eastern North America and salmon in the West.

While we're talking different genera and different species, the story line remains the same: man has done a pretty good job of screwing up salmon runs wherever they may be. The author does hold out hope for regeneration of salmon runs on both North American coasts if we change the way we think about the inherent problems. He goes into some detail on the problems and his proposed solutions, particularly as they apply to West Coast runs of fish but with application for Atlantic salmon as well.

Montgomery was on the board of scientists (he's a geology prof at the University of Washington according the book jacket) that reviewed the status of the recovery programs.

His recommendations came as a surprise to me, uncovering as they did some of the root causes of run declines. Some of what he's written is news to me; some I disagree with on grounds of empirical evidence, some I disagree with based on my own perceptions, and much of what he's written is right on the mark, I think.

Regardless of how you feel about what he's written, you will find that his stand is well-argued and offers food for thought.