It’s the beginning of trout fishing season, and Josh Greenberg — proprietor of one of the nation’s most famous fishing outfitters, on America’s most iconic trout-fishing stream, the Au Sable River in Michigan —is standing in the Au Sable at dusk when he gets the call that a dear fishing buddy has died.
The solace he takes from fishing — from reading the movement of the river water, studying the play of the light, and relying on his knowledge of insect and fish life — prompts him to reflect on the impact of the natural world on his life in his fisherman’s journal.
Over the course of a year, the journal transcends fishing notes to include some beautifully lyrical nature writing, entertaining stories of the big one that got away, cheerful introspection about a love that’s hard to explain, and yes, a tip or two.
Eventually, Josh Greenberg realizes he hasn’t been all alone in the woods, not really. Much of his relationship with his family and friends has played out on the river. And as he catches — and releases — trout after trout back into one of the most beautiful rivers in America, Greenberg comes to help us realize, too, that there’s more to fishing than catching fish.