Bugwater is the most exciting and revelatory book on the behavior of aquatic insects I have ever seen. Arlen’s photography rivals that of Ted Fauceglia, with special emphasis on capturing characteristic behaviors in the wild. I can only imagine the painstaking effort that has gone into this collection of images. But Arlen brings much more to Bugwater than ground-breaking photography. He’s a storyteller in the best sense of the word. He intuitively crafts his chapters in a way that grabs the reader, assuming the reader is serious about trout fishing. Arlen is obviously a dedicated fly-fisherman, and his analytic brain knows what questions to ask, and how to go about finding answers.
Rick Hafele, Oregon’s best-known entomologist and author, comments: “Dave and I took a trip last spring to see Arlen and check out his photographic process. We expected to see a new approach, given the incredible photographs we’d seen. We were kind of surprised to find that he was doing basically the same stuff we were, but with exceptional results. He has an eye for artistic composition, that’s for sure. But I think what comes through most is his dedication and commitment to spending the hours necessary to make important observations and record them.”
Rick relates a story about Arlen staying up all night for multiple nights in order to witness and photograph October caddis hatches. “His wife would come down and check in on him every so often. But Arlen stuck with those bugs all night. He not only got the shots, but he learned that there was no predictability to the hatch.”
Dave Hughes adds, “Part of it is how close he gets to the insects. Just beautiful, if you like bugs. But, more importantly, he pays special attention to subtle behavioral details and presents unique spins on how these details translate to fishing.”
In addition to his bug work, Arlen is leading a committee within the McKenzie Flyfishers to thoroughly investigate the impacts of hatchery trout on wild McKenzie redsides. Many anglers here in Eugene are excited to have him on the case. He brings a scientific mind to the important questions surrounding the issue, and is committed to uncovering the answers. The committee’s findings will inform the club’s decision this coming spring whether to back the grass-roots movement now underway to reduce put-and-take trout planting on the McKenzie.
Autographed copies of Bugwater will be available at the Caddis Fly starting December 31st. We have Arlen scheduled to sign his new book from 3-6pm and the shop is taking preorders now.–RR