“There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.” -Washington Irving
Jeffery Skeate evokes all the greatness of being out in nature in Northeast Iowa in his fly fishing books. He has been an avid angler since his youth and has fly fished extensively in northeast Iowa since moving to Decorah some twenty years ago. Explaining his extent into the world of fly fishing he says, “Fly fishing is a vast sports subject and over the years I have become involved in many of its facets, including fly tying, fishing with split-cane (bamboo) fly rods, the literary history of fly fishing, journaling, conservation groups and writing (two books on the subject).”
“There are five hundred miles of fishable trout water in northeast Iowa which encompass nearly a hundred streams and rivers, and I have fished a lot of that water. I fish somewhere around sixty miles of available northeast Iowa River and stream water on a somewhat regular basis. I also happen to fish regularly in Wisconsin and South Dakota, to name just two other fly fishing locations. I prefer to fish closer to home rather than extensive traveling to more distant fishing locations,” explaining what entices him to fish close by.
He is also founding member of the Iowa Driftless Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The group was formed twelve years ago in Decorah and he was vice-president of the chapter for four years. “Our Chapter is heavily involved in northeast Iowa stream improvement projects, often in conjunction with the Iowa DNR and fisheries biologist Bill Kalishek. We have done stream improvement projects on many northeast Iowa streams including North Bear Creek, South Bear Creek, the Waterloo, French Creek, Trout River and Patterson Creek. We are also involved in Trout Unlimited’s ‘Trout in the Classroom’, a project introducing conservation practices to junior high school students,” says the veteran fly-fisherman.
About the fly fishing books:
“I have written two books concerning northeast Iowa fly fishing, Familiar World: Notes Of A Driftless Fly Fisher (Sattre Press/2009) and Riverweather: Fly Fishing Iowa’s Driftless Region (Sattre Press/2011). In 2007, I was asked to contribute a few “general interest” essays to our Trout Unlimited’s Iowa Driftless Chapter web site, and after a couple of years those essays formed the basis of what eventually became my first book. I have kept extensive fly fishing journals for the past twenty years and these have been a core of my outdoor writing as well. Both of my books were born out of a lifetime love of the outdoors and northeast Iowa trout streams in particular. I am finishing a third book entitled A Winter’s Tale: Winter Fly Fishing in the Driftless and hope to have that published in the fall of 2014,” explains the author.
An Insert from Familiar World:
Once you’ve read a passage from Familiar World that he has recited at a number of book readings, including the one recently held at Dragonfly Books in Decorah with his friend and author Larry Reis you will be hooked too:
“Roderick Haig-Brown once wrote that it’s easy to learn new things on unfamiliar water. What’s truly difficult is to learn something new on familiar water. I often think of this when fishing the customary streams of the Driftless Region, and perhaps that is why I seldom get bored fishing water I’ve been on hundreds of times. A different season, weather pattern, stream condition, fishing partner or even my own attitude all seem to combine randomly on any given day to create yet another new and unique fly fishing experience. The learning process is never-ending, and to the imaginatively curious fisherman and fly tier, local waters remain both a constant challenge and great source of joy. Not too many seasons ago I remember fishing on the Upper Iowa River late in the afternoon on a September evening, well within walking distance of my home. I had landed a number of good trout, as well as two nineteen-inch smallmouth bass, all on dry flies as it happened. As I walked back home across the meadow, I looked up and was startled by a full harvest moon rising above the limestone bluffs along the river. The sky was a deep evening blue, and the last of the sun’s rays were at rest at the treetops, lighting up the incredible autumn foliage of the season. A chill was in the air, and I knew another great fishing season was coming to its appropriate end. Or better yet, its fruition. And I knew there was not another spot on earth as beautiful as the one in which I was standing. This is what Wendell Berry was referring to when he gave the title Traveling At Hometo one of his recent books.”
And here is what people have been saying about his other books: About Riverweather-- “If you like small books about little streams, you’ll like the work of Jeffery Skeate very much. And if the Iowa Driftless area is the object of your unshakable affections, you will profoundly love his twenty-two essays and free verse.” (Robert Johnston, “Midwest Fly Fishing”). “Familiar World is unique in its field, both for its combination of poetry, prose and photography, and for the quality of its writing. The poems do what poetry is supposed to do; they put me in touch with the nearly ineffable perceptions and feelings that only poetry can name and evoke.” (Robert Schultz, John P. Fishwick Professor of English, Roanoke College).
Now that we’ve got you hooked, here is where you can purchase both titles at the Sattre-Press web site. If you want to buy local and pick it up right away you can go to Dragonfly Books in Decorah to purchase and start reading today! They even have some autographed for you at Dragonfly books!