Oregon River Maps and Fishing Guide
Oregon River Maps and Fishing Guide. 47 color pages in an 11 by 17 inch format. Published by Frank Amato Publications in 2004. $25.00 retail. Available at many fly shops and online (google title).
ome years back, a friend and I backpacked into the Cascades outside Seattle. The first day we camped and fished at Lower Tuscohatchie Lake. The second day we looked at our quad map and decided on a day hike to Upper Tuscohatchie Lake, which required bushwhacking; we'd heard this lake was seldom visited and had good fishing.
Rods in one hand, map and compass the other, we spent half a day searching for Upper Tuscohatchie. We never found it. Back home, we looked at aerial photos of the region and compared them with our map. Upper Tuscohatchie was two miles and 90 degrees from where the map said it was.
How could this be? We looked at the bottom right corner of our map. It said "Based on Survey of 1896." Ah yes, before there were aerial photos. Before there were even airplanes, let alone computers. It was understandable how a 19th century cartographer could occasionally misplace a 400 acre alpine lake. (Fortunately, that 70-year-old quad was updated a couple of years later.)
I've made several maps, and I know how difficult it is to get everything right, even with 21st century technology. I can forgive an occasional glitch. But it brings up some important questions: Is a map useful even when it has major errors? At what point are there so many errors that you're better off without the map?
Excitement to Concern to Disappointment
When I first saw Oregon River Maps and Fishing Guide, I was excited. This is a great concept: gather into one place maps of Oregon's prime fishing locations; include fishing tactics, hatch charts (one, for the entire state) and basic info for each angling venue. As I say, it's a great concept.
So I turned to the Deschutes River pages and ran my finger down the river, ticking off the major campsites and launch points from memory. Oh dear me. First off, Harpham Flat is missing. It's the biggest, most popular launching/landing point on the river. Other campsites and launch points are wrong or missing.
I'm writing this review while on the Metolius River. Oops, the campground I'm in doesn't exist, at least on this book's map of the Metolius. A major bridge and road are missing. Further, the Metolius and Crooked rivers are on the same page, with the same tactics, species, and prime seasons listed for both. Thus you might get the impression that the Crooked river holds a strong run of kokanee salmon (not!) and that the two rivers are fished in the same way and with the same flies and are prime at the same seasons (double not!). And unless you read the short description--which many book buyers won't; trust me--you'd get the impression that the Metolius allows bait fishing (not! not! not!)
Similar problems exist for other streams. I've talked to knowledgeable people who have examined this book, and the most common reaction I get is a sad shake of the head.
Stumbling on the Details
The devil is in the details. And this books stumbles--nay, staggers--on the details. It would have been so easy to check a few of them. One day in the publisher's office with a standard guide book for the state, and it would have been clear that more research and fact checking was needed. Don't a book's readers deserve that? Shouldn't someone take that step before asking thousands of people to plunk down $25 each?
So I return to my earlier question: are maps useful if the maps are only semi-accurate? You might think so, at least until the first time you drift past the last boat ramp before a major rapids. Or until your first day off in a month, half of which you spent hopelessly lost because a map sent you searching for a trail or road--or lake--that doesn't exist.
My advice on this book: if you buy, don't rely.
Bottom Line: Two editions; the first is terrible, the second is useful. Get the correct one. Reviewer Rating: 2
5=tops 3=average 1=low
Rated as 2 by The Moons on 02/20/2008
Comments: How do you get the McKenzie River wrong? I must have the first printing, but – I still ask. How do you get the map of the McKenzie wrong? They have gotten Hayden Bridge boat ramp wrong too. Presidents, world leaders, famous actors and highly credit writers have floated this river. If there has been a more published river in Oregon, I am unaware of it. I give this a rating of two and am unsure of it not being a kindness to rank it that high.
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