Derek Bird grew up fly fishing Rocky Mountain streams in British Columbia’s Kootenay region. His passion for catching trout takes him to some of North America’s most remote destinations. When he’s confined indoors, he makes the best of it by writing about his outdoor adventures. He is the founding editor of Fly Fusion Magazine, where you can find his regular column. He is also the co-host of the Fly Fusion Series and the lead writer for Fly Fusion Films. Last Summer on the Sage is Bird’s first novel.

Last Summer on the Sage
Published 2021
Derek Bird

After his first fly-fishing trip of the season along his favorite section of the Sage River, Ryan and his best friend’s sister, stumble along in the late-evening’s low light toward their vehicle. Along the path, they encounter a trio of unruly men, and in an ensuing encounter, Ryan fights to defend her honor and ends up unconscious in the river as it carries him away. He’s discovered by an individual who does not want to be discovered, and circumstances force the two to embark on a life-altering relationship.

Through the summer Ryan searches for his father, for clear direction, and for willing trout. With exception of the trout, it’s not what he searches for that provides him with clarity but what he accidently discovers that helps him better understand his path through life.

Last Summer on the Sage is a coming-of-age novel written for anyone who’s ever lived the euphoria of young love or wondered what’s around the next bend. The words will connect with those who ponder the purpose of a dead end or doubt whether there’s meaning in hurt. Ryan’s story reveals that in a life full of consequential questions, there’s deep importance in taking the time to do something as seemingly inconsequential as casting flies to trout.

“Many people are familiar with Derek’s writing in Fly Fusion magazine, but not many have read his fiction. But it turns out he’s good at that too. And he writes the way he fishes, with dedication, passion, careful attention to detail, and uncommon skill. Last Summer on the Sage will please lovers of trout, trout streams, and words.”  Jim McLennan, Outdoor author and host of the Fly Fusion Series

“Fly fishing is a love story. I know, it has been my story. And like the lives of the characters in this pleasing novel by Derek Bird, it has had unique twists and turns that have led places even the imagination dare not go. Fly fishing sings a song of life, and this novel sings the harmony.”  Gary Borger, Best-selling author and fly-fishing educator

“Last Summer on the Sage is a riveting tale of love and suspense. It had me on the edge of my seat, anxiously turning each page to see what was around the next river bend.”  April Vokey, Host of Anchored Outdoors

Jim McLennan is the Associate Editor for Fly Fusion Magazine and co-host of the Fly Fusion Series. He was one of the first guides on the legendary Bow River, working the river from 1976-1982.  During that time he introduced many famous fly anglers to the wonders of the Bow including Leigh Perkins, Lefty Kreh, A.J. McClane, Ernest Schwiebert, and Charles Waterman. He has written four books about fly fishing. Blue Ribbon Bow was initially published in coffee-table format in 1987, and received the Outdoor Book of the Year Award. Trout Streams of Alberta, a best-seller, received the Andy Russell Nature Writing Award. His third book, Fly Fishing Western Trout Streams, was published in 2003, and his most recent work is Water Marks, published in 2008.

Trout Streams of Alberta
Revised and Updated 2014
Jim McLennan

Two of the best-selling books about fly fishing in Alberta are Trout Streams of Alberta and Blue Ribbon Bow, both by Jim McLennan.  Both books have been out of print and unavailable to the public for a number of years.  This is a revised and updated edition of Trout Streams of Alberta, with significant information from Blue Ribbon Bow incorporated into it. Included here are examinations of each watershed, focusing on the best opportunities that each provides—from wilderness cutthroat and grayling streams, to intimate brown-trout creeks, to internationally acclaimed rainbow rivers.  Jim McLennan draws on nearly 50 years of fly-fishing experience to make sound recommendations on tackle, technique and fly patterns. The presentation is enhanced by detailed maps, colour and black and white illustrations, hatch charts and fly patterns, profiles of Alberta trout species, and explanations of how trout and trout streams operate.  Written in an engaging, personal style, this is a book anglers will refer to frequently for vital information and will return to just as often for pleasure.

“Whether you’ve never fished Alberta’s trout streams or have spent years on its waters, Jim McLennan’s Trout Streams of Alberta is the perfect place to start planning and dreaming about your next trip. But this book is more than a valuable “where to go” guide. You will also learn about the fish, the bugs, the tackle, and the flies you’ll need to be successful.  Great read – great info.” Rick Hafele, author/entomologist, The Complete Book of Western Hatches

“In this edition of Trout Streams of Alberta, Jim McLennan again reveals that he is one of the most knowledgeable moving water fly anglers on the eastern side of the Rockies. The book is a must-read for anyone who fly fishes, or plans to fly fish, the word-class streams of Alberta.” Derek Bird, Editor, Fly Fusion Magazine

Water Marks
30 Years of Fly Fishing Insight
Jim McLennan

Dimpled throughout this collection are the reasons why Jim McLennan became a prominent voice for a fly-angling generation: his deep understanding of key issues, unsurpassed knowledge of fishing techniques, humble realization of an angler’s limitations, and the passion for his pastime. He takes interested fly fishermen along with him as he chases answers to fly-fishing questions. He doesn’t always find what he’s looking for, but he always finds something. In his approach to fly fishing, McLennan is scientific, yet he maintains the mystical and poetic nature that is so often associated with casting a fly to a rising trout. His writing voice is fluid, transparent, confident, intelligent and humble. And to know him on the page is to experience a day with him on the water. Take the time to read through McLennan’s best articles from the past thirty years and drift the Bow with him as he casts Blue-winged Olives and Pale Morning Duns to oversized rainbows. Walk the banks with him as he shares his surprising thoughts on catch-and-release and the importance of an angling off-season. And live a fly-fishing dream with him as he goes sight fishing for massive browns in New Zealand with a guide who has forsaken all to pursue a less complicated life. After reading through the book you will become a more knowledgeable fly angler, and you will undoubtedly need to create a little extra space on your bookshelf amongst the fly-angling classics. Water Marks is fly-fishing literature at its best.