Spring Books

Simple Fly Fishing
During the long, dark days of winter, I usually find myself dreaming of powder days and compulsively checking the weather report. Last winter, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about fishing. That’s because I was reading Simple Fly Fishing (Patagonia Books, $25). In the revised second edition, several authors, including West Yellowstone’s own Craig Mathews, weigh in on the simple techniques that really make fly fishing so special. The book is devoid of fly-box clutter, but rather focuses on traditional techniques like Tenkara and encourages mastery over muddle. In other words, learn the river, the fish, their habitat, and their habits. Don’t buy ten dozen flies and boxes upon boxes of gear. Instead, spend time in the water with rod and reel, patiently building your knowledge base. And spend time with this book, around the fire, on your next road-trip, and before bed—its wisdom applies to any and all outdoor pursuits. —DAVID TUCKER

Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountain Region
It’s hard enough learning wildflowers around Bozeman—for some reason, most of us struggle to remember names from one year to the next. It’s even harder on those spring road-trips to Utah and Colorado, where regional variations—not to mention entirely different species—abound. This year, I’ll be packing along Denver Botanic Gardens’ new book, Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountain Region (Timber Press, $28), to help cement a few of those elusive names into my outdoor lexicon. The book’s organized first by color, then by flower type, which for the amateur may involve some extra page-flipping (what’s a radial rounded cluster?); but the photos are clear enough for quick identification. What’s more, the book is loaded with botanical info, both for the layman and wannabe botanist, so you can read this book around the campfire, too. —MIKE ENGLAND

Pack Smart
As much as they hate to admit it, biologists love it when climate change and other human disruptions change animal behavior. It allows them to write new books, like the latest from Dr. Betty Zofferoker, Pack Smart: Understanding Grizzly Behavior in a Shifting Landscape (Farsi Cal Press, $50). As the title suggests, Pack Smart is a guide to living and recreating with a species that is undergoing rapid adaptation. Because grizzlies now hunt in territorial packs, much like wolves, the old rules—making noise on the trail, avoiding eye contact and slowly backing away, deploying bear spray—all go out the window. Pack Smart encourages you to freak out, run like mad, and generally stay out of the woods entirely if you want to live. Turns out, Montana might be full, after all—full of grizzly-bear packs, that is. —JOE KING