River of the Angry Moon: Seasons on the Bella Coola

2772Mark Hume with Harvey Thommasen

A history of a year in the life of a wild river and the rainforest it runs through. Winner of the 1998 Roderick Haig-Brown Award for the best book about British Columbia.


The Bella Coola River, now closed to steelhead fishing because the stocks are endangered, is a magnificent sight. Flowing through the stunning richness of British Columbia’s temperate rainforest, the Bella Coola River is one of the world’s celebrated fishing streams.

In this poetic and powerful book, Mark Hume describes a year in the life of the river as he fly-fishes for the fairylike whitefish, the legendary bull trout, the spirited cutthroat or the elusive steelhead. Along the way, he describes the incredible beauty and fecundity of the valley ecosystem through the seasons, examines what has happened to that increasingly endangered ecosystem and its inhabitants in recent times, and encounters other anglers, old-timers who have fished the river for decades, and an abundance of wildlife.

In January Hume portrays the deep winter, when wood frogs, beetles and butterfly larvae may become frozen alive, when the snow on the mountains is stacked in steeples and when it is often too cold to fish. In June, when the river is discoloured by glacial silt and the rapids between pools deepen, he observes a clot of men fishing, their spinning rods propped on the river bank while they drink coffee, and wages a dramatic battle with a chinook salmon. And in October, he witnesses the miracle of salmon spawning, draws an intriguing parallel between commercial hunting and commercial fishing, meets a buck with tattered velvet hanging from one horn, and catches and releases a spectacular steelhead.

Praise for River of the Angry Moon

“This is the finest book I have ever read about a salmon and steelhead river.” – Frank Amato, Salmon Trout Steelheader magazine.

“A powerful important book.” – Joel Connelly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

“Commands attention. . .through the sheer grace of its language.” – Barbara McMichael, Tacoma News Tribune.

“Powerful . . . the book is one for the ages.” – Neil Cameron, BC Outdoors.

“Anyone who likes to fish. . .or just go exploring on the West Coast should read this book. . .it will give them some real joy.” – Sid Marty, National Post.

“It carries the spirit of the coast straight into your heart.” – Gene Woodwick, The North Coast News.

“The sheer power of River of the Angry Moon. . .is phenomenal.” – Angela Hall, Coast Mountain News.

“An incredible book.” – Ross Purnell, Virtual Flyshop.