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In this creative nonfiction narrative, Mitch Keller chronicles his move from New York City to live as a hand-to-mouth trout bum upstate and shares what it is really like to move to trout country to try to build a life around fly fishing—a dream of so many anglers. All the joys and rewards of the angling life are here in abundance, but so are the chronic financial hardship, the menial jobs, the interminable winters, the moments of doubt—everything that comes with that life and the decision to live it.
This compelling story of life living along and fishing a classic trout stream of the Catskills is sure to not only interest those that fish the area but also captivate anyone who has dreamed of leaving the hustle of the city behind to live a more deliberate life.
“East Branch is the fulfillment of a dream that many anglers want to realize but most will not pursue. It’s a recounting of leaving one life to search for a better one—one that coexists with trout waters and trout towns. Few anglers, even the most passionate, will ever take this leap and discover what lies on the other side. But Mitch Keller’s eloquent prose and honest storytelling takes you there with him: to the beautiful trout, rivers, aquatic insects, and animals sharing equal footing with the harsh climate and financial headwinds that identify and define many who persist in New York’s Catskill Mountain trout country. It’s a journey worth sharing.”—Paul Weamer, author of Guide to Upper Delaware River, Pocketguide to New York Hatches, Pocketguide to Pennsylvania Hatches, and The Bug Book
“Mitch Keller’s book is a heartwarming yet intriguing story of how a fly angler traded the comforts of city life for one on a Catskill trout stream. Despite the challenges and financial uncertainties he faced living for several years tucked away in the mountains, Keller emerged from his experience with more than simply netting trout—a perspective of life itself.”—Mike Valla, Catskill fly angler and author of several fly fishing books
“It was enjoyable to learn the etymology of towns and landmarks in the Catskills that are so familiar. The deeply personal saga was fascinating, and the exhilaration felt at the beginning of snowmelt is tangible. East Branch is an interesting, informative and satisfying read.”—Judy Van Put, fishing columnist, Sullivan County Democrat