This current exhibit features Trout magazine covers dating from 1959 through 2017. Trout is the quarterly publication of Trout Unlimited, America’s foremost cold water fisheries conservation organization. Founded in July of 1959 on the banks of the Au Sable River in Grayling, Michigan, a group of concerned Michigan anglers wanted to ensure the health of trout, their habitat, and the sport of angling. The 12 founding members of Trout Unlimited were: Lon B. Adams, Casey E. Westell, Jr., Arthur C. Neumann, Victor C. Beresford, George A. Griffith, Comelius M. Schrems, Kenneth M. Putnam, C.R. Evenson, Pierce Stocking , Harry S. Busbee, John N. Keen and D. Earl Kimble.
Trout Unlimited won its first victory in 1961 when Michigan decided to replace its stocking of catchable sized trout with stream improvement programs, fingerling planting and protective fishing regulations. When word got out of their success in Michigan, other conservation minded anglers, from Pennsylvania to California, got together under the Trout Unlimited banner to preserve and improve their trout fisheries.
As you move counterclockwise through the display in our Gardner L. Grant Library, you will find covers that are the work of artists such as Rudolphe LaRiviere, Bob Frankowiak, Eldridge Hardie, Apayo Moore and William J. Schaldach. The first cover of Trout in the winter of 1959 issue featured the Chairman of the Michigan Conservation Commission Fish Committee and Trout Unlimited founder and director George A. Griffith, fishing on the famous Au Sable River. Another Trout cover displayed in the library is from 1964 and features the TU “American Trout Policy Draft”, which focuses heavily on preserving trout fisheries for future generations of both trout and trout fisherman.

1968 Winter Cover

Rudolphe LaRiviere 

Artist Rudolphe LaRiviere painted landscapes, still life and murals. In 1965, he created a watercolor painting for Trout entitled “Old Bridge on Michigan’s Au Sable River”, near where TU was founded. This was the first original work of art commissioned by the organization as a periodical cover. William J. Schaldach authored several books including “Fish by Schaldach: Collected Etchings, Drawings and Water Colors of Trout, Salmon, and Other Game Fish” in 1937. The 1968 winter issue of Trout featured Mr. Schaldach’s “Sunny Run” from that book, which had been reproduced with his permission to use for the cover.

1978 Winter Cover

Bob Frankowiak

Artist Bob Frankowiak’s paintings of fish and wildlife graced numerous covers of national and international magazines. In the 70’s, he painted three covers for Trout. We have two of these covers on display in the library, the winter issue of 1976 and the autumn issue of 1975. During that time frame, Trout Unlimited named him as their resident artist. Another artist, Eldridge Hardie, was a collector and creator of fine sporting art. He was also an avid fly fisherman and his best works depict the stream fisherman in pursuit of his next trout. The winter 1978 cover features Hardie’s watercolor of a crystalline spring creek with trout in Montana’s Paradise Valley.

Apayo Moore

Finally, contemporary artist Apayo Moore is an Alaska native who learned all about subsistence fishing and commercial sockeye salmon fishing from her family. She has established herself as an effective activist in the preservation of Alaska and has worked closely with Trout Unlimited to save her home, Bristol Bay, from mining, which causes a serious threat to native fish. The winter 2017 cover entitled “TALAARIQ”, which means rainbow trout in the Yup’ik language, draws upon her memories of subsistence fishing. This cover pays heartfelt respect and appreciation to the residents of Bristol Bay and their efforts to protect that important fishery.

In Closing

With 300,000 members and over 400 chapters nationwide, Trout Unlimited is an organization of conservation minded anglers that uses scientific principles to promote the quality of trout and salmon fisheries throughout the United States. Every angler should be grateful for their efforts which have done so much to preserve and enhance the quality and variety of the sport we love.
We hope that this small selection of ‘Field and Stream’ covers will be of interest to those who flyfish as well as to those who don’t but wonder what it is all about. As David Petzel astutely observed in 2005 regarding the fly fishing covers of ‘Field and Stream’:

“There is no denying that people who flyfish for trout are quite different from other anglers. Those who go after bass or pike or muskies do not assail us with endless, wearisome books about their angst and their alienation. They just want to catch a big fish and read no metaphysics into the process. So it must be that if you want to appeal to the piscatorial aesthetes of the world, you must publish artful covers.”

This current exhibit features Trout magazine covers dating from 1959 through 2017. Trout is the quarterly publication of Trout Unlimited, America’s foremost cold water fisheries conservation organization.