Al Pellicane

John Voelker at Frenchman’s Pond in 1980. From the collection of the American Museum of Fly Fishing. 

The Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award was created in 1994 by Nick Lyons and the Voelker Foundation to encourage and recognize “distinguished original stories or essays that embody the implicit love of fly fishing, respect for the sport, and the natural world in which it takes place.” The Traver stories and essays must demonstrate high literary values in one or more of these three categories:

  • The joy of fly fishing: personal and philosophic
  • Ecology: knowledge and protection of the natural
  • Humor: piscatorial friendships and fun on the water

The award is named after Robert Traver, pen name of the late John Voelker, author of Trout Madness, Trout Magic, Anatomy of a Fisherman, and the 1958 best seller, Anatomy of a Murder.

Since 1994, twenty-two awards have been given for the winning entry. Two anthologies of the Traver Award–winning essays were published in two volumes: In Hemingway’s Meadow (2009) and Love Story of the Trout (2010).

For more information about the award and submission requirements, visit the Voelker Foundation. 

The 2021 Traver Award

The 2021 Traver Award, which includes a $2,500 prize, will be granted for the winning short work of fiction or nonfiction essay in the English language not previously published commercially in print or digital media. “Short work” means 3,000 words or less. An entry fee of $25 will offset the administrative costs of the award program. Previous Traver Award winners are not eligible. Please submit an entry form, a PDF of your entry, and entry fee to by May 31, 2021. The form and additional submission requirements can be found on the Voelker Foundation website. The 2021 Traver Award winner will be notified in fall 2021 and receive $2,500. The winning entry will be published in the American Fly Fisher, the journal of the American Museum of Fly Fishing, in 2022.