Fish Food

Reviewed by Moon Mullen

"Thank you very much Ralph Cutter," I thought as I put my sixth fish on the reel out of the first seven casts of the day.

Cutter's curiosity led him to put on snorkeling gear and have an underwater look for himself. I appreciate that he didn't just accept the conventional wisdom, but searched out the answers for himself.

I think one of the goals of this book is to stop you from fishing. Whoooaaaa there big fellow, you're thinking. Nope, it actually says that right there in the preface. But then it goes on to say, "stop you from fishing just long enough to recognize reality."


There are 39 chapters in Fish Food, each dedicated to a specific food. source. Everything from mayflies to baitfish to terrestrial--even frogs--is covered.

Each chapter includes stunningly clear color photographs and black-and-white renditions of the critter being discussed. You'll also find flies used to imitate each food source. Fly recipes are not included, but an experienced tier should have no problem replicating the flies from the photos.


Fish Food is not about Latin, nor is it just a history of dry observations that some guy with a pocket protector recounted from pages taken from his notebook--observatioins that could be substituted for novocain during a root canal.

I enjoyed Cutter's recollections of what he saw and how he came to an understanding while actually fishing. You'll like the hailstorm story on a lake in the Sierras and how the fish acted vastly different to the same fly before and after.

This book is for the fly fisher who has found that sometimes an Adams or a Quill Gordon isn't quite good enough. It will extend your knowledge of fish food and how trout respond to it, but at the same time Fish Food is enjoyable and you will find hard to put down.

Moon Mullen and his wife Monica live in Springfield, Oregon, where they can often be found fly fishing the Middle Fork of the Willamette River.