Each year about this time I begin to re-read the classic old fly-fishing tomes. Sparse Grey Hackle, Schwiebert, Foote, Haig-Brown. I love them because I just flat-out love great fly-fishing writing. I'm focusing on Michigan writers this year and prominent among them is John Voelker. The most wonderful thing about John Voelker was that he wrote wonderful stories, and some of them were about fishing.
We know him best by his pen name Robert Traver. And Robert Traver, already a giant amongst his beloved Michigan Upper Peninsula brethren, loomed large upon the American literary stage when his best-selling novel, Anatomy of a Murder was released. The novel became a Hollywood movie. He then, deservedly, became a very famous man.
After the success of his novel Voelker, then the 74th justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, retired from the moil of court life in 1959 to write full-time and to fish at his beloved Frenchman's Pond. As Robert Traver, Voelker published a number of novels and short stories – Trouble-Shooter (1943), Danny and the Boys (1951), Trout Madness (1960), Anatomy of a Fisherman (1964), Laughing Whitefish (1965), The Jealous Mistress (1967), and Trout Magic (1974), – all with the small-town Upper Peninsula Michigan charm he was most familiar with and he claimed to have written his first story, titled Alone All Night with a Bear in a Swamp, at age ten. He also wrote, for a brief time, a column in The Detroit News Sunday Magazine. He was know for his candor.
"I personally don't happen to care a whoop for bass fishing or bass; in fact I loathe it and them; but I have no quarrel with the queer people who do, only a sort of bewildered pity." ~ Robert Traver, from The Haunted Pond, Trout Madness
Charles Kuralt said Voelker was one of the most interesting persons that he, then a correspondent for the CBS Evening News, had ever interviewed in his career. Fame and giants aside, he had a weakness for brook trout and bourbon and a severe distaste for crowds and television. Which makes Voelker my kind of man. - WES:::