About the Author

Fishing, Literature, and Tackle

In these pages you will find reflections–my own and others’–upon the contemplative and aesthetic aspects of fly fishing, as they are found in the literature and practice of the sport.  You will also find explorations of “environmental literature,” in general, and our relationships with the material world/”nature.” Finally, you will find discussions of antique, classic, and performance fly fishing tackle, some of which is posted for sale (in most cases, used).

Please note that the copyright of all posts on all pages, unless otherwise noted, belongs to Kenneth H. Lokensgard.

© Kenneth H. Lokensgard, 2009-2023.


I was raised in Western Montana. Like Norman Maclean, I am the son of a Presbyterian minister, and I grew up fishing in the Blackfoot River Drainage.  Today, I hold a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. With my students, I have explored the literature of fly fishing and other forms of angling in several university level courses.

My primary academic work is in the area of Native American religions and Indigenous Research Methodologies.  I have worked with members of the Blackfoot Confederacy of Montana and Alberta, Canada for numerous years on issues of ontology (their categorization of being, beings, and Being) and on the appropriation and repatriation of religious culture.  I have published much of this research, particularly in my book,  Blackfoot Religion and the Consequences of Cultural Commoditization.

9780226366579Recently, I wrote a book chapter dealing with fish and fishing in Blackfoot Country for Backcasts: Historical and Global Perspectives in Fly Fishing and Conservation. This book, edited by Doctors Sam Snyder, Bryon Borgelt, and Elizabeth Tobey, is published by the University of Chicago Press. My fly fishing and academic interests thus overlap.

Religion and Fly Fishing

The association between religion and fly fishing was made at least as far back as the fifteenth century CE, by the author of A Treatyse of Fyshyng with an Angle.  This person was commonly believed to be Dame Juliana Berners, who was eventually described as a Roman Catholic nun (both the authorship of A Treatyse and the biography of Berners are debatable).  Anglican Izaak  Walton, writing in the seventeenth century, made this association as well, in his The Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man’s Recreation. And, in the twentieth century, Norman Maclean proclaimed, in A River Runs Through It, that there was “no clear line between religion and flyfishing” in his family.  Many other authors, besides these, have written about the connection between religion and fly fishing.  Moreover, contemporary, conservation oriented fly fishers sometimes describe their motivations to preserve and enjoy our fisheries as religious.

Just as the authors identified above do, I find fly fishing to be a potentially religious activity.  For me, and for people like Berners and Walton, this is because we find fish in the most beautiful places–the places where we are free from the day-to-day distractions that prevent us from connection with our fellow fishers, other inhabitants of the natural world, and even our creator.

Enjoy these pages, and please contribute your own perspectives and ideas. Feel free to email me at kenov@theliteraryflyfisher.com.

— Kenneth “Ken” H. Lokensgard, Ph.D.

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