Twelve More Quotes from Gordon MacQuarrie

More, but still not all, of the great quotes from America’s first full-time outdoor editor.

 

In January, Sporting Classics Daily ran a collection of 11 quotes from Gordon MacQuarrie. Regarded as the first full-time outdoor editor in the United States, MacQuarrie’s writing is in the upper echelon of all hunting and fishing prose.

Few, if any, of the writers the Daily has quoted over the years have evoked as strong of a response as MacQuarrie did. Readers wrote in to say how much they appreciated his writing’s style and substance, even asking us to hold a “Write Like MacQuarrie” contest in his honor.

Building on the high interest in this extraordinary man, here are 12 more quotes from one of the greatest writers to have ever lived — many of which are spoken by the famed President of the Old Duck Hunters Association, Inc., himself.

 

 

“‘That’s the way with you trout fishermen — especially you young ones. You get all buzzed up over trout. You dream about ’em at night. You throw your whole soul into the game. Their beauty, their fight, the classic methods used to catch them — all these things get you a little befuddled, and you begin to think no one ever went through that same process before. All that trout love happened to me twenty-five years ago.'”

— “If You Fish the St. Croix”

 

“There are corners of this green footstool which men look upon with more than mere gratefulness — places where they feel deeply at home. Let all of them choose their own inviolate acres. Along the banks of the raging Rogue, or in the pine-clad hills of Alabama. All of the close-to-earth hunting and fishing men know their chosen places.”

— “We Shall Gather by the Icehouse”

 

“‘Now when a fellow kills a duck, that’s somethin’. A duck can fly from four different angles at once.'”

— “Chickens Fly Funny”

 

“Now things were different. Every cast found me looking forward to a rise. Now every inch of the water seemed to give promise of a fish. So does the first fish of the season establish within one that most uncertain of fishermen’s foibles — faith — without which no fish are caught and no fun is had.”

— “Upstream Downstream”

 

“‘The man who was never lost in the woods, or got his car stuck on a fishing trip, ain’t been anywhere.'”

— “Music in the Gambler’s Ears”

 

“There is something about rain … A night in summer when the clouds can swell no more and shrink from threatening battlements to ragged shreds over Wisconsin, I often get up from my chair, go to the big closet, and speculate over the implements of trout fishing there. Indeed, there is something about rain. Especially a warm rain, spilled over a city or a network of trout streams. It kindles a spark. It presses a button. It is an urgent message from afar to any seeker of the holy grail of anglingdom — trout.”

— “Upon the Earth Below”

 

“Not for nothing does the goldeneye put his muscular body against those scimitar wings. No duck that flies carries a sweeter song. All ducks are whistlers to some degree, but the goldeneye’s powerful pinions place him in the front row of the celestial choir.”

— “Gallopin’ Goldeneyes”

 

“Men who know me will tell you that I am inclined to reckless haste in any campaign on this stream. They will tell you that I practically fall apart spiritually once I am within earshot of the Brule. And that I have been known to go to it so recklessly as to step into it without remembering that I took off my trousers — but forgot to put on waders.”

— “When the White Throats Sing”

 

“There was that day on the smallmouth end of the Namakagon when one of those plop-plop bugs with a hollow head did all that anyone could expect a bug to do. It didn’t exactly swim out and grab any three-pounders in back of the ears, but it had some of them leaping out of the shore growth and timber tangles like kids after a balloon salesman on Sunday afternoon in the park.”

— “The Mystery of the Missing Tackle”

 

“For five days he paddled and portaged, eating twice a day, morning and evening. It was hard work, but it was good work … In the evenings when he went ashore he welcomed the wilderness with a weary zest. Every place seemed like home, for he was self-sufficient.”

— “Nervous Breakdown”

 

“You would like that place. It is a very special place. The sun at partridge time comes there in long slanting shafts. It daubs the leafless popple with bland yellows and grays. You hardly know, mooching along, where the yellow of the autumn sun leaves off and the gray of the popple bark begins.”

— “A Brace Apiece”

 

“How would you like to hole up in a country where you could choose, as you fell asleep, between duck hunting and partridge hunting, between smallmouths on a good river like the St. Croix or trout on another good one like the Brule, or between muskie fishing on the Chippewa flowage or cisco dipping in the dark for the fun of it? Or, if the mood came over you, just a spell of tramping around on deer trails with a hand ax and a gunnysack, knocking highly flammable pine knots out of trees that have lain on the ground for 70 years? I’ve had good times in this country doing nothing more adventurous than filling a pail with blueberries or a couple of pails with wild cranberries.”

— “Nothing To Do For Three Weeks”

3 thoughts on “Twelve More Quotes from Gordon MacQuarrie

  1. Absolutely some of the best outdoor writing ever published. Too bad he died a relatively young man. Reading MacQuarrie is like taking a hike through the grouse woods or splashing along a trout stream on a misty morning. He knew the north woods like no one else!

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