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Nature Essays

Fishing the High Country

A Memoir of the River

by (author) Wayne Curtis

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Oct 2018
Essays, Fishing, Personal Memoirs
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2018
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2018
    List Price

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Finalist, New Brunswick Book Award for Non-Fiction

From the first sentence, "I come from a long line of river people," to the last, "Bad luck to kill a moose bird," Wayne Curtis signals that this book occupies the territory of a classic, a lyrical memoir of a river and those who submit to its call.

New Brunswick's Miramichi River is one of the most entrancing salmon rivers in the world. In Fishing the High Country, Curtis has created what can only be described as a river masterpiece, a lyrical record of time and place, of those who are drawn to its side and those who cast their lines into its waters.

Drawing on his experience of life along the river — as a boy, as a young man, and as a river guide among guides, Wayne Curtis crafts the compelling memoir of this place, a high country where he spins his tales, casts his flies, and fishes the river and woods for his stories. The Miramichi vibrates in Curtis's bones. His cast of characters are earthy, whimsical, and wise. His eye for the telling detail and his rooted understanding of lives lived humbly will captivate readers with its near mystical blend of the mysteries of fly fishing and the affections of the heart.

About the author

Wayne Curtis was born in Keenan, New Brunswick, in 1943. He was educated at the local schoolhouse and St. Thomas University where he majored in English. He has won the Richards Award for short fiction, The Lieutenant Governor's Award, and the CBC Drama Awards. Wayne's stories have appeared in literary journals: The Cormorant, The Fiddlehead, Pottersfield Portfolio, The Nashwaak Review, The Antigonish Review, The Dalhousie Review, New Brunswick Reader, New Maritimes and the anthologies Atlantica, Country Roads, The STU Reader, Winter House, The Christmas Secret and Winter. His short stories have been dramatized on CBC radio and CBC television.

In the spring of 2005, Wayne Curtis received an Honorary Doctorate Degree (letters) from St. Thomas University. In 2014 he was awarded the Order of New Brunswick. In 2018 he received the Senate Sesquicentennial Medal from the Canadian Senate and in 2023 he received The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Award. Wayne has lived in southern Ontario, Yukon Territories and Cuba. He currently divides his time between his cabin on the Miramichi River and his apartment in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Our Christmas Guest is his twenty-second published book.

Wayne Curtis' profile page


  • Short-listed, New Brunswick Book Award for Non-Fiction

Editorial Reviews

"A story of love and passion. Wayne Curtis led me through rivers and people of memory, stirring strong sentiments in every chapter. This is a book for angling addicts who cast lines on any patch of water in reality and in dreams. It will be my go-to book any time I need my angling emotions stroked."

Katharine Mott

"This gripping and beautiful book takes us deep into the forests and river valleys of one of our finest backwoods cultures. One trip to the Miramichi and you'll never forget its people and places. If you haven't stood alongside that river, Wayne Curtis's wise and gentle writing will make you want to go."

Jake MacDonald

"What a joy this book is, full of affection for and a wise reflection on the river people, their angling guests, and the waters they shared in New Brunswick's high country, which Curtis has made his own. 'I can feel every word the great river laid upon us,' he writes and, in this memoir, Curtis gives us back those deep and shining words as a great and lasting gift."

Harry Thurston