The Bookshelf Volume 3 - Dr. Suess – McElligot’s Pool - 1947

The Bookshelf Volume 3 - Dr. Suess – McElligot’s Pool - 1947

Welcome to Volume 3 of “The Book Shelf”, a Big Sky Anglers original blog series dedicated to shining some new light on the works of the old masters.  In the spirit of the modern era, these pieces may be quick vignettes, half baked and composed at the last minute.  They may be poorly edited and rambling.  But they will hopefully inspire some of you to visit a library, a used bookstore, or the basement shelves at Big Sky Anglers, pick up an old fly fishing book, and soak up a bit of old knowledge and be inspired by words and images once, but no longer, forgotten. 


Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, is not a well-known author in the genre of fishing, but if one takes a deep dive into his catalog, there are quite a few angling and fisheries-related elements to explore.

Of course, we all know One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, in which Dr. Seuss introduces a handful of the more well-known species of fish.  But, aside from the perfect rhyming cadence, One Fish, Two Fish offers little in the way of useful angling information, and quickly shifts to other topics such as cooking Nooks and hopping Yops.  In a word: Overrated.

In The Lorax, Seuss clearly addresses the importance of conservation and caring for our natural resources, which are absolutely relevant concepts when it comes to fisheries and aquatic habitat preservation and restoration.  The only fish species explicitly mentioned is the native humming fish, which seem rather plain, but is known to require excellent water quality.  Sadly, Suess provides us with no additional information about the fly fishing potential of the humming fish.

The real angling genius of Dr. Suess shines in the lesser known, McElligot’s Pool.  Devoted entirely to angling, the book tells the story of Marco, a boy with a fantastic imagination and a true anglers’ spirit.   When questioned about his angling tactics by a pessimistic local farmer, Marco leads us on a fantastic fishing trip to his home water and into his own mind.  We learn of the dozens of unique fish species that one might expect to encounter while angling at McElligot’s Pool.  Each species is described in some detail using the classic rhyming cadence you’d expect from Seuss.  Of particular interest to the reader will be the discussion of migratory habits and fighting ability of many of these species.   Most importantly, we are reminded to always work diligently to cultivate the most important yet often overlooked angling skills of all – confidence, hope, and a positive attitude.

Seriously folks, McElligot’s Pool is, in my opinion, certainly one of the top five fishing books ever written.  The story is fun, the illustrations are wonderful, the message is positive, the characters and rhymes are classic Seuss, and no matter how many times you read it yourself or to a child it will always bring a smile to your face.  This is one to add to your own library or to the library of your favorite young person.

Contact us

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.