Brian Clarke (author)

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James Brian Clarke (born 1938) is an English author, journalist and angler.[1][2] He is credited with two of the 20th century’s seminal works on fly-fishing (The Pursuit of Stillwater Trout, 1975[3] and, jointly with John Goddard, The Trout and the Fly, 1980[4]). His novel The Stream (2000)[5][6][7][8] became the first work of fiction to win the international Natural World Book Prize, Britain’s top environmental book award, and was the same year named Best First Novel by a British writer by the UK Authors’ Club.[9] He was Angling Correspondent of The Sunday Times from 1975-1996[10] and has been Angling Correspondent of The Times since 1991.[11]


Brian Clarke was born in Darlington, County Durham in 1938 and educated at St Mary’s Grammar School, Darlington. His early career in journalism included five years with The Guardian in London (1962-1967). A brief period as a management consultant followed before he spent 17 years with IBM in a range of managerial and senior professional roles.

His lifelong interest in angling began with sticklebacks and minnows on the River Skerne as a child, then moved on to coarse fishing on the Tees and Swale. He took up fly-fishing in the mid-1960s and was completely self-taught. His first book, The Pursuit of Stillwater Trout, was based on an examination of the nymphs he found in autopsies of trout, on detailed study of living specimens of the same nymphs that he stocked in an aquarium and on an analysis of trout rise-forms. The imitative approach the book advocated - small nymphs fished in a naturalistic way on long leaders - had a transforming influence on lake fishing for trout at a time when most lake fly-fishing was done with large lures and traditional Scottish and Irish lake patterns. The Pursuit of Stillwater Trout was serialised by The Sunday Times and was described by Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine as “the most important book on the subject that has ever been written”. Richard Walker, writing in Trout Fisherman magazine in 1980, described The Trout and the Fly as “likely to prove the most import contribution to the literature of trout fishing, this century”.

The book recorded the experiments Clarke and John Goddard conducted on the way reflection and refraction influenced the world as the trout sees it and involved much underwater photography.[12] Although each is widely read in his own right, the names of Clarke and Goddard will always be linked[13] through the book and through The Educated Trout (1980), a 50-minute film in the BBC Television series The World About Us that documented their researches.[14]

Clarke was the first President of The Wild Trout Trust (2003-2008).[15] He was elected an Honorary Life Member of The Flyfishers’ Club in 2005.

Published works[edit]

  • The Pursuit of Stillwater Trout (1975)
  • The Trout and The Fly – jointly - (1980)
  • Fly-fishing for Trout (US) – jointly – (1993)
  • Trout etcetera - selected writings, 1982-1996 (1996)
  • The Stream (novel) 2000
  • Understanding Trout Behaviour (US) – jointly – (2002)
  • On Fishing – journalism and essays, 1996-2007 (2007)


  1. ^ "Authors : Brian Clarke". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  2. ^ "Brian Clarke". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  3. ^ "The Pursuit of Stillwater Trout: Brian Clarke: Books". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  4. ^ "The Trout and the Fly: Brian Clarke, John Goddard: Books". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  5. ^ "The Stream: Brian Clarke: Books". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  6. ^ "The Stream - Brian Clarke". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  7. ^ Science and Nature Book Reviews. "Tony Juniper's five best books about nature". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  8. ^ "Meet the Author UK | Search for an Author | Brian Clarke | The Stream". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  9. ^ "The Stream(eBook):9781846891472". 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  10. ^ "On Fishing(eBook):9780007361120". 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  11. ^ Times Journalist. "Brian Clarke". The Times. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  12. ^ "John Goddard". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  13. ^ "Recollections IV John Goddard and Brian Clarke". River Reads. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  14. ^ "The Educated Trout - Part 1 of 4.". YouTube. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  15. ^ "On Fishing by Brian Clarke. Signed by the author | The Wild Trout Trust". Retrieved 2014-06-24.