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The Snowfly

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  333 ratings  ·  39 reviews
One legendary insect--enormous, white, and exceedingly rare--attracts trout of such size that they couldn’t possibly exist in the world as we know it. But in Heywood’s classic novel, such things can and do exist.
     Protagonist Bowie Rhodes, UPI reporter and expert fly fisherman, had learned of the snowfly early in his childhood. It hatches every seven to ten years, never
Kindle Edition, 563 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Lyons Press (first published 2000)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  333 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This might be one of the top twenty books I've ever read. As in other sports books, this book implies that it's about fly fishing ... but it's really reaches beyond that. If a person had to categorize it, he could probably stick it in the "Quest" pigeon hole, or maybe "Be careful what you ask for." Heywood has the ability to knock you on your ass laughing at some incredibly funny line or circumstance and then follow it up with some utterl profound insight. Yeah, I liked this book. ...more
Cameron Scott
Aug 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I am currently reading it, but its richness, and complex story telling (almost magical realism), as well as insights into human foibles and fly-fishing, has it in my top five.

Who wouldn't want to follow a reporter around the world as he fly fishes in places like Vietnam and England.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Pretty good story with plenty of high adventure fishing from the Viet Nam, Britain, Russia, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Gave it 4 stars on the strength of his writing about fly fishing...
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-reading, own
Amazing, local, and such a great book. had to read it for a class, but I enjoyed it so much. very mysterious, awesome characters, romantic, all that.

College reading.
Molly Hoggard
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read even if you do not fish!!!!!!
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler alert: I gave this 5 stars (It was amazing.) because it was amazing but I'm not sure it was amazingly good or amazingly convoluted, confusing, over the top crazy and confusing. Yes, it is about fly fishing but the people part is wild. There were parts that I just didn't understand. Quotes that I didn't understand, try as I did. There were so many characters I was continually backtracking to remind me where they fit in. I'd like to talk to someone about this. Irene? ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good book- I didn't want to read it because I was really stuck on Woods Cop series and often it seems weird to try an author's alternate protagonists, but I have to say this was well worth the read. I would consider this a good vacation book, wish I had been on vacation when I read it. Bowie Rhodes is a very good lead character and the author does a nice job making trout fishing the central theme, but you don't have to be a fly fisherman to enjoy it! Thanks Sheri for the recommendation! ...more
Jun 21, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody Who Likes A Compelling Mystery or Fly Fishing!
Going into detail would ruin the book. I will say that is was hands down one of the best novels I have read in ages. It kwpt me spellbound through its many pages. There is LITERALLY somethiong for everyone in this book. If you like espionage, love stories, unsolveable mysteries, flyfishing, it is all in there. Read!
Jul 13, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the beginning and couldn't put it down..then about pg 117 I was like wait..another girl another bedroom and then another girl..I'm sorry..nothing was happening except the same old same old..Closed it up and that was that..on to better is too short. I liked the first Woods Cop book so I thought I would like this got such rave reviews..*sigh* ...more
Emily Stephens
Jul 03, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm surprised a plethora of dudes haven't sworn up and down that I need to read this book, that it changed their life, that meaning was dripping from every metaphor and plot point, that the no-nonsense protagonist captured their own wandering souls perfectly...the kind of raving usually reserved for "Infinite Jest" and "Desert Solitaire". This book is typical fodder for that kind of guy.

As it was, I found it overwrought and difficult to follow with a convoluted plot, about 75% more named charact
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, michigan, heywood
Far-ranging story centered on trout fishing and the lore of the snowfly. True? not true? Many other elements: Viet Nam war, Russia (USSR), Bletchley Park, and many familiar Heywood themes: the UP, Michigan rivers, and the characters who populate the area and the books. The book was intriguing enough to send me to the author's website with a question, to which he kindly responded. Thanks, Mr. Heywood. ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read several of Joseph Heywood's Woods Cop and Luke Bapcat books but this book was completely different. The story telling and main character were really interesting though the story line is somewhat confusing. I didn't want the book to end. ...more
Joan Skinner
Apr 08, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If the author had stuck to the story of the Snowfly and left out all the sex scenes I would have been happy to finish this book. It did not seem necessary to the story at all. I was surprised as the other books I’ve read of his are not at all this type. I quit reading a third of the way through.
Mike Fedewa
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book if you love stories about fishing in Michigan. A bit quirky, but worth the read.
Sarah Ehinger
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the story of a quest and the passion and longing that come from that pursuit. Compelling and strong characters, both male and female. I really enjoyed it.
David Slough
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is it If you fish, you must read this.

Is it obsession or sport? No one truly knows, but Heywood gives us as good an explanation as there may be. Loved this book.
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was really excited to read more Joseph Heywood after I read Chasing A Blond Moon, but this book was a real disappointment for me. I think I got about 2/3 of the way through before I just had to stop reading it.

I love his large cast of colorful characters. However, I could not stand the continuous cycle of

1. main character meets girl
2. main character sleeps with girl, often at her prompting
3. main character leaves, regardless of any negative consequences


1. main character is in new town/loc
Abby Cooley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
After reading Ice Hunter, the first of the Woods Cop series, I noted that the SYKM website noted for The Snowfly "Grady Service and Luticious Treebone of the Woods Cop series first appear in this title".
With that thought in mind, The Snowfly was a big disappointment. Their appearances were limited to 2 pages, 2 paragraphs, and 2 sentences - widely separated.l
The narrative had interesting parts (after discounting the protagonists apparent irresistability to women) in his fly fishing, journalisn,
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this book 4.5 stars if I could. I found this book by chance and I am really glad I did. My husband's friend (they are both fly fishermen)recommended this book, he bought it and it sat on our book shelf for a few weeks. I picked it up and I was hooked after just the first few pages. The main character "Bowie" traveled to interesting places and met the most fascinating people. Reading this book was like sitting down to a delicious meal - everything was so rich and thought provoking I ...more
Ian Durham
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd say this is slightly closer to 4.5 stars, but that's quibbling a bit. It was an absolutely terrific book even if you have no interest in fly fishing. I didn't like the beginning of Part II all that much (the character Sturdivent was weird), but everything resolved itself quite nicely in the end. There were a couple of sad parts and I wonder about at least one choice the author made, but won't give it away in the review.

If you do like fly fishing, this book certainly captures the obsession so
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never would have expected to like a book about fishing, but this one was very, very good! Heywood has a magical way with words - I found myself reading even the parts that dealt with actual fishing. It's more than just a novel about fishing; the narrator is a journalist who spends time in Vietnam, England, and Russia as well as many areas in the US. There's mystery, romance (without all that trashy erotica), tragedy, and comedy. I hated to see it end - and couldn't immediately pick up another ...more
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one is written outside the Lute Bapcat and Woods Cop series, although Grady Service and Treebone do make 3 cameo appearances. It's a very interesting tale unfolding over the course and in the midst of decades of true world events. Bowie Rhodes' mythical quest takes him from the codebreakers at Bletchley, in WWII England, through Viet Nam, unrest in Northern Ireland, Cold War USSR, remote sections of Arizona, the Florida Keys, New York City and, of course, Michigan, before finally coming ful ...more
Geoffrey Weiss
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of a UPI correspondent, the book takes the reader along on the narrator-protagonist's journeys to northern Michigan, Viet Nam, the USSR, Florida, the Hudson Valley and other remote sites in a quest for the big news story, superior fly fishing experiences and the elusive fable of the Snowfly. The narrator makes the acquaintance of numerous offbeat personalities and some surprise celebrities, engages Intimate relationships with numerous women characters and discovers several little known ...more
Sep 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to me by a gentleman, as Heywood is a Michigan author. Waited some time to read it, since fly fishing didn't really sound like something that would capture my attention. Ended up really liking it and reading his other books -- the series about Grady, the Woods Cop. ...more
Gaston G.
Jul 08, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book difficult to read. I just couldn't get into it. I wanted to read it because Joseph Heywood is a Michigan author and I'm always interested to read what fellow Michiganians (it really should be Michiganders but...) write.

I was not able to finish this book.
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read by Heywood, a great alternative from the woods cop novels. Very detailed and filled with adventure up till the very last. Lots of twists and turns through out to keep you guessing as to what is going to happen
Denver Smiddy
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Amazing book, many references of MSU and other places in Michigan. Great book for people with a love of fishing and the outdoors
Scott Russell
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely amazing book.
Maggie Sorgen
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A marvelous mystery, a fly-fisherman's delight, and a tribute to the power of love and the human spirit.
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See also Joe T. Heywood

Joseph Heywood is the son of a career USAF officer. His dad was from Rhinecliff, New York on the Hudson River in Dutchess County, and his mother is from Mize, Mississippi in Sullivan County. His mother’s maiden name was Hegwood and she had only to change one letter to convert to her married name.

He is a 1961 graduate of Rudyard High School in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Chi

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