A Temporary Refuge:


Fourteen Seasons Wild Wild Summer Steelhead

Lee Spencer


  • ISBN 978-1938340673
  • Hardcover
  • 8.75 x 5.75 inches
  • 320 pages


Steelhead observer and protector Lee Spencer is featured in the documentary, DamNation (Patagonia 2014). During his first summer camped on a vital holding pool of Steamboat Creek, spawning tributary to Oregon’s North Umpqua River, Spencer built a sheltered viewing platform, a place to sit with Sis, his dog, and his notebook, and observe the denizens of the pool for months, and, eventually, years on end.


The result is the most complete and intimate look at steelhead behavior ever published.

Shortly before setting up camp during his first season, Spencer cut the points off the hooks of all his steelhead flies, freeing himself to see more deeply the beauty of his surroundings. As the predatory urge faded, a kind of blindness went with it, and Spencer’s eyes and mind became figurative hooks, enabling him to capture the stunning lives and behaviors of these charismatic wild creatures with an intimacy that has rarely been offered before.

A Temporary Refuge is a distillation of 14 years of detailed observations, in this wonderfully engaging almanac, Spencer records a natural history teeming with fish, water, vegetation, birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, and amphibians, seasonal changes, and interesting events and stories. Spencer is a modern-day Thoreau, and the steelhead pool is his Walden Pond.


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