Will Ryan is a contributing writer for Field & Stream. His outdoor career began at age 7, when, in return for room and board, he was assigned assistant trainer duties for his father’s Brittany spaniels. He read his first Field & Stream article around the same time and after a quarter century of cleaning kennels and careful contemplation, wrote his first F&S article in 1983. Since then, he has published somewhere north of 1,200 columns, articles, and stories for various outdoor magazines, with particular attention to waterfowl, fly fishing, and history of the outdoors. He has written three books, and contributed chapters to a number of others. He lives with his wife in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Ryan grew up hunting and fishing in northern New York, before moving to New England, and doing pretty much the same, minus the dog training. The latter did inspire him to take up teaching (stick with what you know!)—first in Johnson, Vermont and later at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, where he taught writing for more than 40 years before retiring (emeritus) in 2021. Since 2000, he has written a column on the history of hunting and fishing for Gray’s Sporting Journal. From 2010 to 2020, he also wrote a fly-fishing history column for American Angler. His books include Smallmouth Strategies for the Fly Rod (1996); Northern Pike (2000); and Gray’s Sporting Journal’s Noble Birds and Wily Trout (2013). His most recent contribution to a book project involved a series of biographical portraits in America’s Bountiful Waters: 150 Years of Fisheries Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2021).
Ryan attended the University of Vermont, where he received a B.A. and M.Ed. He later completed an M.A. in American history at the University of Massachusetts.
F&S Lightning Round
Favorite Fishing Holes: 1000 Islands; Lake Champlain; West Branch Penobscot, Farmington River, Chappaquiddick Island.
Favorite F&S writer: H.G. Tapply
Favorite F&S quote: “Fishermen are born honest, but they get over it.” —Ed Zern