Retired ADF&G biologist tells all in "Fish, Oil, & Follies"

Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

As salmon start feeling their natural urge to return to the streams where they were reared and fishers of all types start checking their gear, line, net and motors in preparation for the runs, comes a new book filled with fish stories from the life prospective of a retired fish and game biologist, "Fish, Oil, & Follies," written by Loren B. Flagg. The author well known to the local community of the Kenai Peninsula grew up in New England and worked as a fisheries biologist in Massachusetts and Florida before moving his family to Alaska in 1968. Living in Homer, Flagg worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) as a commercial fisheries management biologist until he retired in 1987, continuing to work as a consultant and professional fishing guide. "Yes it is a tell all, with some discretion, of my experiences with fast running water, fisheries, oil and gas lease buy backs and the heated passions and emotions of user groups," Flagg told the Dispatch. Flagg says his wife was his inspiration to write the book, "I retired as a fishing guide a few years ago and during my first year of full retirement boredom set in and I was probably getting difficult to live with so Sandra said 'Dear, why don't you write a book,' so I started the first chapter then set it aside and picked it up later, all told it took a couple of years to get it completed," said Flagg.

In his capacity as the biologist assigned to the Kachemak Bay marine research project Flagg played a key role in the state's buy back of the Kachemak Bay oil leases in the mid-1970's. "Whether it was the Exxon Valdez spill or the commercial vs. sport fish salmon wars, Loren was at the center of the action," wrote reporter Tom Kizzia. "Fish, Oil, & Follies is an easy flowing and fast read. Loren shows that it takes more than college classes and a stack of books to make a successful career as a fish biologist. This pleasant tale traces a lifetime of fish pursuits of a self-confident scientist and a professional fisherman," says Bill Hauser, ADF&G biologist retired. "The Follies theme runs throughout the book, many of them my own, my co-workers, and some of them have to do with the oil industry and the Exxon Valdez spill from my prospective," added Flagg. The cover art for the book was done by well known local artist Jim Evensen and the forward was written by Jim Rearden who gave Flagg his first job in Alaska, "I was looking for a hands on scientifically trained field guy who would be willing to get fish slime on his hands and not get nervous in small planes, angry crowds, or small boats at sea. Some people were meant to become Alaskans and Loren Flagg is one of them. The kid with Florida fisheries experience has done all right and now you can read all about it in his book," wrote Rearden. The author has already had book signings at River City Books in Soldotna and in Homer and will be at Borders Books in Anchorage next week. "Fish, Oil, & Follies," is available at River City Books locally or by going on line at

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