Ted Trueblood Chapter
Conserving, protecting, and restoring Southwest Idaho's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

Trueblood Photos

Ted Trueblood catching panfish.

A Middle Fork Salmon River cutthroat!

Ted Trueblood bird hunting with his dog.

Trueblood was a noted hunter as well as angler.

The Trueblood smile.

Trueblood boats a rainbow.

Trueblood with legendary boat builder Glen Wooldridge.

A Trueblood lure.

See also

The Ted Trueblood Collection at Boise State University Library Special Collections.

Photo gallery at the Boise State University website with some more cool photos of Ted Trueblood!.

Ted Trueblood: Outdoor writer set the benchmark

Roger Phillips
The Idaho Statesman
Edition Date: 03-28-2002

Twenty years ago, Idaho lost its truest voice for wildlife and public lands in Ted Trueblood, but his life's work can be seen from the Owyhee Desert to the rugged mountains of the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness.

Trueblood was a genuine product of Idaho. He was born and educated here, spent most of his career here, and died a short drive from his birthplace in Boise. He was an accomplished hunter, angler and a clear voice for conservation.

"I can't think of any Idahoan who did more to spread the word about Idaho's fish and wildlife resources," said Andy Brunelle, board member of the Ted Trueblood Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Trueblood is probably best remembered for his work with Field & Stream magazine. He first wrote for the magazine in 1937 and continued for 40 years. He was a prolific writer who penned more than 656 magazine articles that dealt with all aspects of the outdoors.

Trueblood summed up his career in his own words in the forward to "The Ted Trueblood Hunting Treasury:"

In my earlier years, I was merely eager to hunt. But as I matured I began to develop a philosophy toward the outdoors and nature and all things connected to them, he wrote.

He was extremely curious about everything and wanted to learn all he could, said his son, Jack Trueblood.

His early days

Trueblood was born in Boise in 1913 on his family's farm. He graduated from Wilder High School in 1931.

That same year he sold his first article, titled "A Certain Idaho Trout" to National Sportsman magazine, but it was under the byline of J.W. Wintring.

The editor of the magazine insisted that Ted Trueblood was a pseudonym and added "not a very good one", according to a biography published by Boise State University.

It wasn't the last time Trueblood's name caused a whiff of controversy.

Early in his career, Trueblood had several jobs in the East, but he decided living in Idaho and enjoying its outdoors was more important than pursuing an editor's job in New York.

Despite turning his back on the center of the publishing universe, he became an institution at Field & Stream magazine. Trueblood was the definition of a field reporter and in 1961, he spent 151 days fishing, hunting, camping and writing about those experiences.

His name, so perfect for an outdoor writer, caused some to believe it was pseudonym, and others went so far as to doubt his existence.

Fellow Field & Stream writer Ed Zern added to the debate when he wrote an article titled "Is There Really a Ted Trueblood?"

Zern jokingly claimed that Ted Trueblood was "simply a creation of the collective imagination of Field & Stream editors."

Newspapers picked up on the controversy and the debate became the subject of many letters to Field & Stream.

Trueblood eventually sent the magazine his own letter to clear the matter up.

It was annoying to the point that he got a lot of phone calls and letters asking if he really existed, and he answered them all, Jack Trueblood said.

Outdoor family

Ted's outdoor adventures were not solo pursuits. His wife, Ellen, was a Boise native he met when they were both reporters for the Boise Capital News.

The couple started their marriage with a four-month honeymoon in what is now the Frank Church Wilderness.

It was a natural match, Jack said.

Ellen joined him on most of his trips and often wrote articles about wild mushrooms. She is credited with discovering numerous mushroom species that were previously unknown to science. One was named after her.

They later had two children, Dan and Jack, who also accompanied them on many outdoor forays.

Jack remained in Idaho and now works in the eduction and information bureau at Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Lifelong hunter

Trueblood was an expert hunter who was equally comfortable stalking elk in the Frank Church Wilderness or chasing chukars in the Owyhee Desert.

Although he was nationally known and influential as a hunting writer, Trueblood didn't cash in on his fame. He once turned down an offer to go on a free safari in Africa.

And while he probably could have received any gun for free by calling a manufacturer and asking for one, he never did. His two favorites were a Winchester Model 12 shotgun and a Winchester Model 70 rifle, two modestly priced guns he bought off the shelf.

Trueblood also never considered himself a trophy hunter. Although he killed many large animals in his career, the only one he ever had mounted was a bighorn sheep.

Later in his career, he almost exclusively hunted upland birds, which was his true passion.

One year Trueblood announced to his family he was going to hunt every day of the upland bird season, and he stuck to it.

Needless to say, "we ate a lot of wild stuff", Jack said.

Innovative angler

Trueblood was an avid angler who helped progress fly fishing into the modern era. He was a product tester for Scientific Angler when that company was experimenting with new materials for fly line.

He was instrumental in developing the company's first sinking tip lines, and he also field tested some of the earliest graphite rod designs. Several fly patterns that Trueblood invented still bear his name and continue to be used by fly anglers.

Trueblood exposed thousands, if not millions of people, to fly fishing through his articles, but he also taught many first-hand.

Every spring he would pack all his fishing rods and borrow others and give free fly fishing lessons through the Nampa Rod and Gun Club.

Even when tied to his writing desk, Trueblood had fishing in mind. He kept a sledgehammer by his typewriter, not to take revenge on a case of writer's block, but to exercise his arm for fly casting.

After Trueblood's death, the Boise chapter of Trout Unlimited named itself after him.

We were honored that the family allowed us to use his name, Brunelle said.


Trueblood's work as an outdoor writer was always intertwined with his work as a conservationist, and his proudest accomplishments came from his conservation work.

In 1936, he helped organize the Idaho Wildlife Federation, and in 1938 he campaigned for the citizens initiative that formed the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. That was the first successful citizens initiative in Idaho history, and it serves as the model for the current initiative drive being spearheaded by the Idaho Wildlife Federation. The initiative seeks to return the commission back to the way it was formed in 1938.

Trueblood was a vocal supporter of public lands and fought the so-called "Sagebrush Rebellion" that tried to liquidate public lands and auction them off to private owners.

"He did a terrific amount of lobbying and signature gathering to head off that raid", Jack said.

He was a member of many conservation groups, ranging from the Sierra Club to Ducks Unlimited, and his conservation work garnered him many awards and accolades.

In 1975, he was named Outdoorsman of the Year by both the Winchester Western arms company and the Outdoor Writers of America.

That same year, the Department of the Interior awarded him the Conservation Service Award, the highest award the agency gives to citizen conservationists.

Although an expert outdoorsman and renowned activist, he remained a humble person who didn't consider the recognition any big deal.

He never acted like it was and he never treated it like it was. He was just an ordinary guy, Jack said.

According to the BSU biography, after Trueblood accepted the Coors Western Outdoorsman of the Year award in 1981,an interviewer asked, "How long would it take to learn everything about the outdoors?"

"Oh, about 10 years longer than anyone lives", Trueblood replied.

Trueblood was also instrumental in the passage of the bill that designated the Frank Church/ River of No Return Wilderness.

"Through his column at Field & Stream, he generated thousands of letters for the Frank Church Wilderness", Jack said.

In a letter written a few months before Trueblood's death, Sen. Frank Church praised his efforts and credited him for passing the wilderness bill.

"Your love of the outdoors, the many articles you wrote about camping, fishing and hunting, and the following you built through the state made it possible to secure the dedicated citizen support without which no legislation could have been passed", Church wrote. So it is my belief, Ted, that the River of No Return Wilderness, the crowning achievement, is a natural monument to the kind of life you led and the leadership you gave to the cause of conservation. Many contributed, to be sure, but you stood above all others.


Trout Trouble, and Other Trouble, (with Walter Dower), 1948.

The Angler's Handbook, 1951.

Ted Trueblood on Hunting, 1953.

The Hunter's Handbook, 1954.

How to Catch More Fish, 1955.

The Ted Trueblood Hunting Treasury, 1978.

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Ted Trueblood Chapter of Trout Unlimited
PO Box 1971
Boise, Idaho 83701