Anything Fly Fishing

Best Books on Fly Fishing

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There are many great writers who focus on fly fishing. As we all know, fly fishing is a very traditional sport that evokes great feeling from participants. It is difficult to list the greatest, for each one has a different approach to the subject. Here are my favorites and why I like them.

John Gierach

Not many people can spin a yarn like John Gierach with humor and sarcasm while also tapping into the almost mystical beauty of the sport. He burst onto the genre with his first book entitled Trout Bum and has never paused for breath since. Here are some of his works currently on my book shelf:

  • Trout Bum
  • Fool’s Paradise
  • Good Flies
  • Fly Fishing Small Streams
  • At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman
  • Even Brook Trout Get the Blues
  • Dances with Trout
  • The View at Rat Lake
  • Another Lousy Day in Paradise
  • Standing in the Water Waving a Stick
  • Sex, Death and Fly Fishing
  • Still Life with Brook Trout

Another author that merits our attention is Thomas McGuane. The Longest Silence is a classic and should be on every serious fly fisherman’s bookshelf. John Gierach said about McGuane, “Here is one of my favorite writers on my favorite subject. What more can I say?”

Gary LaFontaine was one of the greatest technical fishermen and writers. Most of his work was dedicated to detailing the art of achieving the most realistic patterns possible. He spent countless hours in Scuba gear in the bottom of trout pools observing trout reactions to various patterns that his assistants drifted over them. He was always looking for the “triggers” that caused trout to react positively to the fly.

Some of LaFontaine’s work includes;

  • The Dry Fly
  • Trout Flies
  • Caddisflies

Everyone knows “Lefty” Kreh. He was a gregarious fellow and fished for anything that swims. He was a great caster and one of his notable works was Presenting the Fly.

A. K. Best was first introduced to me in the writing of John Gierach. A. K. was a good friend, fishing companion of Gierach and a master fly tyer. I have two of Best’s works:

  • A. K.’s Fly Box
  • Fly Fishing with A. K.

Joe Humphrey was a resident of Pennsylvania and taught fly fishing at a local university. (This brings Mike Watts to mind.) He was another technical fisherman and excelled at presenting a fly properly on small streams. He was as excited to catch small brookies in a little trickle as catching the trophies on big water. His book titled Trout Tactics is good reference material.

I am sure that each of us has favorite fly-fishing authors and a few more are listed below for your reading pleasure. Check out the titles that strike your fancy. You will not be disappointed.

  • Dave Ames – A Good Life Wasted, True Love and the Woolly Bugger
  • Steve Raymond – Nervous Water, A Fly Fisher’s Sixty Seasons
  • Lou Urenek – Backcast
  • Art Scheck – A Fishing Life is Hard Work
  • Dave Hughes – Taking Trout
  • James Prosek – Joe and Me

If I had to evaluate these books, I would say that Gary LaFontaine provides the most detail for those wishing to tie successful patterns. As far as entertainment value, Gierach is far and away my favorite.

I hope you are lucky enough to have a good library on the topic of fly fishing. If not, I encourage you to indulge yourself with the purchase of several of these suggestions. They will provide endless hours of entertainment and you will add some useful knowledge that will make you a better fly fisherman.

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