I live in Massachusetts. That means that for most of the fall, winter, and spring I don’t have to do pesky things like yard work or go outside. I’m usually covered in feet of snow. This affords me little opportunity for simple or mundane outdoor pursuits.
On the positive side, this allows me to read more books. Although fly fishing books can be torturous when stuck inside for months, they do offer some daydreaming and escapism. Having a good angling book does things that a YouTube video never will. You’re much more engaged. Even on a sensory level, an author who has a way with words will stir you more than images ever will.
Whether you are reading this next to a roaring fire, from a temperate climate, or in the middle of summer, I encourage you to take a look at one of these solid fly fishing books!
As I’ve done for all of the entries in my “Fly Fishing Books” series, I’ve spread the selections over three rough categories:
- Guide (regional, site specific)
- Technical (methods, locations, fly tying)
- Literature (novels, biographies, history)
Check out one kind of each book, why I suggest it, and a bonus read below. And follow the links in the headings to get a copy for yourself!
Guide: Flyfisher’s Guide to the New England Coast, by Tom Keer
When I first moved to New England, I threw my 8-weight and a box of Clouser minnows in the car and headed to the beach. While fly fishing for stripers and blues might be as simple as that on some days, my experience was something entirely different. I saw a lot of water and a lot of sand. For a saltwater beginner, it was overwhelming. I made a few casts, and retreated to a bass pond. The thing was, I didn’t know where to start. This book was a huge help in A) simply putting me in the vicinity of where I could catch fish and B) giving me clues as to what to look for. If you are a die-hard DIY angler, a book like this is important if you’re new to New England.
Technical: Fishing the Midge, by Ed Koch
The best book ever written on midges was written while Nixon was in office. In Fishing the Midge you’ll learn everything you need to know about tying and presenting tiny flies. With a special focus on dries, this volume provides technical and common sense know-how that can improve your “midging” instantly. If my accolades aren’t enough, know that this book was held in high esteem by Koch’s angling fraternity. The men who made some of the greatest contributions to fly fishing in the 20th century, the famous anglers of Pennsylvania’s Cumberland Valley, considered this an essential book.
Literature: This Wonderful World of Trout, by Charles K. Fox
This Wonderful World of Trout might be my favorite fly fishing book. In it, Fox blends river-tested strategy with well-crafted narrative. He establishes settings masterfully. The characters, anglers and fish alike, are relatable. But at the end of the day, you’re getting over 300 pages written by an unsung hero of American fly fishing. Whether or not you have fished streams like the Letort or Newville’s Big Spring, reading this book will absolutely communicate how something special was happening in Southcentral Pennsylvania at that time.
Bonus: River’s Edge, by Walt Franklin
After reading one of my posts on fly fishing books, Walt reached out to me. As things would have it, I was already acquainted with his blog – Rivertop Rambles. Walk has published a number of books, and I have had the privilege to read a few of them. River’s Edge collects a number of his personal stories, and was an enjoyable read. At the time of this post, Walt has just released his newest book: Streamwalker’s Journey. This publication is primarily a compilation of his best work from his blog. Head to his website to learn more about both books, and to check out his great writing.
Want some more fly fishing books?
- Fly Fishing Books, I : Fly Fishing the Mid-Atlantic, Spring Creek Strategies, Joe and Me, Limestone Legends
- Fly Fishing Books, II : Fly-Fishing Guide to the Upper Delaware River, In the Ring of the Rise, Brook Trout, The Curtis Creek Manifesto
- Fly Fishing Books, III : Guide to Maryland Trout Fishing, Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass, Fishing a Highland Stream, About Trout
- Fly Fishing Books, IV : Flyfisher’s Guide to New England, The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists, Spring Creek, & CVTU’s Favorite Flies