If you don’t already know these books, here are a few of my favourite fly fishing books to embrace during the cold dark winter months. Some old, some new but all gems for their own reasons.
The Best Fly Fishing Books You Should Read
Ian Niall – Trout from the hills 1961.
This is a heart warming book with stories of wild fish and flies that catch them from the wild high lakes and Tarns of North Wales in particular. This book is also illustrated with some of the most beautiful wood engravings by Christopher Wormell that you may ever come across.
TC Kingsmill Moore – A Man May Fish 1960.
One of the great classics that will enchant every fly fisherman that fishes for salmon, trout and sea trout. Not only great fishing stories, but Moore’s knowledge of fishing, flies and fly tying is still way ahead of its time. This is a absolute must for any angler thinking of fishing in Ireland.
John Gierach – Trout Bum 1986.
Although only published in 1986 this has already become a classic in the fly fishermen library. Once you pick it up, you can’t put it down…
Thomas McGuane’s endorsement sums it up: Trout Bum captures the passion, confusion and left handed poetry of modern fishing, having given his heart to the rivers he fishes. John Gierach conveys the power of his experience without pretense.
Ken Schultz’s – Fishing Encyclopedia world wide angling guide 2000.
This is a monolith of a book and a must for any traveling angler. Ken Schultz’s Fishing Encyclopedia The most comprehensive, up-to-date fishing encyclopedia in the world today Ken Schultz’s Fishing Encyclopedia is the new standard for knowledge on fishing and everything related to it. Your’s truly also wrote the chapter on fishing in Norway.
Hugh Falkus – Salmon Fishing a Practical Guide 1984.
Regarded by many as the definitive work of the pursuit of the Atlantic salmon. If you fish for salmon you should own this book! Nothing more needs to be said.
Ed Mitchell – Fly Rodding Estuaries 2003.
This has been an essential book for my salt water fishing, where, when, tactics, flies and much much more…
John Gierach – Sex, Death and Fly Fishing 1990.
Another one of my favourite Gierach books. A masterful observation of fly fishing and everything that revolves about it and then some… Gierach Admits: “I don’t know exactly what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it’s something we all need to know” I have lost count of how many times I have read this book.
Kirk Wallace Johnson – The Feather Thief 2018.
In 2009, 20 year old musical prodigy and classic salmon fly tyer Edwin Rist broke into the Natural History Museum at Tring and stole a suitcase full of rare bird specimens that where collected over centuries from across the world by Alfred Russel Wallace. This true and shocking story rocked the fly tying world, it was the great train robbery of fly tying materials. I read this book in one sitting. It was especially of great interest to me as I personally know the majority of the people involved, and was tying at the Dutch fly fair when he was caught trying to fence his stolen goods to the international fly tyers that where attending. If you like true crime stories and fly tying, get this book.
See my earlier article Fly tying books my recommendation