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The Best Fly Fishing Books For Beginners (For [year])

There’s more to fly fishing than catching fish. And these books will explain exactly what I’m talking about. Here are what I’ve found to be the best fly fishing books for beginners and experienced anglers alike.

The Best Fly Fishing Books For Beginners (and Everyone Else)

With the wealth of information at your fingertips on the world wide web, it’s easy to cast aside a physical book as valuable source of information. The internet, in my opinion, tends to skim a subject a mile long and an inch deep. Whereas a book is going to dig much deeper into a subject and give you as the reader a more comprehensive and digestible set of information.

For myself, there are some times that reading a hard copy of a book is just so much more fulfilling and actually easier to digest than reading something on the internet.  And I’ve found that one of those things that are easier to digest in book form are how-to guides and informational text on topics that I’m delving deep into.

Just being able to flip through the pages from section to section is a great way to be able to quickly absorb information. Whether it’s a book on building & crafting, or a how-to guide on tarpon fishing the Bahamas; a book is the way to go if you are trying to build a comprehensive knowledge on a subject.

Read More:The Best Fishing Books Everyone Should Own

Why Take Time To Read Fly Fishing Books?

Fly-fishing involves all sorts of techniques, nuances, and skill-sets only truly obtained from years of experience. However, you can excel your learning process of the sport by digging into the minds of the experts. The best way to dig into their minds is through reading their texts.

Whether you are looking to learn new fly-fishing techniques, are just starting out, or are looking to read on the philosophical side of fly-fishing and the outdoors; there’s a fly-fishing book for you. On the coffee table of any dedicated fly angler, should sit a good piece of outdoor writing or two.

The Best Fly Fishing Books

1. The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing

The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing is a culmination of stories and information assembled by longtime fishing friends and accomplished outdoor writer. According to them, having taken thousands and thousands of miles of rivers and hundreds of people to tell all the stories and techniques.

This fly fishing book contains 250 tips, covering casting, wading and fly selection, all written in bright, clear language.

Some examples of fly fishing techniques the book delves into include: reading the water, setting the hook, where to cast, etc. According to the authors, their  “goal with this book was to cut through the fly fishing learning curve for both novices and aficionados.”

2. The Orvis Fly Fishing Guide

Regarded as one of the most comprehensive start-up guides to fly.-fishing. The Orvis Fly Fishing Guide features over 400 pages complete with detailed illustrations on nearly everything fly fishing.

Author, Tom Rosenbauer, has a developed a reputable career as an accomplished outdoor writer and possesses over four decades of fly fishing and outdoor experience. The newest edition features all the same great information plus updated chapters and information.

Expect to be reading on topics such as: tackle selection and care, casting, tactics for different waters, nymphing techniques, and species specific fishing information. This comprehensive and illustrated guide ought to be sitting on the bookshelves of fly anglers new and old alike.

3. The Total Fly Fishing Manual: 307 Essential Skills and Tips  

Rather than be a read through book or guide, this book serves as a quick tips and tricks genre. The Total Fly Fishing Manual: 307 Essential Skills and Tips is pretty much exactly how it sounds.

This book features a compilation of information from dozens of expert anglers, complete with detailed and informative illustrations. From fly patterns, to packing a quick fishing grab bag, to targeting wary brown trout; this book has something for everything to learn.

Being illustrated and containing about one page long tips, it makes a great coffee table read. You may even find your non-angler friends flipping through it. I can guarantee your angler friends will have something to learn in this fly fishing book, though.

4. The Bug Book: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to Trout Stream Insects 

For those true fly fishing die hards who want to “nerd out” even deeper into the sport, check out the Bug Book.

This publication is a introductory guide to a trout’s primary food source, insects. The intent of this book was to provide anglers with relevant scientific, practical, and digestible information about insects that trout prey on.

It not only serves as a detailed reference guide for insect species, but provides anglers with information on insect behavior, biology, and how and when to best imitate them with flies in a manner that fish will accept them.

From author and outdoor writer, Paul Weamer, “this book is written for new anglers who want a basic understanding of aquatic insects or more seasoned fly fishers who want to take their skills to the next level; those who want to know not only if their flies will work but why they’ll work as well.”

Having a practical knowledge of insect species that trout prey on is a big step towards becoming a proficient and educated trout angler.

5. Trout Bum By John Gierach 

Featuring a collection of reflective and poetic outdoor essays from acclaimed outdoor writer, John Gierach, Trout Bum is an insightful collection of reads for the insightful angler.

While most of us are subject to waiting for the next weekend to fish, consumed by modern day life in the interim, this was not the case for John Gierach and his pals. For them, fishing for trout in the Rockies WAS a way of life. For years they devoted nearly all their time and money to the pursuit of trout in the high mountain west.

This book, is a culmination of some of their stories. Across dozens of essays, they account in vibrant detail, the physical and thought provoking adventures pursuing trout in the mountain west, with nothing else on their agenda. Living amongst the wilderness, like-minded adventurous company and hungry mountain trout awaiting to be fooled.

6. Habit of Rivers: Reflections On Trout Streams And Fly Fishing

From author, Ted Leeson, an accomplished outdoor writer in publications such as Field & Stream, comes a compilation of a lifetime spent on the water in pursuit of trout.

His book Habit of Rivers offers his own personal insight into the dynamics of our personal relationships with trout, the water, and nature.

It delves into his own philosophy on the significance of these inter-relations in, amongst, and out of nature. It begs a deep respect for trout streams and impresses a sense of pride in maintaining such.

This is a great read for the experienced angler looking to seek others insight into the draw of the water and pursuit of trout.

7. Curtis Creek Manifesto: A Fully Illustrated Guide to the Stategy, Finesse, Tactics, and Paraphernalia of Fly Fishing

Recognized for its simple and straightforward approach to introducing new anglers to the facet of fly fishing, Curtis Creek Manifesto is a great beginners guide.

This guide begins with basics such as terms and gear selection and comprehensively guides new anglers all the way up through fly fishing strategies and targeting fish. This book deals primarily with stream fishing strategies for the beginning fly angler.

However, it also deals with concepts applicable to other types of fly-fishing. Dominated by text and drawings, this a great start-up guide for a new fly-fishing angler or someone curious to get into it.

Final Thoughts

With the amount of expert knowledge on fly-fishing out there, you are doing yourself a disservice by not tapping into it. While spending as much time fishing and doing so with well-experienced people may be the best way to do this, there are certainly other avenues.

Fly-fishing books on the market cover a wide spectrum of knowledge and focuses for fly-fishing anglers. From start-up guides, to techniques compilations, to lifetimes of fishing stories; there ought to be a book or two on the table of any fly angler new or old alike.

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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