No amount of ‘book training’ will ever compare to expert guidance from your local fly shop or getting real experience. But we’re sure that most anglers would agree that top fly fishing guides are a good place to start. Here are our top picks:
Macauley Lord and Dick Talleur are both household names in fly fishing so it’s no surprise that they teamed up to create the L.L. Bean Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing. Naturally, such an instructive tutorial is on our list of essential how-to fly fishing books.
This guide is divided into three general sections: the basics of fly fishing (helpful background information), fly casting, and fly tying.
The book is a collection of well-written tutorials for all major game fish in both fresh and salt water. Topics covered include on how to set up your tackle, tie knots, cast flies and much more. It also has a wealth of color illustrations and photographs.
If fly fishing is about simplicity and mastery, then the L.L. Bean guide is an essential book to help polish technique. It’s an excellent read for a newbie who is looking to improve their casting technique. And it makes a great coffee table book or gift.
Side note: although an “L.L. Bean” guide, we love that it doesn’t continuously promote the brand.
Kirk Deeter (Field & Stream) and Charlie Meyers (Denver Post) dish out straight-shooting advice on the art of fly fishing in the revised Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide.
Their revised guide is based on a range of new and old experiences garnered from interviews and travels. And it includes more than 400 new color photos and illustrations (along with some great photos).
The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide is ideal for those new to fly fishing. It offers a simple, digestible introduction to the basics of fly fishing: the cast, presentation, reading water, and selecting flies.
This makes our list of fly fishing guides because it’s a solid starting point for learning the principles and concepts as a beginner. But it is also an excellent reference for the more advanced angler.
Fly Fishing Guides by K. Deeter & C. Meyers
The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing by Kirk Deeter & Charlie Meyers is a must-have, filled with helpful suggestions and advice. It covers all types of flies, when to use them, and the type of cast to use. Kirk and Charlie feature twice in our top fly fishing guides list.
We think this is best for anglers who have some fly fishing experience but who are still obsessed with knowing more.
It’s a plain-spoken and simply illustrated collection of more than 200 tips.
The Guide to Fly Fishing Knots by Larry V Notley is an informative book on how to tie almost any kind of knot. These are knots that are for all types of angling, not just fly fishing. Like all GOOD fly fishing guides, this guide breaks each knot into simple terms with easy to understand diagrams. In addition, it explains why and where you would most likely use the knot.
As you’re unlikely to memorize every knot, this book may be something you take with you on trips. It’s a paperback so we highly suggest covering or laminating the book before your next trip. Or you could take a photocopy of the most common knots!
The book is convenient and inexpensive with easy-to-follow directions and definitely worth grabbing for your collection.
This profusely illustrated spiral-bound guide by Peter Gathercole shows beginners how to craft 50 professional-looking flies for trout and salmon fishing. Each fly-tying project consists of step-by-step instructions, with an outstanding visual presentation. And it is accompanied by close-up photos of the work in progress and a large photo of the finished fly.
Beginners learn how to make dry flies, wet flies, bugs, nymphs, hairwings and streamers and receive advice on which flies are best for catching which variety of fish.
We found that this book makes a fantastic companion guide to the author’s The Fly Tying Bible. Each book has its advantages and together they make an excellent resource. We think it’s suited to anglers with some prior knowledge of the wide variety of materials available for fly tying.
Whether looking for a gift for yourself or a friend, you’re sure to find a great resource on our list of top fly fishing guides.
Check out our other useful posts on fishing resources and places to find more information to help you in your fishing adventures.