TL;DR: The best fly fishing books for me. Ones that really help even to today.
The more open-minded I’ve been, the more fish I’ve caught. Maybe it’s karma, but arrogance kills knowledge-seeking. So, I read a great deal and follow dozens of fly fishing blogs and read many books.
Many fly fishing books are duds, some are good, and a handful really, really moved the needle for me. These are the books to which I return over and over. So, the best fly fishing books to me withstand the test of time.
Here’s my list.
MY ALL-TIME FAVORITES
If you fish the Upper Connecticut Trophy Stretch, Deerfield, Farmington or Swift, these books by Ed Engle are must-haves, IMO. Engle focuses on fishing tailwaters in Colorado. Many of those lessons learned apply to us out east. And, they’ve worked for me in spades.
Tying Small Flies. Loaded with patterns, photos and step-by-step instructions.
Fishing Small Flies. Great resource on how to find fish and target them. Details about various fishing techniques.
IF YOU’RE NEW TO FLY FISHING
For the basics, I don’t think you can do better than not buying a book and instead watching the Orvis Fly Fishing videos. Then, to go to Step 2, here are the books that helped me.
Feeding Time: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to What, Where & When Trout Eat, Jason Randall. Looks at life from a trout’s POV. Really helped me predict where trout will be and what really are “fishy” runs.
Trout Streams of Southern New England, Tom Fuller. A very thorough review of watersheds in the region, including maps, fly suggestions and suggested spots. My copy is ragged and marked up all over.
IF YOU WANT TO DRAMATICALLY UP YOUR NYMPHING GAME
Dynamic Nymphing: Tactics, Techniques, and Flies from Around the World, George Daniel. Extremely clear and well-written. A book that became a reference manual as I learned how to tightline nymph. Daniel was on TeamUSA and, later, coached the team.
Nymph Fishing: New Angles, Tactics, and Techniques, George Daniel. This is meant to be an update to his prior books. It contains new material, such as his list of go-to flies. It is fantastic!
Hope that helps. These have been the best fly fishing books for me. What about for you?