One of the ways I starting accelerating my skills as an angler was to read a lot. You can’t always run into one of the world’s best fishermen on a local stream, but you can read and learn from books and articles. In the years since I started fly fishing, there have been times when I thought I had everything figured out; only to get to the stream the next day and be skunked on my newly developed technique. This feeling has been around since the beginning of the sport, as summed up by this quote from John Waller Hills in his 1924 book, “Summer on the Test”.
“You are continually making wonderful discoveries which you think will revolutionise the pursuit and prevent you from ever coming home empty.”
If you’re looking for a few books to read this winter, I’d recommend the few books below.
|“An Entirely Synthetic Fish, “Dynamic Nymphing”, and “The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles”|
Dynamic Nymphing by George Daniel
This is one of the most helpful books to improve your nymphing skills! It’s full of diagrams and pictures illustrating various casts, techniques, and flies. It explains in incredible detail how to accomplish each technique. I feel like there is a lot of jargon and incorrect terminology use in nymphing discussions, and this book does a good job of explaining the methods behind each style. I get the feeling that many people think that nymphing is entirely a European invention, but this book dives into classic North American styles as well. A good book to elevate your skills.
An Entirely Synthetic Fish by Anders Halverson
Rainbow trout are the most commonly stocked fish in the United States, and have been introduced as non-native species to countries all over the world. If you’ve ever wondered how the trout stocking program has evolved throughout the history of the US, this book for you. This book was extensively researched and is well put together. There is an especially interesting section on “The Green River Project”, in which native species were intentionally killed and replaced by rainbow trout throughout Utah and Wyoming. It’s hard to imagine a federal agency coming up with this plan these days, but it happened in the 60s. This book chronicles our urge to cultivate a fish as legendary as the rainbow trout, and at the same time raises important environmental ethics questions.
The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles by Sylvester Nemes
This book is moving into classic territory as it was written in 1975. I think it’s important to be well versed in all types of fly fishing and this book dives into a very traditional fly, which is the soft-hackle. This book features a bibliography with sources dating back to 1835, so you can imagine the history of fly fishing contained between these pages. I use soft hackles fairly often, and this book gives excellent advice on how and where to fish this fly. It’s also full of great fishing stories to get you through the winter!