The Five Best Fly Fishing Books of All Time

We could end up with a variety of answers here because everyone has their own opinions and interests, but I’m sure everybody will agree that Fly Fisher’s Guide to Montana, my first book, heads the class. Don’t bother buying the replacement version by Chuck Robbins as that one doesn’t match up to the book I penned. Alright, you can stop laughing, although I still maintain my version to be a good read and the most personally researched book on fishing in Montana that’s ever been written. I spent 200 days a year for a long, damn time fishing Montana waters and taking notes to share with all of you.

Here are my top five “other” books. Please contribute to this thread in the comment section so that we’ll all know if we’ve missed a book or two that we should read. Thanks, in advance, to all who participate.

Fisherman’s Winter by Roderick L. Haig-Brown

A great read about Patagonia, the way it was long ago.

The Angler’s Coast by Russell Chatham

King salmon, steelhead galore, stripers, and a little from New Zealand. What’s not to like?

McClane’s Game Fish of North America

Sure, it’s not just fly fishing, but every specie you want to catch on a fly is covered here—marlin, tarpon, permit, bonefish, brook trout, steelhead, Atlantic salmon… McClane lived it and writes from heavy experience. And he writes in a way that makes you want to be there, too.

Steelhead Fly Fishing by Trey Combs

If you are a Northwest steelhead guru you own this book. There have been many that have come after this one, but none better researched and pertinent.

The Longest Silence by Tom McGuane

The best essayist in the ff genre. He says his publisher forced him to write about fly fishing, but we’ll forgive him for not being eager. There are some gems in this collection that run deeper than catching fish. Definite classic.

Best books that don’t deal with fly fishing to take on a fly fishing trip:

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum

Thumbsucker by Walter Kirn

The Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway

Ninety Two In The Shade By Tom McGuane


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