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Best Fly Fishing Books

fly fisher fishing in a lake

Do you like reading as much as I do? Even though we are living in the age of blogs, books are still one of my favorite forms of entertainment. I wanted to make a list of the highest rated fly fishing books that are on the market right now. Because everyone likes a good countdown, we will start from the lowest to highest ranked book, according to Amazon customer reviews. Each book in the list has a minimum of 150 reviews. 

This list will cover novels, fly tying guides, fly fishing hot spots, tips, tricks and everything in between. Experts have taken their time to share their decades of professional experience with us which is a crazy cool thing. Some of these books are guides for the more beginner fly fisher and some are for the more advanced angler.  


 Great books

#14 The River Why 

the river why book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.5/5 

393 Reviews 

This novel was made into a movie in 2010. There are not many fly fishing movies that exist, so for a movie to be made from this novel is very impressive.  

A fly fisherman's quest for self-discovery, leaving behind his family and friends, he sets out to live in a remote cabin in the woods. His target is steelhead fish in the Pacific Northwest. This book will make you look closer at our connection with nature and our fellow person.  



#13 The Orvis Guide to Beginning Fly Tying: 101 Tips for the Absolute Beginner 

the orvis guide to beginning fly tying book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.6/5 

205 Reviews 

A fly tying book for beginners. I personally started with this book when I got into fly tying. This book will go over everything you need to know to get started. From how to read a fly recipe, to choosing the right tools, selecting the correct materials, and which flies you should be starting with. Some of the flies they cover are the Clouser minnow, beadhead nymphs, woolly bugger, Adam’s dry fly, and Hare’s Ear nymph.  



#12 The Total Fishing Manual 

the total fishing manual book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.6/5 

1,761 Reviews 

This book is more about all different types of fishing, but it does cover some fly fishing topics. It is directed toward people that are new to fishing. It covers tools, techniques, and tactics on how to land more fish in your net. The book will cover topics such as gearing up, hitting the water, finding the fish and how to set the hook. 



#11 The Total Fly Fishing Manual: 307 Essential Skills and Tips 

the total fly fishing manual book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.7/5 

297 Reviews 

This book has more tips than reviews! Experts wrote this book on fly fishing advice and up-to-date gear reviews. Focusing on the different tools, techniques and tactics you can utilize when you are down at the river. The book covers both freshwater and saltwater fishing.  



#10 The Bug Book: A Fly Fisher's Guide to Trout Stream Insects 

the bug book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.7/5 

501 Reviews 

This guidebook covers all the insects that a fly fisher in the United States or Canada is going to need to know about. Paul Weamer covers fly patterns, hatch charts, and many fishing strategies. I have written multiple blog posts on different hatches and flies; you can check them out here. Understanding them and what the fish are biting will land you an epic number of fish versus just heading out and winging it.  


#9 The Orvis Guide to Beginning Fly Fishing 

the orvis guide to beginning fly fishing

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.7/5 

709 Reviews 

Are you new to fly fishing? If so, this book is a must read, along with my blog posts of course... This book is a game changer though. It will cover how to find fish in rivers, lakes, and saltwater areas. It also covers how to tie the 2 most common fishing knots, the correct flies to use for all situations, how to cast your line properly, and how to select the proper tackle. There is no doubt that after you read this book, you will have a better understanding of fly fishing. My favorite part is the basic angling terms taught in this book. When first starting out with fly fishing, it is like learning a new language as well as a sport. 


#8 The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing 

the little red book of fly fishing book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.7/5 

697 Reviews 

This how to guide will help fly fishers with catching more trout. There are countless tips in this book. 45 Tips on how to cast better, 60 tips of fly placement on the water, 37 tips on locating where the trout are in the river, 43 tips on selecting the right fly, and 65 more tips on wading, picking the best gear, not losing the fish that you hooked, and many more things. The nice thing about this book is that everything is broken down simply. There is nothing complicated about it. 


#7 A Fly Rod of Your Own (John Gierach's Fly-fishing Library) 

a fly rod of your own book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.8/5 

220 Reviews 

Looking for an author that was inducted into the fly fishing hall of fame? Look no further. Known for his witty style of writing, this book had great tales of John’s experiences fly fishing throughout the United States.  

As Gierach likes to say, “fly-fishing is a continuous process that you learn to love for its own sake. Those who fish already get it, and those who don’t couldn’t care less, so don’t waste your breath on someone who doesn’t fish.” 



#6 The Feather Bender's Fly Tying Techniques: A Comprehensive Guide to Classic and Modern Trout Flies 

the feather bender's flytying techniques book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.8/5 

222 Reviews 

Barry Ord Clarke wrote a great book about tying flies for those with medium to higher levels of experience. He has been tying flies for over 35 years and has created some of his own patterns that he shares with his readers. Each pattern that he discusses will come with the recommended hook size and materials. Some of the patterns he goes over are the pheasant tail nymph, cdc mayfly spinner, deer hair irresistible, and the klinkhammer.  



#5 Lords of the Fly: Madness, Obsession, and the Hunt for the World Record Tarpon 

lords of the fly book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.8/5 

412 Reviews 

This story is set in Florida, and it follows Monte Burke, an angler looking to land the largest Tarpon in the world using a fly rod. Who does not like a good story about catching trophy fish, especially on the end of a fly rod! These Tarpon can live to 80-years of age and grow upwards of 300 pounds. The story also covers some of the biggest names in fishing.  

Burke chronicles what is happening to the fishing industry, caused by greed and the lack of environmental concerns. The book is a great read for all types of anglers. 


#4 The Orvis Fly-Tying Guide 

the orvis fly-tying guide

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.8/5 

203 Reviews 

For those of you who like to tie your own flies, this book will be very educational. Basic fly tying techniques and detailed tying instructions will be covered, so you will be able to tie the most common and modern patterns. From choosing which materials to use with step-by-step instructions, all laid out in large colored images. This will drastically increase your fly tying skills. Learn to tie nymphs, dry flies, streamers, saltwater patterns and bass flies.  


#3 Keystone Fly Fishing: The Ultimate Guide to Pennsylvania's Best Water 

keystone fly fishing book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.8/5 

182 Reviews 

This book zones in on Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams. There are over 200 different rivers and streams across the state. Where to locate the bass, trout, walleye, and other species of fish will be discussed in great detail. A cool part about this book is that it was written by a group of experts. Including professional fishing guides, fly fishing instructors, fly tiers, and lecturers. If you are an angler that likes to know where the fish are, this book has accurate maps that are even created with GIS. My favorite part about the book is the 200 different fly patterns that are used in these rivers and streams.  


#2 History of Fly Fishing in Fifty Flies 

the history of fly-fishing in fifty flies book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.8/5 

390 Reviews 

History of Fly Fishing in Fifty Flies recounts the long history of a sport that dates back over 2,000 years, zoning in on milestone flies from the first feathered hook to modern patterns using the latest materials. Among the countless fly patterns created and used over the centuries, these 50 flies have been carefully chosen to represent the development not only of the flies themselves, but also of fly fishing techniques, lines, rods, and reels. 


#1 Tactical Fly Fishing: Lessons Learned from Competition for All Anglers 

tactical fly fishing book cover

Amazon Customer Review Rating 4.9/5 

198 Reviews 

With a rating of 4.9, this book is sure to impress. That and the stance Devin has in this photo says it all. Devin Olsen goes over his expert tactics that he has used to place in fly fishing competitions around the world. The book covers how you can use these tactics in your everyday fishing scenarios. Devin discusses which flies to use for rivers, still waters and small streams.  


Now that is a list of fly fishing books! That should keep you all busy this coming winter. Get educated and catch more fish, it is that simple!  


If you like reading about fly fishing, our Zinger Fishing blog has a wide variety of different articles. We cover places to fish, what patterns to use, techniques, gear, and everything else to help fellow anglers land more fish in their nets.