6 Best Fly Fishing Books For Freshwater & Saltwater Fish

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Learning to fly fish is not an easy thing to do. There are so many different angles to get to grip with in fly fishing from the casting to matching the hatch, different techniques, and lots more. 

Fly fishing also changes a lot when you target different species, for example, saltwater and freshwater fly fishing are miles apart when it comes to the environment and the tactics you need to use for different targets. 

Time on the water plays a huge role when trying to improve your fly fishing but doing so with some knowledge found in the Best Books on Fly Fishing is key. Finding the right fly fishing book, however, can be quite hard but I am here to make it a bit easier. 

Join me, as we take a look at some of the top books on trout fly fishing, from great fishing books for beginners, to books that will take you into the saltwater fly fishing world. 

If you are looking for other categories of fishing books, check out the links below for the type of fishing book you are interested in.

Our selection of the Best Carp Fishing Books

Our selection of the Best Coarse Fishing Books

Our selection of the Best Saltwater Fishing Books

Our selection of the Best Bass Fishing Books

Our Best Books On Fly Fishing 

  • The Orvis Guide to Beginning Fly Fishing: 101 Tips for the Absolute Beginner 
  • Getting Started at Fly Fishing for Trout
  • Pocket Guide to Matching the Hatch
  • The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing
  • Lords of the Fly: Madness, Obsession, and the Hunt for the World Record Tarpon
  • Fly Fishing in Saltwater

The Orvis Guide to Beginning Fly Fishing: 101 Tips for the Absolute Beginner 

“The Orvis Guide to Beginning Fly Fishing: 101 Tips for the Absolute Beginner” is probably one of the most comprehensive books a beginner fly fisher can own. 

This book covers everything one needs to know about starting a career in fly fishing. It starts off by discussing how to choose the right rod and reel, and how to set it all up correctly, and then takes you into casting. 

Learning to cast is one of the hardest things in fly fishing and through the excellent explanations and clear diagrams, this book makes it a lot easier for a beginner to get their head around.

It also includes valuable information about choosing the right fly at the right moment and for different species too. You will learn about fly fishing tactics on rivers, lakes, and even in saltwater too. 

This is the perfect book to start fly fishing with as it covers all the basics across pretty much every fly fishing situation you might find yourself in. But, it is for beginners only as experienced fly anglers will know a lot of it already. 

Pros 

  • Excellent for beginners 
  • Well written and easy to learn from 
  • Clear photos and diagrams that are easy to follow 
  • Covers all the basics from tackle selection to setup 
  • Includes fly choice and matching the hatch 
  • Covers rivers, lakes, and saltwater fly fishing 
  • Teaches different casting methods 

Cons 

  • A bit too basic for experienced fly anglers 

Specs 

Author: Tom Rosenbauer & Orvis 

Pages: 208

Type: Paperback, Spiral

Kindle Availability: Yes 

Getting Started at Fly Fishing for Trout

Pretty much every fly angler starts off fly fishing for trout and for obvious reasons. Trout are so readily available to fish for as no matter where you live in the world there is usually a trout stream or a lake not far away. 

“Getting Started at Fly Fishing for Trout” is an excellent book for beginners to hone their fly fishing skills while getting a more in-depth understanding of trout themselves. 

Trout are not such easy fish to get one’s head around and this book does a great job of explaining how to catch them and bridging the gap into a trout’s world. 

You will learn all about tackle, fly choice, matching the hatch, reading the water, and different casting techniques too. Plus, how trout behave in different seasons and conditions, so you can adapt your tactics to match. 

It is very well written, easy to understand, and has great diagrams that make absorbing valuable information as easy as possible. 

Pros 

  • Designed for beginners 
  • A strong focus on trout only 
  • Takes you through all the basics 
  • Covers tackle choice and why 
  • Includes casting practices 
  • Helps you understand trout behavior 
  • Talks about fly selection and matching the hatch 
  • Clearly written and explained with diagrams and photos 

Cons 

  • Not for experienced anglers 
  • Only covers trout 

Specs 

Author: Allan Sefton

Pages: 240 

Type: Paperback

Kindle Availability: Yes 

Pocket Guide to Matching the Hatch 

Once you have a good understanding of where fish hold, how to read water, and how to cast, the next key to success is fly selection. 

Choosing the right fly at the right time and fishing it the right way is all it takes to catch a trout but it is not easy since trout have such a wide variety of food sources available and they are picky creatures. 

The “Pocket Guide to Matching the Hatch” is an amazing book that puts pictures of the insects’ trout eat next to pictures of the flies that imitate them. This allows you to see what is hatching on the river and immediately learn what insect it is, and what fly is best to match. 

It also goes into the life cycles of the insects, geographical distribution, and seasonality. This means you can work out what flies are hatching when and where you are fishing, and pick a fly that matches, and hopefully, the trout will eat. 

This little fishing pocket book fits perfectly in your fishing bag so you can always have it on hand to learn what the fish are eating and how to match the hatch. 

Pros 

  • Very helpful when trying to match the hatch 
  • Clear pictures of insects next to the fly that imitates them
  • Takes you through the life cycles of insects 
  • Discusses geographical distribution and seasonality of hatches 
  • Covers both river flies and lake flies 
  • Provides an understanding of entomology 
  • Will help you catch more fish 
  • Fits in your pocket or fishing bag  

Cons 

  • None

Specs 

Author: Peter Lapsley and Cyril Bennett

Pages: NA 

Type: Paperback

Kindle Availability: Yes 

The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing

Another excellent nonfiction book on fly fishing for beginners is “The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing.”

This book is exceptionally well laid out which enables you to slowly build your fly fishing skills as the sections progress. It starts out with explaining different casting techniques with excellent diagrams, then into how to present a fly well, and onto reading the water. 

Once you have these steps figured out in your head, which the book makes easy, it then tells you everything you need to know about rigging, selecting the right fly, and catching fish. 

It is also full of excellent tips around wading, fighting fish, choosing tackle, and more. 

You couldn’t ask for more information to start fly fishing with and the way it is laid out makes learning everything as easy as possible. It is an awesome book for beginners! 

Pros 

  • Very comprehensive book 
  • It uncomplicates fly fishing 
  • Great for beginners 
  • Covers casting and presentation 
  • Helps you learn to read the water and find fish 
  • Includes rigs, fly selection, and tactics 
  • Also discusses wading, gear, how to fight fish, and more 
  • Easy to understand and visualize 

Cons 

  • Basic for experienced anglers 

Specs 

Author: Kirk Deeter and Charlie Meyers 

Pages: 224 

Type: Hardback 

Kindle Availability: Yes 

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

“Lords of the Fly: Madness, Obsession, and the Hunt for the World Record Tarpon” tells an amazing fishing story that every angler should read. 

It describes a very unique event in fly fishing when five of the best fly anglers on the planet (Lefty Kreh, Stu Apte, Ted Williams, Tom Evans, Billy Pate) decided to try and break the world record for tarpon on fly. 

Based out of Homosassa, Florida, they came together each year to chase records and the book tells the complete story from the amazing fishing tails on the water, to the daily socializing, and all the bad things that their obsession carried with it. 

It is a true take on the obsession with fly fishing, just how deep it runs, and how it affects the lives of fly fishermen. 

The book isn’t just about the story though, it also talks a lot about tarpon as a species, their environment, and how it is being affected. 

Pros 

  • Beautifully written 
  • An amazing story 
  • Excellent insights into tarpon fishing 
  • Teaches you about the obsession with fly fishing 
  • Very inspiring 
  • Discusses a moment in fly fishing history 
  • A good insight into saltwater fly fishing

Cons 

  • Not a learning book as much 

Specs 

Author: Monte Burke

Pages: 304

Type: Paperback, Hardcover

Kindle Availability: Yes 

Fly Fishing in Saltwater 

Written by Lefty Kreh, the master himself, “Fly Fishing in Saltwater” is one of the most comprehensive books on saltwater fly fishing one can find. 

Fly fishing in saltwater is very different from freshwater. Everything from the environment to the flies, tactics, and cast will be new to freshwater fly anglers, and Lefty does a great job of bridging the gap. 

The book teaches you the rigs, knots, flies, and how to cast in saltwater and covers everything from wade fishing to boat fishing, plus pretty much all the species you can target. Whether it is bonefish, permit, cobia, or even billfish, this book gives you the inside track! 

Pros 

  • Excellently written and easy to learn from 
  • Features clear diagrams and pictures 
  • Covers how to cast in saltwater 
  • Includes info on all saltwater species from bonefish to billfish  
  • Great information about tackle, leader, and fly choice 
  • Teaches you how to wade the flats and fish from a boat 
  • Good info on the knots needed for saltwater 
  • The perfect book to start saltwater fly fishing with 

Cons 

  • Not much for experienced saltwater anglers to learn 

Specs 

Author: Lefty Kreh 

Pages: 340 

Type: Paperback

Kindle Availability: No 

Winding Up 

Thank you very much for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and have found the best nonfiction book on fly fishing for you. Whether you are a beginner, want to learn more about matching the hatch, or are ready to go saltwater fly fishing, there is a book featured for you. 

You can read more on different types of fishing books. Check out the below links for the top reads in fish books.

Our selection of the Best Carp Fishing Books

Our selection of the Best Coarse Fishing Books

Our selection of the Best Saltwater Fishing Book

Our selection of the Best Bass Fishing Books

Jamie Melvin