With so many areas to learn information, I want to help narrow the search down to a few I have found invaluable and highly recommended. If you feel there are additional resources that you've used and would like added, please contact me and I will look into them.
Books - To preface this list, I am a collector of books and really love them. Books have been an important component of my own development in fly tying, and this list can be easily tripled (in my opinion!):
- "Charlie Craven's Basic Fly Tying" - This book is one highly recommended for beginners, as Charlie does an excellent job of introducing the essential tools, techniques, and patterns to the fly tyer just starting. There are always many pictures to reinforce the instruction, making it easy to see everything along the way.
- "Trout and their Food: A Compact Guide for Fly Fishers" - Written by Dave Whitlock, this book seems nearly basic at first, but is an absolute wealth of information to help us as both fly fishermen and tyers. Dave and Emily Whitlock have been incredible ambassadors of our sport, and this is one that comes highly recommended as a resource by me.
- "A Guide to North Country Flies" - Written by Mike Harding, this book goes in-depth to discuss soft hackles and spiders, giving the reader information related to materials, tools, and techniques to tie these effective flies. This book also includes recipes for many of the most popular soft hackles, and gives background on each.
- "The Master's Fly Box" - Put together by David Klausmeyer, he interviewed a number of "legends" in fly tying and fly fishing, and asked them about their best fishing flies. This book gives an account of those, including in various disciplines of fly fishing. The interviews are short, and there are few tying directions, yet when you examine this book for what it is, a collection of flies that simply work, it's tough to beat. I have fished many patterns in the book upon reading, and have had a lot of success with them, hence the recommendation.
- "Presentation Fly-Fishing" - A former member of the Team England fly fishing competitive squad, Jeremy Lucas packed this book full of fly fishing and fly tying tips and techniques that will absolutely change the way you do things. I recommend this text for those at the intermediate to advanced stages, being that many of the approaches require a thorough background in the explained areas. The major topic of the book is Jeremy's leader-to-hand approach, including his journey to develop it, yet nestled in is an abundance of critical information.
DVD's - Though the Internet has greatly changed the way we find information, there are some videos that I consistently turn to because they are truly those "instant classics" that guide my own development.
- "Joan Wulff's Dynamics of Fly Casting" - For starters, if you have the opportunity to meet Joan, do it! She's an amazing woman that continues to cast better than 99% of us...trust me. This DVD is a great one because Joan has a great way to both instruct and reinforce, even over a video. Regardless of your casting ability, this is one that you can always turn on and gain new information from.
- "Bugs of the Underworld" - This is truly an incredible documentary, filmed by Ralph and Lisa Cutter. Over an 11 year period, they managed to capture incredible footage of insects throughout their life cycles, and it's simply amazing. From a fly fishing and fly tying perspective, this is the type of information that will help us improve exponentially.
- "Trout Grass" - Featuring my friend, Andy Royer, this video follows various bamboo as it makes its way through hands of various individuals. As a bamboo rod builder, this is a must-have dvd that truly speaks to the essence of fly fishing.
- "A River Runs Through It" - Perhaps this is a controversial selection as a "resource," but the impact this film has had on fly fishing may never truly be known. This movie brought fly fishing into the mainstream, for better or worse, changing the direction instantly. Though I am considered part of the group around before "the movie" came upon fly fishing, it stands as one of my favorites, and has a special place in my heart. Further reflections of it by Carly Flandro...
Magazines - Call me "old school," but I love to look through a paper copy of a fly fishing magazine...
- "The Drake" - Since I first read this magazine, it's been tough to put down. "The Drake" is full of great articles that speak more to the sport of fly fishing than to loads of information, and written from a modern approach. The authors do a great job connecting to the readers, and it is definitely a refreshing magazine that I love to read.
- "Fly Fisherman" - The classic magazine that continues to produce, especially from an instructional perspective. I have been reading this magazine for more years than I can remember, and there have been some great feature articles lately. Their website is also loaded with excellent resources, and I recommend you checking that out, for sure.
Online - The Internet has been an information explosion for fly fishing and fly tying, yet there is nearly too much out there. Here is a shortened list of my favorite resources, though these are constantly changing as new websites are created.
- "Fly Tying Forum" - This website has a large amount of knowledgeable tyers interacting with one another daily. The content previously discussed is excellent, and others are always encouraged to join in the discussion. I recommend creating a free account, and jumping right in!
- "Ask About Fly Fishing" - This innovative site, created by Dr. Roger Maves, is packed with so much information. Dr. Maves interviews established fly fishing and fly tying professionals on live Internet, and additionally saves the show to the site. You can listen to any of the recorded shows (over 200!), and even download them to your computer. This is an excellent resource that you will gain new information from.
- "Reddit Fly Tying" - This is a newer site to me, but one that falls in the "community" type. Individuals post and respond to messages, similar to other forums, though this site is really one geared to beginners. The comments are positive, and constructive feedback is given, especially when asked. This site was a little tough to learn originally, but another great one that encourages interactions with others. There is also a "Reddit Fly Fishing" site, plus many others related to our sport.
- "YouTube" - The amount of information on YouTube alone can be overwhelming. There are some great tyers there, and most common patterns can be easily found using their search. The video below lists some of my other favorite websites, but more importantly, if you click on the YouTube link for it, you will be able to read the comments that others left regarding their favorite websites.