Header image
Enter a name
Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Lateral view of a Psychodidae True Fly Larva from Mystery Creek #308 in Washington
This wild-looking little thing completely puzzled me. At first I was thinking beetle or month larva, until I got a look at the pictures on the computer screen. I made a couple of incorrect guesses before entomologist Greg Courtney pointed me in the right direction with Psychodidae. He suggested a possible genus of Thornburghiella, but could not rule out some other members of the tribe Pericomini.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jun 27, 2006June 27th, 2006, 6:21 am EDT
Gary LaFontaine has always been one of my favorite fly fishing writers. But I've recently reread most of the major fly fishing entomology works while working on the notes for my own write-ups, and his Caddisflies really stands out.

When I read through these books I highlight the most useful information, so I get a sense of the "density" of the good stuff. I discovered that several other books, excellent though they are, are padded with extra wordiness or repetitive information. I've read dozens of inventive ways to say "the spinners fall at dusk." The most repeated thing is that midday hatches tend to be pushed into the evening on hot days; several writers take a full sentence or two to say this same thing for 30 different species in one book. There is a tendency to recycle the basics of mayfly behavior over and over, which distracts from the important and unique information about each species.

Reading so many of these books cover to cover has made me especially weary of the "padding" information. I think the ideal angling book should be both thorough and concise in its presentation of critical details, and the rest of the space should be filled with anecdotes about days on the stream. The shining examples come from LaFontaine and Ernie Schwiebert. LaFontaine is especially commendable for the density of critical information he presents; I wore out a couple highlighters with one book. It's a real shame he's not still around.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

Posts: 3
Fish24_7 on Sep 9, 2006September 9th, 2006, 6:00 pm EDT
What would you say your favorite fishing book is, I am really in to reading bout fishing when I am not doing it myself. Fish work and school are my only hobbies and fishing is by far my favorite and love reading about it so i would like to know what book you request.
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Sep 12, 2006September 12th, 2006, 3:13 am EDT
For general reading about fishing, my favorites are the various books of short stories by Ernest Schwiebert. "The Compleat Schwiebert" is one of the better collections.

A lot of people would put John Gierach's books at the top of their list. He's got a very down-to-earth writing style that a lot of people like. I like his books, but I get more into Schwiebert's elegant style.

If you're looking for an instructive book, instead of a book of fishing stories, then it really depends on the topic you'd like to read about.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Posts: 77
Goose on Sep 13, 2006September 13th, 2006, 2:29 am EDT
Gary LaFontaine's "Caddis Flies" is the best as far as I'm concerned. It's written by a fisherman for fishermen. It's very easy to read and understand. I see it as an original and creative study of Caddis Flies.
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Sep 13, 2006September 13th, 2006, 5:14 am EDT
I agree that Caddisflies is the best work of angler-entomology ever published. At least, it's the greatest accomplishment of new material in a single work. It introduces many, many more innovations (in entomology, fly tying techniques, and fishing techniques) than any other book.

However, if the question was "if you had to only own one book (on angler-entomology) which would it be?" then Caddisflies wouldn't be my answer, because it is so specific. I would say it's best to have at least two books: Caddisflies and Hatches II.

Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Nov 17, 2011November 17th, 2011, 11:12 am EST

The guy definitely had a creative mind, and was very provocative. I found him to be so provocative he was willing to suggest aspects of why fish react the way they do, or a bugs peculiarities during emergence that he did so at the expense of fact at times. The gurus I still read about, and talk to like his business partners Jack Dennis, and Mike Lawson just smile when I mention something Gary suggested. Craig Mathews also contradicts in his book, Yellowstone Hatches, aspects of bug emergences that Gary indicated as fact. All do so with great respect for Gary. Hope I didn't offend anyone by saying what I have posted.
Wiflyfisher's profile picture

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Nov 18, 2011November 18th, 2011, 8:49 am EST
Gary LaFontaine was a remarkable guy, fun to talk fishing with and I really enjoy his books and listening to some of his audio tapes during long car rides.

Fish24_7, if you are looking for a good "how to" book on nymph fishing techniques I recommend Charles Brooks book called "Nymph Fishing For Larger Trout". He covers not only his techniques in detail but also many of the old timers techniques as well.

Also, Al Caucci recently came out with a new Mayfly pocket guide. I have read about it but I have not seen it myself.

Quick Reply

Related Discussions

Last Reply
May 26, 2012
by Birdsnestfl
Jul 11, 2012
by Softhackle
Apr 22, 2007
by DMM
Jun 29, 2007
by Taxon
Troutnut.com is copyright © 2004-2024 (email Jason). privacy policy