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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.

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.

New Hampshire

Posts: 13
NEMatt on May 24, 2014May 24th, 2014, 1:01 pm EDT
New to the forum. I've been fishing a few seasons in NH and VT and it's time to start tying.

I'd like to hear what people suggest for a good all-around text for the various hatches, with color, and step by step instruction for tying the patterns.

I've browsed through Hatches II, which seems to be perfect, but it seems to be all black and white. I suppose I could just browse this sight for up-to-date taxon and photos for color input but I'm often out of internet range. I'd sacrifice the color for quality text and just get pictures elsewhere (here).

Thanks in advance for any input.

By the way, Jason - You're an animal! This site is amazing! Thanks for all the work you've put in to this. VERY helpful.

Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on May 24, 2014May 24th, 2014, 1:55 pm EDT
Hi Matt,

Welcome to the forum.

For a classic book with good text descriptions for patterns and color illustrations, I would suggest Ernest Schwiebert's "Matching the Hatch."

For imitative flies as opposed to searching flies, I like to get away from following exact patterns for particular insect species. Instead I like to learn styles of tying (as opposed to specific patterns), keep an eye on what's hatching, and tie flies to match the bugs I'm finding as needed. Of course that works best if you're fishing frequently and coming home to your tying bench at night, but it's worth keeping in mind. I think some books point people too much toward following recipes instead of adapting as they go.

If you're interested in learning styles or techniques that you can mix-and-match however you like, I highly recommend two books: The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference by Leeson and Schollmeyer, and Fly-Fishing Pressured Water by Lloyd Gonzales (who goes by Gonzo on this forum). Both books are loaded with step-by-step tying instructions and good pictures: the benchside reference is an encylopedia of techniques for tying parts of flies in every way imaginable, but it doesn't cover whole flies; Lloyd's book contains both techniques and whole flies, and some great insights about fishing too.

Tight lines!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on May 24, 2014May 24th, 2014, 2:58 pm EDT
Well said, Jason. Dave Hughes has some basic books out that are excellent as well for instilling a basic understanding of the concepts you outlined.

Also Matt, take advantage of the multitude of video available on YouTube and other venues. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, when it comes to flytying instruction, video's worth a thousand pictures! Wished they were around when I started...:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
New Hampshire

Posts: 13
NEMatt on May 24, 2014May 24th, 2014, 3:34 pm EDT
Thanks guys. I'll take both your suggestions.

I'm glad to consider the flexible approach to tying. Makes perfect sense to me.

PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on May 24, 2014May 24th, 2014, 7:04 pm EDT
Agree with the "flexible approach" as well. But first, you do have to learn some techniques.

Welcome aboard.

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