Here is a list of free old fly fishing and fly tying books in my digital library. Click on the links to read these books. In addition, scroll down on each of them to download and create your own digital library in PDF, Kindle, or other formats.
I encourage you to peruse a couple of the books and find one that speaks to you. Many of these authors, by nature of the age of the books, are English writers. You might be intrigued by what fly fishers did or thought in the late 1800’s. Perhaps you’re interested in Atlantic Salmon flies, not to tie them, but looking at the colored fly plates for their beauty. It was a different era in those days.
I’m amazed how someone writing in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s could have easily written similar books today. Yes, much has changed in fly fishing, but then again, maybe not.
I presented many of these books in an earlier post – Old Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Books that you may have read.
Be sure to check back occasionally as I plan to update this list as I find more interesting old books.
They are listed in the order they were published:
The Art of Angling by Richard Brookes, MD (1781)
The Angler’s Manual; or Fly-Fisher’s Oracle, by John Turton (1836)
The Northern Angler; or Fly-Fisher’s Companion by John Kirkbride (1837)
Handbook of Angling: Teaching Fly-Fishing, Trolling, Bottom-Fishing, and Salmon-Fishing; with the Natural History of River Fish, and the Best Modes of Catching Them by Ephemera (Edward Fitzgibbon) (1847)
Book of Salmon by Ephemera (Edward Fitzgibbon) (1850)
Art of Angling by Charles Bowlker (1854)
Art of Flymaking by William Blacker (1855)
The Practical Angler by W. C. Stewart (1857)
The American Angler’s Book by Thad. Norris (1864)
Autumns of the Spey by A. E. Knox (1872)
Yorkshire Trout Flies by T. E. Pritt (1885)
Floating Flies and How to Dress Them by Frederic M. Halford (1886)
Ogden on Fly Tying, etc. by James Ogden (1887)
British Angling Flies by Michael Theakston (1888)
Favorite Flies and Their History by Mary Orvis Marbury (1892)
How to Tie Salmon Flies by Captain Hale (1892)
The Salmon Fly: How to Dress It and How to Use It by Geo. M. Kelson (1895)
Salmon Sea Trout by Sir Herbert Maxwell (1897)
A Dictionary of Trout and Bass Flies by Malcolm A. Shipley (1898)
How to Tie Flies for Trout and Grayling Fishing by H. G. McClelland (1899)
Tips by Geo. M. Kelson (1901)
Dry-Fly Fishing the Theory and Practice by Frederic. M. Halford (1902)
Salmon Fishing by John James Hardy (1907)
Book of the Dry Fly by George A. B. Dewar (1910)
Practical Dry-Fly Fishing by Emlyn M, Gill (1912)
Fishing at Home and Abroad by Sir Herbert Maxwell (1913)
How to Dress Salmon Flies by T. E. Pryce-Tannatt (1914)
The Dry Fly and Fast Water by George M. L. La Branche (1914)
A Book on Angling by Francis Francis (1920) – First edition was 1847
Salmon Fishing by W. Earl Hodgson (1920)
A History of Fly Fishing for Trout by John Waller Hills (1921)
Secrets of the Salmon by Edward Ringwood Hewitt (1922)
Most of these digital books are the result of Google’s approach to keep these books available in our time. Here is an excerpt from Google:
“This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project to make the world’s books discoverable online.
It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that’s often difﬁcult to discover. Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this ﬁle – a reminder of this book’s long journey from the publisher to a library and ﬁnally to you.”
Laws differ by country and even though the books listed are in the public domain for users in the United States, it may not be in the public domain in other countries.
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