Fishing books and videos

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read ... Groucho Marx

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The Americans Are Coming, The Last Tasmanian, Lone Angler by Herb Curtis
A New Brunswick trilogy, with a salmon river backdrop. The coming-of-age of a boy named Dryfly. Containing a wonderful cast of characters such as Nutbeam, Shadrack and Paladin. Cream o' tartar!
"Why don't the salmon bite while those bubbles are on the river?" asked the American.
"They're on the toilet," said Bert, "them bubbles are fish farts."

The Silent Partner by Herb Curtis
Twenty years later Corry Quinn, living with greying hippy Uncle Kid, continues in the tradition set by Dryfly.

Luther Corhern's Salmon Camp Chronicles by Herb Curtis
A collection of unsassuming, down-to-earth, humourous tales.

Rockbound by Frank Parker Day
A 1928, Nova Scotia, sea fishermans classic. The struggles of a young fisherman to secure his place amongst his peers.

"Beneath a swaying lantern, where he could watch and command all, sat Uriah, his swift, keen knife ripping open the bellies of herrings, his thorny thumb, unprotected against sharp bones by glove or stall, tearing out entrails or roe to be thrown into the appropriate tub."

I was talking to Vern the other day and he was re-reading a copy of Rockbound that I had given him (he'd lost his copy). He was telling me that during the renovation of an old fish house a knife had dropped out between the beams. It was a herring knife. He described to me how the first cut was made from the gill down the belly and a forward motion of the hand, or knife, flicked out the guts. He said he'd watched fishermen do it and it appeared to be all in one motion and the speed was so fast that the eye couldn't keep up.
He gave me the knife and described how they'd cut down an old dinner knife to make the shape. Attached is a photo and you can see how small it is, not more than five inches from head to tail. It is still as sharp as a razor.
I first read this book about 30 years ago and I would thoroughly recommend Rockbound to all Nova Scotians. In fact I would recommend it to everyone.

A new edition of Canada Reads, CBC's "Battle of the Books, 2005," introduces five works of Canadian fiction and the corresponding celebrity champions who will duke it out in the annual literary battle.
Frank Parker Day's Rockbound will be defended by author Donna Morrissey.
Five literary combatants will defend their chosen books beginning Feb. 21 on CBC Radio and CBC Newsworld. At the end of each half-hour episode, they will be asked to vote out one title until only a single book remains, triumphant, on Feb. 25.

The Globe and Mail. Saturday, February 26, 2005.
Frank Parker Day's forgotten classic Rockbound has broken free of obscurity and won this year's Canada Reads contest in an upset win, besting Margaret Atwood's multiple-award nominee, Oryx and Crake.

The Man Who Planted Trees  by Jean Giono
A story of man's generosity to nature. This is not a 'fishing' book but a reminder that 'fish grow on trees.'

Last Stories of the Old Hunters, More Stories of the Old Duck Hunters, Stories of the Old Duck Hunters by Gordon MacQuarrie
I feel like Gordon is writing about people I know in some of his stories. They are so down-to-earth that it is difficult to know whether they are fact or fiction. Wonderfully written and lots of laughs.

Anything by Patrick McManus. My favourite being The Good Samaritan Strikes Again.
I have the same feeling about McManus's characters as I do for McQuarrie's. I'm not sure whether they are real or not. They have to be real because I'm pretty certain I've met some of them.

A River Runs Through It  by Norman Maclean
I am haunted by waters is probably one of the most quoted sentences in all of fly-fishing. This is a story that should be read over and over again.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen  by Paul Torday
I like this story because of the bumblings of the bureaucracy and one mans efforts to overcome many obstacles.

The Dog-Nose Chronicles by Cliff Hauptman
A sophisticated work of outdoor fiction with more twists and turns than the flight of a flushed timberdoodle. All that W.C. "Dog-Nose" Cooper, an Ivy-leagued Boston blueblood, and Junior, a failed baker from eastern Canada's famed salmon region, have in common is a love of flyfishing.

Non Fiction

The Tent Dwellers by Albert Bigelow Paine
A 1908 Nova Scotia trout fishing trip. Hilarious adventures with accurate descriptions of the Nova Scotia woods and lakes.

Nova Scotia's Speckled Trout versus The Angling Novice by H.E. (Ted) Parker
The Introduction begins ... "I am convinced that my obsession with angling was not acquired. I was born with it." In the text he recounts the many streams he has fished and so this volume is far more than an introduction to angling.

Discover Nova Scotia ... Sportfishing: A season-by-season fishing guide to Nova Scotia by Don MacLean
Veteran fisherman, biologist and writer Don MacLean guides anglers to the best locations throughout the year

A Little Thing I Tied Myself by Don MacLean
The history, stories and profiles of past and present prominent fly-tiers throughout Atlantic Canada. There's some great patterns and tips throughout this book (if only I could remember them).

Living With Trout ... A Lifelong Adventure by Reg Baird
I love watching Reg flick a fly. In fact I'd rather watch him fish than fish myself. This book is about the life and times of a great Nova Scotian fly-fisherman and river guide, with 63 years experience in the ways of trout.

The St. Mary's and Other Waters by Charles Widgery
I am quite familiar with some of the places Charles talks about so this book was of great interest to me. A collection of short stories set on many of Nova Scotia's rivers and lakes.

The Look-Off Bear by Jack Dowell
A collection of light-hearted and moving stories that take part in the woods and rivers of Nova Scotia. I'm guessing that most of them occurred before WWII when life was much simpler.

Lure of the Labrador Wild by Dillon Wallace
A tragic, yet heroic, true tale. A battle with nature that reads like fiction.

The Last Guide by Ron Corbett
The story of Frank Kuiack, the last of the old-time guides in Algonquin park. A story of fish and love

John Gierach
Pick any book! A great fisherman who loves to tell tales. I especially like the first chapter in "Standing in a River Waving a Stick." It is all about what every fly-fisher hopes to become.

To Know A River by Roderick Haig-Brown
Trout and salmon fishing on Vancouver Island. A compilation of wonderful tales taken from many of Haig-Browns books.

Death of a Riverkeeper by Ernest Schwiebert
Poignant tales. Wonderfully written.

When the Fish are Rising by Clint Fleming
Tales of the Rideau Lakes in the late forties.

Little Rivers by Margot Page
Lifes treasures from a flyfisherwoman.

Lines on the Water by David Adams Richards
David takes us through his life, from childhood to adulthood, fishing the brooks and rivers of New Brunswick. Winner of the 1998 Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction.

Brook Trout by Nick Karas
A thorough look at North America's Great Native Trout -- Its History, Biology and Angling Possibilities. Not a 'How to fish' book but a really informative look at the wiley brookie.

Pools of Memory by Charlie Kroll
The Sixty Year Odyssey of a Devoted Fly Fisherman. Thirty four short but enjoyable stories of fishing such places as Tag Alder Heaven and The Pools of Oz.

Pavlov's Trout by Paul Quinnett
The Incompleat Psychology of Everyday Fishing. Not a 'How to', nor a 'Where to', but more a 'Why we'. This is a book that'll make you ask a few questions about yourself. Humorous and insightful.

Healing Beyond the Body by Larry Dossey, M.D.
This is a book that is well worth getting out of the library. It has one entire chapter, entitled 'Trout Mind,' devoted to the spiritual and healing properties of trout fishing. At one point he says..."I know several fishermen who proudly call themselves fishheads. This is their way of admitting that they have lost their minds to trout, that they are literally crazy about fishing."
He puts into words things about 'why I fish' that I cannot explain. Show this to your wife, and your fishing and non-fishing friends.

Trout by Ray Bergman
Since 1938, Ray Bergman's Trout has remained the best and most popular book on trout fishing.

Trout Madness by Robert Traver
This book is the story of a lawyer gone wrong; of a man possessed of a fourteen carat legal education who has gaily neglected it to follow the siren call of trout. Twenty-one great stories.

Spring Creek by Nick Lyons
Unbelievable trout fishing on a private stretch of water. If only I could be so lucky as to be invited to fish Spring Creek.

L.L. Bean Fly-Fishing Handbook by Dave Whitlock
A great beginners handbook. The illustrations and descriptions regarding lines, knots, casting, tactics and fly-tying are perfect for anyone just starting to fly-fish.

Pattern and Tying Books

Flies for Trout by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen
670 photos and patterns. "What we have presented is what we believe to be the most representative and important trout flies as we near the 21st century."

Fly-Tying Tips edited by Dick Stewart
An outpouring and sharing of ideas by fly tiers everywhere.

Universal Fly Tying Guide by Dick Stewart
A good beginners book with tying instructions and a few universal patterns.

The Worlds Best Trout Flies edited by John Roberts
Illustrated flies. Detailed descriptions. Thirty experts contribute six of their favourite flys.

Modern Atlantic Salmon Flies by Paul Marriner
Paul shares over 200 top-producing eastern Canadian salmon patterns. Gathered here are the modern flies that entice Atlantic salmon in all those magical rivers where they endure.

Fishing Atlantic Salmon by Joseph D. Bates, Jr.
Expensive but worth every penny! Tying instructions for every salmon fly developed over the centuries.

Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing by Joseph D. Bates, Jr.
Another great book by the Colonel. Everything you need to know about tying and fishing streamers and bucktails.

The Orvis Fly Pattern Index by John R. Harder
455 photographs and pattern descriptions. An old favourite. Although this book is subdivided into the various types of flies the patterns are not sorted in alphabetical order, which means a lot of page flipping. Suprisingly, even though the title suggests it, an index is not included.

Favorite flies and their histories by Mary Orvis Marbury
The classic encyclopedia of fly patterns from one of the most enduring names in fly fishing. A great read. Unfortunately all of the pattern recipes are not included, although some information can be extracted from the letters. Also some of the colour plates cannot be relied upon to show the true colours of the fly. Both versions of the Jenny Lind are shown, the blue wing and the lavender wing, but both illustrations show a grey wing. It's still a lovely book.

Collins Illustrated Dictionary of Trout Flies by John Roberts
480 illustrations and more than 1,000 pattern descriptions. Includes tying and fishing instructions. A mix of North American and European flies.

Flies, The Best One Thousand by Randy Stetzer
1,000 recipes with pictures. Flies for trout, salmon, steelhead, saltwater, bass, panfish and shad. No tying instructions.

Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple by Skip Morris
A nice little book that covers the basics of fly tying, including parachutes and paraduns. A few patterns.

Flies by J. Edson Leonard
Their origin, natural history, tying, hooks, patterns and selections of dry and wet flies, nymphs, streamers, salmon flies for fresh and salt water in North America and the British Isles, including A Dictionary of 2200 patterns.


An Anglers Guide to Aquatic Insects and their Imitations by Rick Hafele and Scott Roederer
If I only had one book to carry on my quest to identify insects this would be it. Extremely useful for both beginners and experts.

Hatch Guide for New England Streams by Thomas Ames, Jr.
A great, small, carryable to the stream book, with patterns and superb photos of the insects.

Trout Stream Insects by Dick Pobst
An Orvis Streamside guide. Another small book containing a detailed field guide to the major trout-stream insects throughout the United States.

The Caddisfly Handbook by Pobst and Richards
An Orvis Streamside Guide. A detailed field guide to caddisflies throughout North America. This little book narrows the major caddis hatches down to four.

Hatches II by Al Caucci and Bob Nastasi
A complete guide to the mayfly hatches of North America. A large book with great colour photos and incredible information on every important mayfly found in North America.

Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods by Dave Whitlock
Another large book covering mayflies to minnows. Any book written by Dave Whitlcock is worth reading.

Matching the Hatch by Ernest G. Schweibert Jr.
An old favourite. A practical guide to imitation of insects found on Eastern and western trout waters. A little bit outdated but still useful.


A list of books on wild flowers are included in my Wild Flowers web page.

Animal tracks of Atlantic Canada by Sheldon and Eder
A pocket-size book that will help you identify tracks of all shapes and sizes, including mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.

Birds of Nova Scotia by Robie Tufts
If it isn't in this book then it doesn't exist. Every Nova Scotian naturalist should have this book.


On the Beaverkill with Lee Wulff
I was born to fish. Lee ties a #24 Royal Wulff by hand.

Introduction to Fly fishing with Dave Whitlock
I watch this when I forget how to cast and to remind me how to fall in gracefully :)

Nymphing with Gary Borger
A wise man once said...begin at the beginning.

Fishing with John
John Lurie of the Lounge Lizards takes his guest on some weird fishing trips. A totally hilarious spoof of all those made-for-tv fishing shows. Guests include Jim Jarmusch, Tom Waitts, Matt Dillon, Willem Dafoe (he and John starve to death on an ice-fishing trip), and Dennis Hopper.

The Newfoundland Sportsman Show
Fishing and hunting in Newfoundland and Labrador. Join the boys, Dwight Blackwood and Gord Follet as they travel the rivers and woods of their native province in search of fish and game. A dandy show.

Trout Grass
To quote the cover..."This unique film documents the transformation of bamboo from a hardy species of grass into a meticulously crafted split-cane fly rod. Shot on location in the lush forests of Southern China and the majestic rivers of Montana."
Narrated by David James Duncan, author of The River Why.

Once in a Blue Moon
New Zealand fly-fishing in the year of the mouse. Unbelievable scenery and some very big trout.

I have a few videos up on Youtube under the user name of O2BFSHN.
The quality of the earlier ones, up until about part 25a, leave much to be desired. I am not a good photographer, nor filmmaker, but these videos bring back a lot of great memories.

Free ePub books

Most of this web site is contained in an ebook I created using a program called Calibre.
The book can be downloaded by right-clicking on the following link and selecting "Save link as"....
Nova Scotia fly-fishing, tying and tall tales
Please note that the book is in epub format. If you wish to convert it to any other format I suggest you use Calibre to do so.
Also, wide tables, such as the Hatch Chart and Parachute Patterns Chart do not reproduce well on small ereaders. The only way I could think of including them was to use a photo.

Using the same procedure this book can be downloaded in pdf format Nova Scotia fly-fishing, tying and tall tales

The following is a list of free ePub books that can be downloaded to your computer and loaded in to Adobe Digital Editions. They can either be read on your computer or transferred to your eReader.
Obviously, since the copyright has expired, they are all quite old. However, they make for a wonderful read and bring back the times when fish were plentiful and the bamboo rod and silk line were prominent.
All of these books are available on the net. I've found that the easiest way to locate them is simply to do a Google search. Most of them seem to be on the Internet Archive site. If they are not there then try the Project Gutenberg site.
There are a ton of trout and salmon books at these sites. Go take a look.

Angling Sketches by Andrew Lang

Lines in Pleasant Places by William Senior

The Determined Angler and the Brook Trout by Charles Bradford

The Anglers Secret by Charles Bradford

Fishing with a Worm by Bliss Perry

The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton

Trout Lore by B.W. Smith

The Salmon by A.E. Gathorne-Hardy

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Pat Donoghue, Canada, ©1997