Trout and Grayling Fly Patterns


Listed in chronological order of the date of publication of the 1st edition or constituent works where the volume is a collection of works.

  1. Roger Woolley, Modern trout fly dressing (London: The Fishing Gazette, 1932)
    • A reprint in book form of a series of articles which appeared in the Fishing Gazette during 1930-31.
  2. Alfred Courtney-Williams, A dictionary of trout flies and of flies for sea-trout and grayling (London: A&C Black, 5th ed, 1973)
    • First published in 1949, the later editions have a section on modern flies by T. Donald Overfield. For many years, the authoritative dictionary of traditional trout flies.
  3. John Veniard, Fly Dresser’s Guide (London: A&C Black, 1952)
    • One of the major fly-tying compendiums that drew on Veniard’s previously published booklets to produce a work that would remain the standard for many years.
  4. Tom Stewart, 200 popular flies and how to tie them(London: A&C Black, 1979)
    • First published as Tom Stewarts four book set of 50 popular flies that were published between 1962 and 1973.
  5. John Veniard, Reservoir and Lake Flies (London: A&C Black, 1970)
    • Although it draws on John Veniard’s earlier book, it also has significant new contributions, particularly in patterns from the likes of Geoffrey Bucknall, Richard Walker and John Goddard together with international contributions.
  6. Bob Church, Bob Church’s guide to trout flies (Ramsbury, Marlborough, The Crowood Press, 1987)
    • Predominantly stillwater patterns with important contributions from the likes of Peter Gathercole, Sid Knight, Raphael Madriago, Bob Morey, and Steve Parton.
  7. Kenichiro Sawada, Wet flies (Tokyo: Ken Sawada, 1995)
    • Sawada’s compendium of 400 wet flies, all exquisitely tied and photographed with great care and craft. The standard of tying here is simply superb.
  8. Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer The fly tier’s beachside reference to techniques and dressing styles (Portland, OR: Frank Amato Publications, 1998)
    • A compendium of techniques rather than patterns including detailed descriptions of some of the more challenging fly tying techniques. An invaluable reference work.
  9. Dave Hughes, Trout flies: the tier’s reference (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1999)
    • Over 500 patterns with a strong focus on North American patterns, though many are adaptable to almost any fishing environment.
  10. Stan Headley, Trout and Salmon Flies of Scotland (Ludlow: Merlin Unwin, 1997)
    • The most useful book to date on Scottish flies. Sections on loch flies, river flies, salmon and sea-trout flies and materials.
  11. Andrew Herd The history of fly fishing, volume two. Trout fly patterns 1496-1916 (Ellesmere: Medlar Press, 2013)
    • The second volume in The History of Fly Fishing. A chronological list of famous British fly patterns, 860 patterns by 62 authors, covering an immense period of time. Essential to anyone with an interest in traditional fly-dressing.


While not compendiums of patterns, these early 20th and 19th century books are some that contain comparatively comprehensive descriptions and plates of trout fly patterns. Listed in chronological order of the publication of the first edition.

  1. George Cole Bainbridge The fly fishers guide (Bovey Tracey, Devon: The Flyfisher’s Classic Library, 1816. New edition, 1992)
    • Published in 1816 Bainbridge described and illustrated in a series of 8 colour plates natural insects of interest to the angler, together with dressings for their artificial imitations covering some forty-two fly patterns in total.
  2. William Blacker, Blacker’s art of fly making (Bovey Tracey, Devon: The Flyfisher’s Classic Library, 1842. 1994 reprint of revised 1855 edition)
    • First published privately by the author in 1842, this 1994 edition from The Flyfisher’s Classic Library is a facsimile of the expanded 1855 edition. Alec Jackson, writing in The American Fly Fisher noted: William Blacker was acknowledged as one of the best trout and salmon fly dressers of his day. The plates adorn many a fly tyers wall, including mine.
  3. William Earl Hodgson, Trout fishing (London, Adam and Charles Black, 1904)
    • When it was first published, the Fishing Gazette described the sequence of monthly plates at the front of the book as “beyond comparison the most artistic and life-like reproductions that have ever appeared in print.”

Perspectives on trout and grayling fly patterns

Listed by author, a series of books that present individual and often unique perspectives on trout fly patterns.

  1. George Barron At the end of the line (Talybont, Ceredigion: Privately published by the author, 2016).
  2. A.K. Best  Production fly tying (Boulder, CO: Pruett Publishing Company, 2003)
  3. Oliver Edwards Flytyer’s masterclass (Machynlleth: The Flyfisher’s Classic Library, 2009)
    • Originally published in 1994.
  4. Ed Engle Tying small flies (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2004)
  5. Emrys Evans Plu Stiniog, trout flies for north Wales (Machynlleth, Powys: Coch-y-Bonddu Books, 2010)
    • A unique record of flies, mainly for trout but including patterns for sea-trout and salmon, many of them unique to North Wales.
  6. John Gierach Good flies: favourite trout patterns and how they got that way (New York: Lyons Press, 2000)
  7. John Goddard The trout fly patterns of John Goddard (Ludlow: Merlin Unwin Books, 2004)
  8. Darrel Martin Micropatterns: tying and fishing the small fly (Shrewsbury: Swann Hill Press, 1994)
    • Detailed study of the tying and fishing of small flies at size 18 and under.
  9. Mike Mercer Creative fly tying (Mill Creek, Washington: Wild River Press, 2006)
  10. Jay Nichols Tying dry flies (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2009)
  11. Jean-Paul Pequegnot French fishing flies (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2012)
    • Originally published in 1984 in French, translated into English by Robert A. Chino. Cul de Canard (Duck’s Rump), Farefelue (The Crazy One), Plantureuse (Buxom Gal), Peute (The Ugly One) —the names are deliciously French but one would make a terrible mistake to think that only French-born trout like these fishing flies. “Design,” says Datus Proper in his introduction to this edition.
  12. Rick Takahashi and Jerry Hubka Modern midges: tying and fishing the world’s most effective patterns (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stakpole Books, 2009)