The SFF Library has a very extensive collection of fly fishing books and videos.  We currently hold 304 books and 126 video cassettes, most of which have been updated to DVDs.  The library has lent 107 books since its inception in late 2012.  Meanwhile, members have also borrowed 35 videos since these became available in late 2014.

All materials held are available for member check out and use.  Only SFF members may check out Library materials.  It is the ongoing hope of the SFF Board and the Library staff that members will make maximum use of this wonderful resource.

Check-out procedures are simple and involve a simple manual card system.  Members, prior to their first check-out, are asked to provide contact information and sign a simple agreement to adhere to check out procedures and stating that they understand any materials held longer than two months from check-out can result in a fine of ten cents per each overdue day.  Please note that the Library staff will gladly extend check-out times upon request.

When you borrow a book or video, the librarian will stamp the check-out card with the due date and ask you to print your name on the card, beside the due date shown.  For books, a card will also be stamped with the return due date and placed inside the front cover, for your reference.

Again, the Library is intended for the education and enjoyment of the membership.  All members are encouraged to check out its materials.

Library Graphic 2


April 2015

Warm Water Fishes. A few of you, with the arrival of early spring weather, have turned thoughts toward fishing for warm water species which, during the spring spawn, become more aggressive. We have a few nice warm water options (or so I’m told) nearby, such as Silver Lake. Anyway, several of you have asked over time what is held in the library with regard to such fishing. I must confess, I never really knew. So, a search of our catalogs and shelves revealed this compilation.

Fishing. Advanced Bass Fishing by John Weiss and the Modern Book on Black Bass by Byron Dalrymple barely touch on fly fishing. The most comprehensive book in our collection, devoted entirely to fly fishing for bass and the other sunfish, is The Sunfishes by Jack Ellis. Indeed, this book is the one shining jewel in our collection on this topic. It is delightfully illustrated in ink by David Taft. Various waters and cover types in which sunfish and bass are likely to be found are discussed at length. There is an entire chapter devoted to the merits of dry as opposed to wet fly tactics, as well as another entitled “The Bream Fisher’s Fly Box.” Bugs and flies are discussed in detail, with such comparisons as to how the surface tension is affected by a bullet-head popper as opposed to one with a blunt, clipped dear hair head. The first two lines of the forward say it all – “Selective Bream? Yes, indeed! The only question is, why did it take us fly fishers so long? Why wasn’t this book written years ago?” As a quick reference, John Shewey’s Trout and Beyond contains a chapter on Smallmouth Bass. It is written in a compact, rather compressed form, with more photos than text. Still, if one wants a quick dissertation on Smallmouth fishing in area rivers, it is provided here.

Tying. Our collection contains an ample supply of tying manuals for bugs and poppers. C. Boyd Pfeiffer’s Bug Making is probably the most comprehensive and recent (1993). Popper and plug materials from balsa and foam, to deer hair, and to hard plastic and epoxy, are all covered. Claiming to provide patterns and instructions for everything from Bluegill to Billfish, it seems to concentrate on bass and sunfish. There is much black and white, close-up, instructive photography. Meanwhile, A.D. Livingston provides Tying Bugs and Flies for Bass. Similar in style to “Bug Making…” but limited to bassing bugs, it is still well illustrated with black and white instructional photos. However, the chapter and photos on Muddlers, Spuddlers, and Miracle Bugs might appeal to big trout fly devotees, as well. (By the way, Livingston’s teaching style is fun, as those of you who have seen his game and fish recipes in past volumes of Gray’s Sporting Journal will appreciate.) Two volumes by Dick Stewart, Flies for Bass & Panfish, and Panfish, round out our collection. Flies…, the more recent of the two, is illustrated with nice color photography, with a shot for each pattern. Panfish, meanwhile, is illustrated with the more traditional drawings of its day.

All the books mentioned above can be found in your SFF Library. Check them out and see if you discover a pleasing new form of fishing and tying. (Meanwhile, as a postscript, veteran member and bass angler Mike Keegan says if we need more information we can always call him!)


By: Rick Newman

The recent addition of more books finally over- whelmed the plastic cabinet that held many of the Spokane Fly Fishers books. The pull of gravity was greater than the strength of the shelves. The poor little wheels were not up to the task of moving the cabinet any more either. At a board meeting some months ago, the need for a new cabinet was mentioned.

One of my favorite sites to visit daily is Craigslist. I
found a seemingly nice metal cabinet for sale…
called, made a deal and picked it up. It resided in
my garage during our brief winter until the tempera-
tures rose enough that I could take it out in the sun
and work on it. After the purchase of some heavy
duty casters, sandpaper and spray paint, I went to work and added the casters, securely connected the bottom of the cabinet to the sides and started sanding. John Melzer, one of the Project Healing Waters veterans, came over and helped me sand and prepare it for painting. After lots of sanding and a few coats of paint, my son and I loaded the cabinet into my truck and hauled it to St Francis of Assisi Church where Mike Ainsworth, a Project Healing Waters volunteer, and Larry Ray the club librarian and I hauled it inside. A short time later the shelves were in and so were the books.

The picture shows our happy librarian, Larry Ray, comparing the two cabinets. I invite all of you to come and see what books Larry has organized for us to peruse and check out. I think you will be surprised at the amount of knowledge contained on the shelves of this restored cabinet.

I enjoyed working with John, Mike and Larry on this project, I hope the cabinet can be used for many years.

February 2015

By: Larry Ray, Librarian

Catalogue of SFF Library Volumes, by Author. Due to several member inquiries regarding works by certain authors, I created an authors catalogue of our collection which can be perused at our meetings as well as on the SFF website. While doing so, I became enthused at our extensive holdings of some who are
considered classic writes in the fly fishing community. We hold nine titles by Lefty Kreh, seven by Dave Hughes, six by John Gierach, five by Randall Kauffman, and four each by noted writers Joe Brooks, Nick Lyons, A.J. McClane, and Dick Steward. Others such as Trey Coombs, Gary LaFontaine, Deke Meyer, and Steve Raymond are also well represented.

Recommended Reading by Dave Whitlock. The extent of our collection was further revealed when I read articles by Dave Whitlock in the two most recent issues of Trout magazine – the quarterly publication by Trout Unlimited. These dealt with traditional wet and dry flies, respectively, providing history and showing artist color plates of what are, in Whitlock’s estimation, the twenty most representative patterns. Whitlock recommends books that the tyer who wants to further examine these two traditional fly types should read. Amazingly, of the six volumes recommended, four are held in our Library – Art Flick’s Streamside Guide, J. Edson Leonard’s Flies, Ernest Schweibert’s Matching the Hatch, and Trout by Ray Bergman. So, if you might delight in tying patterns that were fished (and fished well!) by our grandparent’s, have a look at these.

Another donation. The Professional Fly Tying, Spinning, and Tackle Making manual and Manufactures’ Guide, by George L. Herter, was recently donated. Browsing it awakened fond memories of a time when I, as a kid, used to dream over Herters mail order catalogue. I used to look longingly at such items at the imported Turkish hunting bows, with their delicate handle inlays, as well as at the extensive fishing assortment. Later, my cousins and I would prowl the Herters outlet in Lacey, Washington.

The volume just received (The revised eighteenth edition!) reveals how the Herter family, as marketers, truly tried to be all things to all fishermen. Indeed, in the frontispiece is a printed claim that “more copies of this book have been sold than any other book ever written in the world on a sporting subject”!  True or not, the book provides a fascinating look at promotion of the outdoor business in the bygone, pre-Endangered Species Act era. For example, recommended tying materials such as cedar waxwing, loon, and yellow-headed blackbird feathers would, if found by the warden on one’s flies today, likely generate an appearance before a judge and a hefty fine, if not jail time! Other discussions from stream entomology, fly tying, lure and tackle making, to fish anatomy, various fish species, and tackle marketing, are contained in the book’s 554 pages. There is some strong opinion, including Mr. Herter’s stated preference for brook trout, grainy photos of which are numerous. Other photographs cover everything from blindfolded dolphins navigating underwater obstacles to female workers inside a Japanese fly tying factory. The book does deal extensively with fly types and patterns, some of which are modified from earlier patterns and are unashamedly named after members of the Herter family. All-in-all, this book will provide an interesting read for anyone interested in the history of fishing sports marketing in the middle of the last century.

January 2014

More Tying Instruction. I recently purchased another tying book, Alf Walker’s Mastering the Art of Tying Flies (1976). It is similar to such instructional books of its day and not distinguished, except for an interesting section on tying completely by hand, without the use of a vice. Sounds almost impossible, doesn’t it? Yet it has been done more frequently than one might think. I read somewhere that Partridge of Redditch hook makers once sold flies that were tied by their workers entirely by hand ( I don’t know if they still do this). The late Harry Lemire, renowned northwest steelheader and author, used to tie a steelhead fly every morning on the way to work and, again, every evening on the way home, while driving (Aren’t there laws…?)! And, he didn’t use a vice! Anyway, if you’d like another fly tying challenge, check out this volume (which I’ve donated to the Library) and take a crack at tying sans vice, with reference to the drawings and instructions shown.

Some Housekeeping. Our video library has continued to expand due to the efforts of members who have donated time and effort. Our Treasurer, Claude Kistler, recently purchased and donated six fine DVDs from the Scientific Anglers Instructional Series. These are Advanced Fly Casting, Anatomy of a Trout Stream, Basic Fly Casting, Fly Fishing Made Easy, Introduction to Fly Casting, and Strategies for Selective Trout. The instructors are such as Rick Hafele, Brian and Judith O’Keefe, and Doug Swisher. Check them out (figuratively and literally!)… Meanwhile, an anonymous donor/ member has copied many of our old VHS volumes onto DVDs, which are also now available for check-out.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the New Year. Take time to tie some favorite patterns and read.

December 2014

Of the 300 or so volumes held in the SFF Library, 98 (a third!) are tying manuals or, at least, contain significant tying instructions. Many date from the 1980’s or earlier, when everyone published one and seemed to follow a common format of step-by-step “recipes” with black and white photos of each step described. Believe it or not, Family Circle Magazine ac- tually published such a guide in 1954 (Family Circle’s Guide to Trout Flies) and it is even quite good. Others were excellent. Randall Kaufmann’s American Nymph Fly Tying Manual, for example, is so simple, comprehensive. and well illustrated that it is still valuable. Likewise, Dave Hughes’s American Fly Tying Manual was among the first to use color photos intead of artists’ color plates, and still helps me when I’m tying traditional patterns. Some recent donations contain more contemporary tying instruction. Four of these, in particular, are refreshing additions to our collection. These are:

John Van Vliet’s The Art of Fly Tying is the best photographically illustrated guide I’ve seen. This manual contains numerous helpful hints on each step of the process, with each step illustrated by a wonderful, clear color photo. So clear, in fact, that the fingerprints on the tier’s hands are clearly shown. You simply have to see this one just for the photography. It will grab you and make you sit down to read the entire volume, tying as you go, no matter your skill level!

Chris Mann’s color drawings in Beginner’s Guide to Fly Tying, by Terry Griffiths, illustrating each tying step as well as completed flies, set this manual apart. Steps involving bodies (floss, hurl, quills, and tinsel), hackling (collars, palmers beards, and parachutes) and wing- ing, are all clearly, wonderfully accompanied by Mann’s color drawings. Many tying nuances are addressed in a separate section entitled Tricks of the Trade. This guide is the best I’ve seen for introducing the novice to the craft.

Lou Tabory’s Guide to Saltwater Baits & Their Imitations is a pocket-sized gem, crammed with saltwater patterns finely illustrated by color photos, as well as fine color drawings of the species imitated. It also holds instructions on fishing the patterns and locating the bait species themselves (such as along jetties and under telltale slicks). Excellent seascape color photography illustrates these. Pattern recipes are given at the back portion of the book. Check out the epoxy flies, especially the crab pattern!

Have you ever wanted to tie a traditional salmon fly? You know, the big, gaudy patterns used on traditional salmon rivers in Scotland and our own northeast coast? If so, take a look at Poul (Yep, “Poul” is the correct spelling!) Jorgensen’s Salmon Flies. Published in 1978, it’s a bit older than the others described here but seems ahead of its time by its use of photography. Instructions are comprehensive and well illustrated in black and white, easy to follow close-ups. So, next time you are feeling creative, grab this book and sit down to tie a Jock Scott or Lady Amherst. You might surprise yourself…

All the volumes mentioned above can be obtained from your SFF Library.

November 2014

Collected Works of Dave Hughes. Perhaps no fly fishing author has published more about fly fishing in the northwest than
Dave Hughes. From simple fly tying manuals to advanced instructional guides, and from basic entomology to detailed instructions about matching hatches, Hughes covers it all. Indeed, one could just about cover their entire range of fly fishing instructional needs through reference to his works. The SFF library has a fairly complete collection of Dave’s books, including those which follow.

Beginning tyers can refer to the American Fly Tying Manual. Basic steps for tying each style of fly are explained through simple instruction and many photographs. Fine color plates illustrating the basic, common patterns for each style of fly, with some historical notes, are included separately in the second part of the manual. The simplicity of the photos and illustrations serves as a confidence builder. Meanwhile, Essential Trout Flies provides more detailed instruction covering more patterns and their variations, as well as coaching as to their use. However, the same patient style is also present, making it a good read for the novice as well as the advanced tyer. The perfectly organized fly box on the cover makes me (and will make lots of you) envious!

Hughes might be best known for his works involving insect hatches. The very concise pamphlet Matching Hatches Simplified can serve as a starting point for the novice, as can The Pocket Guide to Western Hatches and Western Streamside Guide, with their wonderful color photography. The Handbook of Hatches, meanwhile, is as fine an introductory guide to this topic as I have found. Being, myself, a bit intimidated by the entomological side of our sport, I can ease that anxiety by referring to this work. The fine color photographs of the bugs themselves, along with the tying instructions for their imitations, fascinate and encourage. Nice photographs of fishing scenes further whet the angling appetite. The Complete Guide to Western Hatches, on which Hughes teamed with pal Rick Hafele, is an older, more comprehensive volume written in the more traditional format. Lots of black and white pho- tography, some fine pen and ink drawings, and a few color plates in the mid-section supplement the same patient style.

Reading Trout Water is Hughes’s contribution to that topic, and the same basic instructional format with wonderful, informative photography, is present in this work as well. Finally, Western Fly Fishing Guide contains descriptions of various fly fishing locations throughout the western USA and Canada, including some destinations very close to home (such as Nunally, Lenice, and Merry Lakes).

 October 2014

Something for the Bamboo Aficionado.  In my May Barbless Flyer column I told you we had received a donation which included two books on bamboo fly rods. I said I would review them in the September Barbless Flyer.  I apologize for the fact that this review is a month late. Hopefully, better late than never.
Like a few of you who aspire to fish with bamboo, or perhaps already do so, I have been long fascinated by the possibility of fishing a northwest coastal stream, cane wand in hand, pursuing cutthroat and steelhead as did the pioneers of northwest fly fishing. I have even gone so far as to purchase several old rods. However, I have yet to attempt the actual rebuilding of any of these. Fear of making a mistake, as well as that old enemy of all ambition, time, served as discouragement. Where to obtain the necessary guidance?   Well, the SFF Library now has two volumes that can help eliminate the intimidation.
The Fine  Bamboo  Fly  Rod by Stuart Kirkfield contains 186 pages of instruction accompanied  by marvelous photography. When read carefully and with patience, this book relieves the anxiety associated with bamboo rod restoration. The introduction is enchanting and puts the neophyte at ease. The first two chapters deal with assessing the quality and value of an old rod, even including photos of the proper way to remove it from the tube and sleeve.  Simple repairs, such as rewrapping guides or cleaning the cork grip, are described. However, Kirkfield also delves into such dark and mysterious topics as varnishing, as well as major fixes like repairing fractures, mid-section as well as at the ferrules, and removing old ferrules that have been pinned and glued. The writing style is such that it is neither overly technical nor  intimidating.  Throughout are photos of equipment and materials needed, even down to various  glues  that  are  used.
Handcrafting  Bamboo  Fly  Rods, by Wayne Cattanach, is written more in the form of a technical manual. Instead of rod restoration, this book deals primarily with the crafting of new bamboo rods. It, too, contains many informative and reassuring photographs. It is not without its humor (read the introduction to Chapter 11, in which the author describes the necessity of designing and locating his finishing tube so as not to upset his wife!). It’s 235 card-stock pages, which can be removed from the binder for shop use, delve into great detail regarding such topics as proper tapers, stress curves (including charts and graphs), heat
treating, and all the various equipment, tools, and materials used in rod construction.
Other publications in the SFF collection touch on the subject of bamboo rods  –
John Gierach, in particular, describes his love of  bamboo and provides some particulars about collecting in several of his pieces.   But, the two volumes above now provide us with much more. If you, like me, are looking to remove some of the mystery of bamboo, and perhaps have a go at finishing and fishing your own cane rod some day soon, a leisurely read of either of these volumes will provide much encouragement and assistance.

Library Team. The Library continues to expand with the donation of more materials and with it the need for ongoing management of the library’s collection. If you’d like to familiarize yourself with the clubs book and video collection and help manage it, and perhaps write some reviews for publication in the Barbless Flyer, please call me, Larry Ray, at 425-299-1488 or email me at

Again we need volunteers!

The Spokane Fly Fishers has an extensive library available for our members. At our meetings, we have many video cassettes for those that still have that VCR laying around gathering dust. Ask Larry Ray about the availability as we are phasing these out.

We’ve been working on our collection of DVD’s and now have a catalog of 40 titles, we have over 300 titles of print materials. The list encompasses every category, including humor, history, tying, destinations, novels and instruction. Nearly all of these books have been donated to the club from members estates and as such you’ll find some historical, out of print and hard to find books. We welcome donations of new and gently used books and digital materials, contact Larry Ray to make such a donation.

Both the book and DVD collections are now located at the club meeting site and are available for lending at meetings.

Checked out materials are now to be returned at the second scheduled meeting after they were checked out unless otherwise arranged with Larry Ray, the club’s Librarian.

If by chance you have any books or library materials please return them at a meeting or by contacting Larry whom can be reached at 425-299-1488, or online at

Click the links below for the complete listings.

Spokane Fly Fishers Video Collection

Spokane Fly Fishers Library Catalogue

Spokane Fly Fishers Authors Catalogue