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Conserving-restoring-educating Through Fly Fishing


As the entries are being added from the January Barbless Flyer it is snowing heavily. What a wonderful time to read a book from the Spokane Fly Fishers library. You can also view a wide variety of DVD’s, some of which have only been recently added. If you haven’t used our library it is very easy to do. Your next opportunity is coming up this Wednesday evening at the January 7th meeting. Step up to the library section, visit with Larry Ray, fill out the paperwork if you haven’t already and you can checkout some great materials. The checkout period has been lengthened so you may now keep books and videos for two months. We recently received a couple of generous donations that you need to check out. New books and videos. 

Winter, what a great time to read books, watch videos and improve your fly fishing skills!

Rick Newman, webmaster



By: Larry Ray, Librarian

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).

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 hoodnfly@aol.com.

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 hoodnfly@aol.com.

Click the links below for the complete listings.

Spokane Fly Fishers Video Collection

Spokane Fly Fishers Library Catalogue


BOOK  OF  THE  MONTH October 2014

By:  Larry  Ray,  Librarian

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.