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Mayfly Fishing Books – From Nymphs to Spinners

The dance of the mayfly a time that sends trout into to a feeding frenzy. Provided you know what you are doing this is a chance to stalk some trophy trout either on a nymph or dry fly pattern. Hopefully you can find the right approach in one of our mayfly fishing books. 

The Best Mayfly Fishing Books

​Many anglers are confused by the different types of mayfly and their life cycles. The following list of mayfly fishing books can help demystify your local mayfly hatch. Another great resource on the mayfly is available on the troutnut website.

Whether you are looking to expand you fly tying skills or simply looking for the best information on how to increase your chances during a mayfly hatch we hope there is something here for you. We have tried to include something for everyone.

Mayflies: Top to Bottom - Shane Stalcup​

Mayflies"Top to the Bottom" by Shane Stalcup details a systematic approach to tying mayfly patterns. All of the necessary skills and materials are beautifully presented in clear step by step photos. Also included are some very dazzling photo's of the mayfly itself.

 There are separate sections on nymphs, emergers, adults, spinners and cripples. Each section walks you through how to construct each stage of the mayfly and what materials are necessary. Many of the patterns use CDC to aid in flotation and there are numerous winged patterns also. This is definitely a book for the fly tier and although it is very detailed it could do with a bit more material on fishing and selection of these patterns.

Western Mayfly Hatches Hafele & Hughes

​The second book from the heavyweight duo of Rick Hafele and Dave Hughes. Combining Hafele's aquatic entomology knowledge and Hughes fly fishing authorship has resulted in a very in-depth reference for the budding mayfly fisherman. Focused primarily on the hatches that happen in the Western states the authors have taken almost twenty years of research and arranged it in self contained sections that relate to each stage of the mayflies life.

For each stage of the hatch a full dressing is clearly displayed and described. The pages are not only devoted to patterns though, mayfly behavior and even "hatch ranking tables" are included. With 175 patterns included you should have pretty much ever base covered. This is one of the more complete mayfly fishing books available.

Nymphs, The Mayflies - Ernest Schwiebert

In "Nymphs, The Mayflies: The Major Species" Ernest Schwiebert amasses almost fifty years of research and practice in the art of nymphing mayfly patterns. This revised and updated edition expands on the original volume from 1973.

 Given that mayfly spend the majority of the their lives underwater knowing how to imitate this stage can arm you with the right knowledge to catch fish throughout the year not just at hatch time. Included are some light hearted anecdotes from some of the authors travels, something that adds a nice bit of humor to an otherwise very focused book.

Orvis Vest Pocket Guide to Mayflies - Dick Pobst

Yet another handy pocket guide from Orvis. The Orvis Vest Pocket Guide is a great companion reference to carry on your travels. It is split into two main sections: the Eastern and Western hatches of mayfly. This book is best as a bring along reference to identify the hatch in front of you. Correctly matching your fly pattern to the relevant is probably the biggest single step you can take in giving yourself the best possible chance when out fly fishing.

Mayflies - Ted Fauceglia

Packed full of beautiful images "Mayflies" clearly and concisely documents each stage of the mayflies life cycle. At the end of each chapter is the addition of a couple of patterns on what was previously discussed. The focus here is predominantly on the Eastern hatches of mayfly so it may not be for everyone. Ultimately the value of this book lies in the big glossy photo's and the finish of the materials used is top notch.

Matching Mayflies - Dave Hughes

Yet another very detailed and well written book from prolific fly fishing author Dave Hughes. Like most of the ​fishing books covered here Hughes details each life cycle stage of the mayfly and the patterns to suit it.  Hughes takes a somewhat simplistic approach to how he ties his patterns so if you are a very advanced tier you may not enjoy his methods. The book closes with what Hughes considers a "universal mayfly box" i.e a list of mayfly patterns that are useful to most anglers on the majority of waters in North America.

Mayflies, the Angler and the Trout                          - Fred L. Arbona Jr

Although "Mayflies, the Angler and the Trout is somewhat dated the information contained in it is just as valuable today as it was when first published. This book is now considered a modern classic on the subject of mayfly fishing and fly tying. The mayfly patterns are contributed by professional tier Mike Lawson.

This is a pretty large reference on the mayfly and how to correctly identify each species. A nice addition that a lot of other books fail to over is presentation. How best to present your flies in front of the trout can be the difference between lots of strikes and going home empty handed. Arbona covers such things as leader construction and the mechanics of a cleanly presented fly.