Salomone: Fireside fly fishing
Vail Valley Anglers
When the gray skies of January loom ominously over the horizon it can be a daunting task to contemplate fly fishing. Anglers wishing for dry fly weather sulk under layers of fleece and flannel. Yearning for a connection to our beloved sport in the winter months but not a fan of frozen laces? Fly anglers can satisfy their need reading a vast array of quality fly fishing literature. Curled up next to the fireside with a fly fishing-inspired book keeps anglers engaged, builds anticipation and provides the impetus for fly fishing trips during the new year.
The amount of fly fishing literature is vast. Everything from presenting basic information to newly initiated fly anglers or in-depth divulging of why we all feel a connection in angling. Whatever the focus, the nod towards any angling book fills hours in the winter with memories, new information and dreams.
Gleaning the best from a library of angling literature takes time. Time some anglers don’t want to waste. Relying on the intelligence of others is a good way to find new favorites. Let me describe three high-quality but vastly different angling-focused books to help you find a book worth underlining and dogearing the corners.
“Casting Onward” by Steve Ramirez
“Casting Onward” is the second collection of prose from Steve Ramirez. His initial book in the trilogy, “Casting Forward” received accolades from far and wide for its tales and heartfelt reflections of the wild fish found across the United States. From common gar to high-brow trout species and back to everyone’s friend the bluegill, this collection breeds feelings of home and the fish we have called friends since childhood, including Ramirez.
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Ramirez makes it humorous to go through all the effort to obtain a cutthroat high in the Colorado wilderness. Having traveled from near sea level to over 8,000’ in elevation only to be high-holed by a naive angler lacking river etiquette.
And it isn’t all about conquering the fish. Ramirez revels in the journey, whom you are with and how you are fishing. The little things are often taken for granted like encountering an eagle on the river. His quest for the Colorado River Cutthroat left him with a notch that still needed to be cut.
The stories Steve weaves dance enticingly around fly fishing while carrying the weight of climate change, human perversion and non-native transgressions. He breathes life into what some feel is a stale, old man’s game, elevating our sport to top-shelf placement and status.
“The Little Black Book of Fly Fishing” by Kirk Deeter and Chris Hunt
“The Little Black Book of Fly Fishing” is the second book by Kirk Deeter focused on presenting a huge amount of fly-angling information. The first book, “The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing” was another co-authored endeavor by Deeter and the great Charlie Myers, longtime outdoor writer for the Denver Post. Chris Hunt fills the boots Charlie left like no one else can.
The Black Book is full of information. Casting, reading water, flies and presentation along with a pile of miscellaneous fly fishing information any angler, especially those embracing the sport, will grow immensely from learning. The combined knowledge spread out across the pages from Hunt and Deeter makes the Black Book a great addition to the previously published “Little Red Book of Fly Fishing.”
“Revision of a Man” by Matt Smythe
In a world inundated with social media posts, Tik-Tok and Twitter scratch the presence of a book on poetry lifts my soul. Matt Smythe delivers a collection of his work that is sure to make any real angler ponder. He creates visions from words that everyone can see. Readers know the words were scribbled in pen on paper by hand, they have that kind of feeling.
For your fireside fly fishing, three excellent selections to keep you connected to the sport that fills our life with purpose. The color of Spring will soon wash away Winter. And we can all go stand in the water again.
Michael Salomone moved to the Eagle River valley in 1992. He began guiding fly-fishing professionally in 2002. His freelance writing has been published in magazines and websites including, Southwest Fly Fishing, Fly Rod & Reel, Eastern Fly Fishing, On the Fly, FlyLords, the Pointing Dog Journal, Upland Almanac, the Echo website, Vail Valley Anglers and more. He lives on the bank of the Eagle River with his wife, Lori; two daughters, Emily and Ella; and a brace of yellow Labrador retrievers.