Podcast: Must-Reads in Classic Fly-Fishing Literature, with Michael Checchio

[Interview starts at 38:10.]

I get frequent questions from listeners on what I would recommend they read in fly-fishing literature, as there is so much out there it’s tough to sort through it to find what’s worth reading. Michael Checchio is a retired journalist and investigative reporter, as well as a student of fly-fishing books, so we spend some time discussing what he feels are must-reads (or maybe just interesting reads) in the vast river of what has been written about fly fishing.

Here is Michael’s list:


  • A River Runs through It by Norman Maclean
  • “Big Two-Hearted River” by Ernest Hemingway (short story)
  • Ninety-Two in the Shade by Thomas McGuane
  • The River Why by David James Duncan


  • The Longest Silence by Thomas McGuane
  • The Angler’s Coast and Dark Waters by Russell Chatham
  • The Curtis Creek Manifesto by Sheridan Anderson
  • “Hat Creek” and “Deeds Among the Steelhead” by Bill Barich (magazine articles; may be tough to find)
  • The Spawning Run by William Humphrey
  • Trout Bum by John Gierach
  • “The Same River Twice” by David Quammen (published in Outside Magazine)
  • “A Sporting Life” by Jim Harrison (magazine article, may be tough to find)
  • My Story as Told by Water by David James Duncan

In the Fly Box, we have lots of questions and tips, including:

  • How do I know when to strip strike and when to trout strike?
  • Do I really need to go barbless on small dry-fly hooks?
  • How do I know what size material to use if I want to lengthen my leader?
  • A great tip from a listener on learning to cast with your “off” hand
  • A tip from a listener on wetting new tying materials befor you use them to see what color they will be
  • Why do I only see larger wild brown trout in one section of a river I fish?
  • How do I see my sighter in difficult lighting conditions?
  • If I am fishing for stocked rainbows and grayling, where should I place my grayling fly—on the bottom or on the dropper?
  • Should I use my 10-foot 7-weight Recon that I use for steelhead for streamer fishing from a boat for trout?
  • What is the main difference between a Helios D and Helios F rod when fishing for bonefish?
  • My bamboo ferrule only fits ¾ of the way to full engagement.  Is that OK?
  • Why do I see steelhead smolt in my river but never chinook salmon smolt?
  • Is there any way to get the bad smell off a bucktail?
  • Why don’t people fish bucktails much these days?
  • Is there a way to tell a northern strain from a southern strain brook trout visually?

2 thoughts on “Podcast: Must-Reads in Classic Fly-Fishing Literature, with Michael Checchio”

  1. Jim Harrison’s “A Sporting Life” is in his fantastic collection of non-fict: Just Before Dark. Also, Chris Dombrowski’s The River You Touch and Body of Water are wonderful reads.

  2. Death,taxes and leaky waders john gierach
    Lord’s of the fly Monte burke
    The founding fish john mcfee
    Stripers on the fly Lou tarbory
    Fly fishing striper surf frank daignault
    Striper and streamers ray bondorew

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