Common Nymphs of Eastern North America: a Primer for Flyfishers and Flytiers

By Caleb J. Tzilkowski & Jay R. Stauffer Jr.

Takes trout enthusiasts in another hatch-matching direction—to the year-round underwater nymph “hatch,” which, in most cases, constitutes 90 percent of trout diets. 77 illus; 4.5x9 inches, 128 pgs.


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Although the concept of “matching the hatch” has been central to flyfishing for 150 years, it has been used almost exclusively for dry flyfishing. With Common Nymphs of Eastern North America: A Primer for Flyfishers and Flytiers, Caleb Tzilkowski and Jay Stauffer Jr. take trout enthusiasts in another hatch-matching direction—to the year-round underwater nymph “hatch,” which, in most cases, constitutes 90 percent of trout diets.

Successful flyfishers have at least rudimentary knowledge of the organisms that artificial flies imitate. The relatively few and very best anglers are expert at identifying and imitating nymph appearances and habits. A major hurdle to becoming expert at nymph matching is overcoming two major limitations that make these animals difficult to locate, capture, and identify: first, nymphs live underwater, sometimes burrowed into the stream bottom, and second, many nymphs are nearly microscopic in size. Common Nymphs addresses those challenges by including habitat and life history information regarding the nymphs, tips for their identification, and representative high-resolution photographs of more than thirty types of aquatic organisms and their imitations.

In the seemingly saturated flyfishing literature, this book offers something truly groundbreaking. With state-of-the-art microscopy and their years of scientific and practical experience, Tzilkowski and Stauffer provide readers an innovative close-up look at identifying and imitating nymphs that have been historically underrepresented in the flyfishing and flytying literature.

Caleb J. Tzilkowski
holds a Ph.D. from Penn State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Science and is currently an aquatic ecologist with the National Park Service.

Jay R. Stauffer Jr.
is Distinguished Professor of Ichthyology in the School of Forest Resources at Penn State University.

“The book is a user-friendly and information-dense guide for the nymphing angler. In combining the sciences of stream ecology and invertebrate biology with the angler’s art of flytying, the authors present a practical approach to nymph fishing in a variety of eastern stream and river types. Streamside or at the vise, this book will enrich your angling experience—and you will probably catch more fish.” —Ted Angradi, US EPA Office of Research and Development, Mid-Continent Ecology Division

“In their stream guide Common Nymphs of Eastern North America, Caleb Tzilkowski and Jay Stauffer Jr. take much of the mystery out of nymph fishing. They not only describe the life history of the most common eastern aquatic insects but also provide easy-to-understand guidance on what type of fly to use when and where, as well as basic instructions on how to create effective imitations with the materials already at hand in most flytiers’ arsenals.

“In my observation of wild brown trout in Spruce Creek, contrary to what many anglers believe, I found that trout feed all day long, even though there may be little or no surface action. This book encourages anglers to take advantage of this. It helps them narrow down fly selection when there is no hatch by listing the type and size of food that trout are likely to be eating wherever the angler is fishing at that particular time of year.

“Confidence in the fly that one is using is perhaps the most important aspect of successful fly fishing. Common Nymphs of Eastern North America will undoubtedly help instill such confidence in anglers who are intimidated by bottom fishing.” —Bob Bachman, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

“Scientific knowledge, fishing experience, and fly-tying expertise meet in a near-perfect blend in this enjoyable, informative, and surprisingly readable volume. Any flyfisher pursuing trout in the eastern part of North America will profit from spending some serious time with this book, as will those in other locales, because much of the information provided here is transferable. Caleb Tzilkowski and Jay Stauffer Jr. are to be congratulated for making such a wealth of entomological knowledge and practical advice so accessible and relevant to ordinary flytiers and flyfishers.” —Rex D. Matthews, Emory University (and dedicated flyfisher)


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