Published Oct 9. 2013 - 8 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 17. 2015

Book review: Classic Michigan Flies

16 Legendary Patterns

A beautiful little book with 16 selected Michigan patterns, including such well known patterns the Adams, Griffith's Gnat and Rusty's Spinner. Illustrated with excellent illustrations by Joe van Faasen

John Osborn, Illustrated by Joe van Faasen
Headwater Books, Stackpole Books
Reviewed by: 

This is not a big book by any measure - big as in pages, big as in format or big as in scope. Rather the opposite, actually. It's a small publication with a narrow subject.

But it's interesting anyway, because it covers some pretty interesting flies and does so in a very nice way. As the title implies, these 16 flies all have their root in the state of Michigan, which in some cases might come as a surprise. I for one wouldn't have placed neither the Adams nor the Griffith's Gnat in the Great Lake's state, while I knew that flies such as Russ Maddin's Circus Peanut and Kelly Galloup's Zoo Cougar have Michigan origins.

Each of the 16 flies is treated with four pages telling the well written story of the fly and listing the materials used to tie it. The book is not a tying book as such, but more like a history book treating the flies as the cultural heritage they in many ways are. The note of culture or even art is further emphasized by the fact that the book is illustrated with beautiful paintings by Joe van Faasen, lending greatly the the mood and atmosphere of the book. The paintings both show the flies in quite precise detail and the originators or some fishing scene or situation.

In that way the book manages to be both coffee table worthy and a reference for the fly-tyer at the same time.
With a cover price of 20 USD it's hard to complain. Looking around a bit can easily cut that price in half for a new copy. Even for a small book as this, 10 bucks isn't a steep price these days, and the book is well worth even its cover price, also for those of us not stemming from Michigan.

The book project has its own web site where you can buys signed copies of the book online.

Circus Peanut - Sample pages from Classic Michigan Flies
Sample pages
John Osborn/Joe van Faasen


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