American Fly Fishing: A History

American Fly Fishing: A History, published in 1987, reprinted several times and then reissued in a revised edition in 1999, is the most comprehensive history of the subject yet published. Historian Paul Schullery, who served as the first executive director of the American Museum of Fly Fishing (1977-1982), which funded the writing of the book, subjects the entire colorful saga of this beloved sport to a fresh scrutiny, reconsidering and refining many elements of the story, Drawing from a host of recent research findings, American Fly Fishing: A History was the first examination of the sport's history to treat the subject as a truly national matter. Schullery shifted much of the emphasis away from the origin stories of the east coast to show how the sport evolved and broadened as its practitioners moved into new and unfamiliar watersheds (in the American West, in warm water, and in salt water) that challenged anglers to adapt and develop their own tackle and techniques to meet the needs of the local waters and fish species. So quickly was its authority recognized that in 1989, only two years after its publication, Trout magazine recognized American Fly Fishing: A History as one of the most important trout–related books of the previous thirty years.

The research and writing of this book was supported by a grant from the American Museum of Fly Fishing to the author. Since the book's publication in 1987, all royalties and other proceeds from the book go directly to the American Museum of Fly Fishing to benefit their programs.

"Schullery, a well-traveled and accomplished fly fisherman, has done a splendid job . . . . well researched, well written, and provocative, and if, as a fly fisherman, you’ve got a yen to discover from whence your madness sprang, you should have it in your library."—Nelson Bryant, The New York Times

". . . [a] cogent, carefully reasoned paean to the history of fly fishing."—Robert Jones, Sports Illustrated