Orvis Book Club: ‘Trout and Flies – Getting Closer’


Written by: Isobella Ash

As we continue to navigate through the lockdown period, we hope that readers of the Orvis UK Blog enjoyed the first #OrvisBookClub as an escape back into the world of nature. Whilst we may not be able to fly fish the start of the trout season, we can take this time to learn more and give ourselves the time to do things we sometimes miss, such as good reads and perfecting our tactics before heading out to the river.

In our second instalment of the #OrvisBookClub, we speak to our Orvis Bakewell Fishing Associate, Don Stazicker, who recently co-wrote a book titled: ‘Trout and Flies – Getting Closer’, to learn more about trout and the all-important take.

Not just a book

Don Stazicker and Peter Hayes wrote the e-book, launched in December 2019, as they set out to investigate as far as possible what really happens when trout take flies, both natural and artificial.  Over four years of fishing and filming on rivers around the world have been distilled into this book, making it invaluable for fly fishers, from beginners to experts, fishing on any trout stream.

The book, which is available on Kindle, uses links to stills and videos, curated from over 14,000 stills and 3,500 video clips taken by Peter and Don. The book uses QR codes and hyperlinks to free video clips of their original research. You won’t just be reading what they have discovered but you’ll be able to look at the video evidence and find out for yourself exactly what you’ve been missing streamside.

The book includes new fly patterns designed not only to imitate the appearance of the trout’s food but, equally important, its behaviour, including 350 high-resolution photographs and diagrams make it clear how trout and flies interact. This book will allow you to learn more about why your fly fooled the trout and by slowing down the action, how they behave. It has 350 pages, 340 high-resolution pictures and links to 36 free video clips that show the research that supports our observations.

How it all began

We spoke to Don this week to hear a little more about how this amazing piece of work came together with Peter Hayes as well as some all star reviews.

“I entered a photographic competition run by the Wild Trout Trust and won it with a picture of a rising trout.  My now Co-Author, Peter Hayes was, at this time, writing his first book, Fly Fishing Outside the Box, he saw my photograph in the WTT magazine and got in touch to see if I had any similar pictures that might be suitable for his book. It was obvious within a few minutes of meeting Peter that he thought about fly fishing exactly the same way as I did, always questioning and trying to work out what is happening when we fish. 

We fished together frequently until some years after the book’s publication Peter mentioned he was thinking of writing a sequel.  I mentioned that it would be best if he could work out what he wanted to photograph so that I would be able to do a better job of capturing what was needed, the pictures for the first book were really just selected from photos I already possessed.

An e-mail arrived from Peter with multiple pages of suggestions for photographs and things to investigate ending with ‘what do you think?” My response was “I’ve got a couple of days free next week!” When it became apparent that the gathering of the photographic and video evidence would be a major undertaking Peter invited me to co-author the book, an invitation I was happy to accept. Four years later, in fact 14,000 still pictures, 3500 video clips and 6 Terabytes of data later – we had a manuscript.”

Don’t take it from us! Here are some all-star reviews

“Is reading this book going to change your fly fishing view – as it is has with me? Unequivocally. Just read and watch and learn. A book of our time…. and the future. Trout…be afraid…very afraid.” 

Charles Jardine, World famous fly fisherman

“What an extraordinary gift Peter Hayes and Don Stazicker have given us with Trout and Flies – Getting Closer. And what a challenge it is to do it any sort of justice in a foreword. As the song says, “You ain’t never seen nothin’ like this before.” 

Paul Schullery, highly respected fly fishing author and formerly the Executive Director of The American Museum of Fly fishing in Manchester, Vermont

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