Six Periods of American Fly Fishing


Periods One, Two and Three
The Eastern Dominance

In the beginning there was:

The Beginning: 1845–1900
Samuel Phillippi: the split- bamboo rod
Thaddeus Norris: how an American must fish
Washington Irving: first modern fishing story

And then there was:

The Identity Period: 1900–1920
Theodore Gordon: the dry fly defined
George La Branche: the dry fly in fast water
James Leisenring: the wet fly and nymph


The Golden Age: 1920–1944
Jim Payne: the fly rod perfected
Walt Dette: Catskill fly tying
Ray Bergman: story, lore, and tackle
Setting the tone


Periods Four, Five and Six
The Western Ascendancy

Followed by:

The Transitional Period: 1945–1960
War, the spinning reel, and tailwaters
Ted Trueblood: the beautiful angler
Vincent Marinaro: the American master
A. J. McClane : the complete authority


The TU Period: 1960–2008
Catch and release wild fish
The Great Expansion
Technological advance and rise of synthetics
Commercialization and a global economy

And now:

The New Period: 2009–
End of expansion
Reconsideration, reform, and restoration
Older and simpler methods and satisfactions
Tenkara, ancient fly fishing from Japan

Thanks to Gordon Wickstrom and the Bouldercreek Angler


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