The Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes is an extremely helpful guide for identifying North American freshwater fish. I never thought I needed a field guide until I started getting interested in micro fishing. I could tell a trout from a bass and a bass from a bluegill, and that was good enough for me. Sunfish were sunfish, and I called most of them bluegills even when they weren't.
Micro fishing changed that. Quite a few micros look surprisingly similar, and I found that the guys (and gals) who are dedicated to micro fishing care what they catch. I also found out that identifying what you've caught is part of the unique challenge of micro fishing.
I bought a copy for myself pretty early on - possibly right after my first catch that I couldn't identify. And since that time, I've referred to it often.
I had resisted carrying the book on TenkaraBum, though. It's a comprehensive book - and to be comprehensive it has to be big (and heavy). It weighs enough that it can't be mailed first class. If ordered alone it can go via media mail, which inexpensive but slow. If ordered with anything else, like hooks or floats, it has to go via priority mail, which is fast but expensive.
In the end, I had to carry it. Fish ID is important enough for micro fishing that any serious micro fishing outfitter has to have it. Besides that, though, it really is a pretty good book. It has 57 plates of fish illustrations, many in color. Most of the individual entries for a particular species show a map showing the species' range. The entries also give a detailed description of the fish, it's preferred habitat and a list of similar species. In cases where several species are hard to tell from one another, detailed drawings highlight identifying characteristics.
If every time you go fishing, you go fishing for trout, then you don't need this book. If you are interested in what might live in that little brook you go over on the way to grandmother's house, then this book might come in very handy. And if you get to the point that you want to catch fish you've never caught before, to the point that every body of water raises the question "What lives there and how can I catch it?" then this book may be almost as important as your hooks.Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fish - $17
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Domestic shipping is via USPS media mail. The $3 charge for postage will be added to the order automatically. Orders that combine the book with other items, such as hooks, floats, etc. cannot be shipped via media mail. The shipping charges for the book ($3) and the other items ($3) will be added together, and the order will be shipped via priority mail.