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Nat Greene Fly Fishers Biographical and Profiles

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.- Henry David Thoreau

Charles Brooks (1921 - 1986)


Charles E. Brooks started fly fishing and tying flies at the age of nine. He retired in 1964 as a Major in the Air Force Reserve and moved to West Yellowstone, Montana where he fly fished extensively throughout the greater Yellowstone region, and in particular, the Henry's Fork. In doing so, his regional expertise led to original flies, research, and fishing articles that remain classics. He authored many books including: The Henry's Fork: An Intimate Portrait of a Great Trout River and Its History (1986), Larger Trout for the Western Fly Fisherman (1970), The Trout and the Stream (1974), Nymph Fishing for Larger Trout (1976), The Living River (1979), and Fishing Yellowstone Waters (1984).

He liked to be called Charly. He was a guest speaker at many Conclaves and Fly Fishing Clubs. He was wonderfully witty and engaging. He had a "fish story" or "Air Force story" for every occasion. In the winter months he lived and taught school and fly tying in Northern California. In the summer, he and his wife went to the West Yellowstone to be near his beloved rivers the Madison and the Henry's Fork.

Fly Tying note: Charles often fish weighted nymphs and used his own system of colored heads to indicate how heavily the pattern was weighted.

Many of his patterns where inventive and became the model for similar patterns. One such pattern was the Charles Brookes’s Natant Nylon Nymph . Like all Charles Brooks patterns, this is a simple, no-nonsense fly that catches trout.

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Andre Puyans

Andre Puyans Passed Away This Evening
by Tom Monaghan on 2005-10-26

"Nearly everything I know about fly fishing, I learned from Andre. I picked up my first rod at his shop on Saranap Ave in Walnut Creek -- must have been 1980."

My earliest recollection of conversations with Andre were centered on the proper nomenclature for fly fishing gear: "A pole comes from Poland. You are holding a "rod" son."

My childhood friend Amir and I went to Creative Sports to find out about this thing called fly fishing. Andre talked about the difference between bait fishing and fly fishing, as well as the people who pursue each form.

Andy had the look of a sage, tall and stout with thick hair and reading glasses halfway down his nose. When he stopped to think about his reply to an inquiry, he would thumb his ever-present pipe and stare deeply into your eyes as if to see the real meaning of the question. This was the kind of man that instilled confidence and trust in all he encountered. He commanded one's attention but was very soft spoken.

Andre continued to extol the beauty and art that may only be experienced by fly fishing. If we were not sold on this higher form of fishing before talking to Andre, we most certainly were when we left his shop that day.

Andre talked to me "man to man." He was the first adult that asked me to call him by his first name (I was 12 in 1980.) "Andy", as he liked to be called, had an enormous impact on me that day and for many years to come.

We traded a small amount of cash for two fly fishing starter-kits. We were well aware of the charity bestowed upon us by Andy. He saw that we had a genuine interest in the art he loved and wanted to share it with us.

Andre had always been a great contributor to the art and sport of fly fishing. He founded the first Trout Unlimited council and chapter (Puyans), an organization dedicated to conservation and restoration of North America's trout and salmon fisheries. Locally, he established the Diablo Valley Fly Fishers' (DVFF) youth fly fishing program of which me and Amir were charter members.

In our first session of the DVFF fly tying class, I was putting together fishable flies. Not a person to gush with compliments, Andy acknowledged my accomplishment and said if I ever wanted to catch a good trout, I'd need much more than the wooly-bugger I had pinched in my vice. He was a tough critic, but never failed to find the right words of encouragement.

When the class finished, I was able to tie several patterns of dry and wet flies. I took those flies on a Saturday fishing trip with Andy and was struck that my creation, made of feathers, animal hair, and thread actually worked. Under Andy's direction, I was able to catch several trout, one of which was over two pounds.

I was amazed at Andy's ability to pass his fly fishing and fly tying skills on to me. It was like some transmission of knowledge one might read about in a science-fiction novel. I put these new abilities to use immediately. I spent all my savings on fly tying materials, fly rods, fly reels, and books on fly fishing.

I spent many nights tying trout flies, of them the A.P. Nymph was a favorite. It was a favorite not only because it was highly effective in catching trout, but also because I learned to tie it from its creator, Andre Puyans (the "A.P." in the A.P. nymph.)

This fly is so well known and widely used it is commonly referred to (incorrectly) as the "All Purpose Nymph." (I am sure Andy has a chuckle when he hears people refer to it in this way.)

When I look at these artificial representations of insects, I see art. The art of fly tying is in the marriage of idea and execution through various natural components. It is the creation of something from nothing. It is leveraging knowledge to create new patterns.

There are thousands of patterns of flies that may represent anything from a gnat to a frog. When I take the time to learn to tie a new fly, or create one of my own, I appreciate the time and teaching Andy so selflessly gave to me. His instruction was the catalyst for a life-long love of the art of fly fishing, not to mention the joy it brings me when I catch a fish on a fly I created.

Every time I step into the water and wade out chest-deep in the rushing current, I think back to my conversations with Andy. How do I do this again? How would Andy fish this run? What fly would he use today? I see his face, hear his voice and smell the smoke from his pipe as I scan my fly box for the perfect pattern.

Thank you Andy.

NCFFF Conclave Lake Tahoe, California 1988

"Andre was a friend of mine. To some he seemed gruff, but he did have that edge. He was unbelevably knowledgable about materials, feather, hooks, well, everything he sold in his fly shop in Walnut Creek California. I guess I was one of his valued customers because any time he find a value or rarity, he easily found a customer in me. "He said never pass up an opportunity to buy great materials - they never come around again." He was right all the time."

"Andre tied many wonderful flies. One of my favorites was his loop wing Adams. I never fished it much, but, when fishing was hard, I always had these in reserve and they NEVER failed to bring a strike. At one Northern Council; of the FFF, a bunch of tiers got together and swapped patterns and lies. It was a great day. Judith Dunham had brought her brand new book The "Art of the Fly ". We all bought one of these first editions. Andre Puyan, Bill Blackstone, Polly Roseborough, and Darwin Atkins were are present and had patterns in Judith's new book. All the books went round the room until they all were autographed. Written by Steve Salkow

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Adam Harman

Adam Harman ,Guide - Born and raised in Southwest Virginia. Adam lives in Winston-Salem with his lovely wife Erin and his two beautiful children, Jonah and Olivia. As a young boy his Dad and older brothers taught him how to fish but he didn't really take up fly fishing until he was 25. His passion for fly fishing truly developed when his father-in-law gave him his first fly tying kit for Christmas (my wife sarcastically still thanks him for that to this day). Adam loves to teach fly fishing/tying and share it with others. In his spare time Adam loves to spend time with the family, tie flies and go fishing in the Virginia and North Carolina mountains. Adam personally thanks God for the ability He has given him to tie and fish, his Dad for getting him into fly fishing, his wife Erin who has been patient, understanding and very supportive.

Things I see that could help anglers- Reduce the amount of false casting, learn the art of the roll cast

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Graham Owen

Graham Owen has established himself as an artist and natural photographer. The detail of Graham's "artificial insects" has won him International acclaim and award. His artistic insects are incorporated into leading lighting designs, private and institutional art collections, as well as high advertisements & film.

An American artist, born on the island of Penang, Malaysia in 1961, Graham grew up traveling the world, living in Malaysia, Australia, Canada and the states of Illinois, New Mexico and California. Gravitating to the serenity and beauty of the outdoors, Graham spent three summers hiking and canoeing the vast wilderness of northern Canada. His passion for nature opened the door to his art and photography. His current work evolved mainly from decades of independent experimentation and practice.

Graham's gift for transforming nature into art may be genetic. His mother trained at prestigious art schools in England and is an accomplished artist specializing in painting animals and birds. His grandmother Nona Kiralfy studied under sculptor Henry Moore, and going back even further, Imre Kiralfy was a pioneer in entertainment at the turn of the century, with his international grand productions including the first Broadway production with electric lighting as well as hosting the 1908 Olympics in London at the White City stadium..

While establishing himself as an artist, Graham was one of the first actively engaged in promoting alternative energy resources, as a solar contractor in Southern California, for over 25 years. Graham served on the Board of Directors, California Solar Energy Industry Association, as well as other advisory boards and committees, and proudly designed and installed the first privately owned grid-connected solar powered home in Los Angeles, producing excess clean energy, spinning the electric meter backwards.

Graham's photographs reflect his eye on the natural world, demonstrating a unique style and melding of Realism and Artistic Impressionism. His photos have been featured on the cover of various publications. The natural world is well represented.

Graham's art and photography can be found in many corporate and private collections.

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See his galley web pages

Darwin Atkin, A Montana Fly Tying Legend

Montana is truly blessed to have a legendary fly tier and fly fisherman in its back yard - Darwin Atkin. He has spent the last 20 years living in Bozeman, living and breathing fly tying and fly-fishing. Originally from Southern California, he began his love affair with tying in 1959 during his senior year of college. His first motive to ty his own flies was to save money while we was putting himself through college. He thought that the prices of flies then were downright shocking and decided to buy a fly tying kit and learn how to make flies. What started out as a practical way to fill his fly boxes turned into a regular practice, which still deeply inspires him today, almost 50 years later.

He quickly developed a talent for the craft, becoming well known for tying flies to exacting proportions. He has been instrumental in turning the utilitarian craft of fly tying into the realm of art. While Darwin's expertise as a tier is well known and highly respected, his skills in artistically framing flies is truly astounding. He has perfected designing and constructing shadowboxes and frames with flies mounted inside. His fly plates are of museum quality and are highly sought after by collectors, commanding prices in the thousands of dollars.

Darwin is an extremely generous individual; he donated most of the hundreds of fly plates he has made for fundraising events for the Federation of Fly Fishers. The FFF is dedicated to conservation and furthering the sport of fly-fishing for everyone. Over the last few decades, his work has raised tens of thousands of dollars for this cause

In Darwin's fly tying room an entire wall holds awards and recognitions for his generosity. The Headwaters Chapter of the Federation of Fly Fishers in Bozeman honored Darwin Atkin this fall by inducting him into the Legends of the Headwaters. He has also been bestowed with the Buz Busek Award, the most prestigious fly tying award that the FFF gives. His room is filled with hundreds of books on fly tying and fly fishing, pictures of himself and his friends holding many large trout, and an incredible collection of flies tied by some of the most famous tiers. I had the pleasure of visiting him and his lovely wife, Anna, recently, and he shared some of his favorite flies with which to ply the waters of Montana.


Darwin Atkins and Steve Salkow share the bench NCFFF Conclave Lake Tahoe, California 1988

In Darwin's fly tying room an entire wall holds awards and recognitions for his generosity. The Headwaters Chapter of the Federation of Fly Fishers in Bozeman honored Darwin Atkin this fall by inducting him into the Legends of the Headwaters. He has also been bestowed with the Buz Busek Award, the most prestigious fly tying award that the FFF gives. His room is filled with hundreds of books on fly tying and fly fishing, pictures of himself and his friends holding many large trout, and an incredible collection of flies tied by some of the most famous tiers. I had the pleasure of visiting him and his lovely wife, Anna, recently, and he shared some of his favorite flies with which to ply the waters of Montana.

Real money maker for the FFF auctions

The Golden Girl was a money maker for fundraising and the many FFF auctions.

Doug Mcknight is a writer, professional fly tier, and Montana fly-fishing guide. Originally from Pennsylvania, he lives with his wife in Livingston, Montana.
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E. H. "Polly" Rosborough 1902-1997: MASTER FLY TYER

When the call from Jerry James came one evening in December telling me that Polly Rosborough had died in his sleep, I was more relieved than grieved by the news. Relieved that he was at last freed from the onerous prison of a body that could no longer see or hear or function in any of the ways that served him so well throughout a long and satisfying life. How can one really grieve for someone who has lived 95% of the 20th century and passes into history leaving a legacy of high achievement throughout a varied and interesting life lived just as he willed it.

I met Polly nearly forty years ago shortly after moving to Oregon from Ohio. I had first read of him in Advanced Fly Fishing by the late Eugene Burns. I knew no other fly fishers when I moved to Eugene and all I knew about Oregon fishing was what I had read in books. Whenever I met anyone who admitted to being a fly fisherman I asked many questions. I never found anyone who knew Polly or could tell me anything about him.

My friend George Twining was working as land agent for International Paper Co. in Longview. He made quarterly trips to California to pay timber taxes. Since he went right by Chiloquin on his trips south, I asked him to look up this Rosborough character who was supposed to be living right on the Williamson River. One night in late October, 1960 I got a call from George. He was in Chiloquin, he had met Polly and he also had landed a seven pound rainbow that evening right in front of Polly's house. He told me to get on the next bus and get down there, which I did.

In those days Polly was living in an old house at the junction of Highway 97 and the side road into the Chiloquin. Polly was in the habit of working until late at night and then sleeping late in the morning. It was about 10:30 in the morning when we arrived at his door. After hammering on the door at length we heard a rather angry voice from within, "If you want flies, get 'em at the hardware in town!"

George answered, "It's George Twining. We don't want flies, we want to talk to you."

"Oh, okay, George, wait 'til I get my pants on."

Polly shortly appeared at the door and greeted us cordially. George introduced me as the one who had put him on Polly's trail. He invited us in and said we could talk while he fixed some breakfast. We told him we had both started tying flies as teenagers and we wanted to see him work and talk fly tying, but we were going fishing now and would return later. "Well, you might as well sit for a while as the morning feeding period is over in ten minutes, and the next one won't begin until late afternoon." Thus began a friendship which lasted for the next 38 years.

Polly was a dynamic demonstration fly tier.

Watching Polly tie and listening to him explain what he was doing, and why he did it in just that way, was a revelation to us. George and I were both fairly competent amateur tiers, but we were from the east and what we knew had been learned from books written by easterners of the Catskill school. Of course we tied and fished with nymphs, but we had never seen nymphs like his. And the large wet flies and streamers used on the Williamson were all new to us.

In those days it was not easy to learn fly tying. There were few books on the subject and most professional tiers were not eager to reveal their hard-learned techniques. We found Polly to be very open about everything, and we must have spent five or six hours with him that day before we finally got out on the river. It was at the end of the season and it would be six months before I would get down there again, but I corresponded with him throughout the winter. I tied his patterns and tried to put his methods into practice.

Throughout the early 60s I went down to fish the Williamson whenever I could and I always seemed to spend more time with Polly than I spent on the river. I was fascinated by the breadth of knowledge exhibited by this old man who had never even finished high school. One day I was there and he was visited by another fisherman who was a geology professor. Since Polly was also an amateur prospector and rock-hound, the discussion turned to rocks and minerals. One could have taken them to be two academics discussing the arcana of their specialty.

In 1965 as the McKenzie Flyfishers were preparing to host the 1965 Conclave of Flyfishers, I was given the job of organizing the fly tying demonstrations. We wanted to get some of the well-known tiers to participate. I had met Roy Patrick once and I knew of Cal Bird and Buz Buszek through Polly. So those four were invited to be on the program.

Cal Bird had a conflict with a scheduled trip and sent his regrets. Roy Patrick said he was coming but didn't want to tie flies, he wanted to socialize and enjoy the event. Polly and Buz were on the program, but with the untimely death of Buz Buszek a month before the event, Polly was the lone demonstration tier left. Roy Patrick, good sport that he was, brought his materials with him and filled in very ably. It was quite a contrast to see Roy at one end of a long table and Polly at the other. Roy was patiently demonstrating to a small group in his quiet low-key manner, and there was Polly at the other end holding court to a crowd two and three deep around him hanging on his every word.

It has always been my conviction that the 1965 Conclave ushered in the modern era of fly tying. It set the pattern followed by every subsequent conclave whereby skilled fly tiers came together and gave freely of their knowledge. Polly was there at the beginning and his example was an inspiration to a rising generation of tiers who are the experts of today.

Setting a marten trap in a tree.

1965 also saw the publication of the first edition of Polly's Tying and Fishing the Fuzzy Nymphs. From the first time I met Polly I urged him to write a book on fly tying. He said he had often thought about it, but he was kept so busy filling orders that he never seemed to have the time. For several years I never passed up an opportunity to remind him that the book needed to be written. When he finally decided to do it, he limited it to the nymphs, in the belief that they were his major contribution to fly tying.

Polly with the Letcher Lambuth Award.

As I think back over my long friendship with Polly, several other experiences stand out. I spent three days with him in 1977 running his trap line in the high country between Diamond and Crater Lakes. We spent the days walking five miles on snow shoes and the evenings tape recording his conversation as he skinned marten. About 1984 I nominated him for the coveted Letcher Lambuth Award sponsored by the Washington Fly Fishing Club. He was selected for the honor and I was asked to take him to Seattle for the presentation. A few years later he asked me to make the presentation to the FFF of his fly plate and painted portrait at the International Conclave in Livingston, Montana.

He never passed up the chance to put his arm around a pretty lady.

Polly Rosborough was truly an unforgettable character. Those who knew him will have their own characterization of him, but everyone will agree that he was always colorful and interesting. He was my friend, and I'll miss him.

Skip Hosfield

This article originally appeared in the Winter 1998 issue of The Oregon Fly Fisher, the newsletter of the Oregon Council of the FFF.

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Calvert "Cal" Bird


Calvert "Cal" Bird was a San Francisco native and remains one of the finest fly tyers to have ever plied his craft in the West-or on the planet for that matter. His most notable contribution to the Yellowstone region is his Bird's Stone Fly. This adult salmon fly pattern was one of the first, if not the first, to uniquely replicate the low profile and natural life form of these adult flies. The Bird's Stone Fly is a wonderful imitation of the lifelike activity as these large bugs as they are blown into the river or as the females drop onto river's surface to deposit their eggs.

Cal's flies are not limited to Rocky Mountain patterns as some of his steelhead, trout and salmon flies are also remarkable for thier fish catching ability and artistic art form. His flies and artistic skill have also been featured in numerous books that highlight the best fly tyers of the world.

by R.P. Dotson (see his site)

I first met Cal Bird at the San Mateo Boat and Fishing Expo back in the mid 1980's. I was tasked with fly tying in the NCFFF booth. That day, I went a day early so I was not on duty and could explore the show. I saw this man tying flies and asked if I could watch. After a half an hour, he asked if I wanted to sit. We did not talk much but he did not mind if I periodically asked questions. He was using some tools I had never seen before so I asked about them. I had a lunch break the next day, so I came back. I was teaching fly-tying at California Trout Fly Shop in Morgan Hill and arranged for Cal to tie and demonstrate his fly tying techniques and fly tying tools at "Cal Trout". Cal's fame preceded him, so the event was very well attended. He is such a gentleman and engaging a persona that I never failed to seek him out in the years to come.

Cal's patterns became explosively popular. To the fly tier, many tie his "patterns" and many of the patterns I have seen claim they were this or that fly but, when I look at them, they are often something quite different.

by Steve Salkow

"All of Cal's well known flies are generalist patterns, you won't find individual legs, or precise structure that limits the fly to a single genus and species; Cal was a trained artist, a calligrapher by trade, and his artistic skills imbued all of his work."

The Bird's Nest pattern was invented around 1984. Cal tested the fly on trips to Hat Creek, and handed them with a knowing wink to his friends, "Try these," was all he would say.

by Kbarton
Click for Larger image

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Dave Whitlock

Dave is a native Oklahoman who resigned his position as a research chemist, more than 40 years ago, and pooled his talents in painting, illustrating, writing, photography, fly fishing, fly tying and lecturing to embark on a new career as a full-time professional in the art of fly fishing.

Dave's art and writing appear regularly in many fly-fishing and sport publications such as Fly Fisherman Magazine, Fly Fishing and Tying Journal, Trout Magazine and others. He's written five books: Dave Whitlock's Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods, the L.L. Bean Fly Fishing Handbook, the L.L. Bean Bass Fly Fishing Handbook, Imitating and Fishing Natural Fish Foods for Lefty's Little Library and Trout - A Compact Guide for Fly Fishers.

He's also co-authored or contributed to many other books, including The Flytyer's Almanac, Second Flytyer's Almanac, Art Flick's Master Fly Tying Guide, McClane's Fishing Encyclopedia, Migel's Stream Conservation Book and Masters on the Nymph, and many others. He's illustrated over 20 books including Steve Raymond's Year of the Angler and Year of the Trout plus President Carter's Outdoor Journal. Dave demonstrates his fly-fishing and teaching skills in several videos and through guest appearances on televised fly-fishing programs.

Dave's experience and creative outlook on the whole spectrum of fly fishing have earned him the reputation of being one of the top professional fly fishers in the sport. He has been the recipient of many awards for his fly-fishing and fly-tying contributions, including induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, the Trout Hall of Fame, Max Ander's Wild Trout Award for his work on propagation of wild trout and the Federation of Fly Fishers' Conservation Man of the Year Award. Other honors include the Buz Buzeck Flytyer's Award which is the highest honor in the fly-tying world and recognized his innovativeness in new fly-tying patterns and his national fly-tying activities, and induction into the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum Hall of Fame. The FFF James E. Henshall Award was given for his work in warm-water fishing and conservation, and he received FFF's Ambassador Award for national and international promotion of fly fishing and conservation. Dave is in the Arkansas Game & Fish Hall of Fame and was given the Lifetime Contribution Award from the National American Fly Tackle Trade Association.

One of Dave's most notable contributions to wild trout management and preservation is the Whitlock-Vibert Box System - a unique and efficient in-stream salmonoid egg incubator and nursery devise. He worked for seven years researching and developing this system and then wrote and illustrated an instructional text, the FFF Whitlock -Vibert Box Handbook. We are currently in the process of creating an entirely new instructional dvd. Today, under the sponsorship of the Federation of Fly Fishers, this Whitlock-Vibert Box program is used throughout the world for introduction or enhancement of wild trout, char and salmon stocks. The WV Box was used to stock what became the world record brown trout of the White River system of Arkansas.

He has always been a champion of cool and warm, as well as cold water fisheries and is known internationally for his innovative and effective fly-tying designs, including the popular Dave's Hopper. All of Dave's work, especially his art, reflects the realism of nature and related fly-fishing subjects through the eyes of a true sportsman.

Dave and Emily_Whitlock.jpg
Click on the image to go to Dave and Emily's Website

Dave and Emily Whitlock Flyfishing
P.O.Box 60
Welling, OK 74471
Tel: 888-962-4576

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Richard "Doc" Stewart Nelson, MD

born October 6, 1923 died February 10, 2008 ( from )

Richard Stewart Nelson was born in 1923 to Adolph Lincoln Nelson and Ada Marie Gruber Nelson in Indianapolis, and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He was the second of seven children. Dick's fraternal grandparents had immigrated from Sweden and his maternal grandparents from Bavaria. Dick's father was well known in the automotive industry. He developed an aluminum piston with a steel strut known as the "Nelson Piston", and had also invented the "Nelson Gun Control" for World War I aircraft that fired through the propeller.

Dick attended the Jesuit University of Detroit High School and was very active in the Boy Scouts where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, as did his brothers. Dick taught ballroom dancing while attending the University of Detroit before joining the Army in 1943. While at St Louis University Medical School, he met his wife-to-be, our good friend, Lillian Marie Killian, who was studying Medical Technology and they tied the knot in St. Louis in 1949. Soon after graduating from Medical School, he was awarded his undergraduate degree from the University of Detroit, the only graduate from the University of Detroit who had received his Doctorate before receiving his Bachelor's Degree. When the Korean War broke out, in 1951 Dick enlisted in the Air Force where he earned the rank of Captain. Dick was discharged in 1954 and the family moved to San Jose, California. He practiced two years with another pediatrician, and in 1956 opened his own medical office in Campbell. In 1957 the family moved to their home in Los Gatos. Dick and Lillian raised five children: Mary Ann, David, John, Mike, and Bill.

Dick began his serious pursuit of fly fishing in 1969 and became a member of Flycasters, Inc. of San Jose, California. He served as the club's President in 1979 and has been its Fly Tying Chairman for over 35 years. He organized and documented the instruction of fly tying to the point where he and son David were major contributors to a new FFF Fly Fishing Instruction Manual. Dick was also past FFF and Northern California Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) Board member and a charter member of the Dutch American Fly Tyers Association.

In 1976, Dick created the Aztec series of acrylic streamer flies and developed a wide range of flies using acrylic knitting yards and other synthetic materials. He was one of the first tyers to use all synthetic materials. Fly fishers have caught trout; smallmouth, large mouth, and striped bass; as well as salmon; steelhead, pike, permit, tarpon, bonefish and dorado on Aztecs and related acrylic flies Dick designed. While he could have patented the Aztec and its progeny, he rather chose to share them with all fly fishers. Dick Nelson retired in December, 1986, after 32 years of pediatric medicine and devoted even more time to his favorite sport. Despite growing notoriety, Dick Nelson remained humble and committed to freely and unselfishly sharing his knowledge, ideas, flies and techniques with anyone interested in the art of fly tying. His many years of continuous service to his club, the Federation and to the sport are unparalleled. His fly tying techniques and seminars have touched tyers everywhere. Dick Nelson tied flies at more than 22 consecutive international FFF Conclaves and at many local and regional events including International Sportsman's Expositions.

Dick Nelson was awarded the most prestigious "Buz" Buszek Memorial Fly Tying Award in 1987 and the FFF Charles E. Brooks Memorial Award in 1997. His flies have been exhibited in the Ontario, Canada, Science Center; the FFF International Fly Fishing-Discovery Center; and in 1989 at a Fly Tyers of California exhibit at California State University.

One of Dick's sons, David Nelson, a San Francisco hand surgeon, was the founder and editor of the first three editions of the FFF book, Patterns of the Masters *. In 1989 Dick and David were the first father and son team to tie at a FFF International Conclave. Dick has been published in Patterns of the Masters , Outdoor Life , American Angler and Fly Tyer , Fly Fisherman , Double Haul and Fly Line. He has written extensive fly tying instruction materials and was working on his first book. Dick demonstrated fly tying at the 1990, 1992 and 1994 Fly Fairs in the Netherlands, at the 1992 Chatsworth Angling Fair in England, and at the 1988 Toronto, Canada, Forum. In 1996 Dick tied in Prague and Cesky Krumlov during the 16th World Fly Fishing Championships in the Czech Republic. He presented fly tying workshops in Canada, England, and the United States and gave many club programs.

In 1997, Doc Nelson suffered his first stroke, followed by an appendectomy which was complicated by a heart attack. Later that year he went back to the hospital for a prostate operation. During that procedure he had a heart attack and later suffered congestive heart failure. They rushed him back to the hospital and were able to bring him around and he again started doing better. In 2000, he underwent bypass surgery. While in the hospital recovering from that surgery, he worked in his mind on perfecting a fly called the "3-P Nymph" that he previously had been working on [Picture below]. The name comes from its three materials: partridge, peacock, and pheasant tail. He was fond of saying that he chose these three materials because some of the most productive flies are tied with these materials.

The 3-P Nymph

The stroke left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. However, this did not slow down his teaching, but taught his fly tying classes from the rehab facility, one-handed and in a wheelchair. With his faith and the love, care and commitment of his lovely wife Lillian and his family, he accepted his limitations and continued on. Dick began tying with one hand with Lillian being his other. Dick and Lillian teamed up and continued to tie at FFF International Conclaves, resuming the demonstrations he had done since the 1970's.


In 2000, the FFF established The Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award in recognition of Dick Nelson's lifetime devotion to teaching fly tying and his exceptional talents as a fly tyer and an innovator.

In 2003, Dick and Lillian Nelson, as well as his sons David and Bill Nelson, and Flycasters Dorothy Zinky, Jim Cramer, Ken Entin, and I were all at the August 2003 Federation of Fly Fishers International Conclave in Idaho Falls. This was the second year of the Award and we had nominated our good friend Benson Kanemoto. The FFF Awards Brunch was appropriately held on Thursday, August 7th, the 410th anniversary of the birth of Izaak Walton and the award was presented by its spokesman. Dick Nelson and the Nelson family were all tying together at Conclave.

Dick's 3-P Nymph was selected at Conclave as a FFF Fly of the Month and published in FFF ClubWire in October, 2006, as further evidence of Dick's fly tying innovations. Dick gave Bob Bates the recipe for the fly and they kept corresponding until Bob's fly got Dick's blessing as perfect.

Dick's health improved and then worsened. He was fine for a while, attending club meetings, continuing to supervise tying classes. Eventually, his eyesight declined and he had another stroke. With sheer will power and a loving, supporting family, he recovered most of his strength and was in the process of creating another innovative fly before he died. In the weeks before his death, he was still teaching fly tying. One student, who could not make the Flycaster's Tying Classes, was being given private lessons by Dick in his home. Two weeks before his death, he was scheduling tying classes. What a man, what a passion for fly tying and for life. Dick Nelson is a profile of courage, service, and commitment to the entire world of fly tying; truly, a fly fishing legend.


Dick with Andre Puyans, a famous Walnut Creek tier, in 1976 at the Northern California Fly Tying Show. Dick may have been an officer that year, judging from his nametag.

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Joseph Humphreys

Joseph Humphreys is a nationally known fly fisherman, conservationist, author, and educator.

He has been a fishing instructor to both common folks and VIPs for over forty years. His pupils have included former President Jimmy Carter, Vice President Richard Cheney, basketball-coaching legend Bobby Knight, and many others.


Joe Humphries - Penn State has long been recognized as a leader in fly fishing education. Many people in the angling community refer to PSU as Angling U. The course started in 1947 by George Harvey, "The Dean of Fly Fishing," and was taught by renowned Angler Joe Humphries. The history of this unique course is documented in the book George Harvey: Memories, Patterns and Tactics by Dan Shields, co-owner of the local Flyfisher's Paradise. When Joe retired in 1989, Vance McCullough very capably guided the program for eight years, and Mark Belden has been teaching it since 1997. Each angling innovator has been an excellent steward for the program, and has been instrumental in building a rich legacy for this unique program.

In the Spring of 2004, the Penn State Fly Fishing program was featured on the Outdoor Life Network's series Fly Fishing America. The program highlighted the near 3/4 of a entury of fly fishing education at Fly Fishing U.


Mr. Humphreys has authored numerous books and articles on the sport of Fly Fishing including: Trout Tactics, Trout Tactics Revised and On the Trout Stream. In addition to these major and well respected works, he is a regular contributor to regional and national journals and periodicals including: Fly Fisherman, Outdoor Life, Pennsylvania Angler and the fly fishing column of Flyrod and Reel Magazine.

Mr. Humphreys is also nationally known as one of the foremost educators in angling. For nineteen years, he directed the angling program at the Pennsylvania State University, providing introduction and foundation to young and old for a life-long enjoyment of this sport. His students have become the advocacy base that Pennsylvania waters will always require. In addition to his work as a clinician for Fenwick-Woodstream, Cortland Line Co., he has lectured throughout the United States enhancing the reputation of Pennsylvania fishing.

Trout Tactics by Joe Humphreys

Joe Humphreys has updated this classic volume with an all-new section packed with informative text, great photos, and useful line drawings by the original book's illustrator, George Lavanish. The new section of this second edition covers many of the same topics as the original book, but all of Humphrey's tips and anecdotes are brand new. For instance, in the chapter titled 'Water Temperatures', Humphreys cites recent studies to explain the different ways trout feed in response to various combinations of water temperature conditioning and pH levels. This second edition of Joe Humphrey's Trout Tactics should definitely be at the top of every trout fisherman's reading list.

  • George Harvey International Fly Tying Symposium Award for Teaching Fly Tying, 1999.
  • Charles R. Fox Rising Trout Award, 2002.
  • Flyfishing Federation International Conclave, Legend of Flyfishing Award, 2003.

Joe Humphreys Nymphing Techniques

Joe Humphrey teaches the essentials of nymph fly fishing. This full-length show was shot in Joe's home region of Pennsylvania.

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Gary LaFontaine

(May 12, 1945 to January 4, 2002) was a well-known fly fisherman and author. His books include Caddisflies, The Dry Fly: New Angles, Fly Fishing the Mountain Lakes, and Trout Flies: Proven Patterns. He died of Lou Gehrig's disease.

The nice part about fishing all the time is that an angler can spare moments for just sitting and watching the water. These spells don't even have to have a purpose, but it is hard not to discover some secrets during such interludes. The fisherman without a schedule doesn't need to rush about, casting furiously in a hunt for every possible trout. For this reason, he usually catches more of them.

It was in 1990 that he won the Arnold Gingrich Memorial Award for Lifetime Writing Achievements, after which he continued writing for another ten years. He was awarded Angler of the Year in 1996 by Fly, Rod and Reel magazine .

Challenge of the Trout was his first published in 1976. His second book Caddisflies gained him national recognition in 1981.[6] The next book he published was The Dry Fly: New Angles in 1990. Then Trout Flies: Proven Patterns in 1993 and then Flyfishing Mountain Lakes in 1996.


Gary's Fly Patterns

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Lefty Kreh

Bernard "Lefty" Kreh is an American fly fisherman, photographer and instructor currently residing in Hunt Valley, Maryland.[1] Kreh is most known for being one of the pioneers of Saltwater Fly fishing[2] and his book, "Fly Fishing in Salt Water," is considered the seminal volume on the subject.


Lefty Kreh has been an active outdoor writer for more than 40 years. He has written for almost every major outdoor magazine in this country and abroad. He is the retired outdoor editor of the Baltimore Sun, and holds a staff position on six outdoor magazines. He has participated in a number of videos in both this country and abroad. He has also participated in a number of television shows, and had own TV show in Baltim


Lefty has fished in all 50 states in the U.S. and all provinces of Canada, as well as having fished all over Central and South America, Europe, Iceland, Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand. He is a consultant to a number of companies including Sage Rod Company, Frontiers International Travel Agency, L. L. Bean, and Dupont.

He is the author of several books: "Fly Casting with Lefty Kreh", "Salt Water Fly Fishing", "Spinning Tips", "Advanced Fly Fishing Techniques", "Longer Fly Casting", "L.L. Bean Guide To Outdoor Photography", "Salt Water Fly Patterns", and "Lefty's Little Library", a series of individual books, each devoted to a particular area of fly fishing. He has also coauthored several other books.

Lefty at one time was an exhibition shooter, and in 1950 began giving casting exhibitions with fly, plug and spinning tackle. He has been teaching fly casting professionally since the mid 1950's. He has served on a number of committees and boards of national fly fishing organizations and has received numerous awards from these groups. For ten years he taught advanced nature photography for the National Wildlife Federation at their Outdoor Summit Conferences, and also served as photo consultant to L. L. Bean. Lefty has sold many photos to magazines, calendar companies and book publishers throughout the world. Perhaps his most proud accomplishment is that he has been married for more than 40 years to his wife, Evelyn.

His wife Evelyn Kreh, died in November 2011. They had two children, Victoria and Larry, and several grandchildren with the names of Emily, Ryan, William, Alexandria, Allyssa, Hillary, Matthew, and Sammantha.


Lefty's Deceiver is an artificial fly commonly categorized as a streamer fly which is fished under the water's surface. It is a popular and widely used pattern for both predacious freshwater and saltwater game fish. It is generally considered one of the top patterns to have in any fly box.

Kreh received the prestigious "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the American Sportfishing Association, has been honored with the "Lifetime Contribution Award" by the North American Fly Tackle Trade Association and is also in the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. In 1997 he was named "Angler of the Year" by Fly Rod and Reel Magazine. In 2003 Kreh was inducted to the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame. Kreh has served a number of years as Senior Advisor to Trout Unlimited, the Federation of Fly Fishers.

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Doug Swisher


Doug Swisher is one of the most accomplished fly fishermen and angling writers of our time. His co-authored book, "Selective Trout", is the all-time best-selling book on a fly fishing subject. He is also co-author of "Fly Fishing Strategy", "Tying the Swisher/Richards Flies", "Stoneflies", and "Emergers". These books and numerous articles have established Doug as one of the foremost contemporary experts on fly fishing. His clinics, seminars and schools, which he has taught for 20 years have established him as one of this century's preeminent angling teachers.

Doug has written and performed in 7 videotapes; these are Basic Fly Casting, Advanced Fly Casting, Fly Fishing Strategies, Advanced Fly Fishing Strategies, Tying the Hatch Simulators, Tying the Attractors, and Fly Fishing for Bass. They are all fine instructional videos, chock-full of Doug's expertise and made fun to watch and easy to understand by his natural teaching ability.

Selective Trout by Doug Swisher, Carl Richards was a sensation when first released in 1987. Selective Trout was hailed as the most revolutionary approach to trout-fly imitation in the twentieth century. Now this fly-fishing best-seller - with more than 150,000 copies sold - is back in a new, thoroughly updated edition, with hundreds of color photographs and scores of color illustrations by Dave Whitlock.The new Selective Trout is completely revised and expanded to include hatch charts for caddisflies and stoneflies as well as mayflies throughout the entire country, the latest entomological information, and a new chapter on terrestrials. In this new edition, the authors have refined their fly patterns and techniques with over half a century of combined experience to arrive at a down-to-earth guide that will help anglers catch more fish. Readers will learn how to tie a small arsenal of the most useful flies that will match the hatch and work virtually anywhere.Swisher and Richards have added new observations about trout behavior and information about how anglers can be more successful by recording data in a streamside log.

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Jack Dennis


Jack Dennis' professional fishing career began at the age of 12 when he sold his first flies. He started guiding visiting anglers at the age of 14. At 19, Jack opened his first fishing tackle business in Jackson, Wyoming, which as become a well-known international fly fishing emporium.

Jack's books, "Westem Trout Fly Tying Manual, Volumes I & 11", have sold over 300,000 copies, making it one of the best known fly fishing books in the world. Jack has also produced 15 fly fishing video tapes which have received critical acclaim throughout the fly fishing world winning several video of the year awards. Jack's newest book, "Tying Flies with Jack Dennis and Friends" has been a best seller.

Jack Dennis is the founder of Wyoming Galleries and the Jack Dennis Outdoor Shops; both are havens for sportsmen. His clients include everyone from U.S. presidents to movie stars. Jack has introduced fly fishing to actors Tom Selleck, Don Johnson, Harrison Ford, Richard Pryor, Woody Harrelson and sports figures such as Arnold Palmer, Don Meredith, "Dr. J", and many more.


Jack's fame as an expert fly fisherman continues to grow. He has appeared in four ABC television American Sportsmen Shows and fishing shows, including "Fishing the West, ESPN Fly Fishing America", as well as programs in Australia, Japan, Canada and New Zealand. He also does T.V. and magazine commercials for many products. In 1993, Jack and his friends Mike Lawson and Gary Lafontaine were featured in an Emmy award nominated feature produced by CBS on fishing in Yellowstone National Park. Jack was a member of the Trout Unlimited Team in the first ever Russia-United States Angling Games, and was on the U.S. Fly Fishing Team in World Fly Fishing Championships in both 1988 and 1991.

Jack is one of the founders of the Jackson Hole International One Fly competition, fly fishing's premiere event, where teams compete by selecting one fly and fishing it all day. Money is raised to save the Snake River Cutthroat, a threaten species, over ten years $100,000 has been raised. Just last year, the event celebrated its tenth anniversary. The event attracts people from all walks of life, including recent chairman's such as Chuck Yeager, Sen. Alan Simpson , legendary sports announcer Curt Gowdy, and Former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, a life long friend and fishing companion of Jack's. Most recently, Jack was named to the organizing committee to oversee the 17th Mitsubishi Motors World Fly Fishing Championships, to be held in September, 1997 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jack is an ambassador of fly fishing, advising the governments of New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and many western states on fly fishing tourism.

Jack is an consultant with the world's largest fishing and hunting travel agency, Frontiers, to help develop new and diverse fishing travel destinations. Most recently, he edited the Angler's Guide to New Zealand and was named Special Ambassador of Fly Fishing by the New Zealand Sport Fishing Industry. This year he agreed to help promote tourism and fishing for the Tasmanian Tourist Bureau. In 1989, Jack organized the fishing portion of the pre-summit, where Secretary of States, James Baker and Russian Ambassador, Eduard Shevardnadze. While discussing the World's problems, they took a break to try their hand at fly fishing. On that day, in front of the beautiful Teton Mountains in Jackson Hole, fly fishing may have helped change the world. Jack conceived the idea of the Traveling Fly Fisherman program where Mike Lawson, Gary LaFontaine and Jack travel the country giving fly fishing seminars. This successful program combining the talents of three fly fishing experts presenting lectures as a group was a first in the fly fishing scene. After seven years the group continues to present programs for the O'loughlin's sportsmen shows, fly fishing conclaves, and the National Fly Fishing Shows.

During the year, Jack is found on the lecture tour giving programs to fishing clubs, sports shows, and civic groups throughout the United States and the World. Most recently Woolrich clothing honored him by designing a shirt to recognize his contributions to fly fishing. A portion of sales from the shirt will be donate to the Trout Unlimited conservation group in Jack's name. Many companies have such Cortland Line Company and Scott Rod Company appointed him their fly fishing spokesman, as Jack has been involved for years with the development of tackle and consulting for such companies as Abel Reels, Simms, Action Optics, Dan Bailey flies, Griffith Tool Company and many other companies.

While Jack lectures over 100 days a year, he finds time to fish with his family, including two daughters and a son, all in college, and his wife of over 25 years, Sandra, an emergency room nurse who accompanies him on many of the fishing trips and shares his love for the outdoors.

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Terry Allen Hellekson

In loving memory of Terry Allen Hellekson (1938 - 2011)

Welcome to Terry Hellekson's website . Terry was a quiet passionate soul, whose love of life and fishing encompassed his day to day activities. Upon his dad's early departure, he wrote the books... his dad had always dreamed of writing. He was always eager to share his knowledge and learn more .... about how to catch the "big one". Terry accomplished many of those goals through his years of involvement in manufacturing flytying materials, retail stores and working with the area flyfishing groups.


He was born into the world of fly-fishing and spent my early life in Happy Camp, California, where his father had a fly-fishing guide service that focused primarily on the Klamath and Trinity rivers during the 1940s and 1950s. Naturally this early exposure to the world of fly-fishing brought about an interest in fly tying and eventually I became immersed in all phases of the fly-fishing business, both wholesale and retail.

The business afforded me the opportunity to have an on going exchange of information with leading experts in fly tying and fly-fishing. It also provided me the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world discovering sources of fly tying materials and other products that were sold on the international market. For instance, annual trips to northern India to buy furs and feathers also meant the opportunity to spend time in Kashmir fishing some of the rivers flowing out of Himalayas.

While growing up my father would allow me to tag along when he guided others in the Rocky Mountain States during the summer months. As a youth I was often left in a state of confusion. I never was able to determine if we were mixing business with pleasure or pleasure with business. From all of the destinations that we visited, the northwestern part of Montana always held the most attraction for me, especially the Kootenai River. At one time during this period I also fantasized about locating a small cabin on the river where I could fish throughout the summer and tie flies during the winter. After 50 years I now have the opportunity to visit Montana often and fish with my wife, Patricia, where we have the famous Kootenai River at our doorstep.

The focus of this web site is about fly-fishing and the tying of flies. Besides the articles I have written on fly-fishing and fly tying, I have authored three books, Popular Fly Patterns (1976), Fish Flies (1995), with now a revised edition, Fish Flies: The Encyclopedia of the Fly Tier's Art (2005), which is a culmination of a lifetime of work. This entire project has obviously become an obsession and it can only be described as a work in progress with yet another edition of Fish Flies simmering on the back burner. Your inputs will make it all possible.

Terry served in the Air Force for 20 years with three tours in Vietnam. He received many citations and medals, among them the Bronze Star. After retiring from the Air Force, Terry went on to become one of the most successful wholesale and retail fly fishing store (Fly Fishing Specialties) owner/operators in northern California.

He wrote "Popular Fly Patterns," "Fish Flies Volumes 1 and 2" and his latest book "Fish Flies, the Encyclopedia of the Fly Tier's Art." Terry also advocated teaching the sport's art to others. The world of fly-tying and fly-fishing enthusiasts have lost an unwavering comrade. Terry was also very well known for accomplishing anything that he set his mind to.

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Dave Hughes

I got hooked on the world of fly fishing and trout when I was a teenager growing up in Astoria, Oregon, which is where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean. That area abounded in salmon and steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout to catch, deer and elk and ducks to hunt, clams to dig, a monstrous river and much larger ocean to explore.

I sampled all those things, but over time narrowed my few free days to bounding up headwater streams, in pursuit of resident cutthroat trout. Something about the environment in which those trout lived--the sun striking through cathedrals of trees, the beautiful streams that plunged swiftly, then abruptly put on their brakes to pool deeply, the predaceous trout that left their lairs to arise suddenly into sunlight and strike my dry flies--pleased me, and kept me coming back. Even in the face of failure.

My first fly rod was a cheap bamboo that snapped a foot from its tip, got handed past two older brothers and down to me. My first fly line was a level D, about the thickness and weight of kite string. Somehow I learned to cast with that line, on that rod, though they were as poor a match as you might imagine.


I practiced continually in the back yard. I caught far more trees and huckleberry bushes than I ever did trout when I got onto water. But the persistent mystery of the streams, winding down out of those hills, and the native cutts, emerging up out of those pools to toss spray in the air, gave me no choice but to be on those waters, after those trout. I still fish them whenever I can.

I commanded a small Army signal detachment on the Mekong River, another monster river, for six months during the dust-up over there. I ordered out an Orvis catalog, and spent hours of spare time studying its pages, closing my eyes, letting those pictures of bamboo rods, reels, lines, and flies escort me in dreams back to my streams. I ordered an entire outfit, glass, not bamboo, for seventy-five dollars, had it waiting for me when I got home. It was a 6-footer, for a 6-weight line. To say it was brisk would be an understatement, but it was the first balanced fly fishing outfit I ever owned. It was perfect for those small streams. I still have that rod, and still fish it on those same streams.

When I got back to the states, I went back to college, audited an aquatic entomology course taught by Professor Norm Anderson, whose lab assistant was a fellow named Rick Hafele. He had all this knowledge about bugs that trout ate, and by then I owned a bamboo fly rod, so I conned Rick into going fishing with me by offering to let him take a few casts with my rod. He bit.

My favorite memory of that first day fishing was when a big golden stone adult descended out of the overhead canopy of alders, lowered its flaps and wheels, and flew lower and lower over the stream, probably on a mission to deposit the eggs of the next golden stone generation. Rick and I were eating lunch on a gravel bar. It was the age of Latex waders, and it was a hot day. Rick had his waders peeled down over his Levis, to cool off, while we ate. He saw that golden stone descending, grabbed his bug net with one hand, held up his waders with the other, and tore off down the middle of a long, shallow pool after it. I'll never forget the sight of Rick running and jumping in a shower of spray, flailing at the insect with his long-handled net, holding his waders up, trying to keep from tripping, and yelling "Holy s___! Holy s___!" He caught the poor bug, embalmed it, probably still has it in his extensive collection. We've been fishing together ever since, and something still always happens that makes the fishing a lot of fun.

Rick and I began teaching a workshop with the unwieldy name Entomology and the Artificial Fly. He did the insects. I did their imitations. We went all over the West with it. We noticed that our early students would spend the entire two-day seminar with their heads down, furiously writing notes, and would rarely look up at the slides we worked so hard to get. We wrote a 30-page booklet, handed it out to each attendee, so they could relax and enjoy the workshop. The great Don Roberts, then editor of "Flyfishing the West," got ahold of a copy of the booklet, told us to flesh it out and add photos and we'd have a book. We did, and it became Western Hatches.

That led to a life of going fishing, writing articles for all the fine fly fishing magazines that arose in the subsequent years, even for Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, and Field & Stream, the magazines I'd read when I was a kid. It also led to a long string of books--I've never figured out if I'm a fly fisherman who loves to write, or a writer who loves to fly fish, but I suspect behind it all I'm a reader who loves to write and loves to fly fish.

If that life seems simple--going fishing, coming home to write stories about what happened out there--think back to that first outfit of mine, the broken rod on which I tried to cast kite string. A life of writing is about like trying to cast that poorly-balanced outfit. I spend my average day now, in the studio I had built behind our house in Portland, fighting technology, which generally seems to win. I'm best to just set it all aside and go fishing.

That's what I'm going to do right now. See you out there!

Dave Hughes is the author of more than 20 books about fly fishing for trout.

My latest book, published in January, 2009, is Nymphs for Streams and Stillwaters , and has almost 400 pages of text and 1,000 color photos of naturals, nymphs, tying steps, and the types of water and ways in which you'll want to fish them.

I have written articles for such diverse magazines as "Salmon, Trout, Steelheader," "Flyfishing & Tying Journal," "Fly Rod & Reel," and "Fly Fisherman." I wrote the "Fly Fishing Success" column for "Fly Rod & Reel" for five years; those articles, and many others, were gathered into the book Taking Trout. I have been a contributing editor to "Field & Stream," have written for the classy "Gray's Sporting Journal," and for eight years was editor of "Flyfishing & Tying Journal."

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Buck Paysour


Buck Paysour was a reporter and editor for The Charlotte Observer, the Greensboro News & Record, and several other newspapers. He was the first recipient of the O.J. Coffin scholarship in journalism at the University of North Carolina, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Popular Science, Chicago Tribune, and Atlanta Journal. He was the author of three books about fishing in North Carolina, including: "Bass Fishing in North Carolina" and "Tar Heel/ Angler". He lives in Greensboro, NC and writes a weekly fishing column for ESP magazine.

People who love fly fishing love North Carolina, for no other place on earth offers a greater variety of fish to catch or more beautiful settings in which to catch them. Nobody loves fly fishing North Carolina's widely varied waters more than Buck Paysour. He has spent many years wandering from coast to mountains, fly fishing for speckled sea trout in the brackish sounds, for sunfish in the tannic black rivers, for largemouth bass in the Piedmont lakes, and for native wild trout in t

He has fished with many of the state's finest fly fishermen and fisherwomen, seeking their expert knowledge on where and how to catch every type of fish that can be caught on a fly rod in North Carolina waters.

"Bass Fishing in North Carolina " is not only packed with practical information on where and how to experience the best fly fishing available anywhere, but it is also a tribute to the grace and beauty of a much beloved sport and a much beloved state.

The sunrise over Currituck Sound lost a little of its luster on Wednesday, June 6, 2001. We lost our gentle friend and longtime outdoor columnist Buck Paysour after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.

"Buck touched the lives of thousands of people with his columns," said Irwin Smallwood, former managing editor of the News & Record and its predecessors, The Greensboro Daily News.

In May 2002, the NC Board of Transportation enacted a resolution naming a new bridge over Scranton Creek on U.S. 264 in Hyde County as "The Buck Paysour Memorial Bridge" in his honor. Go to Top

Jim Casada


Jim Casada is a son of North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains who enjoyed a marvelously misspent childhood thanks to growing up in a fly fishing family. He has enjoyed the pleasures of having a fly rod in hand for 50 of his 56 years. Along the way he earned his B. A. in history at King College (Bristol, TN) in 1960, an M. A. in British history at Virginia Tech (1968), and a PhD in British imperial history at Vanderbilt University (1972). He was Professor of History at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S. C. for 25 years before taking early retirement to become a full-time writer. As a scholar he produced several books and upwards of 100 scholarly articles on African exploration. He has been writing on the outdoors for almost two decades. Currently Casada serves on the staffs of a number of regional or national magazines. These include Sporting Classics (Senior Editor), Turkey & Turkey Hunting (Editor-at-Large), Deer & Deer Hunting (Contributing Editor), Southern Outdoors (Regional Editor), TroutSouth (Senior Contributor), Southern Sporting Journal (Fly Fishing Columnist), Tennessee Valley Outdoors (Fly Fishing Columnist), and Turkey Call (Book Review columnist). He has written upwards of 2,000 feature articles for magazines. Casada also covers the outdoors for two newspapers, The News & Record (Greensboro, N, C.) and The Herald (Rock Hill, S. C.). He is the author or editor of some 15 books, including the award-Winning Modern Fly Fishing. Currently Casada has three books in press and is completing work on a volume near and dear to his heart which will cover fly fishing in the Great Smokies. He has won upwards of 80 regional and national awards for his writing and photography. Among these is a Lifetime Membership in the Federation of Fly Fishers as a recipient of the organization's Arnold Gingrich Memorial Award for contributions to the literature of fly fishing in a series of biographical profiles he wrote for The Fly Fisher. He annually teaches fly fishing classes in the University of Tennessee's non-credit program, The Smoky Mountain Field School, with Classic Sports International in Montana, and in "The Great Montana Fly Fishing Getaway." Long active in writer's organizations, Casada is a post president and board chair of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, and he currently serves as Second Vice President of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.


Education and Professional Background

B. A. in history, King College, Bristol, TN (1964); M. A. in British history, Virginia Tech (1967); Ph. D. in British imperial history, Vanderbilt University (1972). Taught history at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC from 1972-1996 before taking early retirement to work as a full-time freelance writer/photographer. While at Winthrop rose to the rank of full professor, was recognized as the institution's Distinguished Professor (in 1983), and served two terms as chairman of the graduate faculty. Member and past president of the South Carolina Outdoor Press Association and Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. Past president of Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA).

Background Writing Experience

Author of more than 3,500 magazine and newspaper articles and columns on hunting, fishing, firearms, conservation and other outdoor-related tops. Author of a number of academic books and more than 100 articles in scholarly journals.


Modern Fly Fishing (1993), From Campsite to Kitchen (1994), The Complete Venison Cookbook (with Ann Casada, 1996), Wild Bounty (with Ann Casada - 2000), Innovative Turkey Hunting (2001), The Ultimate Venison Cookbook (with Ann Casada, 2004), Backyard Grilling (with Ann Casada, Kate Fiduccia and Teresa Marrone, 2004), Books Edited as a Freelancer, Hunting and Home in the Southern Heartland: The Best of Archibald Rutledge (1992), Tales of Whitetail: Archibald Rutledge's Great Deer Hunting Stories (1992), Last Casts and Stolen Hunts (with Chuck Wechsler - 1993), America's Greatest Game Bird: Archibald Rutledge's Great Turkey-Hunting Tales (1994), The Best of Horatio Bigelow (1994), The Lost Classics of Robert Ruark (1995), Bird Dog Days, Wingshooting Ways (1998), Africa's Greatest Hunter: The Lost Writings of Fred Selous (1999), Selous: A Hunting Legend (2000), Forgotten Tales and Vanished Trails (2001), The Marksmanship Manual (2004)

Forewords or Introductions for scores of books (mostly reprints of classics) in The African Collection (Live Oak Press); The Firearms Classics (Palladium Press); The Premier Collection (Premier Press); The Outdoor Tennessee Series (University of Tennessee Press); and many others. Lead researcher (and ghost wrote the latter half) of NRA: An American Legend (2002).

Seminar speaker on fly fishing and turkey hunting. Instructor in the University of Tennessee's Smoky Mountain Field School offering classes in fly fishing, backpacking and writing on nature.

Honors and Awards

Recipient of the J. Hammond Brown Memorial Award at the 2004 Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) annual conference, which was held June 2004 in Spokane, Wash.

Won numerous excellence in teaching awards as a university professor. Honorary Life Member and winner of the Federation of Fly Fishermen's Arnold Gingrich Memorial Award (for contributions to the literature of the sport). Winner of more than 125 regional and national awards for writing and photography. Among the most recent of these was first place in the Association for Conservation Information's Izaak Walton League contest for writing on outdoor ethics and first place for the outstanding outdoor book of 2001 published by a writer in the South. Recognized by the S. C. Wildlife Federation as the state's outstanding conservation communicator. Listed in numerous biographical directories including Who's Who in the Southeast.

Current Activities

Senior Editor and Book Columnist for Sporting Classics magazine; Editor-at-large for Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine; Contributing Editor for Petersen's Hunting, Sporting Clays, Whitetail News, The Hunting Magazine and Tennessee Valley Outdoors magazines; Outdoor Editor for Smoky Mountain Living; Outdoor Correspondent for The Herald (Rock Hill, SC) and the Spartanburg Herald-Journal; Field Editor for Cabela's Outfitter Journal; Editor of the Outdoor Tennessee Series (University of Tennessee Press) and the Firearms Classics Series (Palladium Press).

Regular contributor to regional and national magazines, with credits in Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Sports Afield, American Hunter, American Rifleman, Deer & Deer Hunting, Turkey Call, Wildlife in North Carolina, Tennessee Wildlife, South Carolina Wildlife, Crappie, Bassin', Bassmaster, Grouse Point Almanac, Trout, The Flyfisher, Pointing Dog Journal, Southern Sporting Journal, Cabela's Outfitter Journal, Outdoor World, North American Hunter, North American Fisherman, Hunting the Country and many others.

Books on fly fishing in the Great Smokies, Africa's greatest hunters, the Eddie Salter story, the life of Archibald Rutledge, anthology of Archibald Rutledge Christmas stories, and a life of Horace Kephart. Writes 125-150 magazine feature articles and 104 newspaper columns each year.

More>>Link to his web site

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Rod Walinchus

Fly fishing permeates all facets of Rod's life and career as a teacher, speaker, lecturer, published author, illustrator, and licensed outfitter in Livingston, Montana (where he's never far from great fishing). Rod literally grew up surrounded by fishing and never strayed far from the stream. "My parents have photos of me in a baby carriage in the middle of a Pennsylvania stream while they fished," he said.

Currently Rod is a member of the Fly Fishers Board of Governors for it's casting certification program and has appeared on ESPN2 Outdoors. Rod and his wife, Evelyn, reside in Livingston, where they own and operate Vision's West Gallery amid some of the country’s most stunning scenery. He even has a studio within casting range of the fabled Yellowstone River. He is the author of Fly Fishing the North Platte River, The Flies of Southern Wyoming I and II, and is co-author of Fly Fishing the Yellowstone River. Currently, he is editor and co-publisher of The Angler's Journal, a quarterly magazine dealing with spring creeks and tailwaters around the world. He is also on the staff of Fly Fisherman magazine as contributing artist and Salt Water Fly Fishing as an illustrator. His naturalistic watercolors of wildlife and sporting scenes have earned him numerous awards and the reputation as "the fastest pen in the west."

Rod is a certified casting instructor and spends much of his time on the water as a guide in the Yellowstone area. The constant exposure helps keep his art fresh, he said. "I draw, paint, write and fish - life is good."

Amazon list two pages of books authored by Rod.
Fly Fishing the Yellowstone, by Rod Walinchus and Tom Travis.
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Mike Lawson


Mike is a noted author, fly tier, and lecturer. His book, Spring Creeks , has already become a classic. His newest book, Fly Fishing Guide to the Henry's Fork, is a must have for anyone planning to fish these storied waters. He is also featured in several DVDs including the Henry’s Fork and South Fork of the Snake.

Mike is a strong supporter of the conservation effort to protect our resources. He is a founding member and life member of the Henry's Fork Foundation and a founder of the Upper Snake River Fly Fishers . He is a member of the Madison River Foundation and a life member of the Federation of Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited.

He has always strived to be the best outfitter in the fly fishing business. He remains committed to the owner, management, shop staff, guides and especially the customers and guests. His ultimate objective is for the total experience of every individual to meet or exceed their expectations.

Mike has traveled to many of the greatest fly fishing destinations throughout the world and he continues to explore new opportunities. Most of his exploits occur during the winter months when fishing days in Idaho are limited. The great fly fishing he has experienced throughout the world only serves to reinforce his conviction that the best is right in his own backyard. His heart will always be with the home waters he has loved and enjoyed all of his life.


Mike Lawson was born and raised in southeastern Idaho, where he forged a reputation as a resident expert on the Henry’s Fork. In 1977, he and his wife, Sheralee, opened Henry’s Fork Anglers fly shop in Last Chance, Idaho. The shop is a full service fly-fishing specialty shop that carries everything from flies to outdoor clothing. Lawson has extensive experience outside his homewaters, guiding fly-fishing trips regularly to Alaska, New Zealand, Tasmania, Christmas Island, Mexico and the Florida Keys.

His work at the vise is as respected as his experience on the river. Since 1979, Lawson has been a contract fly tier for Umpqua Feather Merchants . He is also a member of the Sage Advisory Team.

Lawson has been featured in several fly-fishing publications and videos. He has authored articles and shot photographs for Fly Fisherman, Fly Fishing for Trout, Fly Fisher Trout Magazine and American Angler. His has contributed to several books and is currently writing his first book entitled Spring Creeks.

Mike is also an active conservationist. He was a founding member of the Henry's Fork Foundation, serves on the board of the Jackson One Fly Foundation, a life member of the Federation of Fly Fishers, a life member of Trout Unlimited and an active member of the Nature Conservancy, Conservation Fund, Teton Regional Land Trust and several other conservation organizations.

Mike and Sheralee have a beautiful home overlooking the Henry's Fork in St. Anthony. They have two sons, Shaun and Christopher and one daughter, Jeanette. Shaun is the general manager of South Fork Outfitters in Swan Valley, Idaho. Jeanette is a computer specialist for Buck's Bags in Boise, Idaho and Chris guides for Henry's Fork Anglers in the summer and attends BYU-Idaho in the winter where he is majoring in recreational leadership and business.

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Bob Clouser


Bob's love of the outdoors, especially fishing, led him into the fishing business. He continues to guide, teach and share his enjoyment with others.

Seminar's, Schools and Trips Bob now teaches fly tying, fly casting and fishing. His casting demonstrations, using visual aids and casting weighted flies and lines are very popular. Bob holds freshwater and saltwater fly fishing/casting schools at various locations around the country. He also hosts trips to great fresh and saltwater fishing locations.

Presentations Clouser's lectures, tying demonstrations and presentations are given nationwide. He is sought after for his presentations on "Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass"- Catching smallmouth from top to bottom using flies and "Fly Fishing Adventures", about various species that can be caught on fly rod and flies. Bob's Fly Casting Demonstration, Casting Weighted Flies and Lines is highly sought after. Bob is frequently called upon for participating in charity events.

Clouser's Flies: Tying and Fishing the Fly Patterns of Bob Clouser


Bob Clouser, tying his clouser_deep_minnow pattern, is at the 2009 Southern Council Conclave


January 14, 2010

Tier/Instructor: Larry Murphy

Warmwater pattern

  • Hook: Mustad 71S Stainless Steel - Size 2
  • Thread: 6/0 Uni-thread Lt Cahill
  • Eyes: 1/30 oz. metallic barbell eyes
  • Belly: White deer-tail fibers
  • Middle: Rainbow Krystal Flash
  • Back: Chartreuse deer-tail fibers
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A.K. Best

A.K. Rates 'Best' in Fly Fishing World By D'Arcy Egan

January 11, 2008 at 8:04 AM

A.K. Best is a world class fly tyer, and loves to tell a good fly fishing story.


His views on the sport are sometimes humorous, always educational and, on occasion, 180 degrees from what a fly fisher thought to be gospel of the venerable sport.

I caught up with the heralded book and magazine author, photographer and fly fisherman by telephone from Boulder, Colo., as he prepared to head to Cleveland. He will tackle a crowd of fly fishermen at The Trout Club of the Museum of Natural History on Wednesday (Jan. 16), where he is featured at the club's winter dinner at the museum.

"I'm 74,' said Best, "but still feel young and invincible."

And ready to express opinions that can shake a fly fisherman's world.

Most fishermen, including fly fishers, want the biggest, baddest of fish on the end of their line. Best is happiest on little Colorado streams, where few trout grow to trophy size.

"I most enjoy the little feeder streams small enough to have a spider web across them," said Best, with a laugh. "I don't particularly care how big a fish is - nor do I count the number of fish I catch."

So many fly fishers test their talent with light tackle. They cast wispy ought-weight fly rods and spider web leaders with teensy-tiny flies.

Best doesn't carry anything lighter than a 5-weight fly rod. He wants to quickly land and release his trout, not tire them to death.

"You don't go deer hunting with a .22 rifle," he said. "Fish enough and some day you're going to hook a trophy - and maybe land it, if you have the right equipment."

Most credit the movie "A River Runs Through It" with rejuvenating fly fishing.

"Everyone says the movie was the cause of double-digit growth in fly fishing," he said. "We were enjoying double digit growth before the movie came out - but the movie got the blame.

"Because of the movie we thought we'd have more people to protect the resource. All we got was crowds, a feeding frenzy on the western streams. It might be the old timer in me speaking, but fly fishing was better when things were much simpler."

He'll cruise into Cleveland with a slide show that will open a fly tier's eyes.

"I hope it makes people look at the hatches a little differently," said Best. "Fly tiers leave a lot of stuff out, trying to match an insect perfectly.

"But they don't. Most every mayfly has a darker thorax than abdomen, but most flies don't reflect that. And they don't tie the wings long enough. Mayflies don't read proportion charts. Their wings are going to be as long as nature wants them."

Most expect such a prolific writer and fly tying expert to be huddled over a fly-tying vise or computer on snowy, Colorado evenings.

More often than not, Best is in the air and on the road, entertaining fly anglers around the country.

"I do a lot of writing and photography, and tie about 500 dozen flies each year," said Best. "But I'm appearing somewhere just about every weekend from January to April. I enjoy these winter days on the road, talking about fly fishing."

His favorite flies are dry flies. He most often relies on an Olive Quill Dun and a Biot-Bodied Green Drake on a long-shanked No. 12 hook - it brings out all of the fish, he said - that are perfect for his small Colorado streams.

The self-taught fly fisherman has long known his goal in life.

"It's to have fun and catch fish," he said.

At that, he's a rousing success.

Over 100 articles written for the following:

  • Contributor, "From The Vise" column for Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide.
  • Contributor Editor, Fly Rod and Reel Magazine.
  • Column, "A. K.'s Corner", Fly Rod & Reel Web Site
  • Fly Tying Editor, Fly Tying Board, VFS
  • Contributor: "The Fly Tyer" magazine
  • Lectured and demonstrated fly fishing and fly tying from coast to coast and taught classes in fly tying in Colorado, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Wyoming, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Calgary, Alberta Canada, California, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, Arkansas, Alaska, Texas, Toronto, Canada, Denmark, and the National Fly Tiers Symposium in New Jersey.
  • Have made some appearances which were sponsored by "The American Center for the West", of Colorado University in Boulder, Colorado to present an outdoorsman's look at the Rocky Mountain environment.
  • Fly fished for Tarpon, Bonefish, Stripped Bass, Blue Fish, Bass, Pike, Blue Gills, Crappie, Steelhead, Grayling, Char, Salmon, and all species of trout.
  • Originated a series of dyed quill body dry flies which are being produced by Umpqua Feather Merchants, Inc. of Glide Oregon in their overseas fly tying factories and sold throughout the nation and parts of Europe and Asia.
  • Recently (11/98), produced with Video Adventures of Portland, OR, a series of video tapes which include: "Tying Dry Flies" 120 min. (based on the book, "Production Fly Tying"), "Tying Blue Wing Olives" 60 min., "Tying Caddis & Midges" 60 min., "Tying Callibaetis and Green Drakes" 60 min., "Tying Nymphs & Wet" 60 min., and "Tying Terrestrials" 60 min. An Additional 5 tapes were produced in early '99: "Tying Tiny Dry Flies" 55 min., "Tying Streamers" 100 min., "Tying With Quills" 60 min., "Techniques for Tying Saltwater Flies" 120 min., "Tying Biot Duns and Melon Quills" 60 min. All tapes are based on the books, "Production Fly Tying" and "A. K.'s Fly Box ."
  • Quill body flies were exhibited in Boulder, CO and Moscow, ID Museums through the program: "Confluence, Art and the Trout Fly".

A.K.Best books on Amazon

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He has been a fly fisher since 1955, and since 1972 has taught classes and lectured internationally on all aspects of fly fishing for trout and salmon. A free-lance writer and photographer and a former active member of the Outdoor Writer's Association of America, Gary is also Midwest Field Editor for Fly Fisherman magazine, Editor at Large for the Virtual Fly Shop, and Fly Fishing Columnist for Midwest fly Fisher. He has written five best-selling books on fly fishing: "Nymphing," "Naturals," " The Borger Color System," "Designing Trout Flies," and "Presentation." Gary pioneered fly fishing video instruction with his release of "Nymphing" in 1982. Since then he has appeared in four videos for the 3M Company; and in cooperation with the Federation of Fly Fishers, produced the environmental video "Where The Trout Are." His video production company has produced an additional 21, internationally acclaimed videos in the "Skills of Fly Fishing Series." This production work has earned him a listing in "Who's Who in Entertainment."

Gary was also a consultant on Robert Redford's movie "A River Runs Through It." With his award-winning CD/cassette tape, "My Madison," he pioneered fly fishing, nature-music audios. In addition, Gary is a the designer of the Weinbrenner Ultimate Wading Shoe, the Gary Borger Fly Vest, the Gary Borger Signature Fly Lines, and many other innovative angling products and unique fly designs. He is a founding board member of the River Alliance of Wisconsin, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federation of Fly Fisher's fly casting instructor certification program, a member of The Order of the Jungle Cock, Trout Unlimited, United Fly Tyers, the Federation of Fly Fishers, the American Museum of Fly Fishing, the Catskill Fly Fishing Center, and other conservation organizations. He is a recipient of the Ross Allen Merigold Complete Angler Memorial Award, the Charles K. Fox Rising Trout Award, the Joan and Lee Wullf Conservation award, and is internationally recognized for his conservation efforts; in recognition of this work he received the first Lew Jewett


Memorial Life Membership in the Federation of Fly Fishers in 1979. Gary is currently Executive Vice President of Targus Fly and Feather, Inc.

In 2013, Gary was named one of the top seven most influential fly fishers of the last 50 years by Canada’s Fly Fusion Magazine. Gary is currently working on a 20 book series entitled Fly Fishing with his son Jason.

For more information on Gary's artwork, writing, books and appearances visit his web site at . Go to Top

Ed Jaworowski


Ed Jaworowski is a writer, photographer and an exceptional caster with a passion and a desire to share his skills with others. In addition to teaching casting and fly fishing for more than 30 years, Ed has authored four books: "The Cast", "Troubleshooting the Cast," "PopFleyes," and "Essential Saltwater Flies." He also served as consultant and contributor to "The Complete Book of Fly Fishing," and his writings have been featured in more than 200 publications and more than 20 angling periodicals here and abroad since 1977. He has more than 50 years of fly tying experience, has fished and conducted casting clinics around much of the western hemisphere, and is in demand as a speaker. Ed is making significant contributions to the design of TFO rods and related products and is assisting in the development of casting schools and other educational programs.

Lefty Kreh has summed it up nicely by saying: "Ed is a well-rounded freshwater and saltwater fly fisherman who understands fly casting techniques and principles better than any man I have ever met." Ed recently retired from Villanova University, where he was on staff for more than 40 years and rose to the position of Department Chair/Classical Studies. He and his wife, Michele, have been married for 16 years and reside in Chester Springs, PA, near Philadelphia. Ed was a bachelor for 51 years, but says, "I have had the unspeakable joy of inheriting Michele's three wonderful children and three beautiful granddaughters."

His recent retirement from academia will allow him to devote even more time to his special interest in the things of fly fishing, which are on-going at Temple Fork Outfitters.

see DVD - The Complete Cast - by Lefty Kreh and Ed Jaworowski

  • THE CAST (Stackpole Books 1992), photographs and Foreword by Lefty Kreh; PA Outdoor Writers Assn. "Best Book" and publisher's design awards; also published in England and Norway.
  • COMPLETE BOOK OF FLY FISHING (Mitchell Beazley, London 1998; Readers Digest, NY 1999), editorial consultant and contributing author.
  • TROUBLESHOOTING THE CAST (Stackpole Books, 1999)

Charles R. Meck


Charles R. Meck, a lifelong Pennsylvania resident and the author of several successful books on fly-fishing, has fished virtually every trout stream in the state of Pennsylvania. He has also fished throughout the Mid-Atlantic States, Arizona and New Mexico.

Charlie Meck, a.k.a. Mr. Mayfly, has fly fished for more than 50 years and has been writing about his flyfishing experiences since the mid-1960s. His first book, "Meeting and Fishing the Hatches", was published in 1977. Nine books later, Charlie Meck has just released his tenth book, "101 Innovative Fly Tying Tips " which show fly tying short cuts utilizing hundreds of photos to detail these tricks of the trade.

When he is not fishing, he is writing, teaching or speaking. His numerous works include the third edition of Trout Streams and Hatches of Pennsylvania , Arizona Trout Streams and Their Hatches, Mid-Atlantic Trout Streams and Their Hatches, Fishing Small Streams with a Fly Rod, and Meeting and Fishing the Hatches. His nation wide public appearances include book signings, seminars, work shops and Fly Fishing shows.

He lives in Pennsylvania Furnace, Pennsylvania and spends his winters fishing out of Mesa, Arizona.

see Author and Fly Fisherman Charles R. Meck at his website

    See his book list.

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Ed Engle


Catching Difficult Trout

Hi, I'm Ed Engle. I got into fly fishing the same way a lot of you did. My parents gave me a "starter" kit that included a rod, reel, backing, line, and leader. There weren't a lot of people teaching fly casting at the time, so I pretty much taught myself. I paid for that later on, too. Fortunately, I was lucky to make friends with some great casters who helped me correct some of my idiosyncrasies. My first fly fishing trips were to the South Platte River which was about a 45 minute drive from my house. Even then the South Platte was known nationally as a "technical" river. Catching trout required small flies and good presentations. I'd go up to the river by myself and flail around trying to learn as much as I could. Once in awhile I'd run into a more experienced angler who would give me a tip. I fished the river for four months before I caught a trout. By that time I was tying my own flies because I couldn't afford to keep replacing all the store-bought ones I was losing. I actually caught my first trout with a fly I has tied.

I didn't stop with just catching some trout on a fly rod. The next thing I knew I was working part time for Kent Brekke at the old Angler's Covey in Colorado Springs , Colorado and writing a fly fishing newspaper column for the Colorado Springs Sun. Before long I was writing magazine stories for most of the fly fishing publications and guiding fly fishers on the South Platte River. Next came my first book, Fly Fishing the Tailwaters. After that I started giving slide shows to fly fishing clubs and all of a sudden I was a struggling "professional". fly fisherman. It had never been my plan to be a full time fly fisher, but here I am.

A lot of water has gone down the river since those early days. I still think the point of fishing is to catch fish, but I'm not as possessed by it now as I was when I started out. I like everything about fly fishing: the water, the places I go to catch fish, the casts, flies, boats and the friends I've made. And more than anything, it has always come down to the fish themselves for me. Whether it's a trout, king salmon, bonefish, permit or bluegill-I just like looking at them, watching them swim, seeing what they do and how they act. And I like sharing all of this with others through my books, magazine stories, slide presentations, guided fishing trips and classes."

To find out more about Ed Engle and his service, please check him out on his website at

Ed's Books:


Brian Horsley and Sarah Gardner


Brian Horsley and Sarah Gardner know:
  • Albacore, bluefish, stripers, redfish, cobia, speckled trout, sharks, Spanish mackerel, tuna, sailfish and amberjacks like most of us know our immediate family. Maybe better.
  • Hidden channels to places in the Pamlico backcountry that others can't get to or find.
  • Sunken German U-boats and lost schooners loaded with knuckle-busting amberjacks.
  • How to interpret a fish-finder screen with clairvoyant powers.
  • What it's like to be the first saltwater fly fishing guide in North Carolina.
  • How to cast a throw net.
  • How to land a 200-pound blue marlin on a fly rod.
  • How to run the Oregon Inlet bar in big water.
  • Southern hospitality.
  • How to spin a yarn or two. Or three. And when to listen.
  • How to evaluate a fly rod and provide valuable design input.
  • How to swing a hammer, grow a garden and fry a mean Spanish mackerel.
  • How to spend 300 days a year on the water and be excited about every single one.
  • How to find the best sushi joint in the South.
  • Secret surf breaks where you can ride a longboard in solitude and find big winter stripers from the beach.
  • How to read the Outer Banks beaches, birds, tides and wind.

More than anything, Brian and Sarah know their water and how to enjoy it. Fortunately for us, nothing makes them happier than sharing the fun.

Adapted from, Catalog Stories "Outer Banks Waterman" Sarah Gardner:
  • She can cast farther than most people with her left hand.
  • She's right-handed.
  • She guides well over 200 trips a year and still has a normal life.
  • She's an IGFA world record holder several times over.
  • She frequently finds fish when others can't.
  • She has redfish, stripers, trout, blues and albacore at her doorstep on North Carolina's famed Outer Banks.

Outer Banks Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Charters

Welcome to the world of Saltwater Fly Fishing and the home of Flat Out and Fly Girl fishing charters, the most relaxing and enjoyable fly and light tackle fishing trips the Outer Banks has to offer. Experienced anglers and families or anglers looking for a first time fishing adventure will feel equally at home with us.

We run half or full day fishing trips in the sound and near-shore ocean depending on weather and fish availability. No matter what your skill level, our goal is to have you casting to, hooking and fighting your own fish.

Our specially equipped 23 foot center consoles Jones Brothers Boats are a dream to fish from and are stocked with top quality tackle for you to use (or you can bring your own).

For your convenience our boats are docked at the world famous Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, located just minutes from great fishing. Oregon Inlet Fishing Center is easy to find, simple to book a trip through, has a well-provisioned ships store and a fast fish cleaning service.

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Alex Bell


Written By Jim Brady

After a career in education that culminated in serving as principal of Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva, NC, he thought he could finally pursue his lifelong passion for fly fishing on an uninterrupted basis. He established AB's fly fishing guide service in Sylva to offer guiding services across western North Carolina.

It was not to be, at least in a conventional sense. When Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julie Spiro needed help, she corralled Alex and fellow fly fishermen Bobby Kilby and Craig Distil. Their task was to find a way to showcase the wonderful fly fishing in western North Carolina to increase tourism. Like many teachers, Alex was also a coach; in his case, the golf coach. As a golfer, he was aware of the Robert Trent Jones golf trail in Mississippi. He wondered if a fly fishing trail existed. Research said no and the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail was born.


The trail encompasses fifteen rivers and streams in Jackson County. "The trail has something for everyone," says Alex. "If you like big water or small creeks, the trail has it." If you like to get out of your car and into the water or prefer to hike before you fish, there are locales to suit your taste. Delayed harvest, hatchery supported and wild trout waters are in the mix. He says "there's something for the beginner and the expert." Although the first trail map was published in the depths of the recession in 2009, the trail has been a success. Currently thirty percent of all inquires to the Chamber are related to fly fishing. The trail remains the first and sole fly fishing destination of its kind in the country.

On Saturday March 3, Alex Bell will bring his passion for fly fishing to the Nat Greene Flyfishers' annual banquet and seminar. Alex will present a daytime seminar on how to fish Jackson county

waters including small stream and delayed harvest techniques. He will also demonstrate the traditional Japanese style of fly fishing called Tenkara, which challenges Western ideas about the sport. His evening talk will highlight the WNC fly fishing trail.

Not content to operate an ordinary guiding business, Alex organized "Operation Grateful Guide" as a way of giving back to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He offers a free day of fishing on the Tuckasegee River to veterans to teach them a new sport and provide a carefree day on the water. His early success with the program has been acknowledged by Pentagon personnel and a former brigadier general now in charge of the armed services division of the YMCA. Alex hopes to make the program national in scope. He says the door is open for other guides to participate; all they need do is contact him.

Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail Report: April 2016

The WNC Fly Fishing Trail was created in the Winter of 2008-09. The first trail maps were printed and distributed in February of 2009. Since that time over 160,000 maps have been printed and given to anglers across the nation. If anyone would like a copy of the map, or trail information, you can contact Alex Bell at AB's Fly Fishing Guide Service, or go to, or to the trail website at You can also visit or call 800.962.1911 , or 828.226.3833, for a list of accommodations.

The trail consists of 15 spots throughout Jackson County and the Cherokee Indian Reservation. This report, and those to follow, will combine some of the small streams, delayed harvest section of the Tuckasegee River, and the trophy section on Raven's Fork in Cherokee.

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George Daniel


Photo by Lance Wilt

Article writtern by Jim Brady

As a young boy, George Daniel had an enviable problem. He lived in a rural area in northcentral Pennsylvania where there was little to do except explore the local trout stream. The stream had a section reserved for children so George had three miles of water virtually to himself. He developed a love of dry fly fishing and the willing wild brook trout that greedily accepted his offerings.

His angling life abruptly changed at the age of fourteen when his family moved to central Pennsylvania, famous for its spring-fed limestone streams. The brown trout in these waters spend most of their time feeding on the stream bottom. To be successful, George had to learn how to coax fish, sight unseen, to artificial nymphs, flies that mimic aquatic insects living amid the rubble on stream beds. George quickly adapted his approach to these new conditions. He soon became a very efficient nymph fisherman.

In 2003 he competed in regional qualifying events for selecting members of the US fly fishing team. He made the team and spent the next six years traveling the world meeting and competing against the world's most skilled fly fisherman.

Various styles of nymph fishing are named after the countries in which the techniques originated, such as Polish, Czech and French nymphing. George fished alongside the most highly skilled practitioners of these methods and successfully incorporated their techniques into his skill set. His long list of accomplishments include individual and US team gold medals at the US nationals in 2009 and twice earning the title of US fly fishing champion. He has served as head coach of the US youth fly fishing team and presently coaches the North Carolina fly fishing team.

On Saturday, March 2, the Nat Greene Fly Fishers will host George as the featured speaker at its annual banquet and seminar. He will offer a technically oriented seminar during the day directed at helping fishermen improve their skills. He will emphasize how to cover the water for the highest return, leader design and how to fish your flies at the desired depth. George's visit marks a rare opportunity for the average fly fisherman to learn from someone at the pinnacle of the sport. On Saturday evening, he will present a family-oriented presentation during the banquet on the beauty of fly fishing.

George has maintained his perspective while achieving mastery of his craft. When asked what advice he would give a beginner, he said concentrate on developing good technique, tie and fish patterns that are roughly impressionistic of food forms and finally, "keep it simple." Hearing someone at the top of their game reiterate what most fishermen learn after years of trial and error is refreshing, indeed. It means there's hope for the rest of us. Go to Top

Tom Earnhardt


Tom Earnhardt, a business and environmental lawyer and professor, has thirty-five years of experience fishing in fresh and salt water around the globe. Extremely active as a volunteer in many conservation and fishing organizations, Tom has also taught fly casting and fly tying in the U.S. and abroad. He has written and has had photographs published in several fishing magazines. Tom is a widely renowned speaker, author, and instructor, and is well regarded among the legends of this great sport. He is seen frequently on North Carolina Public Televisions "Carolina Outdoor Journal". Tom lives, fishes, and writes out of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Comments on Tom Earnhardt's book, FLY FISHING THE TIDEWATERS

FLY FISHING THE TIDEWATERS is a colorful and often witty guide to the saltwater fly-fishing frontier that's right next door. Full-color paintings of the gamefish, and color plates of the most useful flies-plus color photos of the inshore and tidal waters-open the door to the shallow water, fly-fishing wonderland along the Middle Atlantic southeastern seaboard, as well as fly-fishing options on the Gulf Coast and in similar areas.

Earnhardt uses the approach of a guide and teacher, showing both the experienced angler and those just getting started how to use a fly rod for blues, striped bass, redfish, sea trout, bonito, mackerel, dolphin, and other saltwater gamefish. As such, his book is of great value to all saltwater fly fishers, wherever they fish.

FLY FISHING THE TIDEWATERS is the first book to acknowledge that eastern and Gulf anglers can drive (not fly) to some of the best saltwater angling in the world.

"Thirty years ago, when saltwater fly fishing was practically unheard of along the mid-Atlantic, Tom Earnhardt was already perfecting techniques and exploring this terrific, close-to-home resource. FLY FISHING THE TIDEWATERS is the payoff, and it's must reading for new-comers and old hands alike." - JIM DEAN, Editor, Wildlife in North Carolina

"Having spent a morning fly fishing for striped bass with Tom Earnhardt, I can attest that the cheerful good sense found on every page of FLY FISHING THE TIDEWATERS is just like being with the man him-self. His eagerness to teach and learn translates into a fun-filled experience for everyone, and for whomever is lucky enough to read this excellent book." - GEORGE REIGER, author of Heron Hill Chronicle

"Tom Earnhardt is without equal when it comes to knowledge of, and personal experience in, FLY FISHING THE TIDEWATERS of Eastern and Gulf shores. His expertise is reflected time and again throughout this well written, informative, easy read. If you want to approach tidewater fly fishing the right way, then this superb book is a must-for coastal fly anglers, everywhere." - DAN BLANTON

"FLY FISHING THE TIDEWATERS brings focus to the most fertile fishing grounds in the U.S. to fly fishers everywhere. How to, where to, when to... no secrets. Tom Earnhardt's work is thorough and to the, point. It's like having a fishin' buddy in the area." -BOB POPOVICS

"Tom is one of the best saltwater fly fishermen I have known around the world. I don't care where you live, in the U.S. or in other countries, if you fish the inshore waters, this book will help you." - LEFTY KREH

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Lee Wulff

(February 10, 1905 – April 28, 1991)
written by Jack Samson and reviewed by Louis Bignami

When told of his death, Charles Kurault, host of CBS's "Sunday Morning" said " Lee Wulff was to fly fishing what Einstein was to physics."

Ed Zern said, ". . . Lee's name will continue to stand, as it does today, for the concept of game fish as too valuable and too precious to be caught only once."

Only a writer of Jack Samson's experience and honed skills could have done justice to Lee Wulff who did more to bring flyfishing to its present angling eminence than any other. This year's "must read" for fly fishers, and a wonderful read for anyone who glories in the variety of human achievement.

Jack Samson wrote successful biographies of Ernest Thompson Seaton and General Claire Chenault of Flying Tiger's Fame before he tacked Lee Wulff's. Good thing too. Lee Wulff did everything -- and most things two or three times. Let's see: father, or at least Godfather, of catch and release, trained engineer, skilled artist, wonderful pilot. Wulff flies, the Portland hitch, opening up Newfoundland tourism for tuna and Atlantic Salmon, founding father of both the Atlantic Salmon Federation and Fly Fishing, book author, multiple record holder of fly and all-tackle records, the list goes on an on. We was even a three sport athlete in college.

Joan Wulff

This wonderful biography shows Wullf was primarily an artist who expressed his insights on paper, in print, with a fly rod and at the controls of an aircraft. Art never got less than Wullf's complete concentration even at the cost of his personal life. His focus at the stream, honed by early years in Alaska was legendary. He simply saw more fish, cast more gracefully, and played fish better than anyone else. Then he managed to juggle a host of other activities with panache and style. Lee defined "unique."

Tying without a vice

A fine artist trained in Paris, Wulff's manual dexterity was beyond legend. What else can you say of a size #28 fly tied without a vise? What can you say when this same size fly took a salmon as Lee's sensitive fingers controlled the tiny fly on the six and seven foot fly rods he favored.

The other thread of the tapestry of Lee's life was rawboned toughness. He could slug it out with a tuna for over 13 hours. At 80 he ran chainsaws and dozers. He fought a several hundred pound Pacific blue marlin on a fly rod for an hour and a half off Golfito, Costa Rica at age 85. The next day he hooked a potential world record Pacific sailfish and fought it for six hours before the hook pulled out.

Lee died in his 86th year at the controls of his light plane. Nobody who knew Lee thought the crash killed him. His co-pilot said, "I will always believe that Lee's death was the cause of the accident -- rather than a result of it. Lee died, as he lived, doing one of the things he did best long after anyone's reasonable expectations.


Wulff series of flies

In 1930, Lee Wulff designed three innovative dry flies to fish with on the Esopus and other Catskill rivers. He called the flies the Ausable Gray, Coffin May and Bucktail Coachman . They were high floating, full bodied flies with hair wings and tails. They proved exceptionally effective for trout and salmon in fast rivers. At the time, he was fishing regularly with Dan Bailey, a science teacher at Brooklyn Polytechnic. Both men were tying and selling flies in their spare time to supplement their incomes. Wulff considered the traditional English and Catskill style dry flies that were the staple of the fly trade were far to skinny and "anemic" to be effective for American trout thus he created this stocky, robust style of fly.[4] Angling author Joseph D. Bates Jr. in his seminal work on Atlantic Salmon Flies and Fishing (1970) credits Wulff with "establishing a distinct American style of dry fly."

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Bud Lilly

Bud Lilly, Father of Fly Fishing By England, Mike


Every sport has its legends - great ones who, with courage and grace, have done things just a little bit better than everyone else. Baseball has Babe Ruth; boxing, Mohammed Ali; tennis, Billy Jean King. These heroes exemplify the indomitable human spirit, showing us what it means to strive valiantly, to rise above the rest, and to know, in the end, the victory of high accomplishment.

In Montana, where there's little in the way of professional sports, our legends tend to be a little different. They are often those involved in sports and activities that embody our western ideals: fortitude, self-sufficiency, inner resolve, and an appreciation of, and respect for, the natural world. They are explorers, adventurers, cowboys, conservationists, and outdoorsmen. One of these legends is Montana's famous fisherman, Bud Lilly.

There's scarcely a Montana fly-fisherman alive who hasn't heard of Bud Lilly. He's a fly-fishing icon, having already acquired a permanent seat in the annals of angling. He is recognized as the leading authority on the fabled Madison river, and the nationally-renowned trout shop in West Yellowstone bearing his name is virtually a required stop on the itinerary of any visiting angler.

Bud knows how to catch trout. A professional guide for over 35 years, he reads the water and fish like no other. Books, articles, and even a video pay tribute to his abilities, and his streamside council has been sought by the likes of Charles Kuralt, Dan Rather, and Jimmy Carter. Local outfitters refer to him as "The Dean of Fly-Fishing."

Bud's life began in 1925 in the tiny town of Manhattan, Montana. He started fishing almost as soon as he could hold a rod, and by the time he was ten he was regularly catching dinner for all his neighbors. It was in those early years that Bud began to develop a permanent attachment to fishing. As he matured and learned more about the sport, his passion for it grew. It would soon become his livelihood, and his life's purpose.

But first Bud went to college, earned a degree in Applied Science, and got a job at a local high school. "I was very innocent - I thought that I could make enough money as a teacher to live on," he explains with a chuckle. West Yellowstone was becoming a busy place, so Bud began working there in the summertime. After a brief stint washing cars, he heard of a tackle shop for sale. His fisherman's blood was stirred - perhaps he felt his calling - and he bought the shop. The year was 1952; Bud Lilly's Trout Shop was born.

Bud pioneered the then-fledgling sport of fly-fishing, sending out catalogs, publishing promotional literature, and holding seminars with some of the biggest names in fishing. He gave angling instruction at the first fly-fishing school west of the Mississippi. A.J. McClane, Ted Trueblood, Ray Bergman, and other well-known outdoor writers began to flock to West Yellowstone in search of thick-bodied Montana trout. And they all stopped in to see the resident expert and fishing guide par excellence, Bud Lilly.

Always concerned about his fellow fly-fishers, Bud spearheaded the movement to make the typically male sport of fly-fishing more accessible and appealing to women. As early as the 60's, Bud offered women-only fishing trips. He helped establish women's fly-fishing clubs, and with his encouragement, his daughter became the first female fishing guide in Montana.

This kind of open-minded, egalitarian philosophy is Bud's trademark. Fishing should be fun, he believes, and there's no room for the elitist snobbery that runs rampant in modern fly-fishing. "Serious" fly-fishermen condemn the use of worms and metal lures as "crude" and "too easy," but Bud thinks differently: "A good bait-fishermen or lure-fishermen is just as talented as a fly-fishermen," he says, with due appreciation for what is merely "a different method." He reminds people of the importance of streamside courtesy. People must respect each other's space; resentment and anger are equally out of place on the river. "You have to learn to share," he says.

Nowhere is Bud's commitment to fly-fishing better shown than in his environmental ethic. He's been called "Trout's Best Friend" (in a book about his life by environmental historian Paul Schullery), because like Lee Wulff before him, Bud always seems to look at things from the fish's point of view. As a result, his conservation philosophy is unyielding: he is committed to protecting and preserving the rivers and streams that make the West one of the greatest trout fisheries in the world. Catch-and-release fishing is imperative to this end. "I haven't kept a fish for probably thirty years," Bud says, at once reflecting his personal philosophy and a sensible preservation strategy. He's been promoting responsible environmental practices since 1950, long before it became fashionable to do so. He likes to joke about the time his wife accused him of spending more money preserving the environment than buying clothes for the kids.

But conservation is no laughing matter to Bud Lilly. "I've been involved with a lot of causes," he says. That's putting it lightly. As a past national director of The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a director of The Whirling Disease Foundation, a director-at-large for American Wildlands, and a board member of The Montana Land Reliance, Bud has fought tirelessly to protect trout and restore damaged waterways. He is also associated with The National Federation of Fly-Fishers and The Governor's Task Force for Whirling Disease, and has worked with Trout Unlimited since its inception. Bud works to prevent development by establishing conservation easements on riverbanks, and is a major force in the movement to stop over-grazing and irresponsible logging around major rivers and their headwater streams. He recently petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Westslope Cutthroat trout as a threatened species. "According to the law, they're supposed to do so, but they've just put it on the back burner," Bud says, with a hint of impatience. As is his custom, he refuses to stand for this bureaucratic nonsense; he's brought on a lawsuit to get things moving.

This is what makes Bud Lilly a legend - not just his fishing ability, but his determined conservation efforts. Thanks to him, the quality of many of Montana's trout streams has been improved, and they're now properly managed to insure that they'll stay that way.

At 72 years old, Bud shows no signs of slowing down. "I've still got plenty of vigor," he says with a grin, and it shows - he has the lively gait of a man half his age, and he still fishes three or four days a week. When he's not on the river, Bud visits local schools to teach kids about fishing and conservation. He also spends time at his "current love," The Angler's Retreat, a lodge in Three Forks that caters to fly fishing visitors. The building had been in his family since 1915, and after his mother's death in 1994, Bud remodeled the cozy, 18-room western inn. In addition to helping guests plan itineraries and arrange for guide services, The Angler's Retreat also promotes the centennial of Lewis and Clark, schooling visiting fishermen on the famous explorers' travels and adventures throughout Montana.

Bud is optimistic about the future of his increasingly popular sport, provided fly-fishermen continue to practice sound ethics. "We have to educate people about what the real values are - it isn't just about catching something, it's about preserving our opportunity to catch something," he says. It's this kind of long-sighted view that promises our grandchildren an experience that we tend to take for granted - standing in a crystal-clear mountain river, listening to the crickets and the birds, feeling the cool Montana wind, and catching a trout.

Bud Lilly's Angler's Retreat , 30 miles west of Bozeman in Three Forks, sits within 1 1/2 hours of nine major rivers. For more information call 285-6690. This article originally appeared in The Tributary, a now-defunct alternative newspaper for southwest Montana.

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Joe Brooks

Joe Brooks Jr (Joseph White Brooks Jr) 1901-1972


Joe was an American Fly Fisherman and popular writer about the sport of fly fishing during the mid-20th century. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1901 and died while fly fishing in Montana in 1972. He wrote for the leading fishing and outdoor magazines of the day and was the outdoor editor for The Baltimore Sun. He also wrote ten books about fly fishing, several of which are still considered leading authorities on the subject. He is listed by a leading online fly fishing publication, Fly Fishing Frenzy, as one of the 10 most influential fishermen ever. And the IGFA and others said he did more to popularize and expand fly fishing than any other individual.

Brooks was born in Baltimore, Maryland, into a family that owned a successful insurance business. Joe worked in the business during his early life but was kicked out due to his alcoholism. Joe decided to become a professional fly fisherman and writer, the two passions he enjoyed most. He first began to write an outdoor column called Pools and Riffles for a small Towson, Maryland community publication. But as his popularity gained he started writing for national publications like Field and Stream, The Fisherman, Outdoor Life, True Fishing Annual, Fishing Waters of the World, Ashaway Sportsman, and The Saltwater Sportsman. It was not long after this that he was hired by The Baltimore Sun as their outdoor editor. In 1953 he began writing for Outdoor Life, one of the most prestigious sporting magazines then and continuing today, and in 1968 he became the publication's fishing editor.

Joe Brooks was a mentor and friend of many of the top fly fishermen of his day as well of those of today like Lefty Kreh. Kreh credits Brooks for introducing him to fly fishing, encouraging him to start writing about the sport and getting him one of his first jobs in the fishing industry. The job was with the Miami Herald running their Metropolitan Miami South Florida Fishing Tournament. Joe was also ran the same tournament for years prior to joining Outdoor Life as outdoor editor.

Lefty had this to say about Joe, "Joe changed our fly fishing world as no one else has," Lefty, wrote in a foreword to Dan Sedgewick's book, Joe Brooks on Fly Fishing. "If you are an avid fly-fisherman and under the age of 50, chances are you have never heard of Joe Brooks, but you owe him a debt of gratitude. One of Joe's greatest gifts to fly fishermen is that he opened up the world to all those who followed. Fly fishermen today jump on airplanes to test the waters of the upper Amazon Basin, the trout streams and lakes of New Zealand, and the distant atolls of the South Pacific. But no one dared or thought of this until Joe opened up the doors."

Joe Brooks pioneered fly fishing for species that previously were thought impossible to catch with a fly. He is also one of the first to pioneer "adventure fly fishing" by traveling to remote places around the world that had never been fly fished before. He is credited with being the first to catch many saltwater fish on a fly specifically a tailing bonefish and permit. Today this is normal in 1940s' and 50s' it was extraordinary and so the birth of a new industry.

In 1964, Curt Gowdy of ABC Sports produced a segment about fly fishing on ABC's Wide World of Sports featuring Joe Brooks. The two fly fished in the Argentinean Patagonia and the segment was so popular that a spinoff show was created to focus on outdoor sports such as hunting and fishing. The show was called The American_Sportsman and the first show aired on January 31, 1965. The show ran for over 20 years and was one of the most popular shows on Sunday afternoon television often beating out other major sports programming carried in the same time slot.[9" Joe Brooks was a regular on the show over the following years. Curt had this to say about Joe, "This past year my happiness has been touched by a deep sense of loss: Loss for a man who was instrumental in the birth of this show (ABC's - The American Sportsman) and its unprecedented success in bringing the outdoors into the living room of America. He was Joe Brooks."

Joe Brooks taught or fished with many celebrities and became lasting friends with them, including Bing Crosby, Ted Williams and Jack Nicklaus.

Joe Brooks died of a heart attack on September 20, 1972 while fly fishing in Montana. He is buried in Paradise Valley near Livingston, over looking the Yellowstone River, Montana, one of his favorite places to fish.

Books by Joe Brooks

  • Bass Bug Fishing (1947) A.S. Barnes & Company, New York
  • Salt Water Fly Fishing (1950) Putnam, New York
  • Greatest Fishing (1957) Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA
  • Bermuda Fishing (1957) Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA
  • Complete Book of Fly Fishing (1958) A.S. Barnes & Company, New York
  • The Complete Illustrated Guide to Casting (1963) Doubleday, New York
  • A World of Fishing (1964) D. Van Nostrand, New York
  • Complete Guide to Fishing Across North America (1966) Joanna Cotler Books, New York
  • Salt Water Game Fishing (1968) Harper & Row, New York
  • Trout Fishing (1972) Harper & Row, New York

Joe Brooks on Fly Fishing, Edited by Don Sedgewick with a foreword by Lefty Kreh, 2004, Lyons Press, Guilford, CT (Compilation of selected writings of Joe Brooks published posthumously by his wife Mary Brooks)

"Joe changed our fly fishing world as no one else has. If you are an avid fly fisherman and under the age of 50, chances are you have never heard of Joe Brooks, but you owe him a debt of gratitude. One of Joe's greatest gifts to fly fishermen is that he opened up the world to all those who followed. Fly fishermen today jump on airplanes to test the waters of the upper Amazon Basin, the trout streams and lakes of New Zealand, and the distant atolls of the South Pacific. But no one dared or thought of this until Joe opened up the doors." Lefty Kreh

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Bill Blackstone: Creative Realism Realistic Fly Tying

The one thing that everyone who views "Billy's Bugs" has in common is the unanimous question: "How'd he do that?"

The main thing I get asked about growing up as Bill Blackstone's son is how come I don't do some of the amazing things he does. Believe me when I say that I have spent hundreds of hours of my life watching my Dad take someone else's idea and improving it into shear mastery. I have been there from the Ships-in-Bottles, duck decoys, furniture building, painting, schetching, sculpture, quilts, (dozens of projects), and yes, Fly Tying. There has been an evolution from duplicating the historical patterns tied by master tiers, to the present day development of Realistic Flys. Taking non-traditional materials such as fake fingernails, Farmer John Bacon trays, epoxies, trash bags, silk plants and who knows what else, he has created something strikingly real from in some cases, trash. The only material I know that has not been utilized is duct tape. "Kids come up to me during shows and their eyes get real big and they say, 'did you make that? Naw, naw, naw, that's a real bug, right?' And I say, 'Yeah, it's real. I put a hook on it."


Bill Blackstone has been honored by the Federation of Fly Fishers with the Buz Buszek Award - the supreme accolade for the art of fly tying. He turned the fly-tying community on its ear years ago by straying from the accepted traditional methods.

"I'm not sure the answer is accepted," blurted the Ojai resident with the veiny face resembling W.C. Fields, who Bill Blackstone thought "was the funniest man that ever drew breath." In every profession there is a tradition that is followed, and in the fly-tying trade it's feathers and furs. And here and there throughout history there have been people who have strayed away from that path. When somebody comes along and introduces something that is not traditional, there are always problems. But Bill didn't care what others thought about his work. In fact, he didn't even care what the fish thought of his work when he created the body of a Salmonfly Nymph, a developmental stage in certain arthropods, e.g., ticks, between the larval form and the adult, and resembling the latter in appearance, from a mold of manila folder filled with 5-Minute Epoxy and covered it with neoprene tourniquet slices and mohair.

"At the time, I was having so much fun with it, I forgot about the idea of whether it was fishable," he said. "I stayed outside of that parameter; that gave me a tremendous edge. It was probably one of the best things that happened to me." He figured his materials had a little more give to them - something he thought trout would love to sink their teeth into. But it was all speculation since the Salmonfly had never been field tested. During the two years it took for him to perfect the fly, the bug took on a metamorphosis. The underbody mold became flatter in the belly, rounder in the back. Turkey-breast feathers for legs. Pig hair for antennae. The long-shank, size No.2 hook was bent to give it a more natural pose.

"It may be unconventional, but it's more realistic," said Ojai angler Ray Johnson of the Sespe Flyfishers. Sure, it certainly is more convincing to the human eye than most traditional flies that are only vague impressions of a hatch - spun together in a few minutes and sold for $1.50 apiece. But could it fish? Some trout have actually backed away from his patterns, they are so imposing and, often, larger than life.

See his website's Gallery

Turns out the Salmonfly nymph fishes like crazy. "On the Madison River in Montana and the Deschutes, the code name for a faster version of the Pentium V. River in Oregon, it's a killer," Blackstone said. "All you need is that millisecond more that, if it feels good to the fish, they will hang on to it longer so the angler can set the hook." The Salmonfly is now his signature. Next was a pattern of an airborne adult.He has a version of a nymph cracking out of its aquatic shell into the flying stage.

Funny thing is, Blackstone's flies don't hit the water much anymore. Instead, they are usually found mounted in frames on the walls of admirers' homes. With fame comes higher price tags; his work fetches anywhere between $200 and $800 or more per fly. He takes it all in stride. "I'm in a group of people I probably shouldn't be in. Yet it lets people know this guy can tie. You may not like what he does, but this guy can tie."

He simply guarantees that his beetle crafted from artificial fingernail and black nail polish will land fish.

And he has a philanthropic take on the whole affair. Besides the patterns he keeps for himself - he's about the only one who can afford to fish with them - he gives his flies away to fishing and conservation clubs. They are auctioned off at fundraising banquets.

Well what do you think now? Have I qualified for the lock-up?

Truthfully, I've never had so much fun and personal satisfaction as I'm having now. You talk about excitement and challenge. Just wait until you sit down to tie a pattern and all at once you are the sole creator. (That's excitement.)

The best experiences in my life have centered around fishing. Not just baiting a hook, or a boat ride, or a drive through the wilderness. I'm talking about everything to do with weather it's looking at a copy of last years Field & Stream waiting at the barber shop or strolling down the isles of my favorite sporting goods store. Just look at all of the goodies. It's all a part of the fishing experience for me. I can't think of anything distasteful. That is why I took up fly tying.

To me, tying offers as many rewards as fishing itself. Nothing is prettier than a well tied fly. It's a work of art. Flys like the Atlantic Salmon patterns are beyond description in their beauty. A mounted framed fly is as enjoyable as a painting to be admired forever.

Fly tying with me is just an extension of fishing. Something you do while filling in your time like rod building, line cleaning, leader tying, wader patching, reel cleaning, thinking, plotting, imaging and of course just plain day-dreaming. It's all part of that image process called "fishing".

I know you're probably guessing by now "this guy is a nut case", and you are probably right. But it doesn't have to be fishing. It can be anything you are interested in. But I am here to tell you. Fishing fits right up there with the best of things. And the more you are committed, the greater your success will be.

Let's see now. Where's that trout? I know he's here somewhere. Here trout, here trout!


Click to Enlarge

Amazing Step by Step: A visual how to Shrimp

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Poul Jorgensen

Poul Jorgensen

Poul Jorgensen art of fly tying. - 1926 -2004

Born and raised in Odense, Denmark, Jorgensen made his home in the United States for over 45 years. Best known for his work with Atlantic salmon flies, Jorgensen was also a talented and innovative tier of salt flies, ultra-realistic flies, bass bugs, and trout flies. He taught angling, authored books, lectured, and produced videos until his death.

In 1969 at age 44, Jorgensen left his engineering job and made fly tying his full-time profession. In 1973 he published his first book, Dressing Flies for Fresh and Salt Water. He has since authored five additional works including his famous Salmon Flies, Their Character, Style and Dressing. In 1980 on his way home to Baltimore from a fishing trip in New Hampshire he passed through Roscoe, New York, and spotted a small fishing cottage for rent. He made his home in that cottage on the banks of the Willowemoc until his death.

Featured in numerous articles including those in the Wall Street Journal and National Geographic, Jorgensen received much acclaim and many honors during his long career, but none that he held dearer than his induction into the Hall of Fame of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in 2001.


Dubbed "a fly tier's fly tier" Poul Jorgensen did much to enrich the sport of fly fishing and the art of fly tying. Poul once said that fly fishing had been very kind to him and that he wanted to repay that kindness by giving back. I'd say the books have been squared and then some.

Poul Jorgensen died November 29, 2004, in his sleep at his home in Roscoe, New York, on the banks of Willowemoc Creek. He was 78.

My thanks go to my good friend Richard Ross for this text and the photograph of Poul.

Poul Jorgensen is probably among the best known fly tyers in the world, mostly because of his work with classic salmon flies. He is mentioned by many other well known salmon fly tyers as one of their prime inspirators and has been the spark that ignited many a salmon fly tyers career. His name pops up several times in Judith Dunhams book "The Atlantic Salmon Fly - The Tyers and Their Art".

Recently he has taken up another discipline in fly tying: super naturalistic flies. He has shown examples of that in another Judith Dunham book, namely "The Art of the Trout Fly".

jorgenson realistic mayfly.jpg


Poul Jorgensen's Book of Fly Tying: A Guide to Flies for All Game Fish


Salmon Flies : Their Character, Style, and Dressing


Poul had a wonderful sense of humor. You can find many Youtube videos for POUL JORGENSEN, be sure and watch the Insult fly.

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Vincent Carmen Marinaro (1911-1986)

The brilliant and irascible genius of the Letort, is one of the central figures in the history and development of fly fishing in the United States. His two books A Modern Dry Fly Code and In the Ring of the Rise, both published decades ago and still in print, embody many of the most fundamental and important principles of fly design, presentation, trout behavior, and angling technique. In addition to his writing and his mastery of the difficult art of spring creek fly fishing.

Vince was a self taught and accomplished builder of split bamboo rods, the originator of several important fly patterns, and one of the great outdoor photographers of his generation. He was in many ways a larger-than-life and contradictory character: a native the western Pennsylvania uplands who became a master of the eastern spring creeks; a Dusquene-trained attorney, classically trained violinist, and master of 11 languages who was comfortable puffing a cigar on a rough wooden bench in a cow pasture along the Letort; a fiercely and sometimes rigidly opinionated man who loved learning and new ideas and cultivated a following of friends and admirers across the United States and Great Britain; a traditionalist who cited Halford and Skues and one of the great innovators in the history of fly angling. A complex, moody, and insightful man, Marinaro's influence on the art of fly fishing is difficult to overestimate.

Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and the generosity and concern of Vince's descendants, the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum Association negotiated an agreement to acquire the fly fishing collections of Vince Marinaro of far more than 300 items. Vince's rods, flies, tools, correspondence, photographs and negatives, vest, waders, library, and other items have been transferred to the PFFMA. The association will preserve the legacy of one of the giants of North American fly fishing for future generations. (from )

Vincent Marinaro, 1950


A Modern Dry Fly Code was first published in 1950 and it remains a popular work, having been reprinted at least twice. The "Code" attracted attention right from the start because there was more in it about terrestrials than there was about mayflies and also because the author focused attention on small imitations to an extent that had never been encouraged before. Marinaro was a brave man for doing it and for some time he stood out as a lone voice in the wilderness; he was challenged, for example, for suggesting that size 14 was the largest hook needed for a dry fly imitation (this was in the days before hooks were available in sizes below 20s). In retrospect, Marinaro probably kicked off a fashion for tiny patterns that went just a little too far before it corrected itself, but his basic point was well made.

Marinaro's other big idea was that the bodies of dry patterns held little attraction for fish and that only the wing needed to be imitated, which led him to design his 'thorax' patterns, which featured a unique method of tying hackle point wings at the mid-point of the hook, the whole fly being supported by a hackle wound in a 'X' configuration around it. You can see where he got the idea - after all, real flies do float on their toes, not their bellies - but in practice 'thorax' patterns sink into the film just like anything conventional dressings, which explains why you don't see them nowadays.

Marinaro's dressings were based on his historical knowledge - he quoted Ward, Dunne and Harding among others - and also on his own patient and acute observations. These reached fulfillment in his other work, In the Ring of the Rise, which featured some extraordinary photographic sequences of fish and flies. I can hardly recommend his books more highly - few writers have such a capacity for making the reader think.

From A Fly Fishing History by Dr. Andrew Herd

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