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Major Fly Fishing Influencers in History

Lake Erie Smallmouth
Lake Erie Smallmouth

Major Fly Fishing Contributors

The sport of Fly Fishing has a rich historical heritage. Below are a few of the famous names in this sport that have influenced both myself and my students throughout the years. Google their names for more information. Their contributions to the sport should never be forgotten. 


Take a casual and relaxing trip down a historical “rabbit hole” of information as you explore each individual. Keep in mind that many were associates or knew each other at the time; may have belonged to the same fly fishing club; or, ran in the same social network of fly fishing pioneers.

To learn more about the history of fly fishing, here’s a Wikipedia link that you may enjoy: Fly Fishing 

In more modern times, enter the following names into YouTube for an interesting path of discovery and individual contributions.

Near the origins of American fly fishing, the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum (located in Upstate New York near Livingston Manor and Willowemoc Creek) has formally recognized many deserving individuals. Take a look at “The Fly Fishing Hall of Fame” listed online at https://cffcm.com/fly-fishing-hall-of-fame 

Ken Louko

Spring Creek Anglers Fly Fishing School


Early Pioneers

Dame Juliana Berners (1496) A Treatise of Fysshynge with An Angle (PDF) 

Izaak Walton (1593–1683)  Author of The Compleat Angler

Frederick Halford  (1844-1914)  Most noted for his development and promotion of the dry fly technique on British trout streams.

Theodore Gordon  (1854-1914). Author and often called the “father of the American school of dry fly fishing”.

Charles F. Orvis  (1856)  Founded Orvis in Manchester, VT.

George E. M. Skues  (1858-1949)  Author and fly fisherman most noted for the invention of modern day nymph fishing.

The Fly Fishers’ Club (1884)  The Flyfishers' Club is a gentlemen's club in London which was founded in 1884 for enthusiasts of flyfishing.

Mary Orvis Marbury (1892)  Authored “Favorite Flies and Their Histories”.

Roderick Haig-Brown  (1908-1976)  Renown author and conservationist.

Major 20th Century Influencers

Hans Gebetsroither  (1930’s to 1986) Father of the elliptical casting style that became known as the Gebetsroither Style (or Austrian Style) in Europe. Now known in the United States as the Belgian Cast though he was Austrian.

Joe Humphreys

Stu Apte

Joe Brooks

Mel Krieger

Ed Shenk

Doug Swisher

Carl Richards

Jack Gartside

John Randolph

Art Lee

Francis Betters

Dave Whitlock

George Griffith

Lou Tabory

Al Caucci

Bob Nastasi

Zane Grey

Jim Payne

Hiram Lewis Leonard

Mary Dette

James Leisenring

Gary LaFontaine

Bob Jacklin

Stanley Bogdan

Ernest G. Schwiebert

Eric Leiser

Bernard “Lefty” Kreh

Poul Jorgensen

Vincent C. Marinaro

George W. Harvey

Lee Wulff

Joan Salvato Wulff

Charles K. Fox

Albert J. McClane

Walt & Winnie Dette

Harry & Elsie Darby

Leon Chandler

Art Flick

Sylvester Nemes

More Recent Major American Influencers

Tom Rosenbauer

Flip Pallot

Bob Clouser

Bob Popovics

Dan Blanton

Kelly Galloup

Blane Chocklett

Landon Mayer

Nick Lyons

George Daniel

Devin Olsen

Henry Cowen

Tim Rajeff

Steve Rajeff

Dominick Swentosky

Two Handed Spey Casting & Fishing

Goran Andersson  (Father of Underhand Casting - from Sweden)

Andrew Toft  (World champion two handed caster from Scotland)

Ian Gordon  (International salmon guide and recognized as one of the world’s best two handed casting instructors)

John & Amy Hazel  (John Hazel was first to introduce two handed casting in the U.S. He and Amy own Deschutes Angler Fly Shop, Maupin, OR.)

Simon Gawesworth  (Perhaps the best two handed instructor in the U.S. Works for RIO. Originally from England.)

Tom Larimer  (Premier fly line designer for Airflo, steelhead guide, and instructor)

April Vokey  (First class caster and instructor especially with long belly lines. Grew up in British Columbia.)

Ed Ward  (Co-developer of M.O.W. Tips - the brainchild of Mike McCune, Scott O'Donnell and Ed Ward. Founding member of OPST).

Scott Howell  (Co-developed the Intruder fly with Ed Ward and Jerry French. He also developed the highly effective Squidro series of flies.)

George Cook  (Legendary Northwest Regional Sales Manager for some of the most respected brands including Sage. He has been at the forefront of modern spey fishing chasing steelhead, salmon, and dolly varden.)


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