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Back To College
Yes back to college for me as I will be offering a class at Colby Sawyer College on The History of New Hampshire and New England Streamer Flies. I've been slowly researching this topic for a number of years. It began when I was working on the Traditional Arts Grant and I headed to the State Library to find out some information on NH fly tyers. I have a friend who is a town librarian here in NH and she was very helpful trying to point me in the correct direction to get started on documenting history in this area.
My first find was an article that spelled out quite a bit about flies and fly tyers from back around the 1950s. It had some patterns and names of the tyers who developed them and much of it was from a letter the late Game Warden Jesse Scott had written to the magazine. At some point NHFG had a newsletter that came out on a regular basis and some of this history was included in it. Jesse made note of that and when I went looking for the newsletters I sadly found out that all of the department copies burnt in the Bridge Street fire.
Shortly after I had gone to the library I was contacted by the historic fly tyer the late Ellis Hatch, he had a fly pattern he had tied for years and did not know who came up with the fly. He basically sent me in search of this information. It took me a while but I had seen the fly pattern on a visit to Ellis's and said that really looks failure to me. As I began my search I connected with Rick Estes a retired game warden and good friend who shares a similar interest in the history of flies.
After a few months of looking around I came up dry and kind of put things on hold. Then I was discussing with a family member about a fly my Uncle Mike tied. I shared that Uncle Mike and my grandfather would tell me all about their fishing exploits but it was always in french so I had to try to translate it to english and missed a lot of it. Anyway during the conversation I mentioned that Uncle Mike would visit some of the local fly tying shops (usually a general store) and he would chat up with people in Errol what was working and what wasn't. He was a very good fly tyer and he would see a pattern in the store and go home and tie some up. Thats when I remembered him showing me the same pattern Ellis had asked about.
So a little more research and I was able to find the tyers name from the store and connect him to the fly pattern. Thats how this whole thing really got going. I went back to speak with Ellis and he was thrilled with the information and said much of this information has gone to the grave with fly tyers unwilling to share their patterns.
That day driving home I decided to start to look for more information on these patterns and tyers. Sometimes would find one thing that would ballon into a whole load of information. Other times I would find something that would document a tyers work by when he/she made modifications to a fly pattern. I began to write this down and tie the flies all while sharing the information. I try to share everything with the disclaimer So Far. More and more I would uncover something and a year later obtain further information that I could add to the history.
Then people asked me to do something with all the information.....write a book...put together a presentation......I've written books and they get outdated fast so I opted for the presentation. Thats why I'm heading back to college. The folks at CSC Adventures in Learning welcomed the idea of offering this class and wanted me to do a tying demonstration as part of each class. As you can see by the announcement there are 4 classes and I had this entire presentation completed when I fell into a boatload of new history so I am in the process of rewriting several of the sections. I also expect that someone who might be in these classes will have information to add to these histories.
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Scott Biron is a fly tyer from New Hampshire.