I reside in the small
community of Mulgrave, Nova Scotia, Canada, with my wife Angela and two children Jill and Luke.
I began tying flies in 1974 at the age of 14 when
my brother Gary purchased a tying kit for me as a Christmas gift. It was a natural progression for me because my dad grew
up in a fly fishing household. His father, Len was an avid fly fisherman and rod builder and grew up pursuing sea-run
brook trout in and around the streams of Antigonish County. Dad’s brother, Len B. Mac Donald, was also an avid fly fisherman,
fly tyer and rod-builder, also loved the sea-trout fishing in the area, but branched out to fly fish for salmon in subsequent
After a month or two of trying
to figure out the ins and outs of applying the different materials to hooks, my dad took me to Uncle Len’s house for
an afternoon of tying. This created a foundation of my tying style as well as a pattern preference that is still with me today.
In the early eighties, I started fishing with
my cousin Leonard MacDonald, (son of Len B.) who added his thoughts about flies and fly design. Leonard has been my mentor
both as a fly fisherman, best friend and my fishing partner for the last twenty-five years.
Early on in my tying career, I focused on the big
brook trout that were present in some of the lakes around the Mulgrave area. These trout were feeding on smelt that were present
in the lakes, so naturally I focused on “bucktails and streamers” to represent the local forage fish. I progressed
to “attractor patterns” and ”nymphs”, then to trout dry flies, as I got accustomed to the different
hatches that were present in the local lakes.
At the same time, I began reading about Atlantic salmon and wanted to try my hand at tying and fishing for these
wonderful fish. A trip was planned for the Margaree River in the summer of 1980. After catching two grilse on that first trip,
from that point on, I was hooked on Atlantic salmon flies & fishing.
A couple of years latter I was introduced to the sea-run
brown trout of the Guysborough area and focused on tying forage fish imitations to fool them. Brown trout are very selective,
so this educated me about material selection and fly profile when tying flies as baitfish imitations. Also at the same time
I began tying other saltwater imitations for striped bass found in the area.
During my entire fly fishing career, I was always intrigued
by the complexity and beauty of traditional Atlantic salmon flies. This led me to my latest tying endeavor, which has
been tying “Classic Atlantic Salmon Flies” which has become very exciting and challenging for me. Under the careful
eye of Bill Carpan & Jim McCoul, these two gentleman have been quick to point out flaws in my flies, while giving helpful
hints to overcome the many pitfalls that can occur. Also, I post flies on the “Classic and Artistic Salmon Fly Forum”
to get critiqued and pointers from the many masters around the world.
Tying classic Atlantic salmon flies opens up another hobby in itself, which is the collecting of the
many materials needed to tie these flies. Although many of the materials called for in the patterns can no longer be obtained,
substitutes have been developed through different feathers and dyeing processes to fill in the voids.
I hope you enjoy all the flies on this site,
and that all of you enjoy this journey of fly tying & fly fishing like I have.