Fly Tying & Chapman Collection

In spite of growing up in rural Wisconsin, I have only been fishing a couple of times. I wasn’t very good at it. There seemed to be too much variety to have a chance of getting things right: lures, rods, fish varieties, and locations all seemed to be beyond me. I spent far more time hunting than fishing. But over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a chance to sit down and talk with Marcia Woolman, who will be hosting a fly-tying demonstration at NSLM shortly, and it’s unlocked the subject for me quite a bit.

Marcia Woolman is an avid trout fisherman, fly tier, and cold water conservationist. With over 33 years of experience with Trout Unlimited, she has a wealth of experience in the entomology of streams.
Marcia Woolman is an avid trout fisherman, fly tier, and cold water conservationist. With over 33 years of experience with Trout Unlimited, she has a wealth of experience in the entomology of streams.

It’s easy to get lost when you focus on the material objects involved in angling. For centuries, anglers have been expanding their options in search of flexibility. With her view beyond the plethora of options, Marcia gets to the heart of the matter: it’s about nature and how we interact with it. For much of Marcia’s presentation, the tie is an avenue for learning about nature. It’s really a lesson about all the players in the ecosystem; the life cycles of the mayfly and the fish, the changing of the seasons and the habits of all throughout the day. The successful angler will be the one who is most familiar with the habits of the animals in the ecosystem.

Since I live just a short walk from the Shenandoah River, I’ve been reading up on angling. Marcia’s been an inspiration: I may try fishing again this summer! I have a host of options for additional reading. The Chapman Collection is a huge resource on fly fishing.

On the wall of the Main Reading Room, we have a selection of flies collected and framed by George Chapman.
On the wall of the Main Reading Room, we have a selection of flies collected and framed by George Chapman.

Since I live so close to the Shenandoah, it makes sense to look up bass fishing first, as the Shenandoah is a haven for both smallmouth and largemouth bass. The Chapman Collection has quite a few titles on bass fishing, and many general fly fishing titles as well. The aggressive nature of bass also make it an excellent option for beginners. Perfect!

Larger fish prey on swimming mice and small rodents. The mouse is a staple in fly fishing.
Larger fish prey on swimming mice and small rodents. The mouse is a staple in the fly fishing repertoire.
The flies were carefully framed by Chapman, who donated a large fly fishing book collection to the Library in 2011.
The flies were carefully framed by Chapman, who donated a large fly fishing book collection to the Library in 2011.
These rare pre-serial Orvis rods make perfect centerpieces, and are the gift of NSLM member Viviane M. Warren and her son, Nicholas Frederick Pratt.
These rare pre-serial Orvis rods make perfect centerpieces, and are the gift of NSLM member Viviane M. Warren and her son, Nicholas Frederick Pratt.
Flies tied by Doug Swisher, whose books on fly fishing strategy are available for access in the Main Reading Room.
Flies tied by Doug Swisher, whose books on fly fishing strategy are available for access in the Main Reading Room.

Marcia’s presentation, “Tying Flies for All the Right Reasons” will be on February 7 in the Library. We still have a few spots left, so contact me if you would like to join us!

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