2016 Lifetime Achievement Awards

See who has left their lasting marks on the craft of fly tying.

[by David Klausmeyer]

SINCE 2011, THIS MAGAZINE HAS RECOGNIZED those individuals who have made important contributions to fly tying with the Fly Tyer Lifetime Achievement Award. Three people received this honor that year, and today we hear from many of you who are eager to nominate your favorite tiers for this prestigious recognition; your input is critical to our selection process. We have given the Fly Tyer Lifetime Achievement Award to pattern designers, materials developers, instructors, lecturers, authors, artists, and business people.

We have only one criterion when choosing these recipients: They must make important and long-lasting contributions to the field of fly tying. Their innovations and hard work must help all of us have more fun at the vise, and hopefully tie a few more flies that catch fish.

In 2011, we gave the Fly Tyer Lifetime Achievement Award to Dick Talleur, John Barr, and Dr. Tom Whiting. Since then, this exclusive club has grown to include 19 members. This year, we are pleased to give the Fly Tyer Lifetime Achievement Award to four more influential fly tying innovators. They are leaders in the fly tying community, and we have all used their patterns or fly tying materials.

2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-10-15-21-amVirtually every fly tier has made the famed Clouser Minnow. It remains one of the simplest and best fish-catching patterns ever created. The Clouser Minnow is on the list of patterns for most introductory fly tying classes, and even advanced tiers include this important fly in their fishing kits. Bob’s timeless pattern—we will be tying it for many decades into the future— catches bass, panfish, trout, and many of our favorite species of saltwater fish.

Bob says he was tying a similar style of fly using split shot pinched on the hook when he developed his famous pattern.

“I was guiding and had to tie a lot of flies in a short amount of time,” Bob said when describing the origins of the Clouser Minnow. “But when Tom Schmuecker, at Wapsi Fly, sent me samples of his new lead dumbbell eyes, I immediately knew what to do with them. I created the first Clouser Minnow in the early 1980s. Since then I have received thousands of emails about the fly, and I know it has caught well more than one hundred species of fish.”

Bob has created other terrific flies and written two highly recommended fly tying books. To learn more about his flies or to contact him, go to his website, www. clouserflyfishing.com.


The people who design fly tying tools and materials make some of the most important contributions to our craft. Without their efforts, our benches wouldn’t be quite so full, and tying flies might be less interesting. Discovering how to use a new ingredient is fun and keeps us coming back to the vise.

Over the past decade, Enrico Puglisi has made an important mark on saltwater fly tying. Many of our authors specify his innovative materials in the pattern recipes accompanying their articles, including EP Fibers, EP Brushes, Crab & Shrimp Eyes, and more. And Enrico’s wide-ranging family of patterns has become increasingly popular to tie.

Enrico is now offering materials designed for tying trout flies. Enrico is one of those important men behind the curtain. They make it easier for all of us to tie better flies. Check out www.epflies.com to learn more about these ingredients and patterns.

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-10-16-05-amIf we carved a Mount Rushmore of fly tying, Dave Whitlock would surely have a place. He is a pattern designer, materials developer, author, lecturer, instructor, and artist. Dave is also one of the friendliest people you will ever meet.

Dave wrote for this magazine in the 1970s. Since then he has written many dozens of articles and several of our favorite fly tying books. He still lectures, conducts classes, and appears at fly fishing shows across the country.

In addition to creating some of our most popular fly patterns, Dave is also a highly talented artist. Rather than using photographs, he often illustrates his instructional articles and books with his art. Dave even had the honor of illustrating President Jimmy Carter’s book Outdoor Journal. Dave Whitlock is in a class of his own.

Dave is also a conservationist. One of his most notable contributions to wild trout management and preservation is the Whitlock-Vibert Box System, which is a unique and efficient in-stream salmonid egg incubator and nursery device. In addition to this award, Dave has received other well-deserved recognition for his work. He was inducted into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum.

To learn more about Dave, go to his website, www.davewhitlock.com.

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-10-15-51-amHans is one of Europe’s leading fly pattern designers. Hans travels the world, offering workshops, lectures, and, of course, fishing. We tie his flies, and believe us: They catch fish!

Hans’s best-known flies are the large L.T. series. He developed these great patterns, including his famous Klinkhåmer Special and ParaPoly Sedge, in Norway in the early 1980s. Hans is also well known for his Leadheaded Grayling Bugs (they wallop trout, too!), the Caseless Caddis series, the Remerger series, his Flymphs, and many more flies.

Hans’s innovative patterns have been featured in many European fly fishing books and magazines. Today, we are pleased to include him as one of our contributing authors; you’ve seen several of his great articles in the pages of this magazine, and we have more that we will publish in the next couple of years.

Hans retired from the army in April 2012. After a 35-year career, he left his position as Commander of the Royal Dutch Army Gunnery School. Hans has been a fly fisher his entire life, and his retirement hours are consumed with fly fishing and tying, and writing about his adventures.

Finally, Hans supports wildlife and environmental projects close to his heart. He donates all of the proceeds from the auctions of his flies and appearance fees from commercial workshops and classes to these causes. Since 1986, Hans has returned thousands of dollars to different charitable projects and wildlife organizations.

Hans van Klinken is a very worthy recipient of the Fly Tyer Lifetime Achievement Award! To learn more about Dave, go to his website, www.flyfishinggazette.com

Past Recipients


Dick Talleur – Fly pattern designer, author, lecturer, and instructor. Dick passed away in 2011; in our last conversation, I told Dick that he was selected as one of the first recipients of this award. Having published in Fly Tyer since the 1970s, at that time he was our most established contributing author and he held the record for having flies appear on the cover of this magazine.

John Barr – Fly pattern designer and author. John created the Copper John series of flies. It has been reported that these are the bestselling trout flies in the world. Dr. Tom Whiting Dr. Tom received his Fly Tyer Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in advancing what we call “genetic hackle.” Fly tiers around the world know his company, Whiting Farms.


Jay “Fishy” Fullum – Author, pattern designer, lecturer, instructor, artist, and fly tying’s goodwill ambassador. That says it all, doesn’t it? Fishy is this magazine’s most beloved columnist, and his original artwork heads all of this magazine’s regular columns.

Mike Mercer – Pattern designer and author. Mike’s Poxyback series of nymphs comprises some of the very best subsurface trout flies we have ever used. Many fish are rubbing their jaws because of Mike’s great flies.

Bruce Olson – We don’t know if Bruce tied flies—he probably did—but he ran the patternselection team at Umpua Feather Merchants. Because of his fine work, we know about many fish-catching patterns and he helped dozens of great tiers build their reputations. Sadly, Bruce passed away last season.

Tom Schmuecker – Tom remains the head honcho at Wapsi Fly, the largest fly tying–materials supplier in the world. Almost every fly bench has at least a few items from Wapsi Fly. Here’s a surprising fact: When we visited Waspi Fly’s 50,000-square-foot facility some years ago, Tom was employing more than 50 people, making him one of the biggest companies in the entire fly fishing industry.


Al & Gretchen Beatty – Authors, fly pattern designers, instructors, lecturers, guides, and environmentalists. Al and Gretchen are leaders in the International Federation of Fly Fishers. We are proud to count them as members of the Fly Tyer family of contributing authors.

Craig Mathews – Fly pattern designer, materials developer, fly shop owner, and leading conservationist. Craig was instrumental in founding One Percent for the Planet, a leading organization that encourages businesses to support local environmental causes.

Bob Popovics – Fly pattern designer, materials developer, author, and lecturer. Bob revolutionized fly tying with his Surf Candy series of flies and other important patterns.


Chuck Furimsky – Fly pattern designer, materials developer, author, and director of the International Fly Tying Symposium and the Fly Fishing Show. Every year, thousands of anglers learn about fly tying at the IFTS and the Fly Fishing Show.

Skip Morris – Fly pattern designer, author, instructor, and lecturer. Skip has published hundreds of fly tying and fishing articles, and a fistful of important fly tying books.

Tom Rosenbauer – Fly pattern designer and author. Tom is marketing director for Orvis. Tom’s book, The Orvis Fly-tying Guide, won a National Book Award.

Brian Chan – Fly pattern designer, materials developer, author, lecturer, instructor, and conservationist. Brian, who is sometimes called the Sage of the Kamloops, is a leading expert at catching trophy stillwater trout.

Phil Rowley – Fly pattern designer, materials developer, author, lecturer, and instructor. Phil is the host of the television show, The New Fly Fisher.


Ed Shenk – Fly pattern designer and author. Ed is a legend among central Pennsylvania’s limestone anglers.

Gary Borger– Fly pattern designer, materials developer, author, lecturer, and instructor. Gary has written dozens of articles and some of the very best books about creating and tying fish-catching flies.

Oliver Edwards – Fly pattern designer, materials developer, author, instructor, and artist. Oliver is a leader in creating amazingly realistic flies designed for real-world fishing.