Lemire is the guy who ties flies in his fingers. He’s one of few on the planet that practice this historic, yet very practical artistry. A member of the Northwest Atlantic Salmon Fly Guild, Harry Lemire is a legend in the Salmon Fly arena. Harry practices this craft (art) without the aid of a vice & as a result his flies duplicate quite closely the epitome of what they are supposed to look like. This Washingtonian quite literally holds an enormous piece of fly-tying history between his left thumb & index finger every time he ties a fly.
Unlike many fly tyers that develop steelhead & salmon patterns based on artistic flare, Harry Lemire always designed & fished his flies as a natural living creature. “At the age of 6, I started showing a lot of interest in fishing gear. As time went by I went fishing more, tied better flies & caught more fish. With Steelhead becoming my real passion for the last 50 years I have fished many rivers in Washington, British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon & California.
After tying thousands of trout & steelhead flies, fly tying had become pretty mundane for me. Until the Christmas of 1990 when my wife Marlene, seeing my dilemma, gave me the book How To Dress Salmon Flies by Dr. T E Pryce-Tannatt, & said, ‘here, this will keep you busy.’ The book fascinated me. In this book were all the instructions on how to tie full dress Atlantic salmon flies the old way. Just to think, that was how fishermen & gillies used to tie them before vises were invented! I went through the book from cover to cover twice & couldn't wait to get started. So I gave it a try. I found it very possible, practical & rewarding. From that day to this I've never used a vice when tying classic patterns & see no reason to. Well it's been about 20 years now, & I'm just as excited about it now as I was then. I guess I've been something of a curiosity. Tying in hand, now, is strictly for nostalgia. The tradition is what I like about it, & the tradition is why I do it." Harry Lemire. Harry shows how to tie "in-hand": The Blue Wasp & The Helmsdale Doctor.