Les was born in Auburn, WA and spent much of his youth in Aberdeen, WA. He graduated from J. M. Weatherwax High School, commonly known as Aberdeen High School. Les started fishing at a young age with his grandfather, Edward Knight, his mentor. Granddad did well!! Les joined the Marines and fought in Korea (1953 -1955). When he returned from the war, he attended Grays Harbor College earning a degree in Arts and Sciences (Les’ memory is a little fussy on this one). He worked for a time at Boeing and then joined Weyerhaeuser where he worked in wood products (again, Les’ memory is a little fussy).
Les has been a writer, concentrating on fishing and fly tying. His articles have appeared in Field and Stream, Western Outdoors, Saltwater Sportsman, Salmon Trout Steelheader, Fly Rod and Reel, Fly Fishing in Salt Water, and Fly Fisherman. He was the founding editor of the magazine Western Fly Tying, which he later expanded into Fly Fishing and Tying Journal.
In addition to magazine articles, Les has authored or co-authored several fly-fishing books. These include Sea Run (Complete Guide to Fishing for Sea Run-Cutthroat Trout) (1979); Fly-Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout (2004); Fly-Fishing for Pacific Salmon (1985 –co-authored); Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon II (2008 – co-authored); and Tube Flies: A Tying, Fishing and Historical Guide (1995- co-authored).
Les has emphasized saltwater fishing and has originated and developed a number of saltwater fly patterns. These include the Johnson’s Beach Fly, the Johnson’s Partridge Spider, the McCullough, a Chironomid pattern, the Disco Sand Lance, and the Williams Point Sand Lance. He is also co-originator of the FJ Pink and the Thorne River Emerger.
Les has been a zealous and longtime advocate for the protection of salmon, steelhead, and coastal cutthroat trout. Since 1973 he has lobbied for the welfare of cutthroat, which are now sheltered under catch and release regulations in marine waters. In 2002, Les joined with others in helping to found the Wild Steelhead Coalition.
Les has been a long time member of the Washington Fly-Fishing Club (WFFC). In 1999, the WFFC presented Les the Tommy Award. This was done in recognition of his continued contributions to the fly fishing community through conservation activities and conservation related legislation. In 2015, Les was presented the club’s most prestigious award – the Letcher Lambuth Angling Craftsman Award. The award is not given lightly or even given every year. As stated on the award “ – given to one whose outstanding contribution, through skill of hand and mind, has raised the quality of fly fishing and enhanced the enjoyment of our sport for fly anglers everywhere”.
Les has also been a long time member of the Northwest Fly Anglers (NFA). In 2002, the NFA presented Les its Dawn Holbrook Award for a life-time of teaching others in the art and science of fly-fishing.
Les received the Federation Fly Fishers’ (FFF) Arnold Gingrich Memorial Life Award, given to persons of outstanding achievement in any of several areas: Angling Writing; Original Fly Fishing Theory; Conservation and Environmental Protection; Entomology; Education in the Sport of Fly Fishing; or Innovation in Fly Fishing Techniques. The award was present to Les by Carl Johnson (NFA) on August 25th at the FFF 2010 Awards and Presidents Banquet held in West Yellowstone during the FFF National Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave.
He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fly-Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout: Flies, Techniques, Conservation
|How to Fish for Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout|
|Fly-Fishing for Pacific Salmon I|
|Fly-Fishing for Pacific Salmon II|
|Tube Flies: A Tying, Fishing & Historical Guide|
|Pursuit of the Coastal Cutthroat|