Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Last Conversation with Gary LaFontaine

The late, great Gary LaFontaine is a man of high regard within fly fishing circles. He's an iconic angler, and someone who I would have liked to have had the opportunity to meet. He was a tireless researcher of aquatic entomology and trout behavior. Fortunately Gary was also a talented writer and had a penchant for sharing his angling knowledge. Many of the books authored by Gary are widely considered to be amongst the very best literary works ever composed within the fly fishing genre.

I recently stumbled upon a fascinating interview of Gary LaFontaine, conducted by Craig Oberg, a microbiology professor at Weber State University. The interview took place late in Gary's life, at a point when Lou Gehrig's Disease had taken a severe toll on his health. Those familiar with Gary's work will undoubtedly enjoy reading the interview, from which an introductory excerpt can be found below, along with a link to the full text.

The Evergreen Care Center in Missoula, Montana, was like most nursing homes, pleasant but a little depressing. Gary's room was at the end of one hall; a computer rested on a table along with pictures of Gary and friends with big trout on famous rivers. Even in a state of rapidly declining health, Gary welcomed an opportunity to be interviewed. Read more...


  1. Gary knew Bill Edrington of Royal Gorge Anglers. Bill has been a secret mentor of mine and good friend for several years. I enjoy going by Bill's shop whenever I can and listening to him tell stories about Gary and he collecting and cataloging different species of caddis on the Arkansas River. I can only imagine what a magnificent thrill it would have been to tag along on one of those outings.

  2. what a brilliant interview. i love gary's life philosophy. thanks for sharing this.

  3. Excellent. Always great to hear more from him, especially about his approach to writing.

  4. Thanks for posting this. A great interview that should be read by all fly fisherman.

  5. Gary - Tagging along with LaFontaine while he was researching caddis would have been quite an experience! The stories from those who were fortunate enough to have known him will have to do.

    Ivan - He certainly seemed to have a few things figured out, he led a life that many envy.

    Josh - Absolutely. I've been trying to dig up some old copies of the Book Mailer, I think those would be very interesting. And it was the analysis of his writing style that I found most interesting about this interview. His goal of being both "educational and entertaining" is an excellent standard - too much writing these days is one or the other.

    JB - Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Wow what a great find. Thank-you so much for sharing this.