Corinne (Legace) Gallant

Corinne (Legace) Gallant tied flies for the most famous fly tiers in northern New Brunswick and this is her story.

In the early 1940's the village of Atholville had three prominent fly tiers. They were in strict competition over the supplying of salmon flies to the local anglers and visiting sportsmen.  A rivalry grew between them and at times they did not get along well. David Arthur LaPointe was the earliest fly tier, followed by Joseph Clovis Arseneault and taking third spot was David’s brother, Lawrence Alfred LaPointe.  Of the three fly tiers, Lawrence Alfred (L.A.) LaPointe was the easiest to get along with

Corinne Gallant was born on January 2, 1929 in Atholville, New Brunswick.  She is the daughter of the late Pamela (nee Haché) and Charles Legace.

 

Corinne (Legace) Gallant Tying Flies at Clovis Arseneault’s Fly Shop in 1975

 Corinne started tying flies in 1945.  She was only 16 years old when the famous fly tier David Arthur (D.A.) LaPointe introduced her to the art.  Corinne lived close to D.A. LaPointe's Fly Shop. There were already two women at the shop, Robertine LeBlanc and Helen Jean, who were tying flies for Mr. LaPointe. Corinne would visit the shop and watch the women tie the beautiful trout and salmon flies.  On one of her visits, D.A. LaPointe asked Corinne if she would like to try tying flies.  She agreed to let him show her.  At that time they would never have guessed that, during the next three decades, Corinne would tie trout and salmon flies behind a vice for some of the most famous fly tiers in New Brunswick. 

Corinne liked the challenge that came with constructing the fully dressed feather-wing patterns.  She studied the art under LaPointe's watchful eye for several years.  In the beginning, Corinne was only allowed to tie the bodies on the hooks.  Mr. LaPointe would build and attach the wings.  Corinne studied the patterns in the fly tying books and practiced regularly until her ability became so advanced that Mr. LaPointe recognized this and gave his approval for her to perform all the stages of the flies construction.  She remembers how difficult it was to get materials, especially "jungle cock."  The best materials had to be shipped in from the old country.  Corinne tied mostly fully dressed patterns such as the “Silver Grey” and “Jock Scott.”  She could tie a dozen of these patterns a day.  She also many hair-wing patterns.  Corinne tied flies for D.A. LaPointe until his death in October 1949. 

In December 1949, Corinne started tying flies for Jean-Paul Dubé of New Carlisle, Quebec, who owned a tackle shop in Matapedia between 1948 and 1956.  She worked for him until 1951, and during that time Corrine taught fly tying to Lucienné Doiron, a young lady from Matapedia, Quebec.  Between 1952 to 1962, Corinne stopped tying flies in order to pursue other interests. 

D.A. LaPointe's brother, L.A. LaPointe was quickly building a reputation for himself as a fly tier and supplier of salmon and trout flies to sportsmen in New Brunswick and Quebec.  In the same year as his brother's death, L.A. LaPointe was also tying flies for Jean-Paul Dubé.  In 1956, L.A. LaPointe opened his own fly tying shop in Matapedia, Quebec.  In 1963, he hired Corinne to tie flies.  She worked for him until 1966, at which time he sold his business to his niece, Carmelle Bigaouette. Corinne remained with the shop and tied flies for Carmelle until 1967, when Carmelle moved to Maria, Quebec.  It wasn't long before the fly tying talent of Corinne was in demand by yet another famous fly tier from Atholville.

 

Corinne (Legace) Gallant Tying Flies at Clovis Arseneault’s Fly Shop in 1975   

 Joseph Clovis Arseneault specialized in hair-wing salmon flies.  His flies were in great demand, but to fill all the orders required additional help.  Corinne's talent was what he needed so he asked her to tie trout and salmon flies for him.   In 1973 she started tying flies at J.C. Arseneault's Fly Shop. When she went to Arseneault's shop he already had some experienced fly tiers working for him.  Roger and René Baker along with Alfred and Mark Gallant were very experienced fly tiers in their own right. The men had dominated the tying benches, but Corinne had the talent to compete with the best and she did so, part time, until 1979. After she stopped tying at the shop of Clovis Arseneault, she continued with a private practice, at her home for several more years. Her fly tying spanned over a 30-year period. During those 30 some years Corinne Gallant tied salmon flies elbow to elbow with four of New Brunswick's most prominent fly tiers. There is no need for debate when assessing the contribution Mrs. Corinne Gallant made to fly tying in New Brunswick.  She is among the earliest known lady fly tiers in the province.  She tied trout and salmon flies for some of our most famous fly tiers and her flies have floated in the waters of the most famous salmon rivers.  Her flies have also found refuge in hundreds of fly boxes, carried by fishermen and women from around the world.  Corinne is one of “Five Lady Fly Tiers” who were taught the art of fly tying by D.A. LaPointe.

 

Corinne's favourite salmon fly is the “Green Highlander” There was never one particular fly that she preferred to tie more than any of the others. 

 

She liked to fish, but not for salmon. Her interest was trout and she didn't use salmon flies to catch them.  Her bait was a nice large, fresh worm.  She caught a beautiful five-pound trout in her favourite river, the Restigouche.

 

Green Highlander

 

Tip:                   Silver tinsel

Tag:                  Canary yellow silk floss

Tail:                  Golden Pheasant crest topped with Teal

Butt:                Black Ostrich herl

Body:               Rear three-quarters: Canary yellow silk floss. Remainder: Green Seal's fur or floss

Rib:                  Silver tinsel

Hackle:            Green, palmered

Throat:            Yellow Wing: Two Golden Pheasant tippets, back to  back; veiled by  “married” strips of yellow and green Swan and grey mottled Turkey; veiled by black and white barred Teal, with narrow strips of bronze Mallard over, at top, topped with a Golden Pheasant crest

Cheeks:             Jungle Cock

Horns:               Blue and yellow Macaw

Head:                Black


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