David Arthur LaPointe

1897 - 1949

 As a young boy he would pull the silk strands from his mother's runner and wrap them around a hook so he could go fishing. 

Nash Creek is a small settlement located along Highway 11, between Bathurst and Dalhousie in northern New Brunswick. On September 7, 1897, Nash Creek became the birthplace for one of the Province’s earliest and best-known fly tiers, David Arthur LaPointe, son of the late Mary Jane (nee Arseneau) and Lawrence LaPointe.

 D.A. LaPointe, Salmon Fly Dresser 1944

Prior to 1664, Nicholas Audet was the first LaPointe to arrive on the North American Continent.  He settled on a point of land on the Ile d' Orléans, an island in the Fleuve Saint-Laurent, opposite the Beaupré Coast.

The Indians living on the island named him LaPointe.  For the next three generations the surname “Audet dit LaPointe” would be used.

 The fourth generation left the island and took up residence on the Gaspé Coast.  Some of the family members decided to use the name Audet.  Some of the others chose to keep the name LaPointe.  David Arthur LaPointe is a descendent of that generation.

 David Arthur LaPointe was referred to as D.A. LaPointe when being addressed by the professional world, but was better referred to as Arthur by the people who bought his salmon flies.

Arthur worked at many different jobs, but eventually studied and practiced barbering which provided him with his main source of income.  He found business for his trade in the City of Fredericton.  By the late 1920's he had his own barber shop there.  One of his customers was a bank manager who was from Scotland.  The banker, who was also a fly tier, introduced Arthur to the art  of tying flies. He presented Arthur with his book on how to dress trout and salmon flies.  In the spare moments between customers to the barber's chair, Arthur studied and practiced the art with great enthusiasm. His practice became a passion and within a couple of years Arthur was mastering the art of fly tying and producing some of the best tied salmon flies in the province. 

 Fly tying in the 1920's and early 1930's was a hobby for David Arthur LaPointe.  In 1935 he moved to Atholville, New Brunswick and started tying flies as a sideline.  The local fishermen were using a lot of Arthur’s flies.  The visiting fishermen to the province started buying his salmon flies too, and soon David Arthur LaPointe, “the barber” became better known as, D.A. LaPointe, “the fly dresser.”

In 1940, Arthur started teaching the art of fly tying.  His first students tied flies exclusively for him, but eventually some of those students left, and went on to become well-known independent fly tiers in their own right.  An interesting thing about his first students is that they were women.  They were Lucille and Hélène Jean, Carmelle and Robertine LeBlanc and Corinne Legace. 

 Lucille Jean was the first of the five women who Arthur taught.  Hélène Jean, his second student became a commercial and exhibition fly tier at major trade shows in Toronto.  Another student, Carmelle LeBlanc would marry and become Mrs. Carmelle Bigaouette.  She was world renown as a professional commercial fly tier.  She operated her own tackle shop in Quebec and was the originator of the famous salmon fly called, “Orange Blossom.” Carmelle died in 1985.   

 Corinne Gallant is the only female fly tier to tie trout and salmon flies for three of New Brunswick's most prominent fly tiers, David Arthur LaPointe, Lawrence Alfred LaPointe and Joseph Clovis Arseneault.

David Arthur LaPointe also gave fly tying instructions to Joseph Clovis Arseneault, originator of the famous “Rusty Rat.” Arthur’s brother, Alfred was also one of his students.  Keep in mind that for a short time all these fly tiers were concentrated in the little village of Atholville, New Brunswick.  The fishing was good and the demand for salmon flies was high.  Competition was intense and the methods used for luring the angler into the fly tier shop to purchase flies were left to the best imagination.  If you were successful in making a sale, the prospect of the purchaser sending another customer your way was very promising.  It is said that tempers ran high between a couple of neighbouring fly tiers.

 David Arthur LaPointe died suddenly on October 15, 1949.  He was 53 years old. During his lifetime he produced and shipped thousands of salmon flies around the world. He tied flies extensively for the Restigouche Salmon Club in Matapedia, P.Q. He tied flies for the Grand Cascapedia Fishing Club, and Neil's Sporting Goods Store in Fredericton, New Brunswick. 

 Arthur’s fly tying career spanned a short 17 years.  Within that time he became a legend in the realm of fly tying, not only for the quality of his flies, but for the creation of several salmon fly patterns that still reign as the most popular among anglers and fly tiers.  Some of his patterns include the “Nepisiquit Gray” and “Green Drake.” These patterns are still fished by anglers around the world. It is not know if Arthur favoured any one particular salmon fly.  We believe it is safe to say he loved all the fly patterns. 

In 1948, Arthur was given distinction among such fly tying greats as Lee Wulff, Charles DeFeo and Alex Rogan, after “Fortune Magazine” published an article titled, LEAPER. The article included sketches of two salmon flies called “Lady Amherst” and “Nepisiquit Gray”, tied by D.A. LaPointe.  Dick Stewart, Farrow Allen, and Joseph D. Bates Jr. are some others who recognized D.A. LaPointe when they too wrote books on the art of fly tying.

D.A. LaPointe loved to fish the Lauzon  and Restigouche Rivers.

Nepisiguit Gray tied by Wallace Ward “Wally” Doak in 1978

 Nepisiguit Gray

 

Tag:                  Oval gold tinsel

Tip:                   Yellow floss

Tail:                  Golden Pheasant crest

Butt:                  Peacock herl

Rib:                  Oval gold tinsel

Body:                 Gray underbelly fur of a Muskrat

Throat:              Grizzly hackle

Wing:                 Bronze Mallard, or black bear hair

Head:                Black    


Flies tied by DA LaPointe