David Arthur LaPointe
1897 - 1949
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, 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
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
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.
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
Oval gold tinsel
Golden Pheasant crest
Oval gold tinsel
Gray underbelly fur of a Muskrat
Mallard, or black bear hair
Flies tied by DA LaPointe