Lawrence Alfred LaPointe

1898 - 1970

 Nash Creek is a small settlement located along Highway 11, between Bathurst and Dalhousie in northern New Brunswick. On October 20, 1898, it became the birthplace for Lawrence Alfred LaPointe, one of New Brunswick's best-known fly tiers from that area.  Lawrence Alfred LaPointe, was the son of the late Mary Jane (nee Arseneau) and Lawrence LaPointe

 L.A. LaPointe (circa 1928)

 Alfred, as he was mostly called, was the brother of David Arthur LaPointe, famous fly tier from Atholville, New Brunswick.  Alfred and his brother supplied most of the trout and salmon flies used in New Brunswick and on the Gaspé.  Alfred loved and respected his brother dearly.  It was Arthur who taught him the art of fly tying, but Alfred felt he could never attain the same quality or eloquence in tying the flies as that of his brother.  On the day of his brother's funeral Alfred prayed to Arthur, asking that he leave him his fly tying talent so he could continue duplicating the beautiful salmon fly patterns that he had become so well known for by anglers from around the world.

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.  A 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. Lawrence Alfred LaPointe is a descendent of that generation. Alfred was very talented and music was his first and foremost interest.  He became a musician who, in his early years taught music and hosted a musical broadcast on a local New Brunswick radio station.  He specialised in playing the Hawaiian guitar.  He played the instrument beautifully.  He was very creative, making and playing several different musical instruments.  One time he made a crystal set.  With it, he was able to intercept the radio waves and listen to different radio broadcasts.  His musical talent was passed on when his wife gave birth to a son, William LaPointe who became a member of the popular recording group called, The Gospelairs.             Alfred started tying salmon flies in the late 1940's.  His brother, Arthur taught him the fundamentals of fly tying and was beginning to refine Alfred’s fly tying talent when Arthur died suddenly in 1949. 


 

Alfred moved to Matapedia and followed in the fly tying footsteps of his older brother.  He opened and operated his own fly tying shop in Matapedia until 1968. He then sold his business to his niece, Carmelle (LeBlanc) Bigaouette, originator of a famous salmon fly called Orange Blossom. Carmelle had been tying salmon flies for Alfred for several years prior to purchasing his shop.    

Alfred’s favourite rivers were the Restigouche and Matapedia, probably because he lived near them all his life and had great fishing in their waters.

 

 

Rare photos of L.A. Lapointe at the vise (circa 60’s)

 

In the spring of 1970, at the age of 72, Lawrence Alfred LaPointe passed away. His fly tying career lasted 21 years.  During that time he achieved a highly respected reputation for developing and tying excellent hair-wing flies that could be used repeatedly to take salmon before coming apart.  He supplied flies of all types to anglers locally, across Canada and the United States.  Because of his love and dedication to the art he was able to achieve national recognition. Could it be that the prayer he said on the day of his brother's funeral was answered and served in his fly tying achievements? 

In the late 1950's, a Canadian newsprint called The Star Weekly featured a special article on Alfred’s fly tying capabilities.  He was also given distinction among such fly tying greats as Lee Wulff, Charles DeFeo and Alex Rogan, when Fortune Magazine published an article titled LEAPER, in 1948. Dick Stewart, Farrow Allen, and  Joseph D. Bates Jr. are others who recognised Lawrence Alfred LaPointe when they too wrote books on the art of fly tying.

L.A. LaPointe tied an original salmon fly pattern called “Shrimp”, in 1949.

 Shrimp 

Head:   Black
Tip:  Fine oval gold tinsel
Tag:  Pale yellow silk floss
Tail:  Strands of golden Pheasant tippets of a length that shows the second black band
Body:  Pink floss
Rib: Flat gold tinsel
Hackle: A few turns of yellow hackle before the wing is applied, and a few turns of olive green hackle after the wing is applied
Wing:  A bunch of silver Monkey hair, extending to the tip of the tail topped with brown and white Bucktail

                                              

This is the rare original "Shrimp" originated and tied by L.A. LaPointe. The fly was provided by Alfred LaPointe's nephew, Marc LeBlanc from Maria, Quebec.