Harri Lehtonen

Harri Lehtonen

Harri Lehtonen

Harri’s Flies

#20 Supervisor - Harri Lehtonen

#20 Supervisor - Harri Lehtonen

#74 Black Kiss - Harri Lehtonen

#74 Black Kiss - Harri Lehtonen

#297 Pikku Ahven - Harri Lehtonen

#297 Pikku Ahven – Harri Lehtonen

#350 Welch Rarebit - Harri Lehtonen

#350 Welch Rarebit – Harri Lehtonen

Harri’s Biography

I’m incurably addicted to flyfishing and -tying.

I was born in the Central Finland 1960. My Grand Father was an enthusiast brown trout fisherman. I can still remember my first visit to the Karajoki rapids with my grand pa – I was only five years old. Since then I have been hooked on fishing.

1974 I saw a flyfishing man for the first time. I was fishing with spinning tackle in one lake near by my home town when I saw a man with a flyfishing tackle. I stared fascinated his performance. How nicely the flyline lashed in the air! Carefully I asked if he had caught anything. He showed me two nice rainbows. From that moment I was doomed – doomed to fish with a flyrod. I sold my spinning tackle away In 1976, in order to become a better flyfisherman.

I started flytying at the same time as flyfishing. It was a hard road. We didn’t have much Finnish flytying literature in seventies, so learning to tye was pretty much self-studying. One friend of mine had started tying one year earlier – he was my first and only mentor.

The first visit to my current place of residence happens also in year 1976. By then I caught my first atlantic salmon with self tied fly. At that moment I knew some day I’ll be living here in Utsjoki village. After 30 years of my first visit found my self living here at the top of Finland. I did relocate just because of good fisheries, not for wares. The nearest Finnish city, Rovaniemi, locates about 280 miles from Utsjoki. Living in the valley of river Teno, has given me wonderful chances for fishing wild Atlantic Salmon, Brown Trout and Arctic Char.

Finnish flytying and -fishing based largely on british traditions due the history of industrial cooperation with Great Britain. Because of the strong British influence American fly tying and flies were merely unknown in Finland until eighties. The only American streamer familiar to us in seventies was Muddler Minnow.

After arriving Finland American patterns reached popularity among some flyfishermen and flytiers. Still New England streamers are quite marginal patterns in Finnish fly boxes. You hardly see any classic patterns on the banks of Finnish rivers. For the historical reasons American classics never really found their way to heart of Finnish flytyers. Most of the flyfishermen use only ‘modern’ streamers: marabou-, zonker-, or synthetic flashabou patterns. Those ‘unflies’ – as we call them – had displaced tradional flies. Names as Herbert Welch, Lew Oatman and Bill Edson are not recognized by the new generation. Unfortunately.

I love classic american patterns, and I love to catch fish on them. My history with classic streamers begun in eighties. I got Oatman’s Golden Shiner from a fried of mine. He claimed it to be productive streamer in the trout rivers of Central Finland. I tried it and was convicted, it was a real catcher. Gradually I became familiar with other classics, among Carrie Stevens patterns.

After my retirement of military career I really engaged in tying American classic streamers. They are my favorites flies and I’ve begun to use them increasinly in my fishing – last years even with Atlantic Salmon fishing. Catching a fish with a beautiful, classic streamer It’s very pleasure -producing happening – every time. Have admit I use some times also modern patterns. You can call me ‘poly fly abuser’.

The polar night is long and there is not much to do in the darkness – but tying…..especially classic American streamers. As as a challenge I tied every pattern shown in Hilyard’s Carrie Stevens book last winter. With a help of Chris Del Plato I’ve been trying to reach the essence of original patterns of the individual originators. I figured every streamer are not mend to tye the same way.

I Think my calling is to bring traditional streamer & bucktail patterns to the consciousness of Finnish flytiers and flyfisherman. Hopefully these magnificent traditionals patterns never vanish from the mind of flytyers.

Earlier, when living in Central Finland, my favorite streamers in many years used to be Oatman’s Golden Shiner, Magog Smelt, Colonel Bates and Black Ghost. By now, living in North, I prefer more patterns as Edson Dark Tiger, Mickey Finn and Black Kiss (my own pattern).

Allthough my flyfishing has currently turned much to Atlantic Salmon – with a different methods – every August I spent a lot of time on mountain lakes and brooks – chasing brown trout with classic streamers.

Harri Lehtonen

Harri Lehtonen

6 Comments

  1. Steve L. says:

    Harri,
    That’s a Beauty!!!!!
    Nice work as usual…
    Hope all is well, during your Long Winter…

  2. […] by: Harri Lehtonen Originated by: Herbert L. Welch Source: Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing – Joseph D. Bates Pg. […]

  3. […] by: Harri Lehtonen Originated by: Harri […]

  4. Joel Stansbury says:

    Hari, very beautiful color combunations. I liked it when you first posted nit on The Streamer List, and I am glad it is posted here. Tight lines!
    Joel

  5. […] by: Harri Lehtonen Originated by: Harri […]

  6. Barry Phillips says:

    great fly,looking forward to seeing more from you

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