Dick Talleur 1932-2011

Dick Talleur 1932-2011

  • By: David Klausmeyer
  • Photography by: Tim Savard
Dick Talleur

There are a lot of good fly tiers in the world, but there are very few great ones.

A good tier makes flies that catch fish, but a great tier is an ambassador for the craft. He is a patient teacher and is eager to help novices learn how to tie flies. He willingly shares hard-earned knowledge and expertise with more advanced tiers so they can learn the finer points and create better patterns. A good tier develops new flies that are named for him; a great tier shows a beginner how to make a simple Hare’s Ear Nymph in one sitting so he can enjoy the thrill of catching a fish with a fly that he made.

Dick Talleur will always be considered a great fly tier. Because of him, we all tie better flies and get more enjoyment from our fishing.

Dick had a varied fly-fishing career. After retiring from AT&T in the late 1970s, he traveled to Russia to manage an Atlantic salmon camp, and later moved to Thailand to run a commercial tying company. Dick also worked with major American fly-tying tool and materials suppliers to develop better products that we all have on our fly-tying desks.

Most of us know Dick from his many articles and books. He wrote dozens of articles for almost all of the major fly-fishing magazines, and he authored more than 10 books, including Modern Fly-Tying Materials, Inside Fly Tying, Pretty and Practical Salmon Flies and the L.L. Bean Fly-Tying Handbook. The United Fly Tyers chose his last book, Trout Flies for the 21st Century, as their Book of the Year for 2008.

Dick was a popular speaker at fly-fishing clubs and shows around the country, and he also appeared at major events in Europe. Dick taught classes covering subjects ranging from introductory fly-tying to crafting exquisite full-dress salmon flies. And, when he wasn’t writing or visiting a club or show, you might catch him making a fly-tying video or DVD.

Three years ago, the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum presented their Golden Hook Award to Dick at the autumn Fly Fishing Hall of Fame festivities. This prestigious award is given to an individual who has made major contributions in fly-tying education. And this spring, Dick was the first recipient of Fly Tyer Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award.

Since his death, many people asked if Dick knew that he had won the Readers’ Choice Award, and I am happy to say that he did. When I called Dick to tell him about this award, he expressed gratitude and said, “I always thought I’d helped some people learn how to tie flies.”

Dick and I spoke for a while, and I asked what he had been doing.

“I’m working on my final book,” he said. “I’ve been tying flies for 40 years, and I have a lot of really special things that I want to share; things I’ve never written about or shown anyone how to do.”

That was the last time we spoke, and his last book would go unfinished. After a very brief illness, Richard Talleur passed away on February 28 at the age of 79.

David Klausmeyer, Editor, Fly Tyer Magazine