Fly Fishing Collections

The Fly Fishing Collection

The Fly Fishing Collection includes over 2800 books, periodicals, manuscripts, photographs, artworks, oral histories and artifacts representing a diverse range of materials supporting study of the sport of fly fishing. It is the result of donations from numerous collectors including Paul and Mary Ann Ford, David Ishii, Walter and Jean Walkinshaw, Jack C. Hutchinson, Lory Watkins, Danny Beatty, Abe Lilliard and Patrick O'Hearn, in addition to works purchased specifically for the collection. The scope of the collection includes fly fishing history (starting with its European roots), technique, geography, biology, art, rod-building and fly-tying, and literature. See a current list of titles in the Fly Fishing Collection.

The Paul and Mary Ann Ford Fly Fishing Collection

The Fly Fishing Collections originated with a generous donation from Paul Ford, Ed.D.,Western Washington University Professor Emeritus of Educational Administration and Foundations, and Mary Ann Ford, M.Ed. The Ford gift is ongoing and comprised of books (including several rare volumes), realia and art focused on American fly fishing. See a current list of titles in the Ford Fly Fishing Collection.

Dr. Paul Ford joined Western as Professor of Education in 1970, served as his Department's Chair and later as the University's Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost. He is a passionate fly fisher.

Mary Ann Ford received her master's degree and principal's certificate from Western and has been a public school master teacher of mathematics, curriculum director and principal. She is a gifted cross stich artist and a wise book collector.

Digital Collections

Fly Fishing Objects and Images - This collection features non-print treasures from the Fly Fishing Collection, including: rods, reels, flies, and more, showcasing the evolution of the sport, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. Highlights include a Stimson & Lambuth dry fly fishing rod (#19), flies tied by George McLeod, Al Knudson, and Warren Erholm, and a creel (fish basket) made by the George Lawrence Company of Portland, Oregon.

Fly Fishing Oral Histories - This collection comprises transcripts of interviews with fly fishers in the Pacific Northwest. Persons interviewed discuss fly-tying, favorite locations, and memorable experiences.

Related Materials

Ralph E. Wahl Photographs and Papers - The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (another unit of Western Libraries Heritage Resources) houses a large collection of photographs and other materials by and about Ralph E. Wahl, a prominent Bellingham fly fisher, photographer, and author.


Every spring Special Collections Librarian Paul Piper teaches LIBR 320 - "Fly Fishing in American Literature & Culture." Contact for more information.

Additionally, ESCI 315 - "Art, Science, & Ethics of Flyfishing" - is an award-winning course offered every summer through the Huxley College of the Environment. Contact for more information.