Lester Fred Johnson obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Lester Fred Johnson

February 8, 1933 - May 14, 2017

Obituary


Lester Fred Johnson, 84, passed away in Arlington on May 14, 2017 (Mother's Day). He was born on February 8, 1933 in Auburn, Washington to Lester and Annite Mae (Knight) Johnson. Les grew up in Aberdeen, WA. He graduated from J. M. Weatherwax High School, commonly known as Aberdeen High School. Les remained close throughout his lifetime with his buddies from there, forming a group known as "The Lake Quinault Derelicts". The Derelicts continued to gather several times a year - even creating a webpage on their Aberdeen Weatherwax Class of 1951 website.
Les joined...

Lester Fred Johnson, 84, passed away in Arlington on May 14, 2017 (Mother's Day). He was born on February 8, 1933 in Auburn, Washington to Lester and Annite Mae (Knight) Johnson. Les grew up in Aberdeen, WA. He graduated from J. M. Weatherwax High School, commonly known as Aberdeen High School. Les remained close throughout his lifetime with his buddies from there, forming a group known as "The Lake Quinault Derelicts". The Derelicts continued to gather several times a year - even creating a webpage on their Aberdeen Weatherwax Class of 1951 website.
Les joined the US Marines and served in Korea (1953 -1955). The 38th parallel armistice was signed while he was still in boot camp. When he returned from the war, he attended Grays Harbor College earning a degree in Arts and Science. He worked for a time at Boeing and then joined Weyerhaeuser where he worked in wood products and became Manager of the Graphic Arts and Visuals Department. Les also worked in a number of retail sporting goods stores including Shoff Fishing Tackle Co. in Kent WA and The Swallows Nest in Seattle (both are no longer in existence), as well as Patrick's Fly Shop in Seattle, WA and Orvis in Bellevue, WA.
Les started fishing at a young age with his grandfather, Edward Knight, his mentor. Granddad did well!! Les has been an avid writer of the fishery he loved so much. His articles have appeared in Field and Stream, Western Outdoors, Saltwater Sportsman, Salmon Trout Steelheader, Fly Rod and Reel, Fly Fishing in Salt Water, and Fly Fisherman. He was the founding editor of the magazine Western Fly Tying, which he later expanded into Fly Fishing and Tying Journal.
In addition to magazine articles, Les has authored or co-authored several fly-fishing books. These include Sea Run (Complete Guide to Fishing for Sea Run-Cutthroat Trout) (1979); Fly-Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout (2004); Fly-Fishing for Pacific Salmon (1985 -co-authored); Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon II (2008 - co-authored); and Tube Flies: A Tying, Fishing and Historical Guide (1995- co-authored). Les was a co-host on several episodes of Flyfishing Northwest.
Les originated and developed a number of saltwater fly patterns. These include the Johnson's Beach Fly, the Johnson's Partridge Spider, the McCullough, a Chironomid pattern, the Disco Sand Lance, and the Williams Point Sand Lance as well as co-originator of the FJ Pink and the Thorne River Emerger.
Les has been a passionate and longtime advocate for the protection of salmon, steelhead, and coastal cutthroat trout. In 1973 he lobbied for the welfare of cutthroat, which are now sheltered under catch and release regulations in marine waters. In 2002, Les joined with others in helping to found the Wild Steelhead Coalition.
Over the years, Les has been recognized for his fly fishing and conservation efforts. In 1999, the Washington Fly Fishing Club presented Les the Tommy Brayshaw Award. In 2015, Les was also presented the club's most prestigious award - the Letcher Lambuth Angling Craftsman Award. In 2002, the Northwest Fly Anglers presented Les its Dawn Holbrook Award. In 2010, the Federation of Fly Fishers' (FFF) presented Les the Arnold Gingrich Memorial Life Award at the FFF National Fly Fishing Fair and Conclave held in West Yellowstone, Montana. Most recently (May 5, 2017), the Washington State Council IFFF awarded Les the Washington Fly Tying Hall of Fame Award.
Les is survived by his wife Carol, daughters Stacy and Laurie and sons Allen and Brian, granddaughter Desiree, grandson Daniel, and great granddaughter, Ariella, He is also survived by stepsons, Lawrence and Mark, and step grandsons, Tyler and Kyle.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 AM on Monday, June 5, 2017 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Arlington WA (1200 East 5th St. Arlington, WA). Burial will be at Tahoma National Cemetery on June 6, 2017 at 11:00 AM.
Donations in his honor may be made to:

The St .Vincent DePaul Society: c/o Immaculate Conception Church, PO Box 69. Arlington, WA 98223.

Fly Fishers International (formerly Federation of Fly Fishers): 5237 US Highway 89 South, STE 11, Livingston, MT 59047-9176 or online at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/flyfishersinternational?code=FFI_Home_Page

Arrangements under the direction of Weller Funeral Home, Arlington, WA.