Leeson, Ted 1954-

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LEESON, Ted 1954-

PERSONAL: Born April 15, 1954, in Beloit, WI; son of James and Betty (a musician) Leeson; married Elizabeth Campbell (a professor), August 4, 1984. Education: Marquette University, B.A., B.S., 1976; University of Virginia, Ph.D., 1984. Politics: "When necessary."

ADDRESSES: Home—2855 Northwest Jackson, Corvallis, OR 97330. Office—Moreland Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Oregon State University, Corvallis, senior instructor, 1984—.

WRITINGS:

The Habit of Rivers: Reflections on Trout Streams and Fly Fishing, Lyons & Burford (New York, NY), 1994.

(Editor) The Gift of Trout, Lyons & Burford (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Jim Schollmeyer) The Fly-Tier's Benchside Reference to Techniques and Dressing Styles, F. Amato (Portland, OR), 1998.

(With Jim Schollmeyer) Trout Flies of the West: Best Contemporary Patterns from the Rockies, West, F. Amato (Portland, OR), 1998.

(With Jim Schollmeyer) Trout Flies of the East: Best Contemporary Patterns from East of the Rockies, F. Amato (Portland, OR), 1999.

(With Jim Schollmeyer) Inshore Flies: Best Contemporary Patterns from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, F. Amato (Portland, OR), 2000.

Jerusalem Creek: Journeys into Driftless Country, Lyons (New York, NY), 2002.

Contributing editor, Fly Rod and Reel, 1988—, and Field and Stream, 1994—.

SIDELIGHTS: The growing popularity of sport fishing in the United States has given rise to several books by Ted Leeson, an instructor at Oregon State University. With reading audiences eager for advice and information, books on fly-tying have grown in both scope and size; indeed, commented Gerald Hoffnagle in Rackelhanen Flyfishing, one of Leeson's guides, The Fly-Tier's Benchside Reference to Techniques and Dressing Styles, looks like one of "two Stone Tablets of flytying." The volume is not inexpensive, Hoffnagle noted, but for all its size, the Fly-Tier's Benchside Reference "has a good argument for its price." The reviewer pointed to the work's comprehensive format, organized "not by style, pattern, fish, or even progressive skill levels, but ad hoc tying problems—sometimes more than one solution per problem—that apply across all three." Hoffnagle called the guide "all technique and no fat," while also praising Leeson for text that is "actually stylish."

Leeson and coauthor Jim Schollmeyer have followed The Fly-Tier's Benchside Reference to Techniques and Dressing Styles with a series of books focusing on different fishing regions in the United States. Trout Flies of the West and Trout Flies of the East contain not only information on fishing lodges and related retailers in each region, but also comments from experts in the field on flytying patterns, known as "recipes." A Fly Fisherman reviewer said that the combination of The Fly-Tier's Benchside Reference to Techniques and Dressing Styles and the two regional books is "all making sense: Hit with a killer how-to book . . . and then follow up with two recipe books."

Leeson has also produced fishing books of a different sort. Titles such as The Habit of Rivers: Reflections on Trout Streams and Fly Fishing and Jerusalem Creek: Journeys into Driftless Country are less technical manuals than books of personal reflection and philosophy. The Habit of Rivers tells of Leeson's passion for his sport, and his experiences as a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest, which he calls "the land of unceasing seasons." Jerusalem Creek is set in the author's native Wisconsin, where Leeson "enters into a discriminating rapport with the entire landscape," according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor. John Rowen of Booklist admired the way Leeson takes "arcane subjects" related to the area's geography and "brings them alive with style and insight in this remarkable memoir." Like the best fishing books, Rowan concluded, Jerusalem Creek "transcends its topic," adding that its appeal extends beyond the fishing audience to "those who savor the nonfiction of Annie Dillard, John McPhee, and William Least-Heat Moon."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Aethlon, summer, 1995, review of The Habit of Rivers: Reflections on Trout Streams and Fly Fishing, p. 154.

Booklist, April 1, 2002, John Rowen, review of Jerusalem Creek: Journeys into Driftless Country, p. 1293.

Fly Fisherman, February, 2000, review of Trout Flies of the West, p. 22; May, 2000, review of Trout Flies of the East, p. 26.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 1996, review of The Gift of Trout, p. 1298; May 1, 2002, review of Jerusalem Creek, p. 638.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, March 26, 1995, review of The Habit of Rivers, p. 15.

Publishers Weekly, January 30, 1995, review of The Habit of Rivers, p. 98.

ONLINE

Rackelhanen Flyfishing,http://www.algonet.se/ (June 13 2002), Gerald Hoffnagle, review of The Fly-Tier's Benchside Reference.*

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