Featured Fly Tyer - Dmitri Leznov
The Sherbrook fly weaves the rich golds and blacks of the golden pheasant, red-ruffed fruitcrow, and florican with the bright blues of the peacock and the blue and gold macaw. We knew it would be the perfect icon for one of our blends.
The Sherbrook fly pattern dates back 150 years, and most of today’s fly tyers wouldn’t dare tackle it. Enter Dmitri Leznov, a fly tyer from Belarus we learned about by chance. He was willing to put his passion for fly fishing and experience teaching young people to tie to the test and did a beautiful job on this fly.
We talked with Leznov about the beautiful places he fishes, and his efforts to popularize fly fishing and protect the Atlantic salmon population. The interview has been edited lightly.
Where do you live?
I was born and live in the city of Orsha. Belarus is a wonderful country with a very beautiful nature, many rivers and lakes. It is not for nothing that they call it “the blue-eyed country.”
You’ve been fishing your whole life. Tell us a little bit about your fishing story—who taught you, what type of fishing you do, and where you like to fish.
I have a love for fishing from my grandfather. I fished in different ways. I started with a float rod, carp fishing… Then I moved on to spinning. More than twenty years spent fishing for walleye. I came into fly fishing about fifteen years ago. Basically, I fish on rivers. I really like to fish for trout and grayling on small rivers and streams. Recently, I have been very keen on fishing for Atlantic salmon.
Talk some more about fly tying, or fly knitting, as it’s also called in Belarus.
A couple of years [after beginning to fly fish], I tried to knit my own flies. I liked it; it worked. I got involved and continue to do it now. Mostly I did it on my own, that is, self-taught. I spied some of the techniques for tying flies from colleagues. Now it's not difficult—everything is on YouTube.
At the moment, my favorite thing is to tie salmon flies to classic feather salmon flies. In dry flies, I have many favorites. Mayfly, caddis flies, beetles…
You teach fly tying and fishing to young people, correct?
My friends and I are trying to popularize fly fishing in our country. I also participate in the Atlantic salmon conservation program. There is only one river, Viliya, left in Belarus, which has a direct outlet to the Baltic Sea. Salmon enter it for spawning and reach our territory. We protect them from poachers throughout the entire spawning period.
We searched far and wide for this salmon fly to represent our Sherbook's Blend, taking us all the way to Dmitri in Belarus. We are glad we found him, as this fly is a beut!