The first time I laid eyes on Alvin Theriault he looked like the proverbial cowboy’s horse that “had been rode hard and put away wet.” He had that look of deep fatigue. His hair was matted, his jacket rain-drenched and his trousers ripped. It was more than 15 years ago. I was a press officer for the Maine Warden Service. Alvin was a Game Warden directing a ground search for a missing hunter in Garfield Plantation, not far from Ashland. The search had been going on for days and had become massive in scale. A typical November, it had been cold and rainy and miserable in the woods.

These so-called grid searches for missing hunters are anything but glamorous. This is especially so if the weather is snotty and you are a Warden Sergeant or District Warden who does the legwork while getting directions from the higher ups back in the Search and Rescue van. A grid search of the woods, as the term implies, involves covering every square inch of ground no matter how thick or impenetrable the fir thickets or the cedar bogs. To get a taste of the action, I was invited to be one of the “bush beaters” being directed by Alvin.

What I saw that day in working with Warden Theriault was a determined and thorough man, a gentle but strong and understated guy who knew how to keep his eye on the ball under the most difficult conditions. Yes, I was impressed. People who go quietly about their business, doing it well and working tirelessly without fanfare have always made an impression on me. Today Alvin Theriault, no longer a Maine Game Warden, is still making an impression. He is doing it with a small business that he and his wife Connie created called Theriault Flies in Stacyville.

Alvin fell in love with fly tying as a kid. Over the years his love turned into a business. During his 20 years in the Maine Warden Service his wife Connie and daughter Hollie did much of the commercial tying. Today, Theriault flies are sold in stores throughout the north woods. Perhaps one of his most famous creations, the Maple Syrup, has become legendary among fly fishermen in Katahdin Country.

As well as tying flies commercially for stores, Theriault also deals in fly tying materials. He and Connie raise and breed exotic birds and animals on his 100 acres in order to obtain fur and feathers for these materials.

Theriault finds little time to fish himself anymore.” Oh, if I hear about a place that I might catch a 5 pound brookie, I’ll find some time,” he says with grin. The former game warden says that his cross breeding of birds for the development of fly tying feathers has been pretty much a “trial and error” thing. Never one to sit back on his laurels, Theriault has just developed a new line of flavored maple Syrups he calls “Flavor Flies.”

Theriault’s remarkable fly creations are also available by mail order, as well as in stores. His Green Drake artificials are a work of art, and a must-have for any fly angler’s box, especially with the Green Drake season about to burst forth.. For a copy of his catalogs for flies or materials, there is a toll free number: 1 866-562-0242. His address is Theriault Flies, 1135 Station Road, Stacyville, ME 0477. His web site address is www.theriaultflies.com.

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal.

He is also a Maine Guide, co-host of a weekly radio program “Maine Outdoors” heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network (WVOM-FM 103.9, WCME-FM 96.7) and former information officer for the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

His e-mail address is [email protected] sportingjournal.com.


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