Icons of the Fly Vest: Michigan Hopper & Winnie Fore and Aft

In the early years of the 1900’s, the Traverse City barbershop that Art Winnie ran with his brother Bert—walls lined with tree bark for that outdoor feel—bustled with fishermen and the buzz of fishing talk. A sign in the barbershop window that gave a daily countdown to opening day of trout season was a touchstone to fishermen. Born to what author Gary Miller called “Traverse City’s First Family of Fishing,” both Art and Bert earned renown as great fishermen and inventors of lures and flies. Art invented the Michigan Hopper—with its turkey wing and hackle—in the early 1940’s, but Joe Brooks popularized the fly, and it came to be called Joe’s Hopper. Winnie’s Fore and Aft was another of his signature inventions. Art earned wide renown as a fly tier, and sold thousands of flies to people across the United States, which some say paid for his house. He displayed the playful double-entendre “Work of Art” on some of his fly marketing materials.

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