George Harvey was one of the true giants in Pennsylvania fly fishing history. Born in DuBois, Pennsylvania on November 14, 1911, George Harvey spent most of his life in Central Pennsylvania, teaching and writing about fly fishing. He graduated from Penn State University in 1935 with a Bachelor’s degree in Ornamental Horticulture. During his time at Penn State, he had the good fortune to meet and fish with Ralph Watts, Dean of the School of Agriculture. Dean Watts not only organized the first unofficial fly fishing class at Penn State, but recommended George Harvey for the position of instructor at the Mont Alto Forestry School, which is a part of Penn State. George Harvey moved to the main campus in 1942 and continued his angling classes, which because an officially credited class in 1947, called “Principles and Techniques of Fly Fishing and Fly Tying.” This was the first accredited college fly fishing class in America. He continued teaching the course until his retirement in 1972 and retired as an Associate Professor of Physical Education.
During his tenure at Penn State and in teaching students and adult clinics throughout Pennsylvania, George Harvey taught more than 36,000 fly fishing students. One of those students was Joe Humphreys whom he first met, as a youngster, appropriately on Spring Creek.
In addition to his functions as an instructor, George Harvey authored numerous books and articles on the various aspects of fly fishing including:
George Harvey also received numerous awards for his contribution to fly tying and created many new patterns including:
George Harvey will be deeply missed by his students and friends. His contributions to fly fishing will last for years to come as will the traditions he first introduced at Penn State University.
Joe Humphreys and Greg Hoover inteview George Harvey on March 25, 2004. Click Here to Listen!