I’m dreaming of a fly fishing Christmas!

Most of us who fly fish have far more rods and reels than we need – and for sure, we’ve got hundreds if not thousands of flies. So a good choice of gift this Christmas for that fly fisher in your family is D. Dauphinee’s new book, Stoneflies & Turtleheads, published by North Country Press in Unity. Or you can just buy it for yourself!

Stoneflies and Turtleheads coverThis is neither a “my best fishing stories” book, nor a “how-to” boring and tedious recitation. For starters, Denis Dauphinee wrote the book for himself. While he’s done a bit of writing before, he says Stoneflies & Turtleheads “is my first attempt at writing something which I’ve wanted to write.”

His passion for fly fishing and writing combine very nicely in this unusual collection of interesting – and sometimes fascinating – stories. There is a bit of how-to here, well presented, and plenty of truth telling about getting skunked. I particularly related to those stories!

I especially enjoyed his stories of the time in his life when he wandered the globe, mostly for work, while always carrying his SAGE 5-weight fly rod, a single box of flies, and a few fly tying tools. He fished some mighty strange water.

I know I’ll never get to the Urubamba River in Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas, but I sure did enjoy D’s story about his adventure there. Think steep ankle-breaking cliffs, and candiru, “tiny, skinny fish that reportedly will, if you pee in the water, swim up your urethra. It has retrose spines along its body and gets lodged in the penis. The pain, I’ve been told, is remarkable. The fish (with some damage to the penis) has to be surgically removed.”

Perhaps I’ll stick to the West Branch of the Penobscot! That’s another place that draws Denis Dauphinee, who spend plenty of time on my favorite Maine waters, including Grand Lake Stream.

D’s story of fishing Prestile Stream, one of the only limestone creeks in Maine, took me back to a political fight I got caught up in many decades ago. He tells that sorry story well, and without giving anything away, I’ll just say it is not a proud chapter in our state’s history.

Fly fishing purists may find D’s remarks about bass fishing to be sacrilegious, but I’m right there with him, casting eagerly to these voracious – and oftentimes huge – warm water nonnative fish.

The story, “The Greying of a Fly Fisher,” relates some of the injuries we old timers anticipate. Ouch!

D ranges from Tennyson (it’s not a river) to fish camp, and from his home waters near Bradley, Maine to Palestine, qualifying Denis Dauphinee as a fly fishing fanatic. I am so glad he wrote this book for himself!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.