Bushnell on Books

By Bill Bushnell

STONEFLIES & TURTLEHEADS: A MAINE FLYFISHER’S MISADVENTURES
By D. Dauphinee
North Country Press, 2013

Among all the books written about fly fishing in recent years, Maine author Denis Dauphinee’s debut book, “Stoneflies & Turtleheads” is by far one of the best.

Dauphinee may be passionate about many things, but one things is certain: He loves fly fishing so much that he’s fished in South America, the Middle East, Europe, above the Arctic Circle, across the U.S. and, of course, here in Maine.

He also claims he’s not much of a writer, but he’s wrong. This collection of 19 essays is very well-written, funny, informative and entertaining. Readers will see the rivers and streams, the mountains and lake, the people and the fish in an elegant narrative that truly conveys the patience, solitude, and “the simple romance and poetry of fly fishing.”

This is a marvelous guide to fresh-water fly fishing, including discussions of equipment, types of flies for conditions, best types of water, time of day, and what insects are hatching to lure fish as well as detailed descriptions of certain varieties of fish — from the most popular game fish like salmon, trout and Arctic charr to “trash” fish like pickerel, chubs and crappie (that’s the name, not an opinion).

As part travelogue, the book also offers colorful descriptions of exotic fishing trips to Peru, the Holy Land, Baffin Island and Otter Stream outside his backdoor. Dauphinee also likes to climb mountains — the Andes and the Rockies are his favorites — but he always takes along his fly rod, reel and a couple of his favorite flies, just in case.

Learn why being “skunked” has nothing to do with an offensive odor, why Maine fishermen don’t like bass, how a scorpion sting in a tender location can ruin your day and what fly fishermen really think of bait fishermen.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

ReviewsDee Dauphinee