May 5, 2013

Author Q&A: A fisher of stories

Dee Dauphinee's humor spices his tales about fly-fishing, traveling the world and life in Maine.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

Denis "Dee" Dauphinee grew up in Bangor, the youngest of eight children, in a family with a long legacy of humor. His quick-witted father always seemed to have a joke at just the right moment. His mom had a good sense of humor too. He remembers spending much of his youth laughing.

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Dee Dauphinee with Allagash guide Wade Kelly, who is blowing a moose call

Courtesy photo

So it's of little surprise that his new book about fly-fishing, life and the natural wonders of Maine is full of laughs.

"It's part of the family tradition," he said.

Dauphinee fishes more often than not. Last year, he figures he fished four days a week, which is pretty remarkable given that he works full-time as a surgical assistant, writes regularly and is a husband and father of two.

"Give me an hour and I'll be fishing," he said, adding that he does not necessarily recommend such dedication to the sport.

"The path to great fishing is as narrow as a razor's edge," he added with a laugh.

One does not have to love fishing to appreciate Dauphinee's "Stoneflies & Turtleheads: A Maine Flyfisher's Misadventures," published by Unity-based North Country Press.

One just has to appreciate a good read by a middle-age Mainer who has spent much of his life traveling the world and observing others.

The book reads like a personal journey. Readers come away with a sense of Dauphinee's life beyond fishing. We spoke by phone last week.

Q: This is a book about fly-fishing, but it covers a lot of turf. It seems more to be a book about Maine and Mainers and how we live. Was that your goal?

A: The goal was pretty simple; I like good stories, and I wanted to tell some. I've been very lucky to have fished around the world, and if you do that enough, the anecdotes become stories.

Q: I appreciated your sections about Maine speech and the mispronunciations that drive you nuts. Do you keep notes during your travels?

A: I keep notes every day, no matter where I am. Today, I stopped in at the Fogler Library at UMO just to take a quick look at something, and came out with six pages of a composition book filled. It's a problem with me.

Q: How long have you been fishing?

A: Since before I can remember. Caught my first trout on a fly at the headwaters of the Pleasant River, the one in Washington County. It was only a 6-inch brookie, but I was only 13. It might as well have been a 70-pound tarpon. At that moment, I was smitten with fly-fishing, and still am.

Q: What do you like about it?

A: I've tried about every sport out there, and in no others can I find the same focused solitude.

You can be wading a beautiful stream somewhere, bathed in the warm, morning sunlight, with your mind innocent of life's daily considerations, when suddenly you are confronted with excitement and calmness.

If you're not careful, it can confuse you, in a good way.

Q: Why is fly-fishing such a brotherhood?

A: I think because more than any other mode of angling, fly-fishers are really tuned in to the fish -- their food, their biology, their needs. Fly-fishers study the fish and the waters, and eventually they learn to appreciate the river ecology and become stewards of the rivers, streams and lakes.

Q: Who did you write this book for? Who is your audience?

(Continued on page 2)

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