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South Cariboo fly fisher shares his journey in new book

Doug Porter has been fly fishing for close to seven decades now

For over six decades Doug Porter has been a fly fisherman.

Across B.C. the Horse Lake resident has made flies, fished in streams, lakes and rivers and learned from his mentors their best techniques and practices. Last year Porter decided to chronicle his experiences in his debut solo novel Chucking Flies: One Fly Fisher’s Journey.

“I wrote the book to let everyone know how much fun I had learning how to fly fish, the people I met and how they inspired me. The book is designed to not only inspire (new fishermen and fisherwomen) but also inform and educate,” Porter, 78, said. “I think people will get a lot of information out of it. I’ve given away some secrets on fly fishing techniques and tools to use and some really good fly patterns as well.”

Writing Chucking Flies: One Fly Fisher’s Journey is something Porter has been wanting to do for decades, though he always put it off because other people kept publishing similar books. Three years ago he finally started putting pen to paper and began sorting through his photo collection to illustrate his book.

“I took a different tack with this book. A lot of flyfishing books tell you how to do things and where to do things. I decided to mention that and tell people where I learned the information from so they can go seek it out themselves. The book is basically about my progression through fly fishing history and a couple of the people I met who were my mentors.”

Porter said he first learned how to fly fish when he was 12 years old in Monte Rio, California. He recalls watching a local man fly fish on the river and decided he wanted to give it a try for himself. Purchasing a fly rod he went down to the river “without any knowledge at all” and started learning how to cast a fly.

“Casting the rod out is just a very basic part of it. I teach people how to fly cast and that’s a very good art to develop. The further you cast the fly the more time you have to fish,” Porter said, remarking he prefers to get his fly in the water efficiently rather than making a big show of twirling his line around his head.

You can trace Porter’s journey by the examples of fishflies he’s included in the book. Porter said the evolution of his flies and lures shows how the sport has changed and grown with new materials and colours used to simulate different types of insects.

“As time has passed I’ve had an opportunity to create better and more productive patterns (that catch more fish). Either that or the fish are getting dumber,” Porter remarked with a chuckle.

The fact the sport of fly fishing constantly evolves is a big part of what has kept it interesting for Porter. He said the equipment and techniques used to catch fish have changed from year to year and he’s always learning new things about the habits of insects and fish.

“Each fish has a different habitat they want to stay in and they all have a different feeding habitat. The insects come and go on a pretty regular basis from year to year, you can actually time the emergences when they come out of their pupal husks.”

In addition to fly fishing, Porter said he also touches upon his own life. In his younger days, he was involved in several conservation projects to protect fisheries and became a fish and wildlife guide 25 years ago after working for the Ministry of Forests for almost three decades.

“A lot of my time was spent outside and that’s exactly how I wanted it to be. I’m not a very good desk jockey.”

A big part of Chucking Flies: One Fly Fisher’s Journey is the people he’s met out on the waterways. Many of his early mentors taught him everything he knows about fishing, skills he’s now passing on to new fly fishers.

“I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to know some of the best names in fly fishing in British Columbia,” Porter said. “Brian Chan, the number one fly fisher in B.C., even wrote the forward to my book and I’m really happy he did that.”

Porter said he enjoyed gathering all the information for the book and working with people like his son to get it ready for print. Right now the book is primarily available by contacting Porter directly at 250-395-9494, though he hopes to make some copies available at local stores like Nuthatch Books soon.

“I want to get it out there to inspire people, inform people and show them there’s a lot they can do to help improve the environment if they get organized,” Porter said.

Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in 100 Mile House.
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