I’ll start by saying that Wayne Doughton was a friend, and to this day I miss him. Wayne passed in 2001, at the age of 87. While it is nearly impossible to say much about Wayne without mentioning his wife Sally, this brief post is only a short snippet of my memories of Mr. Wayne Doughton of Doughton Hardware store.
Larry Wacker was also a friend of Wayne’s and Larry kindly sent me this photo last week. The photo is so perfect. There’s Wayne in his basement in his Salem home. He has that wonderful smile that says “welcome, how may I help you today.” He is wearing a cardigan sweater. I could be wrong, but I think that Wayne wore a cardigan every day he worked in his Hardware store on Court st. He wore a short-sleeve shirt when he was my guest fishing the Deschutes River sometime in the 1970s — but in his store, his place of business, always the cardigan.
Wayne Doughton, Salem Oregon – Fly Fisher / Tyer Pioneer. I remember his store so well. There were two ladders on tracks that traversed front to rear of the long narrow store. These ladders offered access to stock items stored on high shelves. Doughton Hardware was a genuine old-time hardware store. Wood floors decades old. I’m not sure but he oiled the floors every few months, don’t know why either, but maybe it improved their durability. Aside from being stinky.
Doughton Hardware was located on Court Street, next to the Court Street Diner. Handmade milkshakes and grilled hand-patted hamburger patties. Wayne stocked everything in his store, including Fenwick fly rods, Pflueger fly reels, flies, and fly tying materials. I remember my excitement when he first brought in Hoffman Super necks and saddle patches. He stored materials in 2-gallon metal ice cream buckets. He stocked brown and badger China rooster capes and India saddles in bundles of strung feathers. He also stocked white deer belly hair that was required to tie wings on his Female Coachman fly. He also had an ample supply of the Poulson radiant fluorescent red/orange yarn hanks needed to tie the Sally Fly.
He carried Mustad fly hooks by the 100 per-box. 94840. 36900. 9762. 9763. 399. 3999-A Eagle Claw 1197-b; 1197-g; and 1197-n. Nymo thread by the spool or by the box.
Wayne carried Fenwick Feralite rods, Fenwick Graphite fly rods, and his custom made glass steelhead spinning and casting rods that were made with an aluminum handle through the cork handle. More than a few Mitchell 300 spinning reels out the door. He fished and sold Cortland 444 fly lines and Scientific Anglers Air Cell Supreme lines. The 444 lines were full floaters, full sinkers, and in the later years, nymph-tip lines.
Aside from all these things, Wayne was a kind man, ah honest man. A fair man. He fished at least at the Town Lake in Pacific City, Hebo Lake, the Siletz, the Malheur, the Deschutes, and Diamond Lake.
Wayne would take customers out in the alley behind the store to let them cast a new fly rod before they purchased it. He was quite the salesman, but never pushy.
Wayne was more than a friend. He was a mentor. He taught me that flies did not need to be all fancied up to be effective fish-catchers.
I did not understand the full importance of friendships like Wayne offered. I did not fully understand the importance of listening to his stories about his youth in Oregon. to say that he was an angling and fly tying pioneer is an understatement.
Why am I writing this now? I decided it is important to do more to preserve mention of the history of fly fishing and fly tying in Oregon. Not the famous people stuff, but the ordinary people things that deserve to be remembered. People and places and lakes and rivers and flies and tackle.
Unfortunately, my own experience is limited, maybe extremely limited, but still, my own memories together with other folk’s memories deserve to be recorded and passed on to people who will fish and tie flies in the future.
Unfortunately, again, this blog has too much crap in it about jokes and silly observations and thoughts I should have left on my therapist’s couch.
So, I have a plan, The plan is to break up this blog, delete irrelevant posts, and maybe even branch off one blog strictly for flies and one for history, and one for my personal history and angst that is of no interest to almost everyone.
I do not know how to do this presently, but I pledge to give it a try this winter.
Let’s see if I’m successful?
Jay – August 27th, 2020
PS: please forgive my misspellings and the omissions and auto-corrects that went wrong. My time is limited and this is a labor of love that i want to get done. Less than perfect is the best I can do – thank you.