Wallace Ward “Wally” Doak

1913 - 1979

           Wallace Ward “Wally” Doak was born on June 12, 1913.  He was the son of the late Dora (nee Mitchell) and George Thomas Doak from Doaktown, New Brunswick.

          Wallace developed the art of fly tying after acquiring his earliest skills by observing D'Arcy O'Donnell and by researching his craft through several books on the subject.  He later expanded his knowledge and expertise as a fly tier into a full-time occupation.  In the earliest stages of the fly tying business, he used the upstairs of his father's woodshed as an outlet.  It was there that he built his first tier's bench and desk from old boards.  During the course of his fifty years as a professional tier, at a carefully documented rate of 5,000 flies per year, Wallace produced over quarter-of-a-million flies.



Master Fly Tyer Wallace Doak tying streamer flies in 1959


          Initially, Wallace wholesaled his flies to W. R. McClosky, owner of a large general store in Boiestown.  Later, he sold to James S. Neil and Sons, owners of a sporting goods store in Fredericton.  As the demand for his work began to increase, he opened his own tackle shop in 1946.  He worked as a fishing guide, lumberman and mill worker until the increasing demands of the business began to monopolize his time.

          Approaching his art in a practical manner, Wallace resisted the temptation to develop new flies, choosing rather to produce neat and durable versions of established patterns.  As a result of the quality and consistency of his work, both he and his flies have received international recognition.

          Wallace Doak was a devoted Christian and he ran his shop with a few basic rules.  He offered quality products for the money, all customers (rich or poor) were simply fishermen who were to be treated equally and there was to be no profane language in the shop.  This, combined with Mr. Doak's personality, proved a successful formula.  As respect for the man grew, so did the business.  Everyone who walked into the shop was a fisherman, nothing more, nothing less.

          Anyone serious about fishing the Miramichi River will most likely travel through the Village of Doaktown.  People will tell you the village became famous because Wallace Doak lived there.  It was customary to drop into his neat little tackle shop to learn about new styles of flies, to purchase tackle, to check on the river conditions, or just to find out who was around and what was happening.

          In October 1983, Wallace Doak became the first fly tier to be inducted into the Atlantic Salmon Hall of Fame at the Atlantic Salmon Museum in Doaktown, New Brunswick.  In 1995 he was added to Where The Rivers Meet “The Fly Tyers of New Brunswick” collection.




W.W. Doak outside his fly shop in Doaktown circa 1960’s



“American Jock Scott” tied by Wallace Doak in 1978



“Nepisiguit Gray” tied by Wallace Doak in 1978



“Black Dose” tied by Wallace Doak in 1978



“Rutledge” tied by Wallace Doak in 1978




“Green Butt Black Bear” tied by Wallace Doak in 1978