Ladyfisher

This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

August 5th, 2002

Our Week


Attending the 2002 Fish-In at the Delaware River Club on the West Branch of the Delaware River in New York last week was interesting to say the least. Meeting new people who read Fly Anglers OnLine is always special, and this time was no exception. You will find more photos from the Fish-In on the Fish-In 2002 page. If you couldn't attend, you'll be able to put faces on some of the names you see here at FAOL as well.

Fishermen's Pool

Mark Romero played tour guide, and we visited some of the fabled places and people for which the Delaware Valley is known. The covered bridge on the Beaverkill, with the fisherman's pool below it - which has been painted and photographed forever. It was one of Theodore Gordon's favorite places. He would be surprised to learn his pool is now a weekend swimming hole, complete with lifeguard.

At the Museum
Left to right: Denny Conrad, Eric Reilly (Fishstick), LadyFisher, Mark Romero, JC, missing RW - Gerald Wulff who took this photo.

A tour of the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum was a highlight of the day. The exhibits of flies, historical rods, and a display of Lee Wulff's fly tying set-up as it was in their kitchen was very well done. Joan Wulff has been a tireless supporter of the museum, as well as other groups trying to preserve the best of fly fishing. Thanks Joan.

We also meet Mary Dette, who carries on her families tying tradition from an authenticl fly shop in her home in Roscoe. A living piece of history, and a lovely lady. Seeing the traditional Catskill flies still tied by her was a real treat.


Left to right: Eric Reilly (Fishstick), Bob Montuori (Monty), JC, LadyFisher, George Emanuel (Muddler), Dave Ulmer (slicfoot), Denny Conrad, Ron Kusse, Caroline Knecht (Peachie), Al Thomas. RW took this one too.

Ron Kusse led another tour to show several of us some small local streams which still have wild trout. Small out-of-the-way waters running clean and clear. Water temperatures were too high to fish them, but Eric (Fishstick) did rise a couple by flipping in some live bugs just too see if he could. Trust me, no fish were harmed in the process. Seeing different waters, realizing the conditions where trout survive can be minimal but if reasonably protected they will flourish was encouraging. We all tend to think of everyone else's fisheries as being the same or similar to ours. Not true.

For example, most of the eastern fly fishers wear hip boots, they do not get into the stream and wade as in common in the mid-west or western waters. (Maybe the summer heat has to do with that too.) But it just isn't the way fly fishing is done there. The fly patterns themselves vary too. The Catskill flies mentioned earlier tend to have taller wings. In reality, from what we now know about what the trout sees, the tall wings aren't an actual representation of the insect, but it is the way it is done there. The Compardun series used on the Delaware certainly is an adaptation of others flies clipped or tied to ride flat on the surface. Again, not really what the trout sees either, but it seems to work. Maybe J. Edson Leonard's book about 2002 Flies that Catch Trout isn't wrong.

While I've been told trout in the Delaware will only take flies riding flat in the surface, I don't believe it. I saw several successful fly fishers using other patterns and catching fish. One does wonder if the flies were designed to catch fish or fishermen.

I suppose any region has its own folk lore and popular flies, but on the other hand a mayfly in New York state is still a mayfly in Montana or Oregon.

Dick Jogodnik presented a great slide program for us on Tuesday night, including showing the best access places to fish the local waters. He also explained a group of flies he uses all over the world. The same flies. I'll see if I can get him to do an article for us on them - it did bring up some interesting questions.

There were a couple of nice campfires, Ray DuBois produced a great meal for us after the casting games on Saturday, and there were still folks around the campfire well after midnight. In fact a fire with hot dogs and marshmallows were part of Friday evening too, with a 12-string guitar and sing-along. Great fun.

Every FAOL Fish-In is different. I don't expect any two will ever be alike, but the brotherhood of the fly, the comradeship of people who all love to fly fish is an given. Conversations may run from one end of the globe to the other, but the good will prevails. After all, we're all members of the fraternity of fly fishers. ~ LadyFisher

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