A VISIT TO THE CATSKILL FLY FISHING CENTER AND MUSEUM
The Christmas holiday in 2013 took me from my winter digs in Florida to the frozen North Country of Monroe, New York. The purpose was to visit my son Ryan and his wife Lindsey who are Captains in the Army stationed West Point Military Academy as Tactical Officers. Of course my wife will tell you that the main reason for the visit was to spend time with our Grandson Skyler who graced the cover of this on-line magazine last year.
After we had spent plenty of family time together with many photos added to the family album (over 900) we spent time viewing the sites of New York City which is an experience which was interesting to say the least.
My son and I finally had a day to head up to the Center; the day was cold and snowy and we knew that with the air temperature hovering around twelve degrees that we were not going to be fishing. Even though Ryan had spent four years as a cadet at West Point several years ago this was to be his first visit to the Center as it was mine. Both of us were eager to see and photograph the center.
Of course our first stop after arriving was the office and gift shop and we found very pleasant people who allowed us to browse and answer our questions. For me that meant spending time going through both the new and out of print angling books they had for purchase, and even though I have a fairly extensive library I was still able to find a half dozen titles which I simply had to have. I purchased an annual membership for my son. I know that FAOL is also a member of the center.
The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum is located at 1031 Old Route 17, Livingston, New York on a thirty five acre site on the banks of the legendary Willowemoc Creek. The center has a state of the art website which completely explains the purpose and goals of the center also with a place where you can obtain a membership which helps to support this marvelous center. www.catskillflyfishing.org
The early roots of the organization began in 1978 as the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum with Elsie Darbee as its first President. In 1981 it was incorporated as the Catskill Fly Fishing Center Inc., and in 1982 a 35 acre farmland site along the banks of the Willowemoc Creek was purchased. In 1983 a store front museum was opened in Roscoe, NY (Trout Town).
Finally, on May 28th 1995 the doors were opened at the Center on the banks of Willowemoc and the center has grown and expanded to become an award-winning state of the art museum and educational center. The center interacts with fly tiers, rod makers, environmentalists, naturalists and angling/author who present programs at the center. Check the website for the schedule for a wide variety of events.
This center safeguards the history of the sport of fly fishing along with ongoing educational programs to safe guard the resource of the trout and the trout streams. That is the nuts and bolts of the center and I hope that my words have done justice to this very worthwhile establishment.
But the rest of the story is the visit itself, To begin with Ryan and I had a chance meeting with Paul T. (Terry) Shultz who gave us a tour of the facility and was able to add a wealth of information about the exhibits which we would have never otherwise have known. Fortunately on the day of our visit the center wasn't really busy. I believe that the extreme weather may have been a factor as we later were forced to abandon our travels along the rivers and head back to Ryan's home in Monroe, New York.
Walking through the door and being able to examine the exhibits at our own pace was indeed a pleasure which we took full advantage of, and to see the flies crafted by the legendary giants of fly fishing was inspiring. These are halls where the history is treasured while moving towards the future of the sport.
Ryan has assured me that he will try to get the West Point Fly Fishing Club to visit the center as time allows. The cadets always have a busy schedule and arranging a visit will take some planning, but we both agree that they would thoroughly enjoy the experience.
I would love to visit the center during warmer weather and enjoy a few days once again fishing these fabled waters, but alas my days during warmer weather are presently filled with fishing adventures on western waters. But maybe when I am retired I will have a chance! The Center, like fly fishing itself, always has the angler anticipating the next adventure and leaves us dreaming and planning for the future.