Log in Subscribe

Going fishing, bamboo and upcoming events

Judy Van Put
Posted 8/29/23

Our rivers and streams are still in great shape - well above the average flow for

the end of August/beginning of September - thanks to continued rain showers. What is surprising, though, is the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Going fishing, bamboo and upcoming events


Our rivers and streams are still in great shape - well above the average flow for

the end of August/beginning of September - thanks to continued rain showers. What is surprising, though, is the lack of angler activity! Water temperatures have been favorable, and streams are wadable and clear; yet a trip down the Willowemoc and Beaverkill revealed empty Fisherman Parking Areas and hardly a trout fisher in thewater.

Fly hatches continue to be Blue Winged Olives, Sulphurs, Light Cahills and Isonychia along with various sizes and colors of Caddis flies.

On Sunday afternoon, the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at 466 cubic feet per second. This is still well above the average flow of 119 cfs over 110 years of record-keeping. Water temperatures this past week ranged from a low of 58 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 67 degrees. And the thermal refuge restriction of fishing at Horton (from the Iron bridge at Horton downstream to the first highway overpass of Route 17) will be lifted as of Friday, September 1.

We stopped by our neighbors’ house this weekend and Phil was eager to show us a special fly rod that was his grandfather’s favorite - a beautiful Pezon et Michel Super Parabolic Fario Club bamboo rod that is 8 ½ feet for a 5-6 weight line. Phil said his grandfather traded in two rods to get this one, and it was his pride and joy. He lived in England and fished a small river and a pond called Otter Head for wild brown trout every day after work.

Bamboo or cane rods are a true work of art, and today’s hand-built rods are much lighter and less cumbersome than many of the rods used in the days of Theodore Gordon in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Of all the materials used for manufacturing fly rods today, none are as flexible as bamboo or cane which, as my husband Ed is fond of saying, are “very forgiving.” 

For example, if you strike too hard or set the fly too quickly, a cane rod tip bows to the fish and enables you to make up for your mistake so you don’t miss the fish. And in addition, unlike a graphite rod that may enable you to cast further but is very stiff and unforgiving, with bamboo, you don’t break off or lose many fish. If you strike too hard there is play in the rod that is not present in graphite.

Fiberglass rods are more flexible and forgiving than graphite, however they are not handcrafted and made of natural materials as are cane or bamboo rods. Bamboo rods tend to get passed on from one generation to the next, father to son or daughter, or grandfather to grandchild as in Phil’s case. Writing about fishing equipment in his upcoming book, Ed describes the special bond that comes from fishing with a cane rod - a bond that is created between the rodmaker and the fly fisher. I am the proud owner of an exquisite 7 ½ -foot rod that was custom made for me by Catskill Legend and Master Rod Builder Mike Canazon. It is truly a work of art and casts and fishes beautifully.

When I consider the countless hours and care he put into making this rod for me, I am so grateful, and I think of Mike each and every time I fish with it.

For those who are interested in learning more about bambo rods or even trying their hand at building one, the Catskill Fly Fishing Center is offering their annual Catskill Rodmakers Gathering on Friday, September 8 - Sunday September 10, 2023.

You’ll need to register in advance, and registration includes a 2023 Catskill Rodmakers t-shirt. There will be a delicious smoked dinner and many demonstrations and rods to cast. All are welcomed and are encouraged to bring their rods to share in the discussions. You’ll get to meet Master Rod Builder Mike Canazon, as well as Guest speakers Tom Mason, John Shaner, Jim Downes, Rob Smith and Bob Hallowell. In addition, there will be a two-day workshop on the fundamentals of building a bamboo rod, beginning on Friday afternoon when a culm will be selected to flame, split and work nodes before leading into Saturday morning’s class which will focus on setting up planing forms, rough strips, finish strips, binding and gluing. 

The workshop is hands-on and all are encouraged to participate. The strips will be glued and bound ready to dry, leading to the final step of the weekend workshop of cutting and fitting ferrules.

The project rod will be based on the taper of a Paul H. Young Midge 6’3” 4 wt. This blank will be paired with a reel seat, cork handle and full guides before being raffled off as part of the gathering’s Door Prize raffle which will run all weekend.

To register, and for additional information, please visit



No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here