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Low flows but full weekend for fly-fishers

Judy Van Put
Posted 4/18/23

Last week’s unseasonable 80+ degree weather was an unexpected taste of mid-summer, but thankfully should revert to more spring-like moderate temperatures this week. Stream levels are low …

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Low flows but full weekend for fly-fishers


Last week’s unseasonable 80+ degree weather was an unexpected taste of mid-summer, but thankfully should revert to more spring-like moderate temperatures this week. Stream levels are low – on early Monday morning the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at just 372 cubic feet per second – quite low, especially in comparison with last year’s high water conditions of April 8, 2022, when the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls crested at just above 20,000 cubic feet per second and Little Beaverkill surged over its banks, sending muddy water into the streets of Livingston Manor. 

Fly hatches are beginning to occur with more regularity now that water temperatures have reached the 50-degree mark. There was a good hatch of dark Caddis flies on Saturday morning and a couple of small but steady rises noticed while walking our dog along the Willowemoc. And “Catskill” John Bonasera reported a productive afternoon this past weekend as he was fishing during a Quill Gordon hatch. 

John’s first trout was a chunky wild Brown that measured 12”, taken on a size #14 Quill Gordon dry fly.  He switched to a pair of size #12 Quill Gordon wet flies, landed three more and lost one. All were wild fish, up to 14”. He reported that “the trout really like the wet fly when the Quill Gordons are active….it was a great outing, with comfortable air temps and easy wading.”

On Friday evening the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum hosted a very successful sold-out event – beginning with Pizza, Beer & BBQ donated by the Kaatskeller, Catskill Brewery, Upward Brewing, Smoke Joint and Land & Water Realty, who donated water and soft drinks.

It was followed by the first screening of the 17th Annual Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) – a series of 10 short films on fly-fishing from Cuba to Patagonia, Mexico to Australia, Alaska, Wyoming, the Deep South and Massachusetts for various salt-water and fresh-water species of fish, that was shown to an enthusiastic audience. Plenty of raffle prizes and Silent Auction items were donated by local businesses and establishments, with proceeds helping to support and grow the mission of the CFFC&M. 

On Saturday morning the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild held its first “live” (in-person) meeting of 2023 (and was also available via Zoom for those who were not able to attend) in the Wulff Gallery of the CFFC&M. 

President Joe Ceballos scheduled the two-hour session from 10:00 am till 12:00 pm, to enable participants to get out on the stream and fish in the afternoon. Approximately 17 members and guests from near and far were present; the meeting’s agenda focused on Hendrickson wet flies and nymphs and dovetailed nicely with the presentation of the Hendrickson dry fly, given at the previous online meeting. 

The Hendrickson is one of the most beloved and prolific early-season hatches that is much-anticipated on the Beaverkill and area rivers; however during this time of the year when water temperatures may still be chilly, trout will be feeding below the surface, and many fly-fishers opt to try their luck with wet flies or nymphs, usually tied on in pairs.

Patterns for the Dark Hendrickson Wet Fly, the Light Hendrickson Wet Fly and the Hendrickson Nymph were emailed ahead of the meeting. With most members busy at their vises tying the flies, the morning sped by, enhanced by discussions of historical information on flies, fly tiers,  and the formation of the Guild back in 1993, as well as helpful tips and instruction given on methods to assist in tying the traditional Catskill-style flies, and an enjoyable morning was had by all. 

According to their website, the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild was formed in 1993 by Floyd Franke and Matthew Vinciguerra to “Preserve, protect and enhance the Catskill fly-tying heritage. Work cooperatively to promote the work of present Catskill fly tyers. Provide various ways for members to share information. Promote the development of future generations of Catskill fly tyers.”

Today there are 165 dues-paying members – with a total of 400 members world-wide! For more information please visit https://catskillflytyersguild.org.


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