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Memorable weekend

Judy Van Put
Posted 4/16/24

Our rivers and streams had been in a very fishable shape last week, with the early hatches of Quill Gordons and Blue Quills noted. Fishing below the surface with wet flies and nymphs has been …

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Memorable weekend


Our rivers and streams had been in a very fishable shape last week, with the early hatches of Quill Gordons and Blue Quills noted. Fishing below the surface with wet flies and nymphs has been productive, even when no hatches are detected. And Tuesday’s water temperatures reached that “magic” number of 50 degrees Fahrenheit - the temperature fly fishers watch for - that marks the beginning of the fly hatches we so look forward to.

However, with Friday’s downpours and storms, water levels rose to a non-wadeable level of almost 6000 cubic feet per second. The unsettled weather over the weekend has kept many trout fishers indoors, waiting for more good weather.

Despite showers and thunderstorms, fishing enthusiasts came out in droves on Friday night, crossed over the iron arched bridge and made their way to the Wulff Gallery for the exciting F3T event - which was sold out.

Ali Abate, Executive Director, the CFFCM staff and a number of loyal volunteers had been working hard preparing for the evening, which began at 5:30 p.m. with Barbecue, Pizza, Beer and refreshments. 

The 18th annual Fly Fishing Film Tour, which is advertised as a high-energy celebration of fly fishing - short films from all around the world - is the original and largest tour of its kind, with well over 300 shows across the globe.

The event was highly successful; even more than last year’s sell-out screening.

And on Saturday afternoon a Celebration of Life was held for Mary Dette Clark, the beloved Catskill Fly Tyer who passed on January 27 at the age of 92. The CFFC Wulff Gallery was filled with more than 100 guests who joined the Dette/Clark/Fox family to celebrate Mary’s life.

The Gallery was beautifully decorated with vases of flowers on each of the tables; one that featured a guest book and basket of bird seed packets for guests to take home and feed the birds (as Mary loved to do), a second with framed pictures and photo montages, and a third laden with dozens of baked goods and finger foods.

The service began with Kelly Buchta, partner of Mary’s grandson, Joe Fox, and part of the Dette/Clark/Fox family for 10 years, who celebrated Mary’s friendship, loyalty, dedication and above all, love and kindness. She read from a biography of Mary that was written by fly-fishing authors Mike Valla and Paul Weamer, who detailed Mary’s lineage and childhood in Roscoe, riding her bike up to Tennanah Lake, ice skating to Livingston Manor on the Willowemoc in winter when the ice was so thick. She began tying flies with her parents, Walt and Winnie Dette, in the 1950s, and after their passing continued the tradition of Dette Flies, the oldest continually-run family fly shop in the country.

Mary married Eugene Clark and moved to Greenlawn, Long Island, NY where they raised their family: Gary, Linda, Frank and Alan. She continued to tie flies while in Long Island and came back upstate as a part-time shop keeper of her parent’s fly tying shop.

Her grandson, Joe Fox, said that the greatest gift his grandmother gave him was tying - at a time when he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in life, he came up to Roscoe with his grandmother for the weekend and found a career. Mary stayed in Roscoe to help him grow the business, and also encouraged him to go outside and fish!

Long-time family friends Dickson Des Pommier and Mike Valla spoke about their friendship with Mary throughout the years and the celebration ended with Mary’s daughter, Linda, who said how her mother loved running the shop, loved everybody who came in. She was so very proud of where the shop has come to, now in Livingston Manor with the great crew working there, and how she “has often asked about many of you in this room.”

A presentation of family pictures was shown on a big screen set to music and, as Linda said, her mother Mary never would have wanted a “celebration of life” and all the fuss, but that she would have loved it.


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