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Memorial Day Weekend events and May fishing

Judy Van Put
Posted 5/31/22

It’s been a lovely month of May to be outdoors, with peaceful green vistas, the fragrance of the blooming flowers and the sweet sounds of the songbirds. Memorial Day weekend kicks off the …

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Memorial Day Weekend events and May fishing


It’s been a lovely month of May to be outdoors, with peaceful green vistas, the fragrance of the blooming flowers and the sweet sounds of the songbirds. Memorial Day weekend kicks off the unofficial beginning of those special days of summer, with people bustling to prepare their homes, yards, and establishments for the many events that are scheduled for this time of year.

On Saturday, May 28, the Catskill Fly Fishing Center was busy from morning till night, beginning with their annual member and Board of Trustees meetings and culminating in their Annual Dinner and Catskill Legends Reception at the Rockland House, Roscoe where Tom Roseo and staff prepared their mouthwatering multiple-course meal. Being inducted as Catskill Legends were Livingston Manor’s own Mike Canazon (also known as Bamboo Mike) and environmental activist, John Hoeko, of Fleischmanns, New York.

Mike was honored for his lifelong passion and dedication to the sport of fly-fishing; whether fishing, guiding, building beautiful bamboo rods, or volunteering for organizations such as the Catskill Rod Makers Group, the Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock and, for more than 20 years, at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum. Mike organized the legendary Catskill Rod Makers Gathering and installed the historical Garrison/Carmichael rod shop there; and enjoys guiding and teaching anglers young and old how to fish for trout. He conducts sessions in rod making and casting bamboo rods – especially during the April Opening Day celebrations where for many years he has introduced youngsters and oldsters to the art of casting fine bamboo rods, held at Livingston Manor and Roscoe school gymnasiums, and passing along his enthusiasm, knowledge and skills to each of his students.

John Hoeko, a life-long fly fisherman who also has Catskill roots, hails from Fleischmanns. He is being honored for his dedication and passion in protecting our Catskill waters and their trout since the mid-1970s when, as a young man in his 20s, he was named the President of a coalition of organized sportsmen that became known as Catskill Waters. This organization was the driving force behind intense and aggressive lobbying for improved and more regulated coldwater releases from New York City’s Catskill reservoirs. John lobbied tirelessly for two years, day and night, at times camping out in legislators’ offices, citing massive fish kills and the degradation of warm and coldwater fisheries due to inconsistent water releases. Thanks to John’s diligence and persistence, turning DEC’s then-Commissioner Ogden Reid into a staunch supporter of this small but zealous group and the water release bill, John’s passionate lobbying efforts resulted in a victory over the bureaucracy of “the largest City Hall in America” when Governor Hugh Carey finally signed into law the water release bill that some have called “the greatest Catskill environmental battle in New York’s history.”*(Trout Fishing In The Catskills, Van Put, p.387)

A check with the USGS website on Wednesday afternoon showed that the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was recorded at 311 cubic feet per second, which is below the 107-year Median average flow of 465 cfs. Water temperatures ranged from a low of 53 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 69 degrees F late last Sunday afternoon following a weekend of mid 90-degree temperatures.

This is the time of year when you can fish with a whole variety of flies and expect some success – from wet flies fished in riffles and runs to dry flies when fish are rising, or flies are observed on the water. A number of flies should be hatching, from stoneflies to caddis to mayflies: watch for the “Yellow Sallies” (stoneflies), various sizes of caddis flies, and mayflies, from small Blue-Winged Olives to medium sized Grey Foxes, to large March Browns. Despite their name, these size #8 - #10 mayflies do not hatch in our area in March, but rather when water temperatures are in the mid-50s, usually by the end of May and into the beginning of June, and coincide with the blooming of the invasive wild garlic mustard and the white or bright burgundy-colored trillium. Sunny mornings should be productive; however, if the sun is on the water during mid-day and no activity is seen, move to a shaded area and prospect in the riffles with a wet fly while watching for rises in the pools.


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