Recently, members of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association (NYSOWA) traveled to the Roscoe/Livingston Manor area for its four-day annual Spring Safari. Founded in 1967, the NYSOWA is a …
Recently, members of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association (NYSOWA) traveled to the Roscoe/Livingston Manor area for its four-day annual Spring Safari. Founded in 1967, the NYSOWA is a professional organization of writers, editors, artists, photographers, dedicated to increasing public awareness, understanding and appreciation of our outdoor heritage and the use and enjoyment of our natural resources.
NYSOWA is made up of members from all across the state of New York. Former members who have passed away include Catskills’ wildlife artist Francis Davis, Art Flick and Lee Wulff. Each year, annual “Safaris” are held, which are gatherings of the membership in various places across the state; past events have been held on Long Island, Niagara Falls, the 1,000 Islands, the Adirondacks, Lake George and Lake Placid. An area is chosen well in advance and ‘scoped out’ to find suitable lodging and opportunities for hunting and fishing for members and their spouses.
The Catskills had not been the site of a Safari in the past, and the dozen or so outdoor writers and photographers who attended last month were eager to sample the excellent trout fishing and turkey hunting our area has to offer. Rich Redman, a NYSOWA member from the Adirondacks who regularly visits Roscoe to fly-fish the Beaverkill and Willowemoc, spearheaded the effort, and members were delighted at the opportunity to join in and sample the excellent fly-fishing options that were offered.
Beginning on Thursday night, Ed and I presented a power point program at the Rockland House on The Artists Who Fished The Catskills, which included beautiful paintings from the Hudson River School of Landscape Painters, and which provided an insight into the long history of fly-fishing in this area since the early 1800s. The group then retired to a potluck supper, which included fresh oysters and grilled striped bass and bluefish caught by NYSOWA President Chris Paparo of Long Island.
Friday morning, some tried their luck at turkey hunting in Callicoon, arranged by NYSOWA member Glenn Sapir, with 5 guides, including local guide Collin Tallman, of CT Outdoors– an appropriate place to hunt turkeys, as interestingly, the word Callicoon is taken from the original spelling of the name "Collikoon." This name is said to signify "turkey" in both Dutch and Choctaw.
Other members had the opportunity to fly-fish the Beaverkill and Willowemoc or try the Pepacton Reservoir fishing for large brown trout and smallmouth bass by rowboat. A float trip on the East Branch Delaware was also offered.
Later that morning, Joe Fox and Kelly Buchta provided a tour of Dette Flies in Livingston Manor, along with a talk on the Dette family history and fly-fishing. Dette Flies sponsored lunch for all, followed by a fly-tying demonstration and fly-casting clinic. Later that day the Roscoe Brewery provided a tour of their facility followed by a dinner on-site.
Early Saturday morning, the group again split their time between turkey hunting and fly-fishing or reservoir rowboat fishing. Later that morning, the Catskill Fly-Fishing Center & Museum offered a tour of their facility, and “Bamboo Mike” Canazon welcomed the writers into the basement workshop, where classic custom bamboo rods are built and workshops are offered. The Catskill Fly-Tier’s Guild held their annual rendezvous at the museum, featuring dozens of fly-tyers who demonstrated their talents in tying flies. Lunch was held at the CFFC&M’s pavilion. Afterwards, fly-casting lessons were offered by Mike Konecni from Dette Flies on the Willowemoc; and Joe Rist, proprietor of Trout Town Flies, Roscoe, offered fly-tying lessons.
Some members and their spouses visited the railroad museum, local gift shops, and fly-fished during the afternoon.
Saturday evening’s dinner at the Rockland House was sponsored by the NYS Crossbow Association, where Steve Zahurak, of the NYSCA spoke on the possibility of allowing crossbow use during the entire archery season for seniors and physically challenged hunters.
The NYSOWA Safari was a great success, with members enthused at their experience in the Catskills – members were successful in catching trout in the Beaverkill and Willowemoc (some for the first time on flies), bass from Pepacton Reservoir and turkey from the Callicoon area. Several articles will be written for newspapers and magazines around the state advertising all that the Catskills have to offer.
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