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One that got away, and ones that didn't!

Judy Van Put
Posted 5/14/24

Despite some recent rainfall, our rivers and streams are still below the average flow for this time of year, but the wading is easy, and thanks to the emergence of the March Brown hatch, trout …

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One that got away, and ones that didn't!


Despite some recent rainfall, our rivers and streams are still below the average flow for this time of year, but the wading is easy, and thanks to the emergence of the March Brown hatch, trout fishing continues to be productive.

The name March Brown is a bit of a misnomer here in the United States, as this fly hatches in May, but the name came from our European counterparts whose brown European mayflies of this species hatched in March. Our Eastern Stenonema vicarium mayflies carried a strong resemblance to the European ones, and so the common name was carried along by fly-fishers across the pond. 

The March Brown hatch is a very popular one that early- to mid-May anglers look forward to, as this brownish-colored fly is much larger than the early-season Quill Gordons, Blue-winged Olives and Hendricksons, generally in a size #10 - #8. And you can use a 2x-long hook shank on which to tie it.

Not to be outdone by his younger brother Dan, who had great success on the Beaverkill last week, Mike Park was out fishing on the Willowemoc this past week and had a great experience. There were March Browns hatching and on the water; Mike was fishing with a Dun Variant. Noticing what appeared to be a good solid rise under a fallen tree with overhanging branches, he used his skills to place his fly in just the right location without getting hung up - and the big fish took! He saw it “porpoise” - watched the nose, the dorsal fin and finally the tail come out of, and enter back into the water. Catching his breath at realizing he had hooked into a really large fish, he made contact and began to reel in, and, in Mike’s words, “it took the fly and said goodbye!” and is still in that run waiting for the next angler to come along.

On Saturday evening, May 10, a capacity crowd of members and supporters of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum filled the Rockland House to celebrate at the Annual Dinner Banquet and Catskill Legends induction. The evening began with a complimentary cocktail hour, followed by a request for all to rise and share a moment of silence to remember those who are no longer with us, including Mary Dette Clark and Mike Canazon.

A delicious dinner was prepared by Tom Roseo and crew. Honored this year were “Catskill John” Bonasera, Per Brandin and John Shaner, all avid supporters and multi-talented in the world of fly-fishing, fly-tying and bamboo rods.

“Catskill John” grew up fly-fishing on the Callicoon Creek as a child while at the family’s summer home in Jeffersonville - using flies he tied himself. He has become a master fly-tyer and historian of the traditional Catskill Style flies. As a senior member of the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild, John writes about the history of fly-tying for the Guild’s monthly newsletter, The Catskill Fly Tyers Gazette. His flies are featured on permanent display at the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum and at the Jerry Bartlett Angling Collection in Phoenicia. The CFFCM states that “John’s championing of the traditional skills of Catskills angling mirror the very pillars of CFFCM’s stated mission.”

Per Brandin is honored as one of the greatest bamboo rod makers of all time, and has been building rods for nearly 50 years. He was tutored by Hoagy Charmichael and Peter Phelps, and has helped set the bar for fine rods created by rod builders around the world, thanks to his innovations and skill at the craft. Per authored the book A Fly Rod with a Soul, that commemorates the pioneer legendary rod-maker E.C. Powell. Per was instrumental in developing the Catskill Fly Fishing Center’s CFFCM’s rod building workshop and, like Catskill John, has donated his time and energy to help the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum flourish and succeed.

John Shaner is renowned in the retail world as part of the Hardy team, who was regional sales manager in North America for the brand, and is an authority on the history of Hardy products. John helped found the popular and fun Hardy Cup Bamboo Rod Casting Competition hosted annually by CFFCM at their Summerfest event. He is recognized as one of the leading collectors of antique fly fishing gear, and is considered a master of the soft hackle fly as an angler, collector and historian. 

John has donated countless hours in support of CFFCM and the history of fly fishing in the Catskills. He is a board trustee and sits on the Hall of Fame committee where he helps promote the history and accomplishments of the heroes of our sport.

There were a number of silent auction prizes that were donated, as well as the lively (live) fund-raising auction ably presided over by Vinny Cimino and Peter Leitner during coffee and dessert. Afterwards photos were taken of past and present “Catskill Legends” who were in attendance. A fun time was had by all and the dinner was a great success.


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