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Roscoe Central School field trip!

Judy Van Put
Posted 6/20/23

This past week’s rain was much anticipated and welcomed and added a bit of a respite to the parched earth and low flows of our area streams. Last Tuesday, June 13, the Beaverkill just about …

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Roscoe Central School field trip!


This past week’s rain was much anticipated and welcomed and added a bit of a respite to the parched earth and low flows of our area streams. Last Tuesday, June 13, the Beaverkill just about reached the median average flow (300 cubic feet per second, compared to the 109-year median average of 306 cfs for that day) before receding back down to lower flows. 

We’re rapidly approaching June 21, the first day of summer – and, almost as if on a schedule, we’re seeing the transition of mayfly hatches from the early-season and springtime to those that hatch during the summer. In most instances, the color of the flies lightens as the year progresses – from the dark, slate-blue of the early-season Quill Gordons and Hendricksons to the medium gray/browns and tannish/brown of the March Browns and Gray Foxes to the light/tan colored Cahills and yellowish Suphurs. You’ll probably want to carry along some Light Cahills in size #14s and Sulphurs a bit smaller. And a range of sizes of Blue-Winged Olives are usually around as well.

On Wednesday, June 14, 39 students from Roscoe Central School District’s third and fourth grades enjoyed a field trip to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum. The children and their teachers, Mrs. Jennifer Portz (3rd grade), Mrs. Wendy Schwalb (4th grade), and Teaching Assistant Mrs. Mary Dnistrian, rode the big yellow school bus to the site of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center, where they were greeted and escorted across the arched iron bridge over the Willowemoc Creek by CFFC&M staff. CFFCM Executive Director, Ali Abate, Office Manager Eilis Cahill, Program & Events Coordinator Todd Spire and CFFCM Educator Matt Hart prepared a wonderful schedule chock-full of fun hands-on activities and instruction for the children. Seated in a large circle on the rug in the Wulff Gallery, the children paid strict attention as Todd provided an introduction to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center, trout and fishing, and pointed out exhibits, artwork and artifacts of Joan Wulff, today age 96, for whom, along with her late husband Lee, the Gallery was named. 

Next it was on to the museum, where the children were given clipboards with pre-printed “scavenger hunt” worksheets, illustrated by Connor McCausland, and were instructed to find and write down the names of three Catskill rivers, trout flies, rodmakers, and fly tyers. The “Two Headed Trout” sculpture was pointed out and generated discussion. The children asked and answered questions, many had fished before although not with fly rods, and were eager to try their hand at casting.

Due to the steady rainfall outside, the children returned to the Wulff Gallery, a perfect location for inside instruction on casting, as ably demonstrated by Matt and Todd. Each child was given an opportunity to cast a practice rod and experience what it felt like to use the weighted line to get the fly out, as opposed to fine monofilament and a relatively heavy lure as is used in spin-fishing. The children took turns casting two-by-two in the ample space, while the remaining children worked on an arts and crafts project to “tie flies” and duplicate something of interest that they had seen in the museum, creating “sculptures.”

Mrs. Schwalb sent along a follow-up to the day that included many questions by the children, which portrayed the degree of interest they had in the day’s activities. Many had to do with Joan Wulff, such as 

1.What made Joan Wulff want to begin fly fishing?

2. Who was the first person to go fly fishing?

3. When was flyfishing invented?

4. When did Joan Wulff start fly fishing?

5. Who taught Joan Wulff how to flyfish?

6. Are those really some of Joan Wulff’s things? How old are those things?

7. What is the life cycle of a trout?

8. How old is the museum?

A follow-up list of things the children said they enjoyed most included practicing with the fly rod, participating in the scavenger hunt with the clip boards, creating flies at the crafts tables, exploring the museum and learning about fly-fishing. 

Mrs. Schwalb stated that the children “really enjoyed themselves the whole time and remembered a lot of the information!” No doubt Roscoe CS (and other local schools) will look forward to making the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum their go-to destination for field trips in the future. For more information on these and other upcoming programs for children, please visit their website: https://cffcm.com/ Click on the links across the top for information on youth programs which are updated on a regular basis.


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