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Wet fly fishing and a fond farewell

Judy Van Put
Posted 10/12/21

As Friday October 15 is the end of the regular trout season in New York State, it seems like a reasonable time to take a break from Streamside until springtime. 2021 brought lots of rain, as …

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Wet fly fishing and a fond farewell

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As Friday October 15 is the end of the regular trout season in New York State, it seems like a reasonable time to take a break from Streamside until springtime. 2021 brought lots of rain, as mentioned in last week’s column, and our Catskill waters and trout are in good shape heading into the end of the season.

After heavy rains last week, the Beaverkill had crested at about 2500 cubic feet, and has been slowly receding, but remaining well above the average flow for October. Fly-fishers should probably opt for fishing below the surface for best results, whether with wet flies, nymphs, or streamers.

One of our favorite long-time Catskill combinations for fishing below the surface is to fish with two flies – a nymph, such as a Zug Bug or Leadwing Coachman wet fly as the end fly (tied on to the end of your tippet), and a brightly colored wet fly or “attractor,” such as a Royal Coachman wet fly, tied on the dropper, about 20 inches above the end fly. Cast the flies across the stream, allowing them to swing downstream in the current, and ‘twitch’ them slightly to give life to the flies, while slowly retrieving, always being vigilant and ready to gently set the fly if a fish ‘takes.’

During this late-season period and after heavy rains when the water is rising and discolored, a large streamer can also be very effective. A dark fly such as the Black Leech is easy for the trout to see, even in high and turbid water, as it stands out with a good contrast to the brighter sky above.

On Sunday, October 10, the Catskill Fly Fishing Center hosted a memorial service in honor of Theodore (Ted) Rogowski, fly-fisherman, fly-tier, conservationist, and environmental lawyer, who passed away at the age of 93 earlier this summer.

Ted was a tireless volunteer for many fishing and conservation organizations, including: The Anglers Club of New York, The Federation of Fly Fishers, Washington Fly Fishers, and the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum (CFFC&M). He was one of the founders and the fourth president of the New York City conservation group Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, and in 2002 was recognized with its prestigious Salmo Award for conservation activism. In 2017 Ted was inducted in the CFFC&M’s Hall of Fame.

Ted worked for the federal government in Washington, D.C. as an attorney. He helped form the Environmental Protection Agency and worked toward implementing the federal Clean Water Act, which is the principle law governing pollution control and water quality in our Nation's waterways. His was also a voice to help protect the Hudson River Valley from excessive highway projects.

In the early 1970s, Ted moved his young family to Seattle, Washington, to serve as EPA’s Regional Counsel for Region Ten, overseeing environmental law cases for a number of western states. He was an avid life-long trout, salmon and steelhead fisherman, and enjoyed summer fishing vacations in Montana, Alaska, Wyoming and Yellowstone Park.

Ted married Joan Salvato Wulff in 2002; he was often seen in Lew Beach, Livingston Manor and Roscoe, frequenting all the local establishments and especially the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum. Ted lived along the upper Beaverkill with Joan for the remainder of his life, fishing the local rivers and continuing his volunteer efforts at the CFFC&M, as well as with the Boy Scouts of America, helping to develop their fly-fishing badge. Always busy with new projects even at the age of 93, one of Ted’s flies (and corresponding article) was featured earlier this year on the cover of Fly-Tier magazine.

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum is presenting a special exhibit of Ted Rogowski and his long-time environmental conservation efforts, including his contributions to the sports of fly-tying and fly-fishing and personal effects, at the Wulff Gallery. A permanent exhibit for the museum will be created this winter and will be on display in the Spring of 2022. For more information, please visit cffcm.com or call 845-439-4810 Friday through Monday from 10 am to 4 pm.

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