PHWFF New City, N.Y.- Catskills Trip – September 2017

The Willowemoc -Photo: Frank DeGrazio
The Willowemoc -Photo: Frank DeGrazio

A year ago our group embarked on a fall trip to the Catskills; a trip in which we were greeted with high temperatures and low water . On the other hand.. This year on the other hand, we lucked out! The temperatures were much cooler at night which kept the fish active in the early mornings, and rising fish were there to greet us in the evenings.

Ken back in the casting groove!

Myself and Ken were the first to arrive Friday afternoon. The leaves had just begun their journey into the bright yellow and reds that we are seeing now, and hopes were high for a good weekend. Shortly after that; the rain arrived as well. While it wasn’t going to be enough to help the water conditions, it was nice to have a change in weather from the previous year.

The two of us weren’t to be discouraged and headed straight for the banks after putting on our rain gear. We spent a few minutes scanning the area, discussing different parts of the river system and flipped over a few rocks in search of some roving trout snacks. Flies were tied on, the usual booming laughter was heard around the bend and after a little guidance from me, Ken was back into the groove of casting. A few fish strikes were felt but no serious takers and I stood back for a minute to take a handful of photos and video to show him later, of his major casting improvements. It’s great to see the lessons we do in the park being utilized on the water!

Rod holders on Creekside Cabins: -Photo: Frank DeGrazio
Rod holders on Creekside Cabins: -Photo: Frank DeGrazio

An hour or so later the rest of the group arrived. Everyone unpacked and settled in to their cabins, I myself was already situated at a different location in town, and we went over the game plan for the weekend.  We also acquired a few helping hands on board this trip, which created more of a one-on-one fishing experience for the participants. Aside from Mike McClelland,Tim Daly, Harry Kerrigan and I; we were fortunate enough to have guides Frank Degrazio and Bryan Caldero  of the Anglers Den joining us along with Ed Burgholzer.

Charlie nymphing a stretch of pocket water.
Charlie nymphing a stretch of pocket water. -Photo: Frank DeGrazio

As always, the guys had a few entomology lessons on the bank. One of my favorite things about our outings, is that we can take what is taught in class and apply it to what is experienced on the water. Questions are asked and realizations are found based on our teachings. When we can talk about caddis in group and why we tie them the way that we do, then be able to open a few cases to show first hand what they look like; it will out what is going on it into perspective for all participants.

Uncasing a handful of caddis -N. March

There is no shortage of knowledge to be absorbed, and for myself and the other volunteers to be able to pass on this knowledge, while simultaneously learning from each other; it is a very rewarding experience for everyone.

Mayfly shucks on the Willow.
Mayfly shucks on the Willow. -N. March

Early risers were up and ready to fish, so after a pot or two of hot coffee and breakfast Saturday morning, we split up into small groups and fished different areas around the Catskills. As many of us are all to familiar with, it can be difficult to find a section of public water for the guys to access on a weekend that doesn’t already have 4 cars in the lot at 9am on a Saturday morning. This time though, once again, we lucked out!

Some went to Junction Pool others headed for Hazel Bridge and others, all with the plan to meet back at the cabins for lunch.

Reports were mixed as we returned to Creekside for something to eat, with some of the guys hooking fish, and others seeing no action at all. The weather held up as we ate and dried off in our waders, but as the temperatures began to climb we decided to take a mid afternoon trip to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum where Dette Trout Flies was hosting the Partridge Days fly tying show.

Fly tyers at Partridge Days.
Fly tyers at Partridge Days.

We arrived at the show and the guys quickly dispersed around the room to see different patterns being demonstrated, and then something quite interesting caught their attention.

Watching how to make furled leaders with Rick Bobrick
Watching how to make furled leaders with Rick Bobrick

Furled leaders! If you have never seen this process in action before, you might be missing out! Rick Bobrick of Medusa Leaders demonstrated how it works and the guys were given a first hand look; complete with a quick Q & A session before we headed back out to fish.

Watching how to make furled leaders with Rick Bobrick
Watching how to make furled leaders with Rick Bobrick

We split up shortly after that and hit the water one last time before dinner. Some had luck nymphing, others chased risers but, all no matter the outcome; it was great to see everyone enjoying some quiet time away from their usual hectic lives.

Charlie with a catch!
Charlie with a catch!

As the late afternoon fishing came to a close we were ready to head to dinner at The Rockland House.  The guys ordered a vast array of food from trout to monster steaks and a great time was had by all. We were also in good company as the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild was having their Annual Dinner in the same room. On behalf of P.H.W.F.F. New City, N.Y. I would like to formally thank everyone who helped make this weekend another successful one for all of the participants attending.

See you at the next meeting!

Dinner at The Rockland House
Dinner at The Rockland House

One Comment Add yours

  1. Harry Kerrigan says:

    Great post, but I can’t read it all. Please see the attached.    Harry Kerrigan, Program Lead Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing ( )         New City N.Y.  VA


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