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A dream fish, and ‘Moby Trout’

Judy Van Put
Posted 4/30/24

Fishing has really heated up this past week! Hendricksons continue to make their presence known, along with the early hatches of Blue Quills and Quill Gordons. All week long there were reports of …

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A dream fish, and ‘Moby Trout’


Fishing has really heated up this past week! Hendricksons continue to make their presence known, along with the early hatches of Blue Quills and Quill Gordons. All week long there were reports of good catches amidst prolific hatches. The fish are fat and feisty and are taking dry flies - and with air temperatures reaching the 60s and 70-degree mark, what more could a trout fisher ask for?

Both the Willowemoc and Beaverkill have been producing good numbers of trout during the past week, mainly in the afternoons. Phil Street was fishing last Monday - his first fishing trip of the season - and his plan was to fish the Hendrickson hatch, expecting it to occur between 3:00-5:00 p.m. Like clockwork, at 3:15 they started to hatch, but the fish weren’t really taking them on the surface. Phil was fishing on his own but there was one other fly-fisher upstream of him who was casting to what looked to be a big fish. The angler was trying all sorts of Hendrickson patterns with no luck, and the fish kept rising pretty steadily. 

He called down to Phil, saying there was more action where he was, and invited Phil to come up and try for the fish! Phil did so and cast a Hendrickson imitation a couple of times with no luck. He said, “I thought of Ed (Van Put) and switched to an Adams” Phil had tied, and then “it was literally the second cast, and right where the fish was rising. I knew immediately that it was a big fish, it really tugged hard and went deep, taking line as I played it. I saw it and realized this is a really big fish! It rolled and then turned around and went downstream and behind me.” 

The supple bamboo rod bent and then flattened out. At that point, the upstream angler made his way downstream below Phil and called out to say he would be happy to take a picture of the trout once he netted it.

Phil was delighted, and called it a Dream fish - it was as if the stars were aligned just right for everything - his first time fishing for the season, the first fish of the season, using his Grandfather’s cane rod, and the kindness of the fellow angler who made way for Phil to have a go at the fish and then take the picture!

Later in the week, the fishing trio, comprised of Tom Mason, Phil Street and Ed Walsh fished in the afternoons with good success. On Thursday, they were on the river at around 2:30 p.m. It was a bright, sunny day, and there was a “light hatch” of Hendricksons with a few fish rising.

Tom was fishing to a rising trout with a size #14 CDC Hendrickson (dry fly) and on the second cast, the trout took the fly. According to his wife, Martha, “He thought it was a good fish and five seconds after he hooked it, he realized it was a GREAT fish. He started yelling ‘Moby! Moby Trout!’ Took a while to land him.”

Fishing buddies Ed and Phil were fishing nearby and witnessed the great fish - and Ed measured him at 25”! Martha explains that the Moby Trout call was started by a friend from Twin Islands Campground while he, Tom and other campground friends were on a trip to Montana fishing the Big Horn. Looks as though this is the week for Moby Trout!

A wonderful opportunity for women who are new to the sport of fly-fishing is being offered by Joe Rist, of Trout Town Flies, Roscoe. Joe and his wife Jeannie sponsor a free women’s fishing clinic during the summer, which has become a much-anticipated event ever since they opened their shop in 2020. Joe was looking for new ways to bring people into the shop and teach fly-fishing. Having three daughters he was trying to teach, he stated that it is easier to have someone else help teach them - “everyone listens and has a lot of fun.” 

Since the program began, he’s had a number of women volunteers sign up to come and help out, and has gotten email requests for participants even before he had posted the classes this year. He encourages women to bring their daughter, sister, or a friend and said it’s a great opportunity to try fishing for free without a major investment, the only cost is a $5 one-day fishing license. Trout Town Flies provides all the gear and equipment. 

The classes meet on Saturday morning at about 8:30 to get into their gear, and then drive over to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum where they will cast on the lawn, and walk to the Willowemoc to fish. Classes are limited to eight, with about 5-6 volunteers on hand. For more information on the 2024 Free Women’s Clinic, please call 607-290-4107.

June 15 is “Now Full,” July 13 is “Now Full,” but August 10th still has a few spots. Joe says there is always a waiting list - so don’t miss out. See their events page at TroutTownFlies.com for more details.


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