Now in the last few days of April, fishing conditions on our area rivers and streams are a bit behind schedule; most likely due to the weather which, except for a few warm hours of sunshine, is still …
Now in the last few days of April, fishing conditions on our area rivers and streams are a bit behind schedule; most likely due to the weather which, except for a few warm hours of sunshine, is still a bit chilly, especially at night. Water levels are higher than average, which disappoints those who are looking forward to some good fly hatches. Usually by the third week of April we can anticipate seeing Blue Quills, Quill Gordons and even some Blue-Winged Olives on the water; however at this writing (April 24) although some have been reported on the East and West Branches of the Delaware and the Neversink, they have not yet made their way out on the Willowemoc and Beaverkill. Looking at the last two years’ fishing diaries, water levels in 2020 and 2021 were below average on the Willowemoc and Beaverkill by the end of April; but on Sunday afternoon, April 24 the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls registered 1250 cubic feet per second – which was well above the Median Average of 745 cfs over 107 years of record-keeping.
Earlier this year I received a telephone call from someone I knew of years ago, Ward Blade, of Grahamsville (whose wife was my Phys Ed teacher when I was a student at Tri-Valley.) It was the time of year when we were all thinking of warmer days, fishing, etc. and Ward did quite a bit of reminiscing that was fun to hear. He mentioned having attended the DeBruce Conservation Camp and having met Roy Steenrod, the former Conservation Officer and expert Catskill fly-tier. Young Wade struck up a friendship with him as a result, and since Roy lived in Liberty near Wade’s home, the boy was able to go and visit on occasion and learned to tie flies from him.
Camp DeBruce began in the 1940s, after being acquired by the Conservation Department, on lands that were formerly the Robertson Ward Estate and Fish Hatchery. It was a wonderful opportunity for boys to learn about the out-of-doors, fishing, fly-tying, archery, shooting, canoeing from top-notch instructors that included Roy Steenrod, Niles Fairbairn of Margaretville and the animal naturalist and artist, Francis Davis, among others. We know of several former DEC employees who can attest to how great the camp was and attributed their love of the environment and outdoor sports to that camp. They were so impressed with their experience at Camp DeBruce that they decided to make a career out of their love of nature and the out of doors. Some became biologists, some became fish and wildlife technicians. It must have been such a thrill not only to meet the likes of the great Roy Steenrod, Niles Fairbairn and Francis Davis, but to actually be instructed by them and learn from them!
In 1975, the camp became co-educational and opened its doors to boys and girls alike, and happily today it is still in existence. Today the camp operates on approximately 300 acres, bordering the Catskill Forest Preserve. It is the longest running of the four camps operated by the DEC today, and is ideally situated within walking distance of wild forestland, first-class trout streams, the Catskill Trout Hatchery and Mongaup Pond State Campsite.
Registration for the 2022 DEC Summer Camp season opened Sunday, April 10, 2022. Camp DeBruce will be open for six weeks this season. Sessions cover a wide range of topics, with counselors trained in science, education and recreation, and include learning about native flora, forests and fauna, studying and identifying animals and fishes, and environmental education. Included in the schedule are visits to the Catskill Trout Hatchery and Mongaup Pond for swimming activities. Campers can also learn new skills, including archery, canoeing, fishing, birding, or taking a Hunter Education program. Hunter Education programs are limited and offer campers a chance to complete their safety certificates on the path to a hunting or trapping license, in addition to fly-tying and fly fishing lessons with the support of the local DeBruce fly fishing club, a program with a long-standing history at Camp DeBruce and its many trout streams.
A number of day trips are offered, including hiking Catskill trails, canoeing or swimming, and visits to nearby sites like the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum. Each week campers participate in one overnight trip and learn camping skills. Overnight trips at DeBruce use camp sites within the Catskills in the nearby Big Indian Wilderness and Willowemoc Wild Forest areas.
In addition, activities also include skits by counselors and campers, songs, campfires, and recreation games to round out the week. College-educated counselor staff guide all the activities, encouraging participation and respect among group members while interpreting the natural world for campers.
Dates for Camp DeBruce are: Ages 11 – 13, Weeks 1-3 and 5-6.
Campers Ages 14 – 17, Week 4
Be sure to visit the How to Register for Camp web page to begin your Camp DeBruce adventure!
Camp DeBruce is located at 307 Mongaup Road, Livingston Manor, NY 12758.
Updates and changes can be found on the Camps main web pageand on both DEC's Facebook and Summer Camps' Facebook pages. For information on COVID-19 protocols, visit the Information for Camp Attendees page. Please contact EducationCamps@dec.ny.gov for more information.
And from the DEC website: Almost 50% of campers at DEC summer camps are sponsored by organizations. These include rod and gun clubs, garden clubs, conservation groups, science clubs, outdoors clubs, and other environmental or social community groups. We thank our sponsors for their ongoing support of the DEC camps program and helping get kids outside.
Any organization may sponsor campers. We encourage recreational organizations, sportsman's clubs, environmental groups, school associations, houses of worship and civic groups to:
Select a qualified candidate who wants to spend a week at a DEC camp
Help the camper pay for the camp session
Invite the camper to a meeting of the organization to recount their camp experience.
Parents who would like their child to be sponsored should bring the program to the attention of an organization in their area. If a sponsoring group is not available, parents may pay for the child's stay at DEC camp.
Space is limited and fills up quickly during the March registration opening day. We recommend organizations identify potential campers in advance of registration and provide their prospective campers with all the information they need well before the opening of registration.
For more information, you may contact camps administration in Albany, Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM by calling 518-402-8014.
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