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Good fishing, and sharing with veterans

Judy Van Put
Posted 5/28/24

Those who fish for trout in our area rivers and streams continue to report good success! We are in the midst of a transition from finding good fishing in the mornings and afternoons to later in the …

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Good fishing, and sharing with veterans


Those who fish for trout in our area rivers and streams continue to report good success! We are in the midst of a transition from finding good fishing in the mornings and afternoons to later in the day and into the evening, thanks to the warmer weather. By being diligent in watching water and weather conditions has proved to be rewarding.

Fly hatches continue to be the larger March Browns in size #10, along with their smaller counterparts (Gray Foxes) in sizes #14 and #16, and Sulphurs, as well as small Blue-Winged Olives and various caddis flies.

Hatches are not as prolific as they had been a couple of weeks ago, but diligent fly-fishers have continued to catch some nice fish.

Phil Street reports that as of last week, trout fishing continues to be good. Two friends came up to visit, and the trio fished the Willowemoc, Beaverkill and East Branch. There were good numbers of anglers out and about on all the rivers and streams, but despite the numbers of cars near the popular pools, they walked along and were able to find some really nice water, noting that the weather and scenery were beautiful. The friends were fishing mostly with dry flies, and found that fishing was most productive in the evening, from 5 - 8 p.m. 

They reported that hatches were fairly sparse, as were the rises, and the trout were selective. Phil said that the group did manage to catch fish on March Brown and Caddis imitations, as well as on an Adams and an attractor fly, the Royal Wulff.

The Adams, which doesn’t imitate any particular fly or hatch, enticed “takes” when trout were refusing other patterns; and the trio agreed that it was their favorite fly. However, the highlight of the trip was a beautiful Brook trout caught on a Royal Wulff. All the trout were healthy and of good size, measuring from 14 - 18 inches. In addition, Phil’s friend Brett caught a “really nice brown on a streamer fished through a fast deep pool. The brown trout hit it really hard. It was a much bigger and stronger fish than the small wild trout he’s used to in small Virginia streams” - and you can bet that Brett will be back to fish our Catskill waters!

Phil reiterated that the key to their success was in walking - as there were so many cars parked along the river and so many trout fishers in the water. Most fishermen tend to park and choose a fishing location as close to their car as possible - but getting out and walking up or downstream can prove to be effective and perhaps find some favorite new places to fish.

Sometimes when fish aren’t taking your offering, and you know you’ve been presenting it well, it’s time to try an attractor fly, such as a Royal Wulff. The Royal Wulff doesn’t imitate anything in nature. It is a beautiful fly, with a handsome red and green body offset by its bright white wings and tail. And if presented delicately and well, can attract a hungry trout to come up and take it when no other imitations seem to work.

There is no doubt that fly-fishing for trout is a restful and relaxing way to spend a few hours. But it is more than just a peaceful pastime, and many can attest that it can actually serve as a healing balm for the body and soul, especially when shared by those needing such a respite. 

On Tuesday, May 14, the DeBruce Fly Fishing Club hosted a day of fly-fishing on the Willowemoc Creek with a Project Healing Waters (PHW) Group from Gardner, Massachusetts. The group consisted of 14 disabled veterans and mentors, along with volunteer members and friends of the DeBruce Club.

This particular PHW group has been coming to the DeBruce Club since 2013. Allan Virginia, Treasurer & Trustee at Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, Inc. of Oradel, New Jersey, and spearhead of the outing, was told that one of the veterans turned down a trip to Montana so he would not miss his trip to the Catskills!

During their May 13-17 visit, the PHW Group stayed at the Hunter Lake Lodge, courtesy of Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon (AaSP), a New Jersey public charity that supports veterans and active military personnel. AaSP also provided lunch on Tuesday at the Rose Cottage, DeBruce, and dinners at the Schoolhouse Restaurant in Downsville and Northern Farmhouse Pasta in Roscoe.

Many, but not all of the veterans, are affiliated with the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center located in Gardner, MA. This Project Healing Waters Group is mentored by the Miller’s River Trout Unlimited Chapter.

There are a number of organizations you can become involved with - such as Healing Waters, Casting for Recovery, and Reel Recovery. A few hours spent working with an outreach group can make a world of difference to someone who needs healing.


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