To kick off the 2023 trout season this past weekend, the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Two Headed Trout Weekend which featured events and promos from local businesses. The headliner …
To kick off the 2023 trout season this past weekend, the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Two Headed Trout Weekend which featured events and promos from local businesses. The headliner to the weekend was the 62nd Annual Two Headed Trout Dinner at Rockland House on Saturday, April 1.
Founder and Executive Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, Ramsay Adams, welcomed to the stage by Two Headed Trout Committee Co-Chair Siobhan “Sam” Loizeaux Bennett, was the keynote speaker. He described in great detail the story behind the two-headed trout and how it connects to us as people. It’s a story about a mythical creature called Beamoc that would “swim through eternity trying to decide which branch to take.”
“The tradition goes back to the early 1900s, where the legend of the two headed trout was born,” Adams said. “Obviously, there are many fantastical fly-fishing stories. But, this story’s different. It is a story of difficult choices of forks in the road of life. It is a story of survival. When we hear the legend of the two-headed trout, we anthropomorphize Beamoc. We become the two-headed trout. We ask ourselves, what would we do?”
Adams describes how the creature had an impossible choice upon navigating its way through the Delaware River. Beamoc had two pristine waterways to swim off into after escaping the toxic waters of the Gowanus Canal during the industrial revolution.
“Instead of making a decision, Beamoc, with her two heads, swims around, unable to make up her mind,” Adams continued. “So, it’s not clear whether Beamoc grew her second head in Junction Pool because the decision was so mind bending that all she could do was grow another head, or if it was a toxic ‘Avengers’ kind of accident. Regardless, the sources are clear that the two heads and the two choices create an infinity loop.”
Adams explains how this relates to his story of coming to the area. His grandparents, John and Barbara Adams, left the polluted air in the water of Brooklyn in the early part of this century and landed at Junction pool. He jokes that his father also grew a second head, in the form of his mother, Patricia. His father was also confronted with an impossible choice of which path to take in life.
“Well, you all know which way John and Patricia went and they haven’t stopped going,” Adams said. “They have spent a long time fighting to protect the environment, inspired by the pristine waters and a desire to preserve it for the next generations. I have also dedicated my life to fighting to protect these waters through my organization, Catskill Mountain. So, in the spirit of the two headed trout, I call on all of you to help fight, to protect these and all waters to ensure that they are fishable, swimmable, and drinkable for those that come after us.”
The late Theodore Richard “Ted” Rogowski was posthumously commemorated for his acclaimed conservation of Beaverkill River. Ted passed away at the age of 93 in 2021 following after a life of connecting with many people over his passion for fly fishing and environmental conservation. 2022 Two Headed Trout Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Richard Schager, was invited to say some words about Ted, sharing some stories about how he conserved the land and the waterways.
“Ted spent his last 20 years on the Beaverkill,” he said. “He was always committed to the river. He talked in 1964 about Harry Darby issuing what Ted called the Catskills alarm. That was the building of the highway that was going to go right down through the middle of the river and destroy the river. This community of the Beaverkill is not just us, not just the people of the river. There are people all over the country who value, who are part of the Beaverkill traditions.”
Schager talked about how Ted got a group in New York together that would become Theodore Gordon Fly Fishers. With his connections, he set up a meeting in Washington with the highway builders and got the highway relocated.
“When things got tough, what he thought about was the enormous swell of public support for his work trying to get the highway relocated,” stated Schager. “He said he would go back to his thoughts about the Beaverkill and the traditions up here.”
Schager also shared some words about the first ever “Joan Wulff Award for Fly Fishing Excellence” being awarded to Ed Van Put, a Catskill Fly Fishing author and advocate.
“I think of Ed as probably the most brilliant conservationist of the last three quarters of a century for this river and this valley,” Schager said. “The big tradition here is public access, buying fishing rights, and making sure not only that the river’s clean, but people have a right to use it. An experienced angler will go down to the stream and he picks up a rock. He’ll look under the rock and you’ll see what insects are there because that gives him an idea of what fly to use. Now I think Ed, honest to God, goes down to the river, picks up a rock, and he hears words. He hears the words of 150 years of anglers in this river.”
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