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Priceless

CATSKILLDELAWARE A Special Section of the Sullivan County Democrat

Spring 2015

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Smart Wading Means More Trout n Delaware River: A Trout Treasure n All About The Wily Trout

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Start thinking Shad - 2015 T BY JOHN PUNOLA

he worst part of winter is behind us and we are now in the early days of March. The Yankees and Mets are busy in Florida preparing for the 2015 baseball season, and fishermen should be preparing for the beginning of fishing season. Shad fishermen in particular should be thinking about getting the shad equipment ready for another spring shad season. Since the spring 2009 shad run, the number of shad arriving to spawn has steadily increased with banner numbers posted by shad fishermen who were active in the Delaware River fishing for, and catching, shad. At the end of last summer, I surveyed shad fishermen about their success in the spring of 2014, and the results were as follows: Average number of days fished were ten, hours per trip four-five, average number of shad caught per day was ten. We only found two fishermen who kept any shad, all others were catch and release. The number of shad caught is impressive and I believe it will rise this spring when I predict the shad population will further increase, based on

the successful spawns in previous seasons. Last year in mid-September I noted a large amount of juvenile shad in the river and saw one location where the schooled juvenile Shad covered an area of one half mile. The heavy spawn numbers bodes well for future spring arrivals on the nearby Delaware River. Start thinking shad and prepare your equipment to be ready to fish when the shad reach the Upper Delaware River. The past three seasons the shad began arriving, and moving up river, in the early part of March, and last spring I recorded good catches at Port Jervis, N.Y. the third week of March. I felt that schools of shad had already passed and were now well upriver. I am presently getting all my fishing gear ready for spring, with special attention to my shad fishing equipment. Why don’t you do the same? A large number of upriver shad fishermen fish from the shore, be sure to take extra care with slippery banks and rocks, and dress warmly. This shad fishing report is courtesy of John Punola, Outdoor Writer and shad fishing expert; japunola@aol.com; 973-822-2395.

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Contents Start thinking Shad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 By John Punola One of the best shad fisherman on the Upper Delaware, noted outdoor writer John Punola is predicting a banner year for the feisy silver streaks. Get your gear ready now!

The legendary Joan Wulff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 By Judy Van Put Thanks to her loving parents, Joan Salvato Wulff grew up in a fishing household and learned to appreciate the art – and excitement – of fishing. Her name – and late husband Lee – is synonymous with fly fishing excellence. Learn more about her great life story.

The wet, wild and wily Trout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 By Kathy Daley This Catskill-Delaware Wildlife feature dives into the water to explore the underwater lives of the rainbow, brown and brook trout, some of the most magnificent creatures in Catskill-Delaware Country. Find out what fishermen see in these wily fish.

Shhh . . . Wade like you’re on eggshells! . . . . . . .32 By John Punola You know you’re in trouble when the splashing of your galoshes is scaring away the very fish you’re wading in the stream to find. Veteran fisherman John Punola offers tips on what to wear from head to toe and how to proceed to make your outing more pleasant and safe – even if you don’t bag any fish.

Rainbow over the Upper Delaware . . . . . . . . . . .36 By Tony Ritter The northern reaches of the Delaware River hold plenty of fish. NYS and NPS Licensed Guide (and trout enthusiast) Tony Ritter talks about trout, the legend of how they came to reside in these glistening waters, and where they might be found.

Dining at Danny’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 By Kaitlin Carney Since 1814 and the days of the D&H Canal, Wurtsboro has had a destination for those seeking a respite and fine food. Since Danny Halloran dubbed it “Danny’s” in the 1980s, the restaurant and full bar has been under the watchful eye of three generations of family.

Alaska’s Brown Bear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 By Gus Congemi Imagine finding the largest bear seen in decades in the wilds of Alaska – and bringing it down. Gus Congemi tells us how he did it, and how you might find one of your own.

Sections Arts/Entertainment . . . . 52 Auto. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Bethel . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Callicoon . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Delaware County . . . . . 36 Dining . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Fallsburg. . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Honesdale/Wayne Cty . . 50 8 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015

Jeffersonville. . . . . . . . . 26 Liberty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Lodging . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Monticello . . . . . . . . . . 46 Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Rock Hill. . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Roscoe . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Wurtsboro . . . . . . . . . . 60

CATSKILL-DELAWARE PUBLICATIONS, INC. Publisher Frederick W. Stabbert III • Senior Editor Dan Hust • Editor Frank Rizzo • Editorial Assistants Kaitlin Carney, Kathy Daley, John Punola Tony Ritter, Judy Van Put, Gus Congemi • Advertising Director Liz Tucker • Advertising Coordinator Sandy Schrader • Advertising Representatives Cecile Lamy, Barbara Matos • Marketing Director Tera Luty • Telemarketing Coordinator Michelle Reynolds • Classifieds & Circulation Janet Will, Linda Anderson • Production Associates Ruth Huggler, Tracy Swendsen, Rosalie Mycka, Elizabeth Finnegan, Petra Duffy, Nyssa Calkin • Business Manager Sue Owens • Business Department Patricia Biedinger, Joanna Blanchard • Distribution Bill Holmes

Catskill-Delaware Magazine Published by Catskill-Delaware Publications, Inc. Publishers of the Sullivan County Democrat (845) 887-5200 Callicoon, N.Y. 12723 February 27, 2015 Vol. CXXIV, No. 73


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‘I am a very ordinary woman who has had an extraordinary life through the magic of fly fishing’

The legendary Joan Wulff: the ‘First Lady’ of fly fishing BY JUDY VAN PUT

ew people have the honor of being recognized by first name only. In the world of baseball, that name might be Derek (Jeter) or Pedro (Martinez)... but in fly fishing circles, if you mention the name “Joan,” it is Joan Wulff. Joan Salvato Wulff of Lew Beach has long been referred to as the “First Lady of Fly Fishing” – an honor justly earned, as in addition to her skills with a fly rod, she is especially gracious and accommodating, as a “First Lady” should be.

F

Getting an early start

Her introduction to the sport fostered a love of fly fishing that began at about the tender age of five, and occurred while on a fishing trip with her parents at Greenwood Lake, which straddles the New York-New Jersey border. Her father was fishing bass bugs with a fly rod, while her mother rowed the boat. She was not particularly good at rowing, as her husband constantly admonished her, “Ina, you’re too close to the lily pads,” or “Ina, you’re not close enough to shore,” when suddenly a bass erupted from the lily pads to take his bug, and as Joan related, “some 80 years later I can remember the instant of that monstrous thing exploding up from the lily pads! Then Dad handed me the rod – and I just held it, feeling that living creature at the other end… I came out of that experience thinking it’s much better to be the fisherman than the rower! And so I am, all these years later.” Joan’s credits her father, Jimmy Salvato, with instilling in her the love of fly-casting as well. He ran a sporting goods establishment, Paterson Rod & Gun Store, in Paterson, New Jersey, and also wrote a fishing column. Involved with the Paterson Casting Club, he started to teach Joan’s brothers, Jimmy and Louie, how to cast – she was left out “because I was a girl.” And so one day she asked her mother if she could borrow her father’s fly rod before he came home for dinner, and went down to Oldham 10 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Joan Wulff fishing the Willowemoc – the photograph captures her perfect form and beautiful tight loop of line extending above.

Pond and “waved it around, when the tip went into the water, which was about ten feet deep.” She ran home, frightened at what her father might say; fortunately a neighbor came by and fished the tip out of the pond, and when her father came home, “he was not angry with me, and allowed me to go with him to the Casting Club with my brothers.” She was about ten years old at the time.

Her first fish

The first fish she caught on a fly rod came on a fishing trip a couple of years later, with her father, on the Musconetcong River in northern New Jersey. She was fishing a dry fly, alone, and caught a rainbow trout. The excited youngster didn’t know what to do with the flopping fish when she took it off the hook because she had


only seen pictures of trout lying still! And so she put it in the creel and went running to her dad to get help. He showed her how to dispatch the fish humanely. It was a memorable day for 12-yearold Joan, in that she learned that “when you are fishing you are feeling the life force of another creature – you feel it through your hand… it is what has kept me in love with fly fishing.”

Learning to cast One of the providers of tackle to Jimmy Salvato’s Rod and Gun Store gave Joan a threepiece Shakespeare bamboo fly rod, which became her equipment. And, as Jimmy Salvato and his three children were members of the Paterson Casting Club, fellow member Bill Taylor, a distance caster, became Joan’s casting mentor. He made her a rod for distance casting, and spliced pieces of silk line together to make a full casting line tailored for Joan’s ability. She now realizes “I cast the way he cast. He gave me my style but never taught it to me. He’d just say ‘do it like this’ – he would show me and I’d try to copy it” and when she compared her style of casting to his, she realized it was one and the same. Joan was a natural in the sport, and went on to become a National Casting Champion from 1943–1960. She was a groundbreaker in the field of women’s distance casting, competing mostly with men. And in 1960, casting against an allmale field, she made a record-breaking cast of 161 feet with a fly-rod – which is still today the farthest cast ever made by a woman in the United States. Her proudest accomplishment, though, was pioneering the set of casting mechanics and “language” of casting: “Everyone wrote about fly fishing, but never how to do it exactly – they never described the parts of your arm and the parts of the cast.” At left, the cover of Joan Wulff’s book titled “Dynamics of Fly Casting.”

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Lee and Joan Wulff opened their Wulff School of Fly Fishing along the banks of the Beaverkill in Lew Beach in 1979. The couple are pictured here in front of the entrance to their school.

Moving to Sullivan County

In 1967, Joan married legendary fly fisherman Lee Wulff. Ten years later the Wulffs were making plans to open a fishing school on the Battenkill River, on the New York/Vermont border, where Lee owned property. In June of that year, Lee was invited to be the main speaker for a Federation of Fly Fishers gathering in Roscoe. Neither had been to the Catskills in several years, and Joan remembers being overwhelmed by the sense of a fishing community. They saw someone on the street in waders, and found more than five miles of the Beaverkill designated “No Kill.” And after experiencing the clean, aquatic insect-producing waters of the Willowemoc and the East and West branches of the Delaware River and their tributaries, they realized “This is the place.” In addition to the rich history of fly-fishing in the area, including the wealth of literature and presence of the Catskill fly-tiers such as the Darbees and the Dettes, the Wulffs felt right at home in the heart of the fishing world. After visiting and fishing several rivers and streams, they found their perfect home on the banks of the upper Beaverkill in Lew Beach, and opened their school of fly fishing in 1979.

Teaching to cast

In order to communicate with her students in a manner that was concise and easy to understand, Joan pioneered a set of mechanics to creCONTINUED ON PAGE 14 CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015 • 11


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ate the language that is used today to teach flycasting, based on the three parts of the cast: a loading move, a power snap, and then followthrough, and how to do different casts using those mechanics. Interestingly, she credits Robert Redford’s 1992 movie “A River Runs Through It” – its stunning scenery, graceful unfurling loops of flylines, and handsome men (that she used to have all to herself!) – with bringing more women into the sport. For the following dozen years there were more women than men enrolled in her fishing school. Encouraged by Lee and publisher/friend, Nick Lyons, she wrote her first book based on those mechanics in 1987. She followed up with a monthly column in Fly Rod & Reel magazine, which ran for 22 years, and has penned three more books; the last in 2012, a culmination of everything she had learned in the 25 years since her first book was published. She believes that writing is “a fantastic way to learn” and that writing was responsible for getting her where she is today. She confesses that CONTINUED ON PAGE 17

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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although partially retired, she is still a teacher, and cannot see someone casting poorly without offering her help. (Even while wintering in the Florida Keys, she spent an hour with a person she had just met, teaching her to double-haul, and felt rejuvenated in the process – “teaching does wonderful things for me.”)

The stages of fishing In her latest book, Joan writes of “the evolution of a fly fisher,” explaining that we go through stages: The first three are involved with the fish themselves – first wanting to catch many fish; then wanting to catch the biggest fish; followed by wanting to catch the most difficult species of fish. She writes that the fourth stage is “giving back” and becoming involved with conservation organizations, and realizing that our natural resources are precious and need to be protected. Her fifth stage reveals that a fly fisher can find contentment by just “being there” on a stream or body of water where the fish are, whether catching

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Joan Wulff with a healthy, hefty brook trout caught while fishing the waters of Labrador.

fish or not. The sixth stage is fishing through someone else. She writes that this stage takes a certain amount of “maturity,” to be just as happy with someone else catching fish as if you caught the fish yourself. Her seventh and final stage (for now) is when you “replace yourself,” stating CONTINUED ON PAGE 19

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“this is where the grandchildren come in.”

It’s a family thing

Joan introduced both of her grandsons, Alex and Andrew Cummings, to the world of fly-fishing when each was about 5½ years of age – the age when children are first able to swing baseball bats and get rid of the training wheels on their bikes. She had special memories to share: “One of the happy wonderful things in my life was in Alex’s second fishing season. We were fishing the Beaverkill and all he could do was roll cast. After 20 minutes of fruitless casts, he said “Gram, I have homework to do. I’d better go home now.” Joan asked if she could try a Royal Wulff (dry fly) before they left– she hooked a trout and handed him the rod to play and land it. As they walked away from the stream, he looked up at her with big shining eyes “It’s a good thing Grandpa Lee invented the Royal Wulff!” And a few years ago, the two were fishing on the West Branch of the Delaware River. They had fished hard and only caught a few small fish. It was 8 at night and starting to get dark, with fog

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Pictured are Boston Red Sox legend and fly-fisherman, Ted Williams, and Joan Wulff. The pair did a “pretend competition” at the Boston Sportsmen Show.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Joan Wulff is giving casting instruction to a student at the Wulff Fishing School in the early 1980s. A teacher at heart, she still today loves to help others with their casting, feeling ‘rejuvenated’ in the process and recently stated that “teaching does wonderful things for me.” CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19

DEMOCRAT FILE PHOTO

coming upriver – when Alex hooked and landed a beautiful brown trout that measured all of 21 inches – which Joan says is “the best fish of my life.” Never thinking she would make a living in flyfishing, nor having any plans to do so, she explains that she “just did it because I love it and took advantage of any opportunities as they came about.” Joan states that fly fishing has taken her “to the

At the 2014 First Cast at Roscoe’s Junction Pool, Joan Wulff pointed to the sky after getting her Wulff Fly secured to her line, and said, “This one’s for Lee,” – her husband, the late Lee Wulff.

most beautiful places in the world. You don’t catch fish on a fly in anything but clean water. It’s introduced me to the finest people that I have ever met. Overall, I am a very ordinary woman who has had an extraordinary life through the magic of fly fishing.”

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Needing clean, cold, highly oxygenated water, trout thrive in our area, especially in the headwaters of small tributary streams, said fish and wildlife expert Judy Van Put of Livingston Manor, here on the Willowemoc.

Wet, Wild and Wily Trout:

Diving into the world of rainbows, browns and brookies BY KATHY DALEY

A

t this bend in the river or that mouth of a stream, a trim, handsome fish darts about like a brilliant arrow, inspiring awe in the humans who are its pursuers. 22 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015

“Trout are absolutely beautiful,” said veteran fisherman Philip Eggleton. “From the bright pinks and spots on a rainbow trout to the golden coloring and bright orange on brown trout, they are breathtaking to see.” “They are also mysterious,” added Eggleton,


ILLUSTRATION BY RAM PAPISH

Prized in our area, the rainbow trout is famed for its huge leaps out of the water. The fish gets its name from the long swath of pink or red on its side.

who co-owns Roscoe’s Trout Town Adventures and Guide Services with son David. “You can see a trout, and then within a split second it has darted away into the dark shadows.” Cousin to the amazing migrating salmon, trout fish have long intrigued artists, poets, songwriters and even entrepreneurs. Beer is named after them (for example, Mammoth’s Golden Trout Pilsner) as is the folk/rock duo Trout Fishing in America. Composer Franz Schubert wrote “Die Forelle” – “The Trout” – about a fish caught on a hook, and he continued to compose variations on the theme, one of which is the better-known Trout Quintet. Seventeen U.S. states, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, boast trout as their official state fish. And how many other aquatic creatures can lay claim to a fan club – the private, nonprofit Trout Unlimited – and to the passion of environmental groups that fight for the fish’s rights? “Trout Unlimited, the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations have popped up over the last 20 to 30 years to keep this area alive as a trout fishery,” explained Michael Padua, an Upper Delaware River fishing guide for 23 years and owner of Sweetwater Guide Services in Tyler Hill, Pa. While trout fishing in the fabled Beaverkill River and Willowemoc Creek harkens back to the 1800s, the Upper Delaware as a rich environment for trout is a more recent development. Padua pointed out that 1960s construction of

the Cannonsville Dam in Deposit and the Pepacton Dam above Downsville – and later lobbying by environmental groups to release cold water from the dams during warm weather – has created a perfect habitat. The cool water flowing into the East and West Branch of the Delaware “creates one incredible trout fishery,” said Padua. “Trout are able to reproduce because of the cold-water releases.”

“. . . the trout that ply the waters of our rivers and streams are a colorful bunch that include rainbow, brook and brown trout.” Colorful Characters

Part of the trout’s charm is its colorful packaging – and its aptitude for changing coloration when needed. “As trout enter the breeding season, they tend to take on more vibrant colors and hues,” noted Eggleton. A trout’s colors can also shift based upon CONTINUED ON PAGE 25 CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015 • 23


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Early springtime on the West Branch of the Delaware River near Hancock attracts fishing enthusiasts such as guide Michael Padua. Trout, like this big brown, are the most prolific and sought-after fish on local waterways.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 27

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underwater surroundings. Judy Van Put of Livingston Manor, a realtor, fishing enthusiast and fish and wildlife expert, explained that the dark pigment cells in a trout’s skin are under the control of the fish’s eye, thereby changing color to match the background encountered by the trout. “Light influences the pituitary gland, which creates a hormone that dispenses black pigment into cells in the skin,” she said. “It’s responsible for darkening the body color when trout are in a dark background.” Conversely, in a light background, the pigment aggregates and the body pales. However it works for them, the trout that ply the waters of our rivers and streams are a colorful bunch that include rainbow, brook and brown trout. So named because of the pink or red band that runs from gills to tail, rainbows are gray-blue to greenish with light-colored sides covered in dark spots. They are noteworthy for their ability to leap out of the water up to three times their own length, and for their fierce fighting when hooked.

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CONTRIBUTED ILLUSTRATION

All trout, including this brookie (also called speckled trout) have scales with growth rings. New hard tissue is added around the edges of the scales as the fish grows, and the rings can be “read” like the growth rings on a tree. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25

The smallest of the three local species, the brookie, is a dark olive green with a marbled pattern of lighter shades across the back, and red dots surrounded by blue haloes. Their lower fins are edged with white. Anglers can hook brown trout born here or stocked trout loosed in streams by the New York State Department of Conservation. Browns grow faster and live longer than brook trout, are warier than brookies or rainbows, and can tolerate warmer temperatures. Their color is a deep golden with brownish hues. Large dark spots mark their backs, and red, orange and creamcolored dots scatter their sides.

Sense and Sensibility

CONTINUED ON PAGE 29

17752

Incredibly, a rainbow trout can smell the difference between two side-by-side water

CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015 • 27


28 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015

25630


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27

plants of the same species due to special holes called “nares” that give trout a powerful sense of smell. Inner ears allow trout to hear underwater, and they possess sense organs called lateral lines to “feel” sounds too low for humans to hear. The lines along each side of the body are made up of U-shaped tubes. When river water vibrates from a sound, a tiny hair wiggles inside the tube, sending a nerve signal to the trout’s brain. The brain translates the wiggle into data about where the vibration comes from, which helps the trout find food and avoid danger. With teeth on the roof of their mouths, trout eat flies, mayflies, caddisflies, minnows, mollusks, crustaceans, frogs, snails, snakes and salamanders. And they are not above chomping on a mouse or a baby bird that has tumbled into CONTINUED ON PAGE 31 CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

On the Cover: Philip Eggleton of Trout Town Adventures and Guide Services in Roscoe enjoys the Beaverkill and finds plenty of beautiful trout in addition to “tumbling waters, vistas of the horizon and mountains all around.”

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small insects to eat. Marked with dark vertical ovals on their sides as special camouflage, they slowly gain the spots and brilliant stripes of adulthood.

the water.

Spawning in the Sand Trout all begin the same way – as eggs in the sand. Using her tail to scrape out a depression in the stream bottom, a mature female trout deposits her unfertilized eggs while the male swims nearby and drives off competitors. Males use body language, posturing and gaping wide their mouths, flaring their gills, to chase away opponents from a female or from territory they are holding in the water. Submissive fish close their mouths, hold their fins close to their bodies and go pale as they drop towards the streambed. Once the female finishes egg laying, the male covers them with his milt, or sperm. The female adds a thin protective coating of gravel, and the two leave. Developing on their own, tiny trout, called alevins, hatch from the eggs. Unable to swim, they survive for several weeks on yolk from egg sacs attached to their bellies. They then float to the surface and begin to search for plankton and

Inside Trout Homelands

Trout require clean, clear, well-oxygenated water, and it follows that their habitats are some of the most beautiful in the New YorkPennsylvania region. “Tumbling waters, vistas of the horizon and mountains are all around,” said Eggleton. On an East Branch trip with clients last year, his group thrilled to the sight of two whitetail bucks in velvet crossing the river right in front of them. “We regularly see bald eagles, ducks, turkey and geese on our trips,” Eggleton said. “Last year we had several clients fishing on the Beaverkill. One angler was in the process of bringing in a rainbow trout when a beaver surfaced and smacked his tail to let us know his displeasure with us being there. We also had a beaver chew down a small sapling on a bank across from us. The beaver dropped the sapling right into the Beaverkill.” The resident trout knew to duck.

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Smart wading means more trout

approach as they prepare to present a lure. The BY JOHN PUNOLA eteran anglers have known for a long time only thing trout should see is your fly or lure that silence and crafty approaches are as landing on the surface. You should always think vital as the fly or lure they are casting to an ahead before approaching a location where you unsuspecting trout. The reason is simple, water believe a trout is resting, waiting for food to appear. There’s no hurry carries sound. If you to fishing no matter what are sloshing along you are fishing for. thru the water or I have often observed stumbling along the anglers splashing along, bank, your approach casting and complaining will alert the trout, that there’s no fish in the especially the older, stream, or they didn’t wiser and larger ones stock. The simple matter that everyone wants is sound travels fast under to catch. This is more water, and it’s foolish to of a factor when fishadvertise your arrival and ing heavily fished streams where the An early season Sullivan County brown trout that was alerting the trout that you are coming to put them in trout quickly become caught and released by the author. your net. Foolish wading educated and smart. Noise isn’t the only mistake anglers make. also spooks the trout for other anglers who may Trout have keen vision, especially in clear water not be happy with all the commotion you are and they see you before you see them. Anglers causing. Even hatchery quickly adapt to their should always maintain a low profile in their new life in the streams and can be as wary as the

V

The Delaware River and Beaverkill are larger area trout streams, but if you take time to look around some of the smaller streams hold good populations of wild brown trout. 32 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015


seasoned wild trout. When possible, approach the trout by wading Enter the water some yards downstream and in the faster waters that will deaden any sound move slowly and quietly to your selected place and reduce the trout’s vision. to fish. Be a thinker and observe the stream Always fish, cast and wade upstream. Trout conditions and ask yourself where the trout are are facing the current and are less likely to be most likely to be stationed, and what is the best disturbed or spooked when approached from kapproach. It could mean going out of your way behind. to reach your trout, but in the end, you will When moving from one place to another, try to walk along the bank instead of thru the water, probably catch the trout. y Always try to fish upstream so that mud, silt or thus reducing vibrations that the trout will loose gravel will not move towards the trout. Try detect. Never fish too far ahead. If you are fortunate to keep shadows behind you and stay as close to the shore as possible to minimize your shadow to locate more than one trout, concentrate on or silhouette. Proper equipment is also impor- the nearest one. Trout like to lie behind boulgtant. Be sure to wear comfortable, proper fitting ders, stumps, logs or other obstructions and equipment, especially waders or hip boots so face upstream. Cast far enough upstream so you can move freely and quietly about. You that your fly or lure will swing past the trout in a normal and natural should select bootware manner. that will not restrict Take time to study movement, create unyour trout as much as necessary noise and possible, learning about also not give you foot habitat and feeding discomfort, don’t go habits. Be sure to also home with sore feet g study the characteristics from ill fitting boots. y of the stream, or Trout vision is better streams you intend to than yours, even in disfish. The more you know colored water, and the about the places you are following suggestions fishing will make you a will provide some successful angler. things to keep in mind By nature trout are to enable you to wary and elusive and increase your success even hatchery trout for the day. Always Usually you can wade in shallow water and still be in quickly adapt to wild wear a good pair of good casting range. conditions of the Polaroid sunglasses, which will serve to reduce glare, prevent eye- streams and soon become stream smart. No strain and you will actually be able to see the matter what you are fishing for, trout or some trout and where they are hiding. The use of the other fish, always use a slow deliberate Polaroid sunglasses will also help you spot approach as quietly as possible. As far as waders versus hip boots, it’s a matter underwater hazards and deep drop-offs that can cause serious problems when wading and of what you are most comfortable with, plus the might save you from drowning. Wear the glass- size of the streams you intend to fish. Small es even when the sky is overcast, you will see streams or brooks are ideal for hip boots, whereas, the larger streams are best suited for waders. many things you might ordinarily miss. Wear comfortable clothing that blends with In warmer months, invest in a quality pair of the the natural colors. Brightly colored caps, shirts, popular featherweight waders or boots. They or vests can spook a wary trout. When you are are comfortable to wear and much cooler. With all this information about wading, and outdoors dress like you are outdoors and be sure to use the proper strength sunscreen to the necessity of a quiet approach, you probably protect your face and neck from potential will wonder “With all the fishermen in the water thrashing about on opening day, why bother to melanoma, or skin cancer. CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015 • 33


be cautious?” On opening day, and maybe the next day, it’s not that important, but remember, the opening day is only one day, and the next day you go fishing there will be few anglers. Once the stocking process is concluded, the waters will be clearer and probably lower and now is the time to put your wading knowledge to test. Those browns and rainbows that survived the early season onslaught will now be seasoned, crafty veterans and ready to test your skill and patience. When you step into a stream, maybe rocky and slippery, good and BAD things can happen to you. The bad thing, you can slip into the water and be injured, or drown. For that reason, take a few precautions for a safe wading experience. When fishing fast or deep water, do not enter the water unless absolutely necessary and take short steps to assure your footing. The GOOD thing to happen is you increase your chance for success if you remember the information in this

Smart wading requires smart selection of boots, make sure yours have felt bottoms, hip boots or waders.

story. Always fish smart and always be alert. ALWAYS stay within sight of your fishing partner. If fishing alone, make sure someone knows where you are and when you will return, keep your cell phone high and dry.

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USE a wading staff to probe for rocks and drop-offs, and attach to your belt so it will not float away if dropped. In a clear water stream it’s easy to step from one foot to four feet of water. AVOID swift waters, especially if deeper than your knee. If you should slip and fall in swift water you could be swiftly swept away. Find shallow water when you have the need to cross. SURVEY the waters before wading. It’s always easier to get to the middle of a stream than it is to return to the shoreline. ONLY WADE if and when absolutely necessary. Rely on your casting skills to reach into the larger pools. You can do this without alarming the trout, and can catch more trout as well. AVOID stepping on loose rocks, moss, logs or other obstructions. Check behind any large rock before you attempt to step over. FINALLY stay out of the water unless absolutely necessary. Larger trout streams can run at abnormal levels and will be frigid in early season. If there is an opportunity to cast from the

bank stay out of the water unless absolutely necessary. Be a smart wader whereever you fish for trout, and that includes the Delaware River. Great trout fishing is available in the area of Callicoon, upstream. The Delaware offers many places to enter the water and fish for trout, shad or smallmouth bass, but dumb wading can spoil your day. The river is rocky and swifter than a smaller trout stream, so only wade as far into the water as necessary, wear felt bottom boots or waders, and if necessary use a wading staff. When I am fishing the shoreline of the Delaware, I also wear a floatation vest, and on three occasions, I have slipped into the water and floated away. Use your good judgement anytime you need to enter the river, and try not to fish alone. Enjoy fishing your local trout streams, but always be a safe, careful wader. Good fishing, enjoy your fishing days, respect private lands, and always be a good sport, always respect your fellow anglers.

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© LINDA SLOCUM

Mist rises over the Big D just north of Callicoon, making for outstanding dry fly angling for wild rainbows and brown trout. Areas such as these are an angler's delight with prolific caddis, mayfly and stonefly hatches and hungry trout throughout the spring.

Precious cargo: The wild rainbows of the Upper Delaware River BY TONY RITTER NYS AND NPS LICENSED GUIDE

F

or over twenty years I have had the opportunity to guide anglers from all over the world on the Scenic and Recreational Upper Delaware River. We flyfish and spin fish for many freshwater species – walleye, smallmouth bass, American Shad as well as wild trout – both rainbows and browns.

A Very Special River What makes this river special and if I may say, 36 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015

one of a kind is, besides the natural beauty that beckons the river traveler around each bend, is that this outstanding resource is only two hours northwest of a major metropolitan city of eight million people. In a little less than a month, anglers from all over the state, as well as the country, will descend upon the Catskill-Delaware region for the first cast in search of a day or two on their CONTINUED ON PAGE 38


© LINDA SLOCUM

The Basket on the Upper Delaware River looking south of Long Eddy, with the Erie railroad tracks on the left. Named by rafters in the late 1800s since the river arcs in a 180 degree bend and the Basket Creek flows into the Delaware at this point. A great riff both for wild rainbows and for shad.

© TONY RITTER | GONE FISHING GUIDE SERVICE

Top: Newcomer to the Upper Delaware River is Kevin Kearsey from Rockland County. Here’s Kevin with a big 21-inch rainbow. CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015 • 37


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 36

favorite stream with their kids, their buddies or maybe by themselves looking for solitude from the complications of the everyday world of today. We are blessed with so many rivers and streams in our neck of the woods. Most are laden with historical lore marking the beginnings of this sport with the remembrances of Theodore Gordon, Edward Hewitt, The Dettes, The Darbees, The Wulffs, Sparse Grey Hackle and many more. The angler visiting our region for the first time or the hundredth time would do well to drop by the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum located on Old Route 17 hard by the Willowemoc between Livingston Manor and Roscoe. This museum has grown from its humble beginnings located over an old movie theatre some thirty years ago into one of the best, if not the best, depositories of flyfishing artifacts in the world. Photos, manuscripts, diaries, flies, bamboo rods, books, signs, tools – anything that has to do with flyfishing and its place in the Catskills is there for you to look and marvel at. All of these Catskill streams and rivers which dot western Sullivan and Delaware Counties

38 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015

© TONY RITTER | GONE FISHING GUIDE SERVICE

Wow! Look at that girth… it looks like a salmon. Big fish for talented angler Alan Kaufman of Long Island.

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© TONY RITTER | GONE FISHING GUIDE SERVICE

Big smiles for Deb Kaufman, who nailed this nice wild rainbow near Third Riff on the beautiful Upper Delaware River. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 38

Delaware join to form the longest undammed river in the northeast, running for over 270 miles from Hancock south to the Delaware Bay and onto the Atlantic Ocean. The Main Stem is considered a tailwater as opposed to a freestone river. This river receives, by a 1954 court agreement with New York City, cold water flows from the bottom of two reserCONTINUED ON PAGE 42 8560 County Road 17 East Branch, NY 13756

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Maryland angler Jim Bray made the trip to the Upper Delaware and was rewarded with this 18-inch 窶話ow north of Hankins.

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A little rain didn’t scare big Chief Spezio with this brute. This big rainbow taped out at 23 inches and was caught near Kellams Bridge. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 40

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Protecting a Great Resource

From the late 1970s through the present, many other conservationists have realized what a tremendous resource this river is with its wild trout. Many advocacy groups and folks, like angler/educator, Phil Chase, have worked tirelessly with New York City and New York State to implement better coldwater releases throughout the summer months for the betterment of its wild trout, their habitat and those that are passionate about this river. What’s unusual about this river is that most of the freshwater game fish we take for granted were not native to this stream. The trout, the smallmouth bass and the walleye were all stocked here back in the 1880s. Only the eel, shad and striped bass are considered a native fish.

Rainbow ‘Stars’

However, it is the wild Delaware River rainbows that were planted here back in the late 1800s and were originally from the McCloud River in northern California that are the stars of the show. A popular story is that trout were put there by accident. Apparently, a train transporting rain-

© TONY RITTER | GONE FISHING GUIDE SERVICE

Veteran angler Bill Hook, from New Jersey, always has a ball fishing on the Big D. Here’s Bill with a dandy 21-inch wild rainbow!

bow trout upstate to a hatchery sometime in the 1870s was stuck near Callicoon Creek, a Delaware tributary, behind a wreck up ahead. To prevent the rainbows from perishing, the alert trainmaster, one Dan Cahill – for whom the CONTINUED ON PAGE 47

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© TONY RITTER | GONE FISHING GUIDE SERVICE

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Yours truly, guide Tony Ritter, can’t wait to take a turn at bat when he sees dimples and rise forms at dusk. This nice rainbow fell for a Snowshoe Rusty spinner near Cochecton.


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mayfly pattern the Light Cahill is named – dumped them into the creek, where they flourish to this day. Well, it’s the kind of story that feeds the romantic history of Catskills fly fishing. But according to Ed Van Put, it’s probably nothing more than a fish tale. Ed was the principal fish and wildlife technician for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Region 3. He’s also a Catskill flyfishing historian — his book, “The Beaverkill: A History of a River and its People” was published in 1996. Van Put’s research of newspapers and historical documents found that rainbow trout were first imported from California into New York in 1875. They were then introduced to the Catskills, namely Callicoon Creek, in 1878 and the Beaverkill around 1880. According to Van Put, a Cornell University study found that the Delaware River strain of rainbows are genetically distinct from any other rainbow trout in the world. Regardless of whether they were saved by an alert trainmaster on the Erie Railroad or by planned planting

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© TONY RITTER | GONE FISHING GUIDE SERVICE

Big fish for newcomer to the Upper Delaware River, Joe Malanga, who caught and released this rainbow north of Callicoon.

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 47

will take you all the way down to your backing and, believe me, there are plenty of ‘bows that range from 18 to 23 inches to be had. I’ve provided photos of a few happy anglers that I’ve had the pleasure to guide with their beautiful Upper Delaware River trout. What gorgeous fish they are! CONTINUED ON PAGE 51

© TONY RITTER | GONE FISHING GUIDE SERVICE

It was made in the shade for Keith Manzolillo who caught and released this fine rainbow near Long Eddy.

from California – the wild rainbows have been and continue to be precious cargo. These are the fish that I, and many of my clients, become hooked on once they feel that sharp strike. In the flash of a moment, their line gets taut as their flyline rips through their guides and these strong shouldered fish shoot off with blazing speed downstream in the current. It is no exaggeration that a 14-inch rainbow

© TONY RITTER | GONE FISHING GUIDE SERVICE

Veteran angler Adam Yee of Westchester County, with a hefty wild rainbow caught and released on the Big D near Hankins.

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Smiling Gregg Kroner with a beautiful 19 inch wild rainbow caught near Hancock. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 49

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Rainbows spawn in the early spring throughout many of the feeder streams that grace the Main Stem. The Basket, Callicoon Creek, Hankins Creek, Equinunk Creek are all spawning streams for these fish. By mid May, after the spawn and with water temperatures reaching the magic 50 degree mark with available food such as caddis, mayflies and stoneflies, in addition to the various chub and minnows species in the river, these fish are hungry and become very aggressive.

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els with good clarity and is ranging from 45 to 65, with 58 to 66 being optimum, you will have a good chance of being into a wild rainbow – or two. As far as location, many of the rainbows inhabit the faster, riffly areas of the river looking for food. Aquatic insects – nymphs and pupas– will live in the oxygenated stretches of 2 to 4 feet of water and the rainbows will locate structure and boulders waiting to pick off these little morsels as they helplessly drift down a foam line or channel cut. The “Sweet Spot” would be the tailout. This is the section of river where the riffles end and the water gets a bit deeper. Look for those rainbows that are in holding lies waiting for duns and spinners to float down to them. Overcast windless days with a touch of humidity is the best. Hatches can occur throughout the daylight hours with decent hatches of Hendrickson and Blue Quill from late April through mid May, various caddis in May, sulphurs and Light Cahill from late May through CONTINUED ON PAGE 54

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June. Don’t forget the Blue Wing Olives for those dreary cloudy days since these bugs prefer the gloam. Lastly, a few Rusty Spinners to imitate the last stage of the mayfly will serve you well if you fish at dusk. Many of my guests biggest fish were caught on Snowshoe Rusty Spinners right before dark. Here’s a tip: Many of your biggest fish will have the slightest dimple of a riseform on the surface. Pay particular attention to those soft move-

© TONY RITTER | GONE FISHING GUIDE SERVICE

What a great day John Cortez had on the Upper Delaware River! Here’s John with a fine looking 18-inch ‘bow. It doesn’t get better than this for Carl Anderson, who caught this beautiful wild Delaware River rainbow near Long Eddy.

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ments on the surface. Look before you cast. Try to limit your false casts. By placing your fly with a quick upstream mend to get the right drift on 5 or 6x tippet will bring your fly down to that beautiful Upper Delaware River rainbow!

Final Thoughts

It’s an incredible river and an astounding fishery and I’ve only scratched the surface but the only way to find out how special Catskill Delaware Country is is to come up and enjoy it. We are blessed with excellent fishing whether it be big rivers, small streams, pond or reservoirs. We have the vistas, the history, the farm fresh produce and friendly people. After your day on the water, please leave the area better than when you found it by picking up any litter. Practice C-P-R which is “Catch-PhotographRelease” for as Lee Wulff once said: “A gamefish is too valuable to be caught just once.” Tight lines, friends, and I hope to see you on the river this season! Tony Ritter is a NYS and National Park Service licensed guide now

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Danny’s Restaurant in Wurtsboro: The building is old, but the taste is fresh STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAITLIN CARNEY

W

urtsboro was once a bustling portion of the D & H Canal. Around the time of its construction, the building that is now home to Danny’s bar and restaurant, was completed. Since 1814, the building on the corner of Sullivan Street and Kingston Avenue has been a destination for residents and travelers. Danny’s continues the tradition, offering a restaurant and full bar in the historic building that continues to define Wurtsboro’s landscape. Third generation owner Vinny Rampe has been running the eatery since the early 1980s; his uncle Danny Halloran bought the eatery from his father Jack and renamed it. Danny’s inhabits an historical building, but

the dining offerings are anything but dated. The restaurant and bar serves lunch and dinner seven days a week. The extensive menu offers everything from home-made soups and appetizers to salads, sandwiches, entrees and pizza, all finished off with homemade desserts. For appetizers, Danny’s is famous for its mussels, served in a crock with red (tomato) or white (white wine and garlic) sauce and plenty to share. Enjoy the hearty stuffed mushrooms, or customer favorite chicken wings, served in your choice of sauce. Sandwiches include their signature corned beef Reuben served on rye with crispy fries and hearty handmade burgers. Entrees vary from pastas, to chicken, seafood, and Danny’s legendary steaks.

Danny’s in Wurtsboro is famous for its mussels. Served in their own crock and steamed to perfection, choose between white or red sauce. Plenty to share, but save some bread for dipping! 56 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015


Hearty pasta dishes and specials are part of Danny’s fare. This penne pasta special is tossed with chorizo sausage, shrimp, chicken, sundried tomatoes, snow peas, mushrooms, olives, and tomatoes. A light garlic sauce brings the flavors together.

Also offered is pizza, made and topped as you like it. All entrees are served with bread and butter, and soup or salad. Be sure to try a homemade soup like favorites cheesy potato or turkey noodle. On your way into the spacious dining room, stop at the bar for a pre-dinner drink and a laugh with some of Danny’s friendly staff. The bar features tap and bottled beer, wine by the glass, and a variety of spirits. You can order from the full menu at the bar, or continue into one of the dining rooms for a sit down dinner. Make sure you check out the specials board, or ask your server for the offerings that change daily. Specials include chicken, beef, pasta, and fish dishes. Enjoy a legendary Danny’s NY Strip, cooked to perfection and topped with shrimp and scampi sauce as a special, or a filet mignon topped with portobello mushrooms in a Port Wine reduction, also a special. CONTINUED ON PAGE 61

Danny’s Signature Reuben is the perfect treat for a light meal or lunch. Made with cole slaw and served on toasted rye with fries, the Reuben is one of many hot and cold sandwich options. Burgers, platters, salads, and “in the basket” items also offer options great for lunch or dinner. CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015 • 57


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Danny’s offers a number of special dishes, covering everything from appetizers to desserts. Try this Chicken with prosciutto, spinach, eggplant, roasted red peppers, and provolone topped with Alfredo sauce. Decadent and delicious, choose to have it served over pasta! CONTINUED ON PAGE 64

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Danny’s is known for its steaks, both menu items and specials. The NY Strip is a favorite cut, try it as a special served topped with shrimp and a scampi sauce. Cooked your way, the dish is rounded out with fresh vegetables and your choice of starch. Choose a soup or salad to start.

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‘Danny’s in Wurtsboro is a piece of history that endures, offering a friendly neighborhood dining destination for food, drinks, and friends and family.’

CONTINUED ON PAGE 67

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Pasta specials include penne pasta tossed with chorizo sausage, snap peas, shrimp, mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes and lightly sauced. A favorite chicken special is a boneless, skinless breast topped with spinach, prosciutto, eggplant, roasted red pepper and provolone cheese baked and served with your choice of pasta, rice, baked potato or French fries. After dinner, enjoy a home-made crème brulee paired with fresh brewed coffee or espresso. Desserts also include chocolate lava cake, pies, and seasonal specials. The bar is open late and serves food until nearly closing time. Enjoy an after dinner cordial and socialization while enjoying tunes from the jukebox. Danny’s in Wurtsboro is a piece of history that

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Located in an historic building, Danny’s features two main dining areas and a bar area. Enjoy the comfortable, homey feel of the restaurant, and check out the detail of the stained glass, woodwork, and soft lighting.

There’s always room for dessert. Try Danny’s homemade crème brulee or a taste from the selection of pies and cakes that are ever changing. Pair an Espresso or coffee with your dessert at Danny’s. 68 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015


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Fly fishing expert Joan Wulff is joined by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (behind Joan) and other hardy souls on the Willowemoc Creek last year on opening day of trout fishing season.

DEMOCRAT FILE PHOTO

Get in the swim!

... (well, maybe not directly in the water, it can be a mite chilly)! If you’re looking for activities in and around Sullivan County, just peruse these next pages for upcoming events to add to your smartphone or circle on your calendar.

February 27 “Figuratively Speaking” at Alliance Gallery, in Narrowsburg; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Figuratively Speaking” is a group exhibition of 13 artworks depicting the individual human form. The exhibit is comprised of traditional representations of the body, such as Johan Sellenraad’s oil painting of a reclining nude, as well as non-traditional works, such as Art Murphy’s photographic pairing of a 400-million-year-old fossil and a glove display hand. There are beautifully drawn portraits, as well as referential photographs, collages, and sculptures. Tues-Fri 9am-5pm & Sat 10am-4pm. Continues until March 14. For info, call 252-7576, or visit www.arts alliancesite.org. “Splurge” at Café Devine, in Callicoon; 9 a.m. Barbara Zweig will exhibit six new artworks at Café Devine. The show, titled SPLURGE, includes four shaped paintings and two canvas with fabric wall pieces from an ongoing series that addresses the climate crisis and our dependence on fossil fuels. Every Friday - Monday, until March 16. For info, call 887-3076 or visit www.cafedevine.com. Art.Write.Now.Tour at Catskill Arts Society, in Livingston Manor; 11 a.m. Scholastic Art & 70 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015

Writing Awards curated by Kay WalkingStick. A nationwide traveling exhibition showcasing more than 130 original pieces of art and writing from the talented teen winners of the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The exhibit hosts student work from around the country, including works by local writer Sarah Mughal from Vestal Senior High School and artist Maxwell Vonderhorst, a graduate of Warwick Valley Middle School. Every Thurs. - Sun. until March 22. For info, call 4364227; visit www.catskill artsociety.org. Exhibit: Featured items from Imagine Alpacas in Jeffersonville, at Rolling River Cafe, Gallery and Inn, in Parksville; 5 to 10 p.m. Every Friday and Saturday, until April 26. For info, call 747-4123 or 413-627-6981 or visit www.rollingriver.net. Live Music in the Lava Lounge at Monticello Casino & Raceway, in Monticello, at 9 p.m. Free. For info, call 794-4100 or www.monticellocasinoand raceway.com.

February 28 Live Music at Café Devine, in Callicoon, 6 to 8 p.m. Singer-songwriters Elizabeth Rose and Brewster Smith have years of recording and performing experience in separate projects, and started playing together after

they bought homes next door to each other in Sullivan County. They play and sing harmonies together on their original tunes and covers, and will be at Café Devine on the 4th Saturday of the month. For info, call 887-3076 or visit www.cafedevine.com. Mardi Gras Time in Roscoe, at 6 p.m., Rockland House. There will be the crowning of a King and Queen of the Mardi Gras, Best costume winners for a male and a female! Raffles! 50/50 Drawing!! Dancing to the Live music by Jon Zanger!!! Reservations are recommended. Price includes: appetizers, entreé, dessert! Cost is $35 per person. For info or reservations, call 607-498-5222 ext. 306 or 607-4985464. Live Music at Callicoon Brewing Company, at 8 p.m. Music with Windy Mule (100% donations go to cancer research). For info, call 887-5500 or visit www.callicoonbrewing.com. Live Music at Catskill Distilling Company, in Bethel; 8:30 p.m. Albi returns to the Catskill Distilling Company with his band by Popular Demand after our Fabulous New Years Eve Party! The cats are in Love with this Band! Bring your Dance Shoes! And…make reservations! The Cat Stills Cafe will be open all day and all night for


DEMOCRAT FILE PHOTO

Crew members work on setting up a tent at the Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center site for Mysteryland weekend. The successful event will return beginning May 22 this year at the same venue in Bethel.

Great Food too! For info, call 583-3141 or visit www.dancingcatsaloon. com. Live Music in the Lava Lounge at Monticello Casino & Raceway, in Monticello, at 9 p.m. Free. For info, call 794-4100 or www.monticellocasinoand raceway.com.

March 1 “Splurge” at Café Devine, in Callicoon; 9 a.m. Barbara Zweig will exhibit six new artworks at Café Devine. The show, titled SPLURGE, includes four shaped paintings and two canvas with fabric wall pieces from an ongoing series that addresses the climate crisis and our dependence on fossil fuels. Every Friday - Monday, until March 16. For info, call 887-3076 or visit www.cafedevine.com. Art.Write.Now.Tour at Catskill Arts Society, in Livingston Manor; 11 a.m. Scholastic Art & Writing Awards curated by Kay WalkingStick. A nationwide traveling exhibition showcasing more than 130 original pieces of art and writing from the talented teen winners of the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The exhibit hosts student work from around the country, including works by local writer Sarah Mughal from Vestal Senior High School and artist Maxwell Vonderhorst, a graduate of Warwick Valley Middle School. Every Thursday - Sunday until March 22. For info, call 436-4227; visit www.catskill artsociety.org. Live Music with Dose, at noon, at Café

Devine, in Callicoon. “Dose” (Ramona Jan and Andre Turan) bring their special blend of original alternative acoustic music as well as eclectic cover songs and stories of their work with famous musicians to the lunchtime crowd at Café Devine. Solo accordion player and singer Doug Rogers will also be on the bill. Sets will be entirely ‘unplugged’ and will begin promptly at noon. Every Sunday until March 29. For info, call 887-3076 or visit www.cafedevine. com.

March 3 “Figuratively Speaking” at Alliance Gallery, in Narrowbsurg; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Figuratively Speaking” is a group exhibition of 13 artworks depicting the individual human form. The exhibit is comprised of traditional representations of the body, such as Johan Sellenraad’s oil painting of a reclining nude, as well as non-traditional works, such as Art Murphy’s photographic pairing of a 400-million-year-old fossil and a glove display hand. There are beautifully drawn portraits, as well as referential photographs, collages, and sculptures. Tues-Fri 9am-5pm & Sat 10am-4pm. Continues until March 14. For info, call 252-7576, or visit www.arts alliancesite.org.

Together for Healthier Communities and Improved Quality of Life”, could not be timelier for the region. In collaboration with Marist College-Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration, the Summit will bring together hospitals and healthcare providers with the region’s diverse businesses and nonprofit organizations to promote professional development, networking, and tools for collaboration and sharing of resources. With workshops in collaboration with the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON) for the third consecutive year, program sessions will address: the impact of the NYS Nonprofit ReVitalization Act; creating nonprofit alliances and partnerships; maximizing web-based media marketing; providing for planned giving; how to prospect research and fundraising; retirement plans for nonprofits. Registration is $45 and space is limited. For info, call 583-2000 or 800-745-3000. Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner from 5-7pm (or until gone). Corned Beef & Cabbage with potatoes, carrots, salad, dessert and a beverage. Cost: $11, Dine in or take-outs, kids age 5-12, $6, under 5 free. At Liberty Elks Lodge, 30 Oberfest Street, Liberty. Benefits Youth Activities. Phone: 292-3434

March 4

March 5

Non-Profit Leadership Summit at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, in Bethel, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s theme, “Working

Performance: “Shakespeare’s Will” at Sullivan County Community College, in

CONTINUED ON PAGE 72 CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015 • 71


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 71

Loch Sheldrake; 3 p.m. Written by awardwinning playwright, Vern Thiessen, this full length one-act solo performance sheds light on William Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway. The play looks through the eyes and heart of a woman and mother who spent a lifetime with and without the great poet. This work is a celebration of a life unbowed by tragedy and unapologetic in the face of public scorn. Performed by Tannis Kowalchuk, with sound and music by Kurt Knuth, costuming by Karen Flood, directed by Mimi McGurl. First showing at 3 pm & 2nd showing at 5pm. For info, call 557-0694 or visit www.nacl.org. Afterschool Riding Education Program at Bridle Hill Farm, Jeffersonville; 4 to 6 p.m. The weekly Thursday session after school program (SWCS bus drop off point) is in session through June 18th, 2015. The program lasts for two (2) hours after school once per week (except there is no program when school is not in session.) Every Thursday until June 18. The cost is $20 per child (pay as you go each week.) There is a discount available for prepaid $300 riding

package to $15 each week per student. The program includes a group ½ hour riding lesson, feeding, grooming basics, tacking, riding, blanketing and barn activity cleanup. For info, call 482-3993 or visit www.bridlehillfarm.com. Live Music at Catskill Distilling Company, in Bethel; 7:30 p.m. Our talented Southern friend Paul Cataldo returns to the Distillery on his way to a tour in Alaska! For info, call 583-3141 or visit www.dancingcatsaloon.com.

March 7 Cheese making workshop (ECE/Eat Kitchen), at Cornell Cooperative Extension, in Liberty, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For info or to register, call 292-6180. Snowmobile races at Holiday Mountain Ski and Fun Park, 4:15 p.m. Snowmobile races presented by the Snowmobile Hill Climb Racing Association. Registration 2-4pm, test runs 4:15pm and race at 5pm. No alcohol allowed past the front gate. For information, call 315-277-1566.

March 8 Callicoon Indoor Farmers’ Market, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Delaware Youth Center, in

Callicoon. Farmers, food producers and artisans bring you the best of local farm fresh goodness. Vegetables, fruit, meats, eggs, cheese, baked goods, prepared foods, wine and more! We have everything you need to wow everyone at your dinner table: Apple cider, hard cider, wine, farm fresh turkey, salad greens, salad dressing, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, cheese, milk, cookies, muffins, pies, coffee, tea, honey, artisan cutting boards and bowls, flower center pieces and so much more! For info, call 866-270-2015 or visit www. sullivancountyfarmersmarkets.org.

March 13 Pre-CD Release Party with Rolling Roots Band at Catskill Distilling Company, in Bethel; 8 p.m. Pre-CD Release Party w/ Rolling Roots Band ! This is going to be great – We love Debbie and the Rolling Roots Band and are excited to host the PreRelease CD Party at the Distillery! Call 5833141 to make reservations at the Cat Stills Cafe!

March 14 Exhibit: Piece Together Peace, at Catskill Art

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Society, at 11 a.m. The artwork of Cynthia Strunsky McLean in “Piece Together Peace,” is an exhibition in the new Elevator Gallery. Cultures and societies all over the world struggle for peace, but there is a glimmer of hope. Experience a hands-on, interactive exhibit where you remix artwork that must evolve and mutate to reflect our rapidly changing world. The universal surge invites all viewers to participate as curators of this painted puzzle of the human condition. The Elevator Gallery is an experimental exhibition space that will feature small works, installations, short art films, and other visual curiosities in six shows each year. At about 6’ by 13’, the space will eventually make way for an elevator to our second floor when renovations are finished. Thursday - Monday, until March 29. Call 436-4227 or visit www.catskillartsociety.org for hours and more information. Farm to freezer workshop (CCE/EaT Kitchen), at Cornell Cooperative Extension, in Liberty; 1 to 2:30 p.m. For information or to reserve a seat, call 292-6180. Live Music by Brewster, at Catskill Distillery/Dancing Cat Saloon, at 8 p.m. For info, call 583-3141 or visit www.dancingcatsaloon.com. SUNY Sullivan hosts the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series, Gioacchino Rossini’s “La Donna del Lago” will be shown at 12:55 p.m. Tickets to all Met HD LIVE events are $20 for adults and $10 for students with valid student id. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the SUNY Sullivan Box Office at 434-5750, extension 4472.

March 20 Exhibit: Sullivan ARC Expressions, at Loft Gallery, in Narrowsburg; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Exhibit: Sullivan ARC Expressions, paintings by adults with developmental disabilities. Tues-Fri 9am-5pm & Sat 10am-4pm. Opening reception March 20 @ 6-8pm. Tuesday - Saturday, until April 18. For info, call 292-7576 or visit artsalliancesite. org.

March 21 Sportsman & Outdoor Recreation Expo, at the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse, Sullivan County Community College, in Loch Sheldrake; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. See all the newest equipment and merchandise for: hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, archery, ATVs, golfing and more. There will be food, raffles, kids entertainment and demos all day! For info, call 747-4449 or visit www.scva.net. Exhibit: Jeffrey Parker Collage, at Delaware Arts Center, in Narrowsburg; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues-Fri 9am-5pm & Sat 10am-4pm. Tuesday - Sunday, until April 11. For info, call 252-7576 or visit www.artsalliancesite. org. Live music with Karen Hudson, at Cafe Devine, in Callicoon, from 6 to 8 p.m. A distinctive presence in the NY Americana scene, Karen Hudson wins audiences over

with her edgy wit, elegant stage presence & wry, insightful tunesmithing. Call 8873076 or visit www.cafedevine.com. Live Music at Catskill Distilling Company, in Bethel, at 8 p.m. It’s always a Great Time and Great Music when Somerville hits the stage! Wear green! For info, call 583-3141 or visit www.dancingcatsaloon.com. Early Spring Waterfowl Migration, 8 a.m. The Basha Kill is known for the wide variety of bird species present at migration and yearround. Meet walk leader John Haas, author of A Birding Guide to Sullivan County, at Haven Road, off Route 209 south of Wurtsboro. Bring binoculars and a scope if you have one. An array of early ducks, geese and mergansers; additional species. Boots suggested. The walk lasts about 2 hours. For more information, call John at 888-0240. Sponsored by the Basha Kill Area Association. A thrift shop will be offered at the Grahamsville United Methodist Church, on Route 55, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For information, call 985-2283.

March 22 Callicoon Indoor Farmers’ Market, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Delaware Youth Center, in Callicoon. Farmers, food producers and artisans bring you the best of local farm fresh goodness. Vegetables, fruit, meats, eggs, cheese, baked goods, prepared foods, wine and more! We have everything you need to wow everyone at your dinner table: Apple cider, hard cider, wine, farm fresh turkey, salad greens, salad dressing, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, cheese, milk, cookies, muffins, pies, coffee, tea, honey, artisan cutting boards and bowls, flower center pieces and so much more! For info, call 866-270-2015 or visit www. sullivancountyfarmersmarkets.org.

by adults with developmental disabilities. Tues-Fri 9am-5pm & Sat 10am-4pm. Opening reception March 20 @ 6-8pm. Tuesday - Saturday, until April 18. For info, call 292-7576 or visit artsalliancesite. org. Exhibit: Jeffrey Parker Collage, at Delaware Arts Center, in Narrowsburg; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues-Fri 9am-5pm & Sat 10am-4pm. Tues - Sun, until April 11. For info, call 2527576 or visit www.artsalliancesite. org.

April 2 CAS Sullivan County High School Art Show, at Catskill Art Society, in Livingston Manor; co-sponsored by Sullivan County BOCES. Opening reception from 1 to 4 p.m. Thurs. Mon., until April 19. For info, call 436-4227 or visit www.catskillartsociety. org. Afterschool Riding Education Program at Bridle Hill Farm, Jeffersonville; 4 to 6 p.m. The weekly Thursday session after school program (SWCS bus drop off point) is in session through June 18th, 2015. The program lasts for two (2) hours after school once per week (except there is no program when school is not in session.) Every Thursday until June 18. The cost is $20 per child (pay as you go each week.) There is a discount available for prepaid $300 riding package to $15 each week per student. The program includes a group ½ hour riding lesson, feeding, grooming basics, tacking, riding, blanketing and barn activity cleanup. For info, call 482-3993 or visit www.bridlehillfarm.com.

April 3 Exhibit: Featured items from Imagine Alpacas in Jeffersonville, at Rolling River Cafe, Gallery and Inn, in Parksville; 5 to 10 p.m. Every Friday and Saturday, until April 26. For info, call 747-4123 or 413-627-6981 or visit www.rollingriver.net.

March 28

April 11

CAS Sullivan County High School Art Show, at Catskill Art Society, in Livingston Manor; co-sponsored by Sullivan County BOCES. Opening reception from 1 to 4 p.m. Thurs Monday, until April 19. For info, call 4364227 or visit www.catskillartsociety.org. Live Music with Elizabeth Rose and Brewster Smith, at Café Devine, in Callicon, from 6 to 8 p.m. Singer-songwriters Elizabeth Rose and Brewster Smith have years of recording and performing experience in separate projects, and started playing together after they bought homes next door to each other in Sullivan County. For info, call 887-3076 or visit www.cafedevine.com.

The 19th Annual Women’s Conference will be held at the Sullivan County Community College, in Loch Sheldrake; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. “Keep Calm and Woman On” is the 19th Annual Women’s Conference with keynote speaker, Michele Balan. Michele was one of the finalists on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”. She has appeared on the Joy Behar Show, Byron Allen’s “Comics Unleashed” and the OUTlaugh festival on MTV. Call 434-5750 ext. 4472 or visit www.sunysullivan. edu for information. Driver Safety Class at Delaware Youth Center, in Callicoon, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. NTSI (National Traffic Safety Institute) 6-hour NYS Driver Safety Course. For info or to register, call 887-4120. Ceremonial Season Opener Cast, at Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum, in Livingston Manor, at 9 a.m. The Season Opener will take place at the DEC parking area just upstream from the Center. This year’s theme is “kid’s only”. A group of kids from the area, members of the Brotherhood of

March 29 Callicoon Kiwanis will host its annual Palm Sunday pancake breakfast, at the Delware Youth Center, from 7 a.m. to noon.

April 1 Opening day of Trout Season in Sullivan County on public rivers and streams. Exhibit: Sullivan ARC Expressions, at Loft Gallery, in Narrowsburg; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Exhibit: Sullivan ARC Expressions, paintings

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the Jungle Book and volunteers have been rounded up to launch another exciting season of the Center. All will meet at 9am on the river and cast at 9:30. After the cast, it is back to the Center for Catskill Fly Tyers Guild Rendezvous. For info, call 439-4810 or email flyfish@catskill.net. Star Walk, at 8 p.m., at the Basha Kill. Event very dependent on clear skies. Weather permitting, meet at Haven Road, off Route 209 south of Wurtsboro, NY. Call Bob to register and/or check trip’s status at 498-9001. Sponsored by the Basha Kill Area Association, thebashakill.org.

April 12 Callicoon Indoor Farmers’ Market, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Delaware Youth Center, in Callicoon. Farmers, food producers and artisans bring you the best of local farm fresh goodness. Vegetables, fruit, meats, eggs, cheese, baked goods, prepared foods, wine and more! We have everything you need to wow everyone at your dinner table: Apple cider, hard cider, wine, farm fresh turkey, salad greens, salad dressing, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, cheese, milk, cookies, muffins, pies, coffee, tea, honey, artisan cutting boards and bowls, flower center pieces and so much more! For info, call 866-270-2015 or visit www. sullivancountyfarmersmarkets.org. “Babies in the Barn” at Apple Pond Farm, in Callicoon Center, from noon to 3 p.m. Come see all the beautiful new babies born on the farm! For info, call 482-4764 or visit www. applepondfarm.com.

April 14 Taking your product to market, a workshop by CCE/EaT Kitchen, at Cornell Cooperative Extension, from 6 to 7 p.m. For information or to register, call 292-6180.

April 17 Alan Wood Paintings, at Delaware Arts Center, in Narrowsburg; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues.-Fri. 9am-5pm & Sat 10am-4pm. Tues. Sat., until May 9. For info, call 252-7576 or visit www. artsalliancesite.org.

April 18 The 34th Annual Basha Kill Clean-up will be held, beginning with a 9:30 a.m. registration time, and site assignments at Haven Road, off Route 209 south of Wurtsboro. Enjoy a walk and fresh spring air while ridding the beautiful Basha Kill wetland of debris. Garbage bags are provided. Wear boots, work gloves, and insect repellent. Bring chairs as a picnic lunch at noon is supplied by the Basha Kill Area Association. BKAA merchandise will be on sale and door prizes awarded. Call Paula Medley at 754-0743 for further information. Sponsored by the Basha Kill Area Association, thebashakill.org. A thrift shop will be offered at the Grahamsville United Methodist Church, on Route 55, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For infor74 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015

mation, call 985-2283.

April 25 Empire State Performance Rally at the Rock Hill Fire Department’s Frog’s Pad, in Rock Hill. A tarmac rally event with over 100 miles of competitive stages. Also on April 26. For info, call 866-7995 or visit www.esprally.com. Students and Teachers: The Artists of New Hope Community, at Catskill Art Society, in Livingston Manor. Opening Reception April 25 @ 6-8pm. Thursday - Monday, until May 3. For info, call 436-4227 or visit www.catskill artsociety.org. The Nesin Cultural Arts spring student performance will take place at 3 p.m., at the Eugene D. Nesin Theatre for the Performing Arts, on St. John Street, in Monticello. For info, visit www.nesinculturalarts.org. SUNY Sullivan hosts the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series, Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” will be shown at 12:30 p.m. Tickets to all Met HD LIVE events are $20 for adults and $10 for students with valid student id. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the SUNY Sullivan Box Office at 434-5750, extension 4472.

April 26 Callicoon Indoor Farmers’ Market, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Delaware Youth Center, in Callicoon. Farmers, food producers and artisans bring you the best of local farm fresh goodness. Vegetables, fruit, meats, eggs, cheese, baked goods, prepared foods, wine and more! We have everything you need to wow everyone at your dinner table: Apple cider, hard cider, wine, farm fresh turkey, salad greens, salad dressing, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, cheese, milk, cookies, muffins, pies, coffee, tea, honey, artisan cutting boards and bowls, flower center pieces and so much more! For info, call 866-270-2015 or visit www. sullivancountyfarmersmarkets.org.

alive with returning birds in their brightest plumage at this time of year. Meet at Haven Road, off Route 209 south of Wurtsboro. Bring binoculars. Array of spring migrants including warblers, orioles, and grosbeaks. The walk will last at least two hours. For information, call John at 8880240. Sponsored by the Basha Kill Area Association, thebashakill.org

May 3 Callicoon Indoor Farmers’ Market, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Audley Dorrer Drive, in Callicoon. Over 25 farmers, food producers and artisans bring you the best of local farm fresh goodness. Vegetables, fruit, meats, eggs, cheese, baked goods, prepared foods, wine and more! Every Sunday. For info, call 866270-2015 or visit www. sullivancountyfarmersmarkets.org.

May 7 Afterschool Riding Education Program at Bridle Hill Farm, Jeffersonville; 4 to 6 p.m. The weekly Thursday session after school program (SWCS bus drop off point) is in session through June 18th, 2015. The program lasts for two (2) hours after school once per week (except there is no program when school is not in session.) Every Thursday until June 18. The cost is $20 per child (pay as you go each week.) There is a discount available for prepaid $300 riding package to $15 each week per student. The program includes a group ½ hour riding lesson, feeding, grooming basics, tacking, riding, blanketing and barn activity cleanup. For info, call 482-3993 or visit www.bridlehillfarm.com.

May 9 CAS Silent Auction Benefit at Catskill Art Society, in Livingston Manor. Opening Reception May 9 @ 4-6pm. Closing Reception May 24 @ 4-6pm. For info, call 436-4227 or visit www. catskillartsociety.org.

May 1

May 10

Alan Wood Paintings, at Delaware Arts Center, in Narrowsburg; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues.-Fri. 9am-5pm & Sat. 10am-4pm. Tues. - Sat., until May 9. For info, call 252-7576 or visit www. artsalliancesite.org. Students and Teachers: The Artists of New Hope Community, at Catskill Art Society, in Livingston Manor. Opening Reception April 25 @ 6-8pm. Thursday - Monday, until May 3. For info, call 436-4227 or visit www.catskill artsociety.org.

Annual Tulip Festival and Mother’s Day Celebration at Honors Haven Resort & Spa, in Ellenville, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Treat Mom to the 5th Annual Tulip Festival & Mother’s Day Celebration. The day’s festivities will include a spectacular collection of vendors, an afternoon of smooth jazz with Jim Martocci & the Jimmie Jazz Band and an extraordinary Mother’s Day lunch buffet, all to be enjoyed while listening to the musical stylings of Tim Gysin on the piano. Also back by popular demand will be illusionist, David Garrity. For info, call 210-1600 or 877-969-4283 or visit www.honorshaven.com

May 2 Kite Festival at Sullivan County Community College, in Loch Sheldrake, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kite flying demos, music, art show, rides, children’s activities and more. Free kites to the 1st 200 children. For info, call 434-5750, ext. 4472 or visit www. sunysullivan.edu. Spring Migration Warbler Walk with John Haas, author of A Birding Guide to Sullivan County, at 8 a.m. The beautiful Basha Kill is

May 16 Exhibit: Laura Borneman Photography, at Delaware Arts Center, in Narrowsburg; Tues-Fri 9am-5pm & Sat 10am-4pm. Tues. Sat., until June 6. For info, call 252-7576 or visit www. artsalliancesite.org. Riverfest 25th anniversary poster retrospec-


The Catskill Art Society will host a free opening reception for the CAS Sullivan County High School Art Show, co-sponsored by Sullivan County BOCES, on Saturday, March 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pictured above, Sullivan West ninth grader Nomi Crandall-Allen is joined by proud mom Christina Crandall at the opening reception given last April for the 2014 exhibit. The show features pieces from students in school districts throughout Sullivan County. For more information about the 2015 exhibit, visit www.catskillartsociety.org/exhibits.

tive, at the Loft Gallery of Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday Saturday, until June 6. For info, call 2527576 or visit www.artsalliancesite.org. Barryville Farmer’s Market, behind River Market, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market offers local products including: fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, baked goods, milk, cheese, jams, meat, poultry, eggs, wine and more. Saturdays, rain or shine. Every Saturday until October 31. A thrift shop will be offered at the Grahamsville United Methodist Church, on Route 55, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For information, call 985-2283.

May 17 Garden Day, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Main Street, Livingston Manor, and at the Catskill Art Society, in Livingston Manor. Vendors of flowers and garden-related merchandise, lectures given by master gardeners, musical entertainment, food vendors. For info, call 439-3567 or visit www.livingston manor.org. Aspiring Young Musicians Honors Recital, sponsored by the Nesin Cultural Arts Program, at the Eugene D. Nesin Theatre

for the Performing Arts, in Monticello, at 3 p.m. Call 794-6013 or visit www.nesinculturalarts.org. Hike to Gobbler’s Knob with Mike Medley, at 10 a.m. Enjoy views of a beautiful 650 acre Shawangunk Ridge property, which is also site of the proposed Basherkill Subdivision. The hike gains 450 vertical feet from the parking area to the Knob, which is almost 1,000 feet high. Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes; bring water. Trip takes two hours. Meet at the South Road (Indian Orchard Road) fishing platform, just off Rt. 163/61 east of Route 209 in Westbrookville. To register or for more information, contact Mike at 754-0743. Sponsored by the Basha Kill Area Association, thebashakill.org

May 22 Mysteryland Festival, at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, continues all weekend. The festival offers its guests a creative journey, combining music with theatre, movies, interactive installation art, street performers and spectacular shows at bizarre decorated stages. For information, visit www. mysteryland.us.

May 30 Material Being Exhibit at Catskill Art Society, in Livingston Manor, 11 a.m., featuring the artwork of Ed Smith & Joni Wehrli. Artist Talk May 30 @ 3pm. Opening Reception May 30 @ 4-6pm. Continues Thursday Monday, until June 28. For info, call 4364227 or visit www.catskillartsociety.org.

May 31 Antique Classic Car Show, at the Rock Hill Fire Department’s Frog’s Pad, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Car show, DJ, kids crafts, flea market, food. For info, call 932-8923. Birding for Beginners, at 8 a.m. Experience the variety of birdlife that inhabits the Basha Kill with naturalist Scott Graber. This walk will focus on the basic identification of birds by sight and sound. If you’re new to birding or have always wondered what birds exist beyond your backyard, this is the field trip for you! Binoculars are required and wear sturdy walking shoes. Meet at Haven Road, off Route 209 south of Wurtsboro. Call Scott to register and/or for information at 914799-1313. Sponsored by the Basha Kill Area Association, thebashakill.org CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015 • 75


Live the Wild Life

My own incredible ‘bear’ tale

BY GUS CONGEMI s the bear made his way towards me there was no doubt that this was a shooter bear. The only question was the path he would take. We had been hunting for four days, not seeing many bear at all so this might be my only chance. My heart was pumping wildly as that question was answered; this was actually going to happen. The big bruin crossed the creek and headed for the bank I was on. My position was elevated on the bank as the bear crossed under me, a mere 5 yards away. The only thought that went through my mind as I drew the bow was bend at the waist and don’t blow this shot. This was my second trip to Alaska for Brown Bear, which I consider to be the ultimate North American Trophy. My first trip was successful and I went home with an 8 1/2’ bear taken at 12 yards with a bow. This was a great week in Alaska, and while my bear was a gorgeous one, he couldn’t compare to some of the behemoths we saw in that area. I couldn’t get those big bears out of my head, so I vowed to return one day and try to kill one of those giant Peninsula bruins. As we made the 3,000 mile trek to Anchorage, and then to the Peninsula, on every size and type plane imaginable, our anticipation grew. With that anticipation came a certain amount of trepidation. Anything can and does happen in Alaska, and the weather is always a factor. You can be stranded at a spike camp for days, and because all travel is by bush or floatplane, that adds another level of, shall we say, adventure. Not only that, but I would be hunting an animal that can charge in a heartbeat and deliver a fatal injury in seconds. But for me, it’s all part of the dream of brown bear hunting. This hunt was totally different than my first trip. There weren’t many salmon in the creek, so we were seeing fewer bears. We walked and glassed for three days from a high vantage point, seeing only a handful of bears that were too far away to make a move on. On the fourth morning, the decision was made to hike down to the creek and hunt the banks. After about two hours we spotted a good nine foot bear. As he walked along the creek, we

A

76 • CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015

watched him cross over and disappear into the alders a good distance away from our position. I turned to my guide, Dwayne, and said, “Let’s follow him”. Dwayne didn’t think we could get on him, but we hadn’t seen much, so I thought it was worth a try. We would occasionally get glimpses of the bear appearing in and out of the brush as we followed him for at least a mile. Then we saw him bed down. That was our chance. We had to cover 500 yards to get to him, and we made the first 400 yards without being detected. Quietly covering the remaining 100 yards of muskeg would be a challenge. We decided to have our cameraman, who also happens to be my son Chris, set up there and get the stalk on tape from a distance. Every step was carefully calculated as the mud noisily sucked at the bottoms of our boots. The bear seemed restless, lifting his head numerous times to scan the area. We had closed the distance to 50 yards, nearly alerting the bear a few times with the sloshing of our boots. Then the bear rose. Sensing something wasn’t right, the bear closed the distance between us and stopped at about 30 yards. He bluff charged, and then rose up on his hind legs and loudly woofed at us, blowing snot out of his nose. I looked for an opening to shoot through but couldn’t find one. We’ve all shot at a standing bear on a 3-D course, but to me that is a lone lung shot, and it wasn’t one I was willing to take while standing in front of a live brown bear. The bear dropped down, worked downwind into the thick brush, caught our wind, and was gone. It was a very intense moment, and one I will never forget. Energized from this encounter, Dwayne, Chris and I cut our way down to the creek to set up. During our stalk, we’d heard a bear chasing fish in the creek. The brush was thick, and walking was difficult, but we made it down and set up on a high bank about six feet above the creek with the wind in our face. Just after getting set up at our position, we saw a bear about 100 yards away, and he was walking down the sandbar. Judging the size of this bear was not a problem – he was absolutely huge!


This incredible action took place on a Alaska Brown Bear hunt on Alaska’s Peninsula. The author stalked this huge bruin to within 30 yards but passed up on the shot. He later shot a recordbook bruin from five yards.

As he got closer, everything was working out perfectly; the shot would be 25 yards on the edge of the sandbar. I thought to myself, This is really going to happen! Then, the bear changed course and entered the creek. I froze as he headed right for the bank I was standing on. No one dared to move as the monster bruin walked along the bank just three yards from us. I swear we could hear each other’s heartbeats. After he passed by, I carefully stood to take my shot at the monster that was now only five yards away. All I could think was, “This is just like shooting a whitetail under my stand. Bend at the waist…” I wasted no time releasing the arrow, which passed through both lungs. As the bear ran off, I we knew he was hit hard. I knew the shot was lethal, but not seeing him go down always created doubt. The bear had bailed into some thick cover. So to say that tracking him was interesting is an incredible understatement. There was strong bloodtrail, but the bush was so thick that there would be no way to see a charging bear before it was too late. Despite the anxiety, we pressed on and finally

located my bear about 80 yards from where I had shot him. There was no ground shrinkage. I was in awe of that animal, and even though I haven’t spent much time around brown bears, I knew this was a really big bear. I just didn’t know how big. My bear currently ranks as the world record bow-killed brown bear in the Safari Club International (SCI) record book (SCI scores with lower jaw attached), with a score of 29 6/16. It comes in at number two alltime in Pope and Young with a score of 29 0/16 (lower jaw removed). My friends Tim Peloso and Mike Gilbert were also on this trip and hunted from another spike camp. Our outfitter, who flew in to check supplies on the third day, told me of the monster bear Tim had shot his first day. And Mike, who had run the camera on my first hunt, caught Tim’s hunt on camera. Tim’s bear scored 27 14/16. Neither Tim nor I could have imagined this outcome when we booked this hunt. Ugashik Lake Outfitters, Gus and Koreen Lamoureux, their guides and their expertise of their area were invaluable to the success of these hunts. And of course, having the opportunity to share such an exhilarating once-in-a-lifetime experience with my son was truly priceless. CATSKILL-DELAWARE, SPRING 2015 • 77


Gus Congemi with his recordbook Brown bear he took with a bow. The bruin scored 29 6/16 to rank No. 1 with Safari Club International and scored 29 0/16 to rank No. 2 all-time Alaska Brown Bear with Pope and Young.

About the Author: Gus Congemi, a resident of Bloomingburg, is host of Live the Wild Life on the Pursuit Channel. Equipment used: 125 Grain Slick Trick broadheads, Outdoor Edge knives, Nikon optics, Dead Down Wind scent elimination products To book a hunt with Gus Lamoureux, contact him at 907-248-3230, info@alaska fishandhunt.com, www. alaskafishandhunt.com

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Catskill-Delaware Magazine Spring 2015  

From bear to trout to the people who love them, our latest Catskill-Delaware magazine brings the outdoors indoors!

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