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Letter from the editor


Photo by Susan Ferguson

Steven Schwartz lives on the Delaware River in Equinunk, PA, and owns Delaware Valley Ramps, providing wild forest foraged foods to restaurants and wholesalers.

Cover photo: Š Roy Morsch

spend more time on the water observing than I do fishing. As primarily a dry fly fisherman, my pulse quickens only when I see rising fish and hatching insects. While waiting for their cooperation, I often explore other life in the aquatic environment. Lamprey eels are fascinating critters. They suck on rocks (sometimes too big to move) and when dislodged, float downstream a little ways to deposit them on their nests. The nest hillocks and hollows provide structure in the river, helping to aerate the water, so the lampreys are “Friends of Fishes�—the theme of FISH 2014, the third annual issue. Mussels provide little live entertainment, but in their own friendly ways they accomplish the Sisyphean job of cleaning the entire river system. In this issue, “Hidden Treasures of the Delaware� (aka The Mussel Story) is about the mostly unnoticed freshwater mussels that provide great service filtering the water of the river system for other aquatic critters and the people downstream who drink the water. The mussels, in turn, are dependent upon the American eel and other fish such as trout to host their larvae during a critical stage of their reproductive cycle. Ironically, the eel wouldn’t be here if the downstream citizens had blocked their upstream migration by damming the Delaware to power their cities, while the trout benefit from cold water releases provided by the New York City water system reservoirs. Once you’ve landed your prize fish, treat it with respect in “How to Successfully Land and Release a Fish.� How we can help the mussels keep the water clean is the point of “Muddy Waters, Fish Sing the Blues.� The Delaware is an ecosystem capable of supporting wild trout as we learn in “Wild vs. Stocked Trout.� There’s also a fi rst-person account of “Learning to Tie Trout Flies.� where the author learns more about fish as she learns more about flies, and finally we reprise “Why We Fish,� the inaugural Complete Tangler column by Andy Boyar, The River Reporter’s new fishing columnist. This year we feature a centerfold map of the entire Delaware River Main Stem and branches targeted by trout fisherman from the Cannonsville and Pepacton Dams down to Mill Rift. Useful information includes access points, parking areas and local merchants serving you as you enjoy the river. The beautiful cover photo by Roy Morsch illustrates the timeless quality of fishing (even while spin fishing). Get wet with FISH and see the world as fish do. Steven Schwartz Contributing Editor [Join us at the 2014 Upper Delaware BioBlitz, a celebration of the biodiversity of the Upper Delaware, June 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Town of Tusten, NY. For more information please visit]

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Wild vs. Stocked Trout There’s a difference



he Upper Delaware River has become synonymous with the phrase “wild trout,” a term that may seem unimportant to the general public, but is of vital consequence to trout fishermen. Not only is a river filled with only wild trout in the northeastern United States a rarity; it is a major draw as well. But what is it that makes such a fishery superior to another? What is the allure of these wild fish? The first thing to understand is what makes a wild trout wild. Simply put, it is a fish that started life as an egg in a stream, hatched and grew without any outside interference from man. There is an alternative to this path—that of the stocked


fish. Stocked trout are those raised in fish hatcheries then released or “stocked” into rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. The majority of streams and rivers in the Northeast warm dramatically in the summer and can only offer a viable habitat for trout for a short period of time, and therefore cannot sustain a wild population. Thanks to robust stocking programs instituted by state fisheries over a century ago, these typically barren bodies of water can (albeit briefly) yield fishing opportunities not normally present. Contrary to this, wild fish populations are found in those rare rivers that remain cold throughout the year. Because of this, they live their entire lives in the same waters with the same chemistry

Photo courtesy PA Fish & Boat Commission

This big white tanker is one of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission’s “Great White Fleet”of dozens of fish stocking tanker trucks. This year the commission will stock nearly four million hatchery fish around the Commonwealth. 4 FISH • 2014

Photo by Jeff White

Theo May holds a nice Delaware wild brown trout. Notice the large healthy fins on the wild fish. and topography. They come to know the currents, rocks, pools and riffles in which they were born, allowing them to fully adapt and become one with their environment. Wild fish also have a stronger, more diverse genetic stock that allows them to adapt to local changes in the environment, whereas the stocked fish tend to have a very homogenous genetic makeup, which does not allow for the kind of adaptability required to thrive. Wild trout are typically healthier as well, and are much more beautiful in appearance when compared with stocked fish. Wild fish will have much more vibrant colorations, as well as larger, fully-formed fins and tails. Stocked fish will take on more color the longer they remain in the wild, but typically they will never reach the bright pigment levels seen in native fish, which have been adapting since birth to the specific hues present in their environment. Visual differentiation between the two is quite simple at times, with stocked fish being very pale, and exhibiting fins with injuries or deformities brought on as a result of constantly colliding with the walls and floors of their cement home. Why cement? Because stocked fish are born and raised in cement troughs on

a diet of Purina Trout Chow (yes, it is a thing) among dozens if not hundreds of their brood-mates. The proximity to their brethren works contrary to nature where adult wild trout are solitary, claiming and defending the best feeding lanes in a given stretch of water. Instead, once these fish are released they tend to group up as they had been at the hatchery, creating pockets and pools filled with very confused fish. These muddled fish are also unaccustomed to the varied and different type of water they find themselves in, having been in a static environment for years. They also lack the muscle tone and innate knowledge of currents that wild fish do. This leads to one of the biggest differences between the two—the fight. Anglers are always looking to challenge themselves and land the strongest, hardest fighting opponent that they can. A wild trout fits this bill perfectly, while the stocked fish many times just gives up and rolls over, coming right to hand. While this may be less work-intensive, it is definitely not desirable to most fishermen. Stocked fish are also not selective in their feeding habits, meaning that any Continued on page 6

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Wild vs. Stocked Fish Continued from page 4

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fly or other imitation will likely fool them. This is again a result of their diet and previous life in the tank. They are unaware of what item floating on the surface may or may not be food, and therefore have to attack every piece of detritus that floats over their heads, including sticks, seeds, etc. This is also the reason that a cigarette-butt fly was developed (only half in jest) as these fish are known to take them. Wild fish tend to become highly selective in their feeding habits, and this makes them exponentially more difficult to fool with an imitation. While this may sound counterintuitive (i.e. why would one want the fish to be more difficult to catch?), the truth is that fly fishermen in particular take a queer joy in targeting extremely wary and difficult fish, takingpleasure in fooling such difficult quarry. Despite their hard fighting nature, beautiful coloration and challenging nature, there is something that draws fishermen to these wild fish that runs even deeper. It is an existential desire, a primal feeling that comes from challeng-

ing oneself against a native adversary that has the true home-field advantage and that can trace their genetic line in that body of water for generations. This is a desire that one can fortunately fulfill nearby, in the beautiful, cold waters of the Delaware River. [Bart Larmouth is a Delaware River fishing guide.]


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How to Land & Release Fish

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ou’ve hooked a nice fish. Line is peeling off your reel, adrenaline is flowing, and you start to fear you’ll lose the fish, a big one no less. If you want to increase your odds of landing a good fish, stop thinking you might lose it. It’s only a fish. Relax. The hard part is done, fooling the fish. Sure, we all want to get the fish to hand, maybe get a quick photo and then release our quarry to live another day. To do that, more often than not, requires the right mindset. Forget about “playing” the fish. We played with the fish when we were presenting our fly, now you want to land it. The fish gave us our fun. Now, at the very least, we owe our quarry the respect of safe handling so he can be set free with minimal harm, if any. Though we might have felt some stress in the frustration of getting a fish to take our fly and the nervousness that could come with landing a nice fish, we need to reduce the stress on the fish. Of paramount importance is keeping hands free of the gills and keeping the fish in the water. You should use the right rod, one not

too light for the strength or size of what you’re fishing for. Also use the heaviest tippet you can get away with. With these in place you need to use them to their potential. Use the midsection of the rod. The midsection will let you put more pressure on the fish. I often see anglers using just the tip of the rod. That softer, flexible section gives fish the advantage. There’s simply not enough resistance to quickly land a good fish. A safe-enough-to-do-at-home experiment is to string up your rod, tie a 5x or 6x tippet to a six or eight ounce weight, and then with your rod, lift the weight. The result will surprise you. Use heavier weights and see what happens. It’s hard to break off a fly caught in something by just using your rod. It’s easier to break the line by pulling on it or giving a sudden jerk to the line. It’s the same with a fish on the line. Keep the pressure steady by slowly lifting the rod and reeling down toward the fish, always ready to let go of the reel handle when there’s a sudden surge. Don’t use the reel to winch the fish in. Using a rubber or rubber-coated landing net is easier on the fish’s scales and

Photos by Joe Demalderis

Bob Toffler holds a nice brown and shows the proper method to support it and pose for a photo. Notice the water dripping from the fish indicating the shot was set up and then the fish was hoisted for a quick in and out of the water. skin coating. Avoid knotted nets. The knots in those inexpensive or old-style nets are damaging to the fish’s eyes. A good net is good for the fish. It allows you to land the fish without having to tire it out too much, resulting in better recovery on release. Rubber nets can be used as an aquarium of sorts, holding the fish in the current until it’s recovered and swims from the net on its own. Being in control of a hooked fish increases the odds for additional hookups by not having the fish zipping all over and spooking other fish. If there are other anglers nearby, it’s just common courtesy not to spook the whole pool. Sometimes, an angler who’s hooked a decent fish will walk downriver trying to “keep up” with the fish. If others are fishing downstream it’s just plain rude, since it will disturb the water they’re fishing, unless it’s truly a

Dr. Mili Irizarry holds a dripping wet rainbow. 8 FISH • 2014

A modern rubber-coated landing net like this is much less likely to harm the fish. It is best to avoid the old-fashioned knotted kind of net.

Continued on page 10



How to Land & Release Fish Continued from page 8


gigantic fish, one the size seldom seen in the water you’re fishing. Walking a fish also takes the pressure off. With no pressure, the fish is resting and you lessen your chances of landing it. Lose the fear of losing fish, and you’ll find you’ll do less fish walking. So we got some of the quirks out of the way, the fish is reasonably beat, but not beat to death, and now it’s in the net. Keep the fish in the net and in the water while you remove the fly. Barbless hooks make that easier and put less stress on an already stressed fish. Keep the fish in the water until it’s recovered enough to swim away on its own. If it needs a little “push” it’s not ready yet. If you want a picture and you’re alone, take the picture with the fish in the water. Bank shots in the grass are the kiss of death. If you’re with someone else, keep the fish in the water and net while your buddy gets ready, focused and framed. Then on the count of two, quickly lift the fish, supporting it by the tail and under the pectoral fins, take the shot and put the fish back in the water. This process should take no more than two or three seconds. The shot you get is the shot you get. With some luck, the picture came out fine. With time and experience, the pictures come out fine more and more often. [Capt. Joe Demalderis is a partner in Cross Current Guide Service & Outfitters with offices in Milford, PA & Hancock, NY. In 2010, he was the 2010 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide of the Year.]

Photo by Jeff White

Catch-and-release fishing improves native fish populations by allowing more fish to remain and reproduce in the ecosystem, thus supporting future recreational fishing for generations to come.

Photo by Joe Demalderis

A fisherman enjoys a misty day on the Delaware River. 10 FISH • 2014


Muddy Waters

PWXFS PWXFS g n i s h Fis the blues



atural habitats like our forests and native meadows hold valuable soil in place. But when these habitats are disturbed and removed, leaving bare soils, as they are during construction activities, that soil poses a major threat to our local streams and the aquatic life that lives there. Erosion and sediment transport in streams is a natural process, but with so much disturbance (via habitat fragmentation, conversion of natural habitat to housing developments, shopping malls and other human activity), sedimentation in our streams and rivers has become the number one pollutant by volume, nationwide. What does sediment do to our water bodies? As excess sediment runs off the land and into a stream, it brings with it pesticides, nutrients and whatever else was hitching a ride with the soil particles. Increased sediment in streams creates turbid or cloudy water (turbidity), which means that sunlight cannot penetrate the river and photosynthesis may be limited, thus reducing the growth of food available for aquatic organisms. Sediment also acts as a heat trap, absorbing sunlight and often increasing stream temperatures. As a result, dissolved oxygen needed for a healthy, diverse aquatic life is diminished, because warmer waters hold less oxygen. Suspended materials in the water can physically clog fish gills, reducing their resistance to disease, lowering their growth rates and negatively affecting development of eggs and larvae. As sediment drops out of the water column, it smothers important riffle habitat, filling spaces between the rocks on the stream bottom and covering habitat, while also smothering the macro-invertebrates and fish eggs that live there that cannot move out of harm’s way.

Streams are dynamic systems, and flooding and bank erosion are natural processes; without these natural events, streams would not meander and change course (this is why it’s never a good idea to build or alter floodplains and instead keep healthy riparian natural buffers and undeveloped flood plains to protect water quality and keep people out of harm’s way). But stream banks themselves are more vulnerable to erosion as we alter and pave over watersheds, causing more stormwater runoff that enters and overwhelms streams with very high flows. As hard surfaces are constructed and take the place of our natural infiltrating wetlands, forests and other habitats, stormwater runoff increases even during small rain events, scouring stream banks and increasing erosion and sedimentation, often undermining the trees, and unfortunately disconnecting many streams from their floodplain as the stream becomes entrenched. Scientists have shown that streams’ aquatic life diversity begins to suffer and decline when a watershed becomes more developed and exceeds an impervious surface area of 10%. As a stream loses its floodplain, whether due to entrenchment, harmful development or fill, this in turn makes flows even greater, exacerbating erosion and flooding downstream. The Clean Water Act requires that states keep sediment pollution out of streams. For example, in Pennsylvania, sediment is largely regulated through its Chapter 102 Erosion and Sediment Control regulations. In a nutshell, these laws require that when earth disturbance occurs on land, the construction contractor must develop and use best management practices (BMPs) to minimize the potential for accelerated stream erosion and sedimentation and to manage post-construction stormwater runoff so that the sediment stays on the construc-

Continued on page 14

12 FISH • 2014

Photo courtesy Wayne County (PA) Conservation District

Visible in the foreground is a slug of sediment-laden water as it enters a clear body of water.

Photo courtesy Delaware Riverkeeper Network

Several best management practices (BMPs) for controlling erosion can be seen here, including a black fabric filtration fence and compost sock (lower left), a hay bale barrier and straw mulch spread on part of the disturbed slope. Photo courtesy Wayne County (PA) Conservation District

A filter sock is a mesh tube filled with composted material. When placed perpendicular to sheet-flow runoff, it filters out sediments and other pollutants, while allowing cleaned water to flow through. Installation does not require disturbing the soil. This is one of a menu of BMPs available whenever land is disturbed at a construction site.

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Muddy Waters Continued from page 12


14 FISH • 2014

water bodies, snap a few photos with your phone and contact DRN’s pollution hotline number (800/8-DELAWARE) or your local county conservation district. Or consider coming to one of DRN’s trainings to learn more about how you can help protect streams in your community. [Faith Zerbe is a biologist with Delaware Riverkeeper Network and directs the organization’s Water Quality Monitoring Program. In her free time she enjoys time in the Upper Delaware – kayaking, camping, snorkeling, and hiking.]

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Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, documents construction activities at a stream crossing of a pipeline in High Point State Park. The wooden mats, wrapped in black fabric, are a BMP to reduce sediment from entering the stream.

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Linear pipelines have potential to cause much damage as they cut across multiple sensitive habitats, streams and wetlands. Limiting disturbance and narrowing row widths would be good ways to improve such projects.

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tion site and does not end up traveling, during rain events, into local streams and water bodies or offsite onto neighboring properties. BMPs include things like installing black fabric silt fences and compost filter socks that one often sees along perimeters of earth disturbance, hay bales to help reinforce these fabrics especially on steeper slopes, and straw mulch that is required to cover raw earth during construction activities. These practices are designed to minimize the amount of disturbed soil at one time, minimize soil compaction, remove sediment from onsite runoff before rainwater leaves the site and generally slow down runoff. There are also additional BMP protections for high-quality and exceptional-value streams in PA, including preservation of 150-foot natural forest buffers along these streams. The crux of the matter here though can be enforcement and compliance; these BMPs must be maintained and inspected over time to ensure they are not being compromised and are functioning properly. This is where citizen monitors have played an essential role in reporting potential pollution problems to county conservation districts, especially recently on large gas transmission pipeline projects in the Delaware River Basin (DRB). Citizen watchdogs can make a difference As you travel around the watershed, citizens can help greatly in determining if erosion and sediment control practices at construction sites are up to par. For example Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s (DNR) Muddy Waters Watch and the recent Pipeline Watch have trained Delaware River residents for over two decades to watchdog construction activities and report pollution, including bad, failing or missing best management practices. DRN’s recent Pipeline Watch was specifically launched to monitor over 13 large natural gas pipeline projects being considered or in some phase of development in the Delaware River Basin, and because these pipelines are linear in nature and impact large swaths of land and many streams and wetlands, keeping sediment out of the water bodies in the path of the pipeline is paramount. In Pike and Wayne Counties, over 20 local community members and landowners helped watchdog the recent Tennessee Gas Pipeline that cut through forests, wetlands and streams over the past few years. They, as well as the county conservation districts, documented over 60 instances where problems were occurring and compliance was needed. With citizens now having the ability to easily take photos in the field with GPSenabled phones, this type of visual watch-dogging has become even more effective in the last five years. If you see construction activity that you think may not be following BMPs, or if during a rain event you see sediment laden water entering


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Fish identification chart courtesy of PA Fish & Boat Commission


18 FISH â&#x20AC;˘ 2014

Fish all day… Then… Enjoy yourself With... Good food Good Beer Good Wine Good Music

170 E. Front Street, Hancock, N.Y. 607--821--1606

Float Trips and Wade Trips • Private Access to the East Branch of the Delaware Riverside Lodging •Bed & Breakfast www.eastbranchoutȴ 1471 Peas Eddy Rd. Hancock, NY 13783

River Phone (607)637-5451 • River Cell (267)221-4383

Caught a Tagged Fish? Report tag number, date and location to info@eastbranchoutȴ

SEAMAN’S MARINE, INC. Boat and Dock Sales/Service/Supplies

570-253-3140 2017 Roosevelt Hwy., Rt. 6 West, Honesdale, PA Since 1986 STARCRAFT • SMOKERCRAFT • ALUMACRAFT • MERCURY • LARSON • EZDOCK • SHOREMASTER A RIVER REPORTER MAGAZINE • 19

EventsPWXFS PWXFS Get Out and FISH

April 1—Opening Day in New York State April 5 “First Cast” on the Willowemoc Notable fly fishers kick off the season with “First Cast” on the Willowemoc at approximately 9:30 a.m. at the DEC pull-off just before the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum, 1031 Old Route 17, Livingston Manor, NY.

April 12—Opening Day in Pennsylvania April 12 through July 6 Zane Grey Catch-and-Release Fishing Derby Zane Grey may be known for writing one of his most popular novels in Lackawaxen, PA, but the truth may be that he spent much time there because of the fabulous fishing. Starting on April 12 and ending on July 6, the first-ever Zane Grey Catch-and-Release Fishing Derby will take place. The contest celebrates the 200th anniversary of Pike County in 2014 and honors Zane Grey as the “father of the western novel,” a world-record-holding angler and an early proponent of catch-and-release fishing policies. Game fish targeted are rainbow, brook and brown trout, as well as smallmouth bass caught on the Zane Grey waters of the Delaware River, the Lackawaxen River, their tributaries and all the flowing waters of Pike County, caught and released live back into those waters. Photographs of fish will be judged based on length, as measured on an official Zane Grey Catchand-Release Fishing Derby ruler to be provided free of charge. Take a picture of the fish on the ruler during the contest period and submit the image electronically with the required identifying information. On Saturday, July 12, winners in various categories will be announced at the National Park Service’s 10th annual Zane Grey Festival held on the grounds of the Zane Grey Museum, 135 Scenic Dr., Lackawaxen, PA, the home of the author from 1905-1918. Sponsors include Pike County Historical Society, National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, Zane Grey’s West Society and Upper Delaware Council. For more information, please call 570/ 296-8126 or e-mail

20 FISH • 2014

April 12 and 13 ‘Come Hell or High Water’ “Come Hell or High Water” is an annual one-day flyfishing art, beer and film festival at West Branch Angler & Resort. The idea is to bring new people into the sport, celebrate the Catskills, the beginning of spring and a new fly-fishing season. The resort has been working closely with the major fly-fishing manufacturers, artists, film producers and local business to bring something for everyone. The expo is free to the public and an event you won’t want to miss. Events include: Learn to Fly Fish for Free, Orvis 101: This amazing program, with a professional instructor, is put on by the Orvis company. This year on Saturday, April 12, free women’s and a coed 101 classes are slated; these are open to all beginners. Registration for these free classes is required, so register online at fly-fishing-101.html. West Branch Brew Fest: Brand new this year, West Branch Angler is adding a beer festival, which will highlight a few of the area’s top breweries. The event will have live music. The Fly Fishing Film Tour: On April 13 at 7 p.m., the fly fishing film tour presents a two-hour series of short independent films centered on fly fishing. These are professional films, not something made from old VHS tapes. The goal of the Fly Fishing Film Tour is to energize the industry and inspire filmmakers to create new cuttingedge films to both entertain and educate outdoor enthusiasts. All ticket profits and silent auction proceeds will go to benefit Casting for Recovery, Project Healing Waters, Friends of the Upper Delaware River and New York Trout Unlimited. Tickets cost $8 in advance, or $ 10.95 at the door. The Fly Games: This series of events pins competitors against each other in games of skill. This year some new events have been added, and some of everyone’s old favorites have been tweaked and are sure to excite anglers of all skills and ages. Prizes and trophies will be awarded to winning contestants. Featured guest speakers, artists and tiers include Tom Rosenbauer, George Daniel, John Miller, Loren Williams, Scott McClintock, Chrissy Penn, Tyler Adkins, Rachel Finn, Safet Nikocevic, CD Clarke, Karl Gebhart, Dennis Menscer, Justin Sterner, Brian Benner, Bob Lamson, Bill Dawson, Tom Zemianek and more. More information is available at

April 25 to 27 ‘One Bug’ Friends of the Upper Delaware River (FUDR) hosts its 7th annual “One Bug” fly-fishing contest on April 25, 26 & 27. This competitive (yet friendly) event includes twoperson fishing teams and two days of guided fishing on the magnificent Upper Delaware River (East Branch, West Branch, and Upper Main Stem). The weekend event is modeled after the Jackson

Hole, WY “One Fly” contest, where each competitor is allowed only one fly (bug) per day. Contestants who lose their fly can still fish for the remainder of the day, but can’t score anything that is caught (and of course released). This event has grown with each passing year. FUDR has 21 teams entered this year, including two Orvis teams, a Patagonia team, and for the first time ever, a Trout Unlimited team. Buff USA is a new sponsor, in addition to G. Loomis. FUDR will host a kick-off party on Friday night, April 25 at the Hancock (NY) Fireman’s Park. This party is open to the public and includes raffle drawings, door prizes, and silent and live auctions. All money raised goes back into the community for projects such as local stream restoration, community-based river cleanups, and completion of the scenic deck overlook at the FUDR Friends Park in Deposit, NY. Tickets can be purchased through the FUDR website,

May 3 The Wild Trout Flyrodders 2nd annual Catskill Fly-casting Rendezvous The Wild Trout Flyrodders will hold their second annual Rendezvous on the grounds of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum in Livingston Manor, New York, on Saturday, May 3. The Rendezvous will be open to the public for casting demonstrations, lessons, fly-tying demonstrations and group classes in fly-casting or fly-tying. The Rendezvous team includes more than 20 casting instructors certified by the International Federation of Fly Fishers. Entry fee is $10 per adult; children 17 and under will be admitted free. Demonstrations and lessons are included with entry fee. “Walk-on” lessons (tune-ups) will be offered continuously throughout the day for all skill levels of casters, both adults and children. Group classes in casting and fly tying are available for $20 with prior registration. To register for a class, contact Craig Buckbee by email at For more information and a full schedule of classes, demonstrations and lodging information, visit

May 24 World Migratory Fish day World Fish Migration Day (WFMD), to be celebrated on May 24, 2014, is a one-day global initiative, with local events worldwide. Its goal is to create awareness on the importance of open rivers and migratory fish and their needs. See: for more information. Locally, the National Park Service at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River will host an event commemorating World Fish Migration Day at their Milanville, PA office. Further information about the Upper Delaware event will be available in The River Reporter and on the National Park Service website at a later date.

West Branchh Angler “Perhaps the best trout fishery in the East is on the dam tailwaters of the Upper Delaware River System.” - Fly Fish America

We are a fly fishing resort and shooting preserve, offering 26 luxury cabins on 200 acres of exquisite mountain scenery, with 3 miles of private catch and release water on the West Branch of the Delaware.

• Luxury Cabins • Fly Fishing Gear • Fishing Clothing • Accessories

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Hidden Treasures of the Delaware




hether floating or wading the Delaware River, swimming in or just gazing at its waters, the most compelling scenery, for me, has always been the view beneath the surface. The riverbed itself and all the engaging aquatic life there and within the flow have been what’s held my attention. And the picture is usually clear and captivating. When the Delaware flows high and muddy, as it sometimes does temporarily after rains and runoff events, my interest in being on the river drops off dramatically, though the scenery above the surface is plenty pleasing in its own right. But even a turbid Delaware clears up faster than most rivers under these circumstances, thanks in large part to an extensive and welldeveloped natural system that efficiently strains suspended particulate matter out of the water column. This powerful filtration system oftentimes helps to produce water of clarity equal to distilled water, as measured on a numerical scale (in Nephelometric Turbidity Units) and documented by the National Park Service’s water quality monitoring program. So how did we get so lucky to have a widespread, built-in filtration system in the Delaware River that enables this marvelous viewing, provides numerous additional ecosystem benefits and works for free with no carbon footprint? Freshwater mussels are not the most charismatic animals found in the Delaware, nor the most celebrated, but in terms of ecological function and benefit, they’re among the most important. They’re simple creatures that do a few key things, and do them well. Mussels fi lter water. They do this by ingesting suspended particulate matter through their incurrent siphon, and running it through internal gills that strain out food particles. They then expel the newly-cleansed, fi ltered water

Photo by Jeff Cole, USGS

These five mussels represent four of the 12 species found in the Delaware River.

Photo by Chris Barnhart

Microscopic mussel larvae must live temporarily on a specific fish host, typically attaching to the gills, as shown in this photo, prior to dropping off and growing on their own. This is not harmful to the fish, and the mussels later provide many ecosystem benefits to the river and all its aquatic life.” back to the river through their excurrent siphon. Mussels subsist on a mixed diet of algae, detritus (decaying plant and animal matter) and microbes that are digested and assimilated into their body tissue. Undigested materials are excreted as bio-deposits—organic-

rich materials full of nutrients—that enter the river’s food chain to become incorporated into the bodies of aquatic insects, or swim back out into the ocean in the biomass of out-migrating fish. (These include immense numbers of young-of-year American shad, or the

still-significant numbers of mature American eels that manage to avoid the hazards of predators and eel weirs on their end-of-life journey back to the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic, where they will breed and begin a new generation.) Biogeochemical cycles that have occurred for thousands of years are still relatively intact in the free-flowing Delaware, maintaining an age-old balance through biomass interchange with the ocean that benefits both systems. Freshwater mussels are central to sustaining this balance. Freshwater mussels, like many bivalves, are regarded as “ecosystem engineers” for their ability to modify habitat complexity and improve water quality. Their bio-deposits enrich sediments with organic material and biochemical compounds, enabling enhanced riverbottom algal growth and greater food resources for aquatic insects, fish, and other fauna. Mussels also help stabilize substrates and stream channels and reduce streambed transport of sediments during highflow events. They are important links in aquatic food webs as well, feeding on microscopic matter at the base of the food chain, then themselves being eaten by secondary consumers. The sheer numbers of freshwater mussels in the Delaware River magnify their positive influence here. Though little noticed, freshwater mussels make up the greatest animal biomass in the river. Quantitative sampling done here by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Appalachian Research Lab in 2002, and based on nearly 16,000 random sample plots, documented an average of 76 mussels per square meter of riverbed. Some sections of the river had over 634 mussels per square meter of substrate. To the casual observer, these numbers may seem inconceivable, as most people only notice the shiny inner shells of dead mussels sparsely strewn across the bottom of the Delaware. But having worked alongside the dedicated USGS crew here during much of the sultry summer of 2002, I can attest to the astounding numbers of mussels found Continued on page 24

22 FISH • 2014


Hidden Treasures of the Delaware Continued from page 22

Selecting a wine that will pair perfectly with your meal ,


in the riverbed. The live mussels are much less visible, mostly buried in the substrate, oriented vertically, often with only the posterior end of their shells and their siphons exposed, and require an attuned eye to detect. There are literally hundreds of millions of mussels in the Delaware River, each with the ability to fi lter multiple gallons of water a day. Collectively, they fi lter billions of gallons of water on a daily basis, greatly influencing and contributing to the superb water quality found here and on down through the entire non-tidal Delaware. The flow volume of the Delaware River is fi ltered many times over through the bodies of freshwater mussels on its way to the ocean. Connectivity with the ocean is key in maintaining the Delaware’s robust mussel fauna, as well as the rest of its biodiversity and resilience. During most of the period of escalating dam-building in the last century, we weren’t aware of important tradeoffs being made. Freshwater mussels, in order to reproduce, require a fish host for their larvae to live

on briefly during the early stages of their development, without harm to the fish. This fish host is often specific for each species of mussel (the Delaware has 12 of the 14 species found on the Atlantic Slope), and is usually a fish species with which they’ve co-evolved over thousands of years. When they’re de-coupled from their fish hosts, mussels can’t reproduce. The most important fish host for eastern elliptio mussels (Elliptio complanata), which make up 98.7% of the Upper Delaware River’s mussels, is the American eel, a sea-run migratory fish that is still able to access its important historic habitat here (all the more unique to this system, when 84% of historic stream habitat on the Atlantic Coast is blocked by dams). Consequently, we have hundreds of millions of eastern elliptio mussels each fi ltering multiple gallons of water per day and providing other important and economically valuable ecosystem services for free, just because we’ve kept the system healthy enough to sustain the native biota of the Delaware River.

determining the quantity you will need for the number of guests you are expecting or creating a customized wine tasting program, for your next party, are just a few ways Hancock Liquor q Store can help you enhance your next


“ Wine makes a symphony of a good meal.” —Fernande Garvin, The Art of French Cooking

hancock liquor store Great Selection • Great Prices • Knowledgeable Staff 7 West Main Street • Hancock, NY • 607-637-5364 Open Monday through Saturday Remember us for all your Holiday Entertaining and Gift Giving needs. Custom Gift Baskets and Corporate Gifts available.

Continued on page 26

Come visit Dream Catcher… Come catch your dream…

Winding along the Delaware River, just minutes from Deposit, New York, Dream Catcher provides over a mile of pristine waterfront with mountain scenery and spectacular catch-and-release Ày-¿shing for the sports ¿sherman. Explore Mother Nature and immerse yourself in an unforgettable outdoor adventure. Create good times and memories with your family, friends and co-workers. Come clear your mind and refresh your spirit.

Dream Catcher Lodge and Fly Shop 393 River Road • Deposit NY, 13754 • 1.877.275.1165 • 607.467.4900 24 FISH • 2014

The River Reporter’s 19th Annual THE BEST BALLOT IS BACK!

We have revamped our ballot and it’s better than ever! We ask that you simply vote for the people, places or businesses that you think are the BEST. Thank you for your participation and we look forward to receiving your votes. If there is a category that we are missing, let us know! We will publish our 2014 WINNERS in our annual Readers’ Choice Awards “BEST” supplement in January 2015.

Good Luck to all!



BEST BUSINESSES & SERVICES Auto Service Station _________________

New Business of the Year ______________

Bank __________________________

Pet Boarding/Pampering ______________

Child Care Provider__________________

Pet Grooming /Groomer ______________

Christmas Tree Farm _________________

Pharmacy _______________________

Eye Care Center ____________________

Photography Studio _________________

Elder Care Facility __________________

Plumbing & Heating Supply ____________

Emergency Room ___________________

Rehabilitation Services________________

Engaging Facebook Page ______________

Recycle & Transfer Station ______________

Fitness Center _____________________

Rental Center _____________________

BEST PEOPLE Accountant _______________________ Architect ________________________ Auto Mechanic _____________________ Baker/ Specialty Cakes________________ Bank Teller_______________________ Barber _________________________ Bartender _______________________ Builder _________________________ Butcher _________________________ Caterer _________________________ Carpenter _______________________ Car Salesman _____________________ Chef ___________________________ Chiropractor ______________________ Clergy __________________________ Coach __________________________ Custom Cabinetry ___________________ Dentist _________________________ Doctor__________________________ Electrician _______________________ Event Planner _____________________ Excavator ________________________ Friendly Staff _____________________

Green Developer ___________________ High School Athlete _________________ Holisitc Practioner __________________ Interier Decorator __________________ Landscaper_______________________ Lawyer _________________________ Law Enforcement Officer_______________ Local Hero _______________________ Massage Therapist __________________ Medical Specialist ___________________ Painter _________________________ Pediatrician ______________________ Plumber ________________________ Politician ________________________ Postmaster _______________________ Radio Personality ___________________ Real Estate Agent ___________________ Roofer _________________________ Teacher _________________________ Veterinarian _____________________ Waiter/Waitress ____________________ Web Designer _____________________ Yoga Teacher _____________________

Appetizers _______________________

Ice Cream Parlor ___________________

Funeral Home _____________________

Real Estate Office ___________________

Authentic Meal ____________________

Italian Restaurant __________________

Green Business ____________________

Salvage Company___________________

Bagels _________________________

Locally-Sourced Menu ________________

Hair & Nail Salon___________________

Septic Service _____________________

Bakery _________________________

Local Watering Hole _________________

Heating Fuel Company _______________

Spa or Personal Pampering_____________


Lunch __________________________

Home & Garden Store ________________

Storage Center ____________________

Beer Selection _____________________


Hospital/ Medical Facility ______________

Towing Service ____________________

Breakfast ________________________

Menu __________________________

Insurance Agency ___________________

Truck Center ______________________

Brunch _________________________

New Restaurant ____________________

Kid’s Camp _______________________

Tuxedo Rentals ____________________

Budget-friendly ____________________

Pasta Dish _______________________

Kitchen & Bath Store _________________

Veterinarian Clinic __________________

Buffet __________________________

Pizza __________________________

Maternity Unit _____________________

Well Driller ______________________

Candy Shop ______________________

Off The Beaten Path _________________

Modular Homes ____________________

Women’s Health Center _______________

Cheeseteak Sandwich ________________

Outdoor Dining ____________________

Chinese Restaurant __________________

Overall Restaurant __________________

Coffeehouse ______________________

- Delaware County __________________

Deli ___________________________

- Orange County ___________________

Ambulance Squad __________________

- Golf Pro _______________________

Desserts ________________________

- Pike County _____________________

Amusement/ Fun Park ________________

- Musician/Band ___________________

Diner __________________________

- Sullivan County ___________________

Animal Shelter ____________________

- Photographer ____________________

Dinner _________________________

-Wayne County ____________________

Art Gallery _______________________

- Potter _________________________

Dinner Specials ____________________

-Region _________________________

Atmosphere ______________________

Local Products:

Early Bird Specials __________________

Ribs ___________________________

Bed & Breakfast ___________________

- Beer / Spirits ____________________

Family Restaurant __________________

Romantic Restaurant _________________

Bowling Lanes_____________________

- Cheese ________________________

French Fries ______________________

Salad __________________________

Canoe Livery______________________

- Eggs __________________________

Gourmet Restaurant _________________

Sandwiches ______________________


- Meats _________________________

Grocery Store /Supermarket ____________


Chamber of Commerce________________

- Maple Syrup _____________________

Hamburgers ______________________

Soups __________________________

Chicken BBQ (Volunteer) ______________

- Wine _________________________

Happy Hour ______________________

Steakhouse ______________________

Cider Mill ________________________

Meditation Center __________________

Health Food Store __________________

Vegetarian Food Restaurant ____________

Civic Club or Organization _____________

Movie Theatre _____________________

Home Cooking Restaurant _____________

Wine Selection ____________________

College _________________________

Museum ________________________

Hot Dogs ________________________

Wings __________________________

Community Festival or Street Fair _________

Neighborhood _____________________

Conference Center __________________

Pancake Breakfast __________________


Dance Studio _____________________

Parade _________________________


Day Trip ________________________

Penny Social ______________________

Jewelry Store _____________________

Fair ___________________________

Place to Hold a Prom ________________

Auto Parts Store____________________

Knit Shop________________________

Family Night Out ___________________

Places to Play Bingo _________________

Baby/Kids Store ____________________

Liquor Store ______________________

Farm Market______________________

Place to Take out of town guests __________

Boat Dealer/Rental __________________

Locally-made products ________________

Fire Department ___________________

Place to Take the kids ________________

Bookstore _______________________

Lumberyard ______________________

Golf Course ______________________

Playhouse Theatre __________________

Car Dealership ____________________

Medical Equipment __________________

Historic Site ______________________

Post Office _______________________

Clothing Store _____________________

Motorcycle Shop ____________________

Horseback Riding ___________________

Private School _____________________

Collectibles Store ___________________

Music Store_______________________

Hotel __________________________

Radio Station _____________________

Consignment Shop __________________

Novelty Shop _____________________

Law Office _______________________

Resort __________________________

Electronics _______________________

Outdoor Recreational Vehicles ___________

Library _________________________

Shopping Area ____________________

Farm Equipment Retailer ______________

Pet Store ________________________

Live Music Venue ___________________

Ski Lodge _______________________

Flooring Store _____________________

Place to Buy Art ____________________

Local __________________________

Special Area Attraction _______________

Florist __________________________

Pottery Studio _____________________

- Artist _________________________

Sullivan Renaissance Project ____________

Furniture Store ____________________

Speciality Store ____________________

- Author ________________________

Wedding Reception Location ____________

General Store _____________________

Sporting Goods Shop_________________

- Celebrity _______________________

Winery _________________________

Gift Shop ________________________

Tattoo/Ear Piercing Shop ______________

- Farm _________________________

Youth Center ______________________

Hardware Store ____________________

Vintage Shop _____________________

- Getaway _______________________

Youth Program ____________________

BEST PLACES TO SHOP Antique Store _____________________

Home Décor ______________________

Mortgage Company _________________


HOW TO VOTE: Pleast print clearly your choices for “THE BEST” from the categories listed. Best choices are limited to Delaware, Orange, Pike, Sullivan and Wayne counties. You may also VOTE ONLINE: HOW TO ENTER: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Additional ballots are available at The River Reporter of¿ce at 93 Erie Ave, Narrowsburg, NY. Ballots MUST be complete and include full name, address and phone number of voter. All ballots must be received by December 18, 2014. Employees of The River Reporter and Stuart Communications are permitted to vote but not eligible to win prizes. Entries that are late, damaged, illegible or missing voter’s name will not be eligible. One entry per person. Mechanically reprouced or Photocopied entries are not eligible. A business, organization or person may win no more than three (3) categories. Winners will be chosen based on the number of votes received by December 18th, 2014. HOW TO WIN PRIZES: All ballots will be included in a random drawing for prizes. Drawing will be held in January 2015. No duplicate winners. BEST Winners will be noti¿ed in January 2015.

Name __________________________________________________________ Address ________________________________________________________ City, State, Zip ___________________________________________________ Phone _________________________________________________________ E-mail _________________________________________________________

† I am a current subscriber † I buy TRR on newsstands † Sign me up for a free 4 week subscription

PLEASE MAIL COMPLETED FORMS TO: The River Reporter “BEST” PO Box 150, Narrowsburg, NY 12764


93 Erie Avenue, Narrowsburg, NY 12764


Hidden Treasures of the Delaware Continued from page 24


ity downriver for ecosystem, drinking water, industrial In contrast, the numerous dams that exclude Ameriand other human needs. can eels from the upper reaches of the Susquehanna In the face of now certain climate change, this DelaRiver have kept much of its aging population (some live ware River, because of all these features, will fare better over 100 years) of freshwater mussels from reproducthan most rivers in their ability to continue to produce ing (and in decline), water quality is not all that it could high-quality water, which will become an even more be, excess nutrients and sediments are being flushed to precious, and absolutely essential, resource for human Chesapeake Bay, and hundreds of millions of state and and ecosystem needs into the future federal dollars are spent annually in an effort to clean North America was once home to 297 species of freshup significant water quality problems there. Today’s water mussels, by far the highest diversity in the world. Chesapeake Bay has about 1% of the oysters it had hisPhoto by Erik Silldorff, DRBC Today, they’re the most rapidly declining animal group torically. Those historic oyster populations could filter This beautiful green-rayed specimen of an eastern in the U.S., over 70% of which are either extinct, endanthe entire volume of water in that vast bay in four days. elliptio mussel exhibits a color variation found in some gered, threatened, or potentially justifying federal proIf we’d done enough to sustain them, this natural capital juveniles from the Delaware and Neversink Rivers. Easttection. The majority of the Delaware River’s species (9 of would still be able to provide their numerous valuable ern elliptios make up the greatest animal biomass in the Delaware, and are the only mussel species here with con12 species) fall into the categories of critically imperiled/ ecosystem services, for free. sensus on their conservation status being “Secure.” endangered (dwarf wedgemussel brook floater mussel); The Delaware River is unique in that originates from imperiled/threatened (eastern pearlshell, alewife a drainage that is relatively undeveloped, an upper basin that is still over 80% forested, and a landscape run migratory fish) that that retains its ability to produce clean water. It is the ascends its waters and Delaware’s highnourishes its inhabitquality water, ants, timed perfectly to complemented by provide for wildlife such diverse habitats and as hungry bald eagles connectivity with feeding their growing its floodplain, a comyoung. An accompanyplex food web, and an ing downstream pulse absence of dams on later in the season benthe main stem, that efits an array of marine enables the superb species, balancing an aquatic resources we age-old cycle of biohave here to flourish. mass interchange and These resources, such completing an imporas freshwater mustant ecological link. sels, in turn provide The Delaware a positive feedback ch Rash, Virginia Te Photo by Jacob River possesses a mechanism that furhand tank con- super-efficient “operht rig e th in ther improves habitat er wat capacity. Clear . ating system,” which and water quality and their filtering nk h ta ug d ro an th fth y le it e y and clar water in th it id al rb qu tu al er in at has an extraordinary abilextends this water qualig w or to the bute to Mussels contri r less than an hour as compared ity to produce clean water and benefi t numerous life te taining mussels af forms, including ourselves. Such a system is not somefloater, triangle floater, yellow lampmussel, and eastern thing we could easily or inexpensively re-engineer. Its lampmussel); or vulnerable/species of concern (eastern wondrous function is largely influenced by simple molfloater, squawfoot or creeper mussel) on either the state lusks that have been at work here in the Delaware for or federal levels, due to population declines range wide. perhaps the past 15,000 years, since the river settled Some species once found throughout the Delaware now into its present form following the retreat of glaciers only survive in certain sections. Only one species in the after the last ice age. They don’t require a lot to survive. system (eastern elliptio) has consensus as being secure, A landscape and stream network that sends them relathough their numbers decline dramatically below some tively clean, cool, well-oxygenated water that is free problematic tributaries in which water quality is known of pollutants and an overabundance of sediment, and to be impaired. that provides adequate food material and connectivity There aren’t many rivers left like the Delaware. As Photo by Erik Silldorff, DRBC with their fish hosts will do just fi ne. We would do well the last major river on the Atlantic Coast undammed The Delaware River supports the largest and to maintain conditions that will keep their populations the entire length of its main stem (330 miles), it prohealthiest population of alewife floater mussels healthy here, ensuring that the yeoman’s work they vides unparalleled access to the full range of habitats for (Anodonta implicata) in New York State. A population of do, gratis, for the river and all its stakeholders, continnearly all migratory fish species of this seaboard, and an estimated 400 million of these mussels in the Hudson ues into the future. retains ecological integrity that is exceptional among River estuary has declined precipitously in response to [Don Hamilton is the Chief of Resource Managethe large river systems of the mid-Atlantic and Northzebra mussels invasions. Fortunately, non-native zebra ment for the National Park Service’s Upper Delaeastern United States. It functions still as other rivers mussels are not likely to become established in the Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.] did prior to dams, with a pulse of life (in the form of seaware due to lower calcium concentrations in its water.

26 FISH • 2014

Roscoe Motel

Come stay with us by the river on the bank of the beautiful Beaverkill

2054 Old Route 17, Roscoe, NY 12776 •


Riv endell Pott ery Great Local Food Deserves a Great Local Plate studio & gallery at

57 Stewart Avenue, Roscoe, NY


Everything is better by Starlight! Come and Dine with Us Full Service Lakeside Restaurant and Bar Open 7 Days a week for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner and Sunday Brunch

Monday is Seafood Night, Wednesday is Pasta Night Regular Menu always available We would be pleased to host you special occasion in our dining room from 2- 75 persons. The Inn offers a charming and comfortable setting for the vacationer or for that extra room when family and friends come to visit 289 Starlight Lake Road • Starlight, PA 18461

570-798-2519 •


Learning to Tie a Fly

‘Up’ your PWXFS PWXFS game



hen I first moved here in 2001, I’d never picked up a fly rod, let alone knew what fly fishing was, or what “matching the hatch” meant or other fly fishing lingo. Fast forward 13 years. I now know a lot more, but still felt I was missing a piece of fly fishing—tying my own flies. The Beaverkill Angler’s spring fly-tying class was the perfect opportunity to learn. What better place to learn how to tie your own flies than in the official Trout Town USA—Roscoe, NY? Matt Nelson, our instructor, has been teaching fly fishing and fly tying for 20 years and managing the Beaverkill Angler for four years. Patient, knowledgeable and helpful, Matt says there are two reasons someone wants to learn to tie their own flies. One is the pride of catching a fish on a fly you’ve tied yourself. The second reason is to save money. Although as Matt pointed out, once you’ve learned to tie, you may not save much, because you’ll be buying lots of materials, such as feathers, hooks and tying tools, as you expand your repertoire. As it was once explained to me, tying your own flies will help you “up” your fishing game by helping you pay more attention to the bugs and to the fish and how they eat the bugs. This makes perfect sense to me. I thought I knew a lot about fishing until Matt explained the differ-

ences in each pattern we were tying and how to use that particular pattern to catch a fish. The fly-tying course I took was offered over three Saturdays in March for three hours per day, which seems like a long time to devote, but it really went by quickly. Matt had laid out the course very thoughtfully. Each session started with a handout with step-by-step instructions illustrated by drawings of each step. He demonstrated the steps in tying the fly and then walked us through each step. He gradually built our skills by increasing the complexity of the flies we tied. Matt took us through the paces with the following flies: Woolly Bugger, Pheasant Tail Nymph, Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, Peaking Caddis Larva, Elk Hair Caddis, Poly Wing Spinner, Comparadun, Parachute Style Dry Fly, and Traditional Upright Wing Dry Fly. We started out with a fairly easy fly, the Wooly Bugger, a streamer fished

Photo by Jeff White

This Comparaemerger fly, in the vice, is in the process of being tied on a hook.You can see the antron shuck and deer-hair wing tied on.

Photo by Jeff White

Here, the author ties a fly under the watchful gaze of instructor Matt Nelson.

Photo by Kristin White

Eleven-year-old Dan Flynn, already a fly tyer, enhanced his tying skills by taking a class from expert Matt Nelson. 28 FISH • 2014

underwater that is tied on a large hook using just a few materials and simple techniques. By the third session we were tying the Comparadun Style Fly, a versatile fly that, while simple looking, requires precise technique to be presentable, durable and well balanced. There are a few tools you will need to get started with fly tying: a tying vice, which holds the hook while you build the fly; a thread bobbin, which holds the spool of thread that ties the fly’s materials onto the hook; and scissors. Most flies are tied with the same materials, which might include feathers, animal hair, wax, glue and other natural and artificial components. The Comparadun Style Dry Fly we tied was an emerger, also known as a Comparaemerger, which imitates the mayfly

as it emerges from its aquatic state to become the adult airborne insect you might see in the air or sitting on the water surface. It uses a dry fly style fish hook (hook size is dependent on the fly you are trying to imitate); dubbing (often rabbit hair, which is used to build the fly body); thread to match the dubbing; coastal deer hair for the wing; and some antron fibers (polyester yarn), which is used to imitate the trailing shuck or exoskeleton of the bug as it emerges from its aquatic form. For every fly you tie, your fi rst step will be to place the hook in the vice. Next put your thread on the bobbin and tie some thread on the hook. Each fly has a specific order in which to tie on the materials to optimize the finished product. For a Comparaemerger, you tie the antron shuck on first by taking a small amount of antron and tying it onto the hook near the bend. Then you cut some deer hair, and in order to stack it neatly you might want to use a deer-hair stacker. Tie the stacked hair onto your hook in front of where you tied on the antron. The tricky technique here is to get the deer hair to splay out into a fan (to imitate the wings of the mayfly) by properly tensioning the tying thread. Then you place some dubbing onto the waxed thread and begin wrapping the thread and dubbing from the back of the fly towards the eye of the hook (away from the actual hook), ending right before the eye of the hook. The final step is to build up a small head of thread and then tie your fly off. There are two methods of tying off the fly—one is called the half hitch and can be done by using your fingers, and the other is called the whip finish, requiring a special tool called a whip finisher. Once you’ve mastered these techniques you will be able Continued on page 30

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Learning to Tie a Fly Continued from page 28


to tie just about any fly out there. For me, this course was just the right setting to learn the techniques needed to continue tying my own flies. The setting was small and intimate, consisting of 11-year-old Dan Flynn, brought by his grandfather Bill, and myself. Dan has been fishing for about seven years and had tied flies before but was able to perfect some of his skills. I just know that Dan, a quick learner, will be tying flies and fishing for years to come. We joked that Dan picked up fly tying so easily that he would be tying flies for his father and grandfather in no time. While I am not yet a master fly tyer, I will continue to improve my tying skills thanks to what I learned in this course. If you are looking to get started tying your own flies, I can recommend Matt at the Beaverkill Angler. You can also visit them in Roscoe or find them on the web at [Kristin White has lived in the Upper Delaware River region for over 10 years and currently calls Callicoon, NY her home. She is the director of the Western Sullivan Public Library and enjoys spending her free time near or on the river.]

Photos by Je

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Written instructions for how to tie a comparadun style fly resulted in a tasty-looking finished product designed to entice a hungry trout.

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The Complete Tangler

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he most captivating way I know to embrace nature and immerse yourself in another reality is to slip into a river or to jump in a boat and go fishin’. Just going fishing is its own reward. Now some of us get the fishing bug more seriously than others. For some, the occasional toss of a bobber or chucking a plug a couple of times is quite enough fun. (An occasional fish or two doesn’t hurt either.) At the other extreme, are those whose life is focused and centered on fishing, when a day without fishing is downright painful, when, if you can’t get on the water, you reread “Land of Little Rivers” or “Old Man and the Sea” for the umpteenth time. Anyone so afflicted looks forward to one event every so often that will forever remain etched in memory. It could be finally getting your first salmon, or your first big trout. Who would ever forget a fine trout taken on bamboo on a beautiful spring day on the Beaverkill? Sometimes it’s the first fish for a student, child or grandchild of yours, or maybe a fishing expedition somewhere that works out just as hoped and planned. This season I had a wonderful memory moment while fishing the Lackawaxen River nearby my home across the Roebling Aqueduct at the Delaware River. I fly fish this river often. It offers many named holes and runs to choose from. Naturally, I have a favorite spot, and of course, in keeping with fishing custom and tradition, I am not going to name it here. We never want to talk about our secret spot as it may quickly become invaded by a horde of one or two other fishermen. I have fished my favorite spot a dozen or more times every year for the past 20 years. I seek the river after the travails of the day. Sometimes in June, I don’t get to the river until late, but I always stay at least a half hour after dark. Dark is the time of big brown trout. The old timers say “When you’re stoppin’ fishing is when you should just be startin”. So I do quite a bit of fishing in the dark, casting to faint movements and sounds with a White Wulff. As I shuffle around the pool in the dark, I have come to know the underwater terrain about as well as

I know my own garden. Or at least, so I thought. Recently, my son Josh and granddaughter Emma came up from Florida for a short visit. I had been away on the Salmon River, messin’ with King Salmon. When I got home, Josh had already honed in on the Lackawaxen and had taken some nice Browns and Rainbows. Off we go to my favorite hole, and eagle-eye Josh spots a riser and then another in a small braid of water on the other side, vastly out of range of all but a Joan Wulff or Steve Rajeff. Josh very slowly and deliberately wades in and picks his way along the slippery bottom. He goes far beyond where I or anyone else ventures and comes upon a submerged rock cluster, which he very carefully clambered atop. In all those years, I never knew such a perch existed. From my vantage on the near shore, I could see the two trout rising regularly but certainly out of range. Josh stripped out more than half of his fly line, made a few calculations and false casts and settled his dry fly about two feet above the riser. When the fly drifted down in the bubble line, the trout sipped it in. It was a Brookie, usually a rarity on the Lackawaxen. After releasing the trout, he again focused on the other riser even further upstream. I watched his beautiful tight loops extend further and further up the center of the river, and then he directed his final cast at the left slipstream off a rock 70 feet away. The fly settled like a piece of down and the trout took. It was a lovely 17-inch Brookie. I had just witnessed a sublime form of perfection, and my season was made. The student exceeded the mentor, and I was filled with joy. Normally, I would have scanned the lower pool for risers. Instead, I stood awhile, washed in the moment, and just smiled. [Editor’s note: Andy Boyar’s regular fishing column, The Complete Tangler, appears in The River Reporter on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month during fishing season and during the offseason on the fourth Thursday of every month.]

Photo by Andy Boyar

Josh Boyar proudly poses for a photo before releasing his prized catch back to the river.

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32 FISH â&#x20AC;˘ 2014

FISH - The Ultimate Fishing Guide for 2014  
FISH - The Ultimate Fishing Guide for 2014