Catskills fishing history talk precedes trout season opener

“Fins and Flies: A History of Fishing in the Catskills,” an illustrated talk by angling experts Ed and Judy Van Put, will be held Saturday, March 15, just two weeks before the opening of fishing season.
The program begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Community Room of Fairview Public Library, Walnut Street, Margaretville. It is co-sponsored by the library and the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown (HSM). HSM members get in free; admission for all others is $2.
The presentation will be followed by a fly tying and/or casting demonstration and workshop by Lenny Millen of Margaretville. Lenny has been a licensed New York State fishing guide for 19 years and a staff instructor with the Wulff School of Fly-fishing for seven years.
Ed Van Put, author of Trout Fishing in the Catskills (Skyhorse Publishing, 2007) and The Beaverkill, and Judy Van Put, fishing guide and Catskill Mountain News columnist, will explain why our region is known as the cradle of American fly-fishing. Books will be available for purchase and signing and those who attend are invited to bring their own favorite fish tales.
Ed’s latest book begins with a history of native brook trout and their demise from over-fishing; the growth of streamside industries; and the introduction of competitive species. He records the attempts to restore the depleted fishery by restocking streams with hatchery-bred trout, and then the introduction of rainbow trout from California and brown trout from Europe.
This is a history of people and methods as well as rivers, and there are profiles of Theodore Gordon, Art Flick, Harry and Elsie Darbee, Sparse Grey Hackle, and others. The book has been described as “a 438-page masterpiece. Wonderfully illustrated with sketches, charts, and hundreds of black-and-white and color photographs . . . a true work of art (Sullivan County Democrat).
Ed has been an avid fly fisherman for more than 50 years, and has worked as a fisheries professional with the State of New York since 1969. His articles have appeared in magazines like The Conservationist, Trout, Fly Fisherman, Fly Rod and Reel, and elsewhere. He and his wife Judy, a fellow fly-fishing enthusiast, writer and educator, live in Livingston Manor, near the storied Beaverkill and Willowemoc Creeks in Sullivan County.