Ed Van Put: angler, author, conservationist


LIVINGSTON MANOR - “The internet has killed more fish than anything else,” mused an experienced angler at a Q & A round table discussion and book signing by Catskill angler, author and conservationist Ed Van Put. The event was sponsored by Dette Flies, Saturday, Sept. 2, at Waterwheel Junction on Livingston Manor’s Main Street.

But the internet, Van Put countered, is why people are catching bigger fish. They are able to document a catch then release it, allowing fish to grow.

It’s not just any fish the anglers were talking about, it was trout, which are thriving in the cold waters of the Willowemoc, Beaver Kill and East Branch of the Delaware River this time of the year. Late summer typically means warmer water temperatures which can cause trout to become lethargic. The ideal water temperature for trout ranges between 50 and 65 degrees. Saturday, the Beaver Kill at Cooks Falls clocked in at 58 degrees, and the Willowemoc registered 57 degrees.

Conditions have been great, Judy Van Put, Ed’s wife, said - and so has the fishing. The plentiful rain over the summer has benefited the fishery.

“It’s been a great year. It’s been a great water year,” Judy said.

Anglers were hoping for, and were treated to, a rise in temperatures during the afternoon that lent to some hatches. Caddis and midge hatches were abundant. The hatches occur, typically, in the afternoon and early evening, and trout like to feed on the nymphs as well as the adults flies. Between the air temperature, the water temperature and the bugs, the day - and the season - have been ideal for anglers.

The conditions bode well going into the winter, Judy continued. During the winter, a trout’s metabolism slows as food sources decrease, and they seek slow moving, deeper pools of water to conserve energy.

Ed’s career with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation spanned decades and he continues to advocate for clean water, public access and fishery regulations. As a lifelong angler, Ed is an authoritative resource on Catskill rivers and streams and is the published author of several books including “Fly Fishing the Catskills,” “The Beaverkill: The History of a River,” and “The Remarkable Life of James Beecher.”

Fellow anglers gathered around Van Put, asking questions and commiserating about overfishing and crowded angler lots late in the season. Fish tales were also told as one angler announced he’s caught the same trout three years in a row - at an undisclosed location on the upper East Branch. He’s used dry flies each time, he said and the trout in question is very distinct - “with a reddish tail and adipose, with two perfect dots on the adipose,” the angler said. Each time he’s caught him, the angler said, it was within 50 yards of the where the fish was originally caught.

“The picture,” the angler said, “tells the story,” as conversation circled back to the use of the internet as it relates to fly fishing and trout catching.

Contributing to the conversation, Ed’s writings not only offer insights on techniques but also delve deep into the storied past of the iconic waters of Sullivan and Delaware counties. His commitment goes beyond the written word. His efforts in conservation have played a pivotal role in maintaining the health and vitality of the Catskills’ aquatic ecosystems. His tireless advocacy and detailed research have served as guiding lights for subsequent generations of anglers and conservationists.

For more information detteflies.com