Hooked on tradition: celebrating the sport and art of fly fishing


LIVINGSTON MANOR - Livingston Manor and Roscoe, located in the Catskills just over the Delaware County border, are well-known destinations for fly fishing enthusiasts. The area’s rich history of fly fishing dates back to the mid-19th century.

In the mid-1800s, fly fishing began to gain popularity in the United States, and anglers began to explore the streams and rivers of the Catskills. The region’s abundant trout population and beautiful scenery made it an ideal destination for fishing enthusiasts.

One of the most famous figures in Catskills fly fishing history is Theodore Gordon. Gordon is credited with developing many of the fly fishing techniques that are still used today. He lived in Roscoe and fished the Beaver Kill extensively. In the late 1800s, Gordon began to develop his own flies and fly tying techniques, which were more effective than the traditional English patterns that were popular at the time.

Gordon is widely considered to be the father of American dry fly fishing, and he is credited with creating several famous fly patterns that are still in use. One of his most famous creations is the Quill Gordon. The Quill Gordon is a classic dry fly pattern that imitates the early season mayfly hatch, and it is a popular choice among fly fishers today.

Another famed fly tyer and angler, Lee Wulff, created several patterns in the 1930s including the Royal Wulff, the White Wulff, the Grey Wulff, and the Adams Wulff, among others.

The flies are known for their bushy, highly visible wings, which make them easy for anglers to see on the water. They are typically tied with hair from a white-tailed deer or moose, and their bodies are made from a variety of materials, including peacock herl, dubbing, or synthetic materials.

Wulff flies are highly effective at imitating a wide range of mayflies and other insects, and are popular choices for fly fishing for trout, grayling, and other freshwater species. The Wulff series of flies have become classic patterns and are widely used by fly fishermen around the world.

Both anglers and fly tyers are memorialized for their contributions to the sport and the art of fly fishing, as well as their conservation efforts, at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor where exhibits are dedicated to them.

They believed fly fishing has a history and heritage worth preserving. Many of the techniques and traditions of fly fishing have been passed down through generations, and preserving the heritage can help maintain a connection to the past.

Fly fishing is a significant economic driver and helps support local economies and businesses.

Today, the Beaver Kill and Willowemac in Livingston Manor and Roscoe, along with the east and west branches and the main stem of the Delaware River in Delaware County, and the Little Delaware River and Trout Creek in the town of Trout Creek, remain popular destinations for fly fishing enthusiasts. 

There are five different types of trout in New York waterways, including brook trout, also known as speckled trout, and are the only native species in the state. They prefer cold, clean water and are typically found in small streams and high elevation lakes.

Brown trout are an introduced species now found widely throughout the state. They are known for their aggressive behavior and can grow to be quite large.

Rainbow trout are also an introduced species and are popular among anglers due to their acrobatic fighting style. They are often stocked in streams and lakes and can be found in some wild populations.

Lake trout are typically found in larger, deeper lakes. They are known for their size and can grow to over 30 pounds.

Steelhead trout are migratory rainbow trout and are found in Lake Ontario and its tributaries. They are known for their strong runs.