AWSMP learned about Fisheries and Fly Fishing at the Catskills Visitors Center

Posted on: September 24th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Scott George USGS

Scott George, fisheries biologist with USGS, talks about fish of the upper Esopus Creek.


The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) learned about the state of Esopus Creek fisheries and the history of fly fishing in the Catskills at the “Esopus Creek Fish and Fly Fishing Demonstration” held at the Catskills Visitor Center on Friday, September 20. This event was part of AWSMP’s Ashokan Watershed Month series of programs.

Scott George of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) started off with a presentation on the research that USGS has done on the Esopus. He explained that after events like Tropical Storm Irene, which devastated the area in 2011, they expected the fishery to be in decline in the years that followed. Quite to the contrary they found that the fishery rebounded quickly after the flood and actually did better than in some years immediately prior to the flood. While there is no definitive answer on why this is, George suspects the movement of sediment during the flood may have covered over or cleaned away some fine deposits, which provided a better substrate for spawning.

Fly Fishing Instruction 9-2019

Mark Loete, owner of Catskill Mountain Fly Fishing Guiding and Instruction and Trout Unlimited member, demonstrates how to cast with a fly rod.


Following this Mark Loete of the Ashokan-Pepacton Chapter of Trout Unlimited gave a talk about the history of fly fishing around the world and more specifically about fly fishing the Esopus Creek. He explained that the Esopus Creek is the birthplace of American fly fishing, made popular by anglers like Theodore Gordon and depicted by artists of the Hudson River School like Asher Durand. At the end of the program he gave participants a short lesson on how to properly cast a fly rod.

There are still a few programs left for Ashokan Watershed Month. Be sure to check them out by visiting our website.

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