Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing’

A Conversation on Mayflies with Ed Ostapczuk

Posted on: April 15th, 2020 by Irene Foster
Quill Gordon Mayfly (Epeorus pleuralis). Photo by Ed Ostapczuk

Quill Gor­don Mayfly (Epe­orus pleu­ralis).
Pho­to by Ed Ostapczuk


Irene Fos­ter, AWSMP’s Water­shed Pro­gram Assis­tant for the year, had a chance to speak with local angler Ed Ostapczuk about this year’s mayfly hatch in streams of the Ashokan water­shed. A “hatch” occurs when insects enter the final stage of their life cycle. The nymphs molt their skin and become sub-adults after they emerge from the water sur­face. Mayflies are a sta­ple in the trout’s diet and anglers who dry fly fish imi­tate the size and col­or of mayfly nymphs. One of Ed’s favorite mayflies is the “Quill Gor­den,” sci­en­tif­ic name Epe­orus pleu­ralis.

Irene reports: I talked with Ed Ostapczuk this week to learn about the Quill Gor­don Mayfly.  Ed is a knowl­edge­able fly fish­er and the author of Ram­blings of a Charmed Cir­cle Fly­fish­er.


Q: When do you usu­al­ly see Quill Gor­don mayflies?

A: You typ­i­cal­ly start to see them in mid to late April.  This year they appeared ear­li­er, because of the warmer winter.


Q: Where is the best place in the Ashokan Water­shed to find Quill Gor­don mayflies?

A: In head­wa­ters and trib­u­taries because they live in the clean, cold, fast mov­ing water found in these spots.


Q: Are you see­ing a lot of Quill Gor­don mayflies this year?

A: The usu­al amount, which is about a dozen or so with each appearance.


Q: Are there dif­fer­ent species of mayflies?

A: Yes, there are hun­dreds of species of mayflies, and dozens in the Catskills.  Dif­fer­ent species pre­fer var­i­ous envi­ron­ments and can be found in dif­fer­ent loca­tions.  For exam­ple, the Green Drake mayfly, which prefers silty pools, is rare on the Eso­pus but can be found in oth­er places in the Catskills.


Q: What sig­nif­i­cance do the Quill Gor­don mayflies have for trout fishing?

A: Trout most­ly feed on Quill Gor­don mayflies when they are in the nymph stage, and some­times in the dun stage.  There­fore, peo­ple who are going fish­ing can tie their flies to look like nymphs or duns to attract fish.


Q: What habi­tat con­di­tions do Quill Gor­don mayflies enjoy?

A: Quill Gor­don mayflies need cold, fast, and clear water because they need oxy­gen.  They can be thought of as canaries in a coal mine, because they are sen­si­tive to envi­ron­men­tal changes such as pollution.


Q: What role do mayflies play in stream ecosystems?

A: Mayflies are food for oth­er species such as trout, oth­er insects, or birds.

Quill Gordon fly fishing flies.

Quill Gor­don fly fish­ing flies.


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.