Monthly Archives: October 2010

Felt-soled waders may be banned on parts of some Catskills rivers

Anglers with felt-soled wading shoes: The list of places you can fish may soon shrink again.
Felt soles are forbidden in Vermont, beginning next spring. Now, they may be banned on parts of trout streams in the Catskills and the lower Hudson Valley that are part of New York City’s water supply system.
The idea, of course, is to contain didymosphenia geminata, better known as didymo or rock snot, which in the worst cases can smother streambeds with thick mats of vegetation — making fishing all but impossible and possibly harming the ability of trout to feed and spawn.
Fly-fishers have relied on felt soles for traction on slippery underwater rocks for generations. But many scientists believe felt soles are the perfect environment for didymo spores, and that the rock snot had been carried from stream to stream in still-damp wading shoes.
Over the past two weeks, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection held hearings in Highmount, Yorktown Heights and Queens on a proposal to ban felt-soled shoes from city-owned property, which includes small sections of most of the great Catskill trout rivers: Esopus and Schoharie creeks, the Delaware River and the Neversink River. Also affected would be significant segments of the pristine and productive tail­water streams of the Croton watershed in the lower Hudson Valley.
“This essentially puts into effect a rule that only rubber-bottomed soles can be used to prevent invas­ive species from being transfered from one location to another,” said Farrell Sklerov, a spokesman for the DEP.
Since the ban would apply only to city-owned property, most of the Catskill streams would be unaffected. The city generally owns only the area immediately around its reservoirs and part of the streams that feed them. The ban would not affect the branches of the Delaware or the lower Neversink, for example, except near the reservoir dams.
Furthermore, Sklerov emph­asized that a felt sole ban is not a done deal. The proposed regulation change would “simply give us the ability to implement restrictions in the future if needed and based on situations as they arise,” he said. “Prior to enacting a ban, we would discuss possible restrictions with DEC and others in the scientific community.”
But should the ban go into effect, it would cut off access to several favorite spots on the Esopus — Big Bend pool, the Trestle (pictured at the top of The Fly Line) and the beloved Chimney Hole — for those felt-wearing anglers who don’t wish to buy new boots or who consider them unsafe.
“This is a ‘feel-good’ attempt to fix a big problem while totally missing other causes — canoes, kayaks to name a few,” said Ed Ostapczuk of Shokan on the Esopus, an avid angler of that creek and longtime advocate for ecologically sound management of New York City’s reservoir system, who opposes felt sole bans.
“Anglers need to be responsible for their own action, and use Spray Nine on felt bottom wading soles as [the state Department of Envir­onmental Conservation] recommends,” he said. “I would say that half the folks I have talked to about banning felts are opposed to this idea. Alternative wading shoes do not work as well — based upon talking to folks who have these — so angler safety is a big concern, plus the proposal will do little to address the problem.”
If you’d like to weigh in on the idea, the DEP is accepting written comments until Oct. 15. Send them to Melissa Siegel, Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Legal Affairs, 59-17 Junction Blvd., 19th floor, Flushing, NY, 11373-5108 or

–The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y., 10/7/10

Tenkara on a Hudson Valley Afternoon

Early October. Partly cloudy. Enough breeze to shake acorns into the stream, but not enough to interfere with casting the Ebisu and 13-foot level line. Water in low 60s on my thermometer, but some spots felt cooler.


perfect tenkara water.



Actually caught on the 5-weight, but note the fly -- sakasa copperbari, a la Tenkara Bum.



Plenty of wild browns here.



Later, bro


Art Lee: Angler, Author & Now Hall-of-Famer

The late Lee Wulff famously called the Atlantic salmon the “fish of 10,000 casts.”

Art Lee is a great admirer of Wulff and his legacy, but he fishes for salmon on his own terms. “I said, ‘Baloney. I don’t want to make 10,000 casts,’” said Lee, who will be inducted into the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum Hall of Fame Oct. 9. “I want to make one, at exactly the right time.”

He seems to have the timing down. No person, Icelander or foreign, has caught the biggest salmon of the season from Icelandic waters more than once, except for Lee – who has done it five times.

Lee is quick to say that fishing is supposed to be fun, but his idea of fun is to take fishing very, very seriously. He’s been on the water as many as 300 days per year for the past four decades. He has gone fishing for salmon in Iceland more than 40 times, often for six weeks at a time, and fished the Canadian Maritime Provinces far more often than that.

Lee has published articles in 106 consecutive issues of the quarterly Atlantic Salmon Journal, a streak unmatched by any other fishing writer at any other magazine, and he says he plans to write at least 106 more. (“I dictated one to a doctor in the intensive care unit of a hospital,” he recalled.)

He is also the author of some of the most informative, intelligent and entertaining fishing how-to books ever published, including “The Lore of Trout Fishing,” “Tying and Fishing the Riffling Hitch” and “Fishing Dry Flies for Trout on Rivers and Streams.”

Lee is in distinguished company as a CFFCM Hall of Fame inductee. Also being inducted this year are John Randolph, longtime publisher of Fly Fisherman magazine; Louis Rhead, the artist and author in the late 1800s and early 1900s of many books and articles, including “American Trout Stream Insects,” and Jack Gartside, the intellectual Boston cab driver and cheerfully unorthodox fly designer who died last year.

Lee’s career began in 1965 as a general assignment reporter at the Schenectady, N.Y. Gazette. He then spent several years at the Albany Times Union, moved on to stints with Curt Gowdy’s “The American Sportsman” TV show and the now-defunct American League of Anglers, and began his long association with Fly Fisherman as northeast field editor. In the mid-1970s, he moved to Roscoe and has made his living ever since as a writer for all the big fly-fishing magazines as well as National Geographic and Sports Illustrated.

Such is Lee’s inquisitive approach to fishing that he once figured out that trout weren’t rising to spent, egg-laying mayfly spinners because they were actually eating the insects’ eggs. He tied up some tiny egg flies and caught trout with a technique that no one had ever thought of before.

There is sacrifice in the life of a fishing writer like Lee, and it’s not for everyone. “After moving to Roscoe, I never played another round of golf,” he said. “I decided to be as good a fisherman as I can be. But I’ve also said that governments don’t rise or fall based on whether you can catch a fish. There’s no reason to presume that you have to take it as seriously as I have. It can simply be a wonderful lifetime hobby.”

Lee still thinks like a reporter. He’s turned down offers to endorse products in order to preserve his objectivity – “How can you be a journalist and endorse?” he said – and is proudest of being called “a man who never raises his hand unless he has something to say” by Christopher Lehman-Haupt of The New York Times and “a man who always tells the truth” by legendary salmon guide Richard Adams.

Lee won’t have to travel far for the induction ceremony. The Catskill Center is in Livingston Manor, just up the road from Roscoe, and begins at 3 p.m. Visit for more information.