News & Events
Sporting Clubs: Saviors of our Catskill Rivers
April 28, 2018
We had a full house on April 28, as author Austin 'Mac' Francis and Bethia Waterman discussed the history and origins of sporting clubs and preserves, both public and private, in the Catskills. By the late nineteenth century, overfishing, pollution and deforestation had devastated Catskill streams. In response, groups of sportsmen founded organizations like Phoenicia Fish and Game to protect streams and forest lands. Some became advocates and activists for environmental conservation, achieving landmark reforms and protections. Stay tuned as we post photos and a link to the event podcast in the coming weeks.
Austin McK. Francis is owner and publisher of The Beaverkill Press, a small literary press specializing in sporting and outdoors books. He is the author of Land of Little Rivers and Catskill Rivers, Birthplace of American Flyfishing. Bethia Waterman is one of the founders of the Jerry Bartlett Angling Collection and a resident of the Town of Shandaken.
Nick Lyons: A Life Well Fished
December 2, 2017
Nick Lyons, a titan in the field of books about fishing, joined us on December 2 for a memorable talk about his life and work. Before a full house, Nick reminisced about a lifetime of fishing, told some of his favorite stories, and answered questions. His generous donation of many of his books, which he signed for attendees, helped raise funds for the collection. Thank you, Nick! Listen to the podcast of the event or download the transcript, below.
Catching of Old Bess and the History of Rainbow Lodge
October 14, 2017
The family of Larry Decker entertained a full house with the epic story of the 1955 capture of the elusive and wily trout, "Old Bess," and Ed Kahil shared his scrapbook and memories from his family's legendary lodge for fishermen. Enjoy Larry Decker memorabilia and rare historic photos of the Rainbow Lodge in its heyday,listen to the podcasts of the event or download the transcripts, below.
Events from the 20th Anniversary Celebration: Catskill Fishing Fever Forums showcase local fishing history, tradition and celebrities
In commemoration of our 20th Anniversary, the Jerry Bartlett Collection hosted a four-part series of lively discussions about the history of fishing in the Catskills. All the events were held in the community meeting room in the Phoenicia Library, on Main Street, Phoenicia.
July 23, 2016: “On the River with Authors, Guides and Catskill Characters.” Moderated by local historian Bill Birns, local authors and fishing guides shared their stories about fishing legends Ralph Hoffman, Paul O'Neil and Ray Smith, and their own experiences from a lifetime of fishing on the river. You can listen to the podcast of the event or download the transcript, below.
May 14, 2016: “Fishy Tales.” Active and retired DEC folks took us along on a wide ranging discussion of topics like their major battles, Catskill Bill Kelly, fishery management crises and public fishing rights. Moderated by Outdoor Writer Judy Van Put, the panel featured Jack Isaacs, Walt Keller, Mike Gann and Ed Van Put. You can listen to the podcast or download the transcript, below.
April 16, 2016: “Art Flick, Author, Fly Tyer and Conservationist.” Panelists Judd Weisberg, Wendy Neefus, Tony Bonavist, John Hoeko, Dave Brandt and Bert Darrow shared personal anecdotes and reminiscences about Art Flick, and discussed the impact of his essential Streamside Guide to Naturals and Their Imitations, as well as his important conservation efforts on the Schoharie. You can listen to the podcast or download the transcript, below.
March 19, 2016: “Frank Mele, the Fisherman, Author and Activist.” Moderated by local historian Bill Birns, the panel discussed Frank's life and writings, and his contribution to the organization Catskill Waters and its campaign for increased water releases into the Catskill system in the 1970s. The panel included Frank's son, Andy Mele, as well as John Hoeko, Roger Menard and Tony Bonavist. You can listen to the podcast or download the transcript, below.