A Day in the Catskills with Walt from Rivertop Rambles

Started out Saturday by joining my friend Walt Franklin of Rivertop Rambles at Summerfest on the grounds of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. Summerfest is mainly a fly fishing  flea market, but there are also other events during the day. This is the second year for me and it is always a lot of fun.

Summerfest 2014 Catskills Fly Fishing Center & Museum #finfollower

We spent a couple of hours walking around, catching up, comparing blog notes and visiting the vendor booths, whose offerings ranged from fly tying materials to vintage bamboo rods. But soon were talking about the opportunity to fish.

Willowemoc River Covered Bridge #finfollowerWalt drove 3 hours for this day trip and I drove 2, so we wanted to make the most of the limited time we had.

I had never fished the Willowemoc and it had been some time ago for Walt, so we hopped in our cars and within a few minutes were on what looked to be low and clear fishy water.

The Willowemoc is a picturesque stream with plenty of fly fishing history.

It is a collection of pools, runs and riffles, easily wadeable and requires only reasonable casting effort.  I was using a 9′ 5wt. and could reach the opposite bank when needed.

Walt Franklin of Rivertop Rambles on the Willowemoc, August 2014 #finfollowerBut looks can be deceiving. Despite the Willowemoc’s attractiveness, neither of us hooked up in the hour or so that we spent there. Eager to get into some fish, we had a quick lunch at a restaurant in Roscoe and headed to the Beaverkill.

I had some luck a few weeks before on the Beaverkill, but we went to an area that was new to me.

This particular spot is well known and well marked, yet Walt and I shared the water with only one other angler for most of the day.

When we arrived we were happy to see fish rising, but it quickly became a guessing game on what flies to use.

We practically threw everything in the flybox at them until we settled on small midges in the 22+ range. It took me several missed strikes to figure this out.

We caught fish on both light and dark colors, but darker colored flies prevailed. We were broken off several times. Walt and I will be forever haunted by the trout that broke both of us off and took our leaders and flies a few times that day.

Beaverkill Brown Trout #finfollower

After we unlocked the fly selection mystery, we were both into fish. Nice healthy browns, none more than 12″. All were good swimmers, vehement protesters and net adverse.

We spent a few hours catching trout, comparing notes and spotting fish for each other. The overcast sky that had accompanied us began to break but the temperature stayed comfortably in the 70’s.

But all good things must come to an end, and  in my case, a wet one. As I turned to leave the river, I slipped on a rock and fell completely into the cold water. I was wearing pant waders, so when I stood up there was no hope of finding any part of me dry. Luckily only my pride was hurt. A quick trip to the car to change and I was dried off and good to go.

Walt and I packed up, said goodbye and headed out in opposite directions. As I drove home, the Allman Brother’s Blue Sky came on the radio and the Catskills sky turned to a nice shade of light blue. It reminded me that this trip was a great chance to reconnect and spend some time on the water with a friend. Hope you do the same before the end of the season. Enjoy!

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  1. Leigh, Hey, a nice write-up here! I was telling Leighanne that we had a fine time of it in the Catskills. It was fun, and I look forward to further fishing opportunities when we get them. I’m going to include this visit in a post sometime soon, after one that I need to put up today.
    walt´s last blog post ..A Small Stream Summer

  2. Thanks Walt. I look forward to it. Hope the wedding went well. I need to replenish my midge supply and I’ll be good to go.

  3. My daughter saw the pic of her fly-fishing dad and liked it, which reminded me that I need a photo of my fishing-self for inclusion in a book that I am finishing. Could you send me a copy of that? If used, I’ll certainly credit you and your blog. Thanks again!
    walt´s last blog post ..My Fishing’s Top 5 Curses

  4. Will do Walt. Look for an email from me later tonight.

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