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Both fishing history, fish are in Catskill region

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Is there as great a contrast anywhere else in the United States? The teeming waterways of the Catskill Region, which jump with fish, are only a two-hour drive from the teeming streets of Manhattan.

Famous as being the birthplace of American fly fishing, the Catskill Region is home to one of the strongest freshwater fish populations in the world. Streams like the Beaverkill River, the Neversink River, and Willowemoc Creek are home to trout, bass, pickerel, and shad.

Streams in the Catskill Region are where such pioneering anglers as Theodore Gordon, “Uncle Thad” Norris, Edward G. Hewitt, and George LaBranche honed their fishing skills in the late 1800s as they helped shape the American style of fishing.

In those years, many devoted anglers flocked to the Catskill Region and it became a mecca for fly tyers, rod-makers, river-keepers and writers. The region is still home to the renowned fly tyer Poul Jorgensen and world-famous fly fishing teacher Joan Wulff.

Each year, the fishing season in the Catskill Region is opened with a ceremonial first cast at dawn on April 1. This year, that honor went to actor Patrick Tovatt, one of the stars of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway show “Proof.”

Tovatt, an avid fisherman, said, “It’s hard to believe that this spectacular, unspoiled territory is just a couple of hours away from New York City. It’s a great gift and the responsibility to protect and preserve it is of tremendous importance. It’s an area of breathtaking beauty, and of great significance in the history of fly fishing in America—after all, this is where it all started.”

That first cast took place at Junction Pool, where the Beaverkill and the Willowemoc meet. The fishing season runs through mid-October.

Preserving the heritage and future of American fly fishing is the goal of the Catskill Fly Center and Museum in Livingston Manor, which is dedicated to educating future generations of anglers while protecting the fishing environment. The center is situated on 53 acres on a mile of accessible, prime trout stream, where a no-kill policy is in force. It includes a museum, an educational and environmental research center, interpretive displays, sponsorship of research projects, a meeting place for those who love to fish, and a venue for public awareness of the natural environment and habitats of the kinds of fish that respond to flys.

The Catskill Region of New York is perfect for all types of sports enthusiasts. It is a great place for hunting, fishing, and boating, and in winter, there is premium skiing.

But the Catskill Region is not only about sports. Cultural options include art galleries, museums and historic sites, theater, dance, fairs, and festivals.

Shoppers can take advantage of antiques stores, auctions, crafts shops, and farmers' markets. The area also offers a wide range of excellent accommodations.

For more information about the Catskill Region of New York State, call (800) NYS-CATS for a free brochure or visit www.catskillregiontoday.com for a detailed preview.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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