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First cast at Junction Pool

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther

By Fritz Mayer
April 5, 2011

For many who pursue the sport, fly-fishing is as much about quietly communing with nature as it is about landing the big one.

On April 2, there weren’t many fish being landed, and the sporting enthusiasts were mostly communing with each other at the annual First Cast event, which ceremonially opens trout season in Sullivan County.

Oscar-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo, who has recently been very active in trying to raise awareness about hydraulic fracturing and gas drilling, was one of about a dozen enthusiasts willing to wade into the frigid waters of Junction Pool at the confluence of Willowemoc Creek and the Little Beaverkill River to take part in the cast.

Ruffallo said he became interested in fly-fishing about a year ago when he met Mike Canazon, who builds bamboo rods and volunteers every year to teach kids to tie flies and fly fish at the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon. As his son was learning the sport, Ruffalo got hooked as well.

Ruffalo, who was about to start shooting the film “The Avengers,” almost couldn’t make the appearance because he had been called to Albuquerque, NM to begin filming. But thanks to a last-minute schedule change, he was able to be on hand.

Also stepping in as a celebrity guest was Grammy-winning jazz pianist Laurence Hobgood, who donned his fishing outfit alongside others, such as assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, to take part in the cast. Some 65 onlookers and supporters turned out for the event, which began at about 7:30 a.m.

Also there to show support was Sullivan County Legislator Woody Wood who said, while he wasn’t carrying a rod at the time, he often fishes the area’s little feeder creeks in pursuit of trout. Wood said fly fishing is one of the most important economic drivers in the Roscoe area, and it brings a lot of sales tax dollars into Sullivan County.