The opening that wasn’t

Ain’t no foolin’ fish on April 1

Posted 4/8/20

ROSCOE & BEYOND, NY — In years past, the local region marked the opening day of NY’s trout season on April 1 with a celebration at Junction Pool: “One of the most famous pools …

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The opening that wasn’t

Ain’t no foolin’ fish on April 1


ROSCOE & BEYOND, NY — In years past, the local region marked the opening day of NY’s trout season on April 1 with a celebration at Junction Pool: “One of the most famous pools in angling literature.”

“Formed by the waters of the Beaverkill and Willowemoc, it is a pool with strange and mystifying currents and eddies. Legend says that the confusing flows cause migrating trout to linger for days trying to decide which stream to enter. This indecisiveness causes a delay which, in itself, is the reason many of the largest trout in the Beaverkill are taken from this pool,” reads the sign erected by the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum (CFFCM), introducing folks to the fabled junction of the mingling waters. There’s also mention of the Beamoc, the legendary two-headed trout that dwells beneath the swirling waters and riffles of Junction Pool; but that’s a story for another time.

On Wednesday, April 1, this sports scribbler fired up his trusty Land Rover and headed off to Roscoe, stopping at points along the Beaverkill while meandering upstream towards Cooks Falls. (Yeah, I know it’s British, so ‘trusty’ is rather loosely based on hope and a good mechanic.)

Not so much in search of fish, this sports scribbler was fishing for the few folks who were out and about on opening day.

Junction Pool is the usual gathering place where the royalty of the fly-fishing realm met to participate as guest casters in the annual rite of passage called “first cast.” This ceremonial venture featured luminaries of the sport, ranging from Joan Wulff, “The First Lady of Fly Fishing,” to the recently deceased Dave Brandt (1944-2020), past president of the Catskill Fly Tiers Guild and widely known as one of the best Catskill-style fly tiers.

But, in these times, there were no celebrations at Junction Pool.

This opening day, rather than crowds mingling and sharing memories of past exploits on opening day, the pool attracted only a few hardy souls wetting a line in hopes of luring a trout to the surface with their dry fly or perhaps less prestigious fishing lure.

But back to the road trip.

The first stop was at Dette Pool, located at Roscoe’s Riverside Park at the former site of the Roscoe House, an old inn catering to anglers and guests who arrived in town by the O&W Railroad.

United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Konstantin Sergeer hails from upstate and is currently stationed in Newburgh, NY.

It was the 19-year-old Marine’s first time fishing in the area. When asked why he took the day off, LCpl Sergeer replied, “I had to get out of the barracks.”

Then it was on to Junction Pool.

Roscoe’s Robert Scherer moved to “Trout Town USA” a couple of years ago but has fished at the renowned locale of lore for 35 years. His son has joined him on opening day at Junction Pool for the past 22 consecutive seasons, but this year, he was all by his lonesome.

As a prime example that we really all do live in a small world, Scherer recalled being interviewed recently by a local reporter for a feature article on Little Sparrow, a group of musicians that plays Americana, acoustic rock and folk. The local fisherman plays percussion in the form on congas and bongos with Little Sparrow, along with Carol and Aldo Troiani and other members of the band. It turns out the interviewer was TRR’s very own Johnathan Charles Fox, along with his canine sidekick, Dharma the Wonder Dog.

Asked why he likes to fish, Scherer replied, “It’s peaceful,” adding of his belief in the catch-and-release style of fishing, “A lot of the kids around here do that now.”

Traveling up the Beaverkill, a few folks were matching the catch to the hatch as they tried to lure trout to the hook.

From Barnhart’s Pool, named after the Barnhart family who, according to a roadside sign erected by the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, “owned the adjoining lands. In 1939, Claude and Ada Barnhart conveyed a fishing rights easement to New York State allowing public access to one mile of the Beaverkill,” and a bit further on to Cairn’s Pool, named after the Carin family whose memebers were “owners of adjoining lands, early Beaverkill settlers, farmers and raftsmen.”

Stephen Lavoie of Niantic, CT has made the pilgrimage from his home in the Constitution State to the Empire State’s opening day of trout season for the last six years.

“It’s a great town,” he said of nearby Roscoe as he fished for trout off the time-etched bluestone ledges along the Beaverkill near Cooks Falls.  He shared that he fondly recalled early mist-shrouded mornings at Junction Pool when townsfolks handed out fresh coffee, hot chocolate and hand-made sweets to one and all on opening day.

Earlier in the day, Lavoie said he caught a brown on his first try at trout, “First cast, first bite, first fish.” But as an advocate of catch and release, the only pics where trout selfies on his smartphone.

Art Haake divides his time between Roscoe and Hudson, FL, but was back in this neck of the woods on opening day, fishing the Beaverkill in the swift water between still pools.

Taking a few moments to show off a pair of beautiful two-plus pound brownies, Haake said he began fishing in the area as a 12-year-old. “It’s the thrill of catching them,” explained the 70-year-old fly fisherman.


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