Saturday, July 4, 2015

Spey Nations, Catskills and East Coast Flavor

Tight Lines Fly Shop and "Spey"
Amidst a busy summer with Marty running bass trips in 105 heat and low water and me working for TRCP, I dropped Tegan off at my sisters on Whidbey Island, Washington and flew to Newark, New Jersey for a quick tour starting at Tight Lines FlyShop and ending my trip on the Salmon River in Altmar, New York for SpeyNations. My mother was born and raised in New York. Despite still having relatives out East, I haven’t visited since I was a kid.  What I remember was the lights of the big city.  This time I would land in Newark, by pass New York City and head North to where the Catskills meet the Adirondacks.   My uncle told me that this is where my mother fell in love with the outdoors and I see why.

My flight arrives in Newark midnight, E.T. .  Nancy and Andrew Moy from Tight Lines ( a full service shop with a fantastic tying selection, spey rods and “Spey” the shop dog.  Half hour from New York, this is the place to go if you need material and equipment. )  arranged a shuttle to pick me up. I’m greeted by Mike, born and raised in New Jersey; he’s full of questions about the West coast. He speaks with pride about being an East coaster, we compare the cost of living and he tells me his from central New Jersey.  
If you’re from South Jersey, you don’t ever want anyone to ask if you’re from North Jersey, which you think is basically New York. If you’re from North Jersey, you don’t ever want anyone to ask if you live in South Jersey, which you think is basically Philadelphia, or worse, Delaware. If you’re from Central Jersey, doesn’t ever ask if Central Jersey really exist. It does.
Catskills Museum
The next morning I meet the Moy’s, full of energy and fun, this is going to be a great week! Heading north we stop at the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum that is working to protect and promote fly -fishing. Engulfed by a history that dates back to the early mid 1800’s with bamboo rods on display by H.L Leonard to a collection of art by Lee and Joan Wolf and more. I discover this is where fly-fishing in the U.S. really got its start and is the birth of the “Catskills Style.”  
In 1890, sporting magazine columnist Theodore Gordon wrote to the renowned English fly fishing author, Fredrick Halford, complaining of the selective nature of the brown trout's feeding habits, and soliciting suggestions on fly selection for Gordon's Catskill waters. Halford sent back a cache of flies that were productive on the placid English chalk streams of Kent (on display at the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum, in Livingston Manor, NY today). Gordon recognized the flies needed to change to  imitate the local hatches, so he tweaked the design of Halford's flies to created the high-floating Quill Gordon dry fly, the first of the iconic "Catskill style" of dry fly.   
Andrew and Collin on the Beaverkill
After an hour in the museum and becoming members, Andrew and I continue our journey to the Beaverkill River, a tributary to the East Branch Delaware.  At the Moy cabin we wader up for an evening fish.  Swinging isonychia nymphs  and drifting isonychia dries, trout smack our flies under a gray sky against the lush green “tropical” forest.  As dusk approaches, the sky lights up with Fireflies.  I’m as giddy as a child remembering catching fireflies as a kid in Tennessee. Nancy and I chase the flies trying to catch one, she manages to seize one and I let it crawl on me, watching it illuminate green, it flies away.    
Patrick shares his secret flies 

The next day we meet our sports to hone in their spey casting skills and fish the evening hatch. PJ and I miss the evening fish and head to Altmar.  She’s from Canada and new to the sport, is on a sole mission to  submerge herself in the Spey culture and what a better way than a full day lesson and off to Spey Nations for the weekend.
Malinda - Malinda's Fly Shop
Hand Crafted Fly Box by Adelcio Chavez
Get your Dunkin Donuts at the Simms Booth
We arrive at  Tailwater Lodge on the Salmon River.  Greeted with laughter’s and hugs by Patrick Ross and his friends as well as West coast locals Travis Johnston and James Shaughnessy, we’re happy to be there and eat  crab fitters and best burgers I've had hands down!  Patrick’s , a  long time angler who owns the Anglers Lodge where the first Spey Nations took place,  he has been hosting West Coasters since.  It's great to have local knowledge and a down to earth host.  Saturday morning arrives and PJ and I head to the Spey Nations location on the Salmon River. 

Spey Nations started as a format to share the passion for Atlantic Salmon, raise awareness for a fishery that people love and the two handed culture.  With coffee in hand we are greeted with hand shacks and hospitality.  The lot is lined with industry booths and people hustling to say hi to old friends and make new ones. The vibe is about having a good time and sharing the fervor we all have for preserving the fish we love and promoting the sport we are nuts about.   The evening ends with beers, BBQ and laughs and preparing for a class the next day with a group of awesome women that are avid anglers and the token guy (just kidding Ron).
Sunday’s class is a blast teaching single speys and snake rolls and working on casting with the non dominant hand up. We laugh, talk about fishing and flies.  I’ve made new friends and this is what our sport is about! 
Spey Army
After the class Patrick, Travis , Captin Jamie and I  head out for  a Northern Pike mission near Lake Ontario. This is my first time seeing Lake Ontario and I feel like I’m standing in the Kodiak harbor. Seagulls fly over head and sport boats line the docks.  What feels like a sea breeze chills the air. We launch “Team Water Spyder” and shoot up an estuary. Rods are rigged and 30 pound mono is tied on. We cast towards grassy banks and strip.  Patrick’s fly lands, a head turns and the speed of the Pike leaves a boil the size of Old Faithful.   We fish till we can’t see any more missing some great takes and landing a couple juveniles.  What a great way to end an East Coast trip.
Caption Jamie leads the way! 
Little but strong !

Lily's on the water

Rushing back to the West coast to pick up Tegan and hightail it back to Maupin for work and preparing for a session with Ron Wyden on the Oregon Economy and Recreation. I’m thrown back to the hustle of our life and grateful to have the opportunity to visit the East Coast and make new friends!  Thanks to all the good folks that made my trip possible and all the new friends I made, too many to list. Thank you Geoff and the Spey Nations Crew, Patrick Ross, Andrew and Nanacy Moy, Tailwater Lodge, Melinda’s Fly and Tackle Shop, Jamie Perry, Travis Johnston, Joe and Delores Saracione, Simms Fishing, Rajeffs Sports and  Costa Del Mar.  . An extra big thanks to my sister and brother in law for watching Tegan!!