Exhibits in the museum are changed regularly. They include historical moments in fly fishing, the people who have contributed to fly fishing, equipment, art, and current affairs. Permanent exhibits on display are: the Darbees, Dettes, Poul Jorgensen, Lee Wulff, Art Flick, and the Charmed Circle of the Catskills containing vignettes of those that made the Catskills famous: Gordon, Hewitt, LaBranche, Steenrod, Christian, Cross, and Flick. The museum also contains a safe and climate controlled acquisition room, library for archive and research, and the first and only working bamboo rod making museum and workshop containing some of the finest functional historical machinery and equipment, a testimony to the historical Hudson Valley rod maker and their techniques.
In addition to the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame, the Museum has now a dedicated area in recognition of those contributing to the art and craft of cane rod building, The Rod Makers Gallery, the official home of the Poul Jorgensen Golden Hook Award recognizing fly tyers who continue in the education and promotion of fly tying, and the Lee Wulff Conservation Award for those making a major impact on the education of youth, environmental conditions of our water and resources, or promotion of fly fishing.
The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum is proud to present our International Exhibits. This year we are featuring Flies from Spain. Previous exhibits have been Flies from Italy, Flies from Sweden, Flies from Japan, Flies from the British Isles, Flies from Poland and Flies from New Zealand. The flies in these exhibits have been provided by both professional and amateur tyers from the various counties.
Women in Fly Fishing celebrates the contributions and participation of women in freshwater fly fishing in the United States. From the earliest English written record to modern day, women have made significant contributions to the development of the sport of fly fishing. Angling pioneers, all of them, deserve credit for standardizing flies, creating fly patterns, and setting the marks of excellence in their disciplines. These remarkable leaders cut a path that encouraged succeeding flyfishers and artisans to follow. Rods were not built, flies were not tied, lessons were not taught and words were not written without the influence of women whose mastery of their crafts was respected by the fly fishing world. From the great rivers of the West to our home waters in the Catskills, from the northern streams in Maine to the waterways of the South, women have taken up their fly rods to fish simply for the love of the sport. History illuminates women who have been inspired to create, design, teach and engage in fly fishing.
In 2012 we celebrate Social Clubs 2012 The Year of Our Club Partners. As in Charles Goodspeed’s book, Fishing in America, he chronicles the history of fishing clubs in America with the earliest being developed by Dutch settlers in the 1600’s. The oldest fishing club in the United States is the Schuylkill Fishing Club, incorporated in 1732. It was founded by an early group of dedicated anglers in Philadelphia as a social club. Of course, the Schuylkill club is long gone, but social fishing clubs both public and private remain. Many of these ‘social’ clubs grew and evolved into some of the most powerful conservation driven ‘fishing’ organizations on both local and national levels. With strength in numbers, clubs have and continue to provide our fly fishing community with fishery protection, cleaner water, fishing access, and a monitoring to protect our streams for generations to follow. Many have local chapters providing both a social atmosphere and local water protection, a wide range of educational programs, and preservation of local history and folklore. Each club is a valued member of our extended fly fishing community.
As we prepare for another year inside the museum, we take great pride in having received the fly collection of Pennsylvania’s Fontinalis Club. Although an important asset of their club, they feel it should be shared with all of us and they believe there is no better place than the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum. This collection includes some of the finest flies from Hans Roper, Art Flick, and probably one of the best collections of Darbee flies, tied by Harry and Elsie, ever seen. We will use this collection as a cornerstone of our Club Partners Exhibit
The Fontinalis club started in 1966, draws members from a fifty mile radius around Port Jervis, NY. Like many clubs, it was originally conceived as a social club for fly tying and swapping lies, but shortly grew into a force for conservation with far reaching perspectives. With first hand knowledge from guest speakers Harry Darbee, Gardner Grant, Art Flick, Walt Dette, Eric Leiser, Joe Humphrey and many others in the 70’s, they became a champion providing work and finances to both local and national conservation projects. In 1979 Fontinalis received The McKenzie Cup, an annual award presented to a club which has made an outstanding contribution on behalf of the FFF.
Today, because of the many other clubs in the area, and so many other interests, Fontinalis membership has declined greatly and only a small group of diehards meet from time to time to keep memories alive. Let us know the story of your club.
- Bamboo Fly Rods
- Reels & Reelsmithing
- The Charmed Circle