February 9th, 1998

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories. . .

A Catskill Remembrance

By Louis J. Wentz

The Schoharie is the poor stepsister of Catskill Rivers. Even though it flows through some of the loveliest country in the region, it has only marginal habitat for precious trout. Although Flick composed his streamside guide there, the times I've fished it has produced few memorable hatches and many disappointments. Where the stream meets the Westkill, very few wild fish can survive the sun's unforgiving rays penetrating the featureless banks where shading is desperately needed, warming the water and denying trout the kind of protective overhead needed on Eastern freestone streams.

During annual reunions to the Catskills each Spring, I usually manage to make at least one trip over to the Schoharie. It's not so much of a fishing outing as a pilgrimage, a chance to embrace the contributions Art Flick gave to our sport and the stream itself. His is truly a 'bloom where your planted' story and the sense I feel when I'm on this stream is a reverence not felt in other places in the Catskills, even the Beaverkill or Willowemoc. Those streams are steeped in tradition and have much better fishing, but the Schoharie to me represents one man's pursuit of trout and flyfishing shaped by the flow of the river and the character of the man. It becomes more defined for me from the distant ridges, as I gaze down to the dairy valleys while the river winds its fated course. I envision a man who fished each pocket, pool and riffle, carefully noting every emergence during the whims and vagaries of a brief but cherished Spring, imagining a man who loved a stream that was ignored by most and probably scorned by a few.

There is a small group of fly fisherman who plant willow trees along the banks of the Schoharie to continue an undertaking first started by Art Flick to improve his beloved water. Their doing so not only heals the stream, but more importantly, keeps his spirit alive. I've never fished with Art Flick, though I've stood under his trees many times, staring across the sun splashed riffles, mingling the past with the present, reflecting on a river's influence on a fishing passion. Somehow I get the feeling that a man's essence lives on beyond his mortal time, casting nebulous shadows on the boulder strewn edges, sifting treasured moments from the thin, crisp air. In a distinctly peculiar way, I suppose that means that I've fished with Art Flick. ~ Louis J. Wentz

Louis Wentz is our reader/contributor for this installment of Reader's Casts. Lou is an avid fly fisherman whose home waters are the smooth glides and gentle riffles of limestone streams in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Combining his passion with writing skill, Lou can be found in the January-March 1998 edition of The Storyteller with his article, "Opening Day Blues". He also has a completed work, "Stream of Memories" awaiting publication in a future issue of The Pennsylvania Angler.
A fisherman for fourty-three years, and fly fisherman for twenty-two of those, Lou is an active angler; a past president and current conservation coordinator or the Perkiomen Valley Chapter of TU.

Copyright ©1998, Louis J. Wentz

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