At a glance: The Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum
This story is a sidebar to this article.
LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY – It started with the dream of showcasing the lure of the world-famous fly fishing experience in the Catskills’ clear shimmering waters and the heritage of the “Catskill style” of dry fly introduced by the legendary Theodore Gordon.
In 1983, what was to evolve into the internationally known Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum (CFFCM) opened its doors to the public as a storefront museum in Roscoe, NY, a small hamlet known as Trout Town, USA.
The CFFCM expanded to its new location on May 28, 1995, on a 35-acre parcel situated on the banks of Willowemoc Creek. In that same year, the museum took title to Junction Pool, the home of the legendary Beamoc, otherwise known as the two-headed trout.
The museum is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to preserving America’s storied fly fishing heritage, educating younger fly fishers and protecting the fragile, aquatic environment for future generations.
The local center features numerous exhibits and galleries, including the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame, the Demarest Rodmakers Gallery, the Heritage Craft Center and perhaps most notably the Wulff Gallery, named in honor of fly fishing luminaries Lee and Joan Wulff. It is also recognized as a sister museum to the Italian Museum of Fly Fishing, Stanislao Kuckiewicz, in Castel di Sangro, Italy.
The CFFCM recently welcomed to its dedicated ranks
John Kovach as managing director, and Rob Cerrarini in the role of development director.
“Coming from a media background, I know how to share a message, and the center needs to let more people know what it is doing to preserve the history of fly fishing and ensure the sport’s future,” said Kovach.
Kovach is known to most anglers as the host of “Yankee Fisherman” on the HAN Network (formerly titled Hersam Acorn Newspapers), an internet show that started audio streaming in 2014, and a year later evolved to streaming video.
Beginning in 1993, Kovach has been an editor at several news outlets including the Darien Times, the New Canaan Advisor, the Stratford Star and the Fairfield Sun, all stints based in Connecticut.
On the fishing side of things, he is communications and program chairman of the Nutmeg Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) and vice-chair of the states’ TU council.
The center’s new director has fished “virtually my entire life,” starting at the age of about 18. He ties his own flies and, along with fishing for trout, is a saltwater angler, spin fisherman and does tenkara, a fly fishing method from Japan.
“Rob and I see a lot of opportunity in the center,” he said. “We want to get more people involved in both the museum and in fly fishing…instructional programs, host field trips, schedule events for all ages [and] have plans for programs on art and angling for all ages… We want everyone to know that the sport of fly fishing, and the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum are open for them.”
"We want everyone to know that the sport of fly fishing, and the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum are open for them.”
Ceccarini has been a passionate and active voice in the angling community since he began fly fishing 20-some years ago.
Prior to coming to the CFFCM, he worked as the fishing manager at the Orvis store in New York City, where Ceccarini and his team established the Fifth Avenue store as a gateway to the famous brand.
“I take pride in introducing and developing new fly fishers through guided trips, private lessons and on-the-water instruction,” he said, noting that as an avid fly tyer, “I love nothing more than creating new patterns and helping others refine their craft.”
A dedicated conservationist, Ceccarini is a member of TU, Theodore Gordon Fly Fishers (TGF), Friends of the Upper Delaware River (FUDR) and Stripers Forever.
“Part of our initiative is to make fly fishing a more inclusive sport….offer more programs to new flyfishers, women and children,” he said.
On December 1, the CFFCM will host its annual holiday open house from 3 to 6 p.m. The event is open to the public.
It will be closed to the public for a well-deserved winter break from December 23 through February 15, when it reopens for the 2019 season for Fly Fest.
The CFFCM is located at 1031 Old Route 17 in Livingston Manor, NY. (Mailing address: P.O. Box 1295, Livingston Manor, NY 12758).