Talking Sports

Catskill Fly Tyers hold roundtable

Posted 12/31/69

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — Jimmy Carter would have been proud.

The former United States president, an avid life-long fisherman and the longest living elected leader of our country, was …

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Talking Sports

Catskill Fly Tyers hold roundtable


LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — Jimmy Carter would have been proud.

The former United States president, an avid life-long fisherman and the longest living elected leader of our country, was recently honored by the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum (CFFCM) as their 2023 recipient of the prestigious Lee Wulff Conservation Award.

The Carter administration was instrumental in protecting more than 5,300 miles of wild and scenic rivers, including designating 73.4 miles of the Delaware River as the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River as part of the Department of Interior’s National Park System.

On November 4, the spirit of President Carter was present as the CFFCM hosted the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild roundtable, bringing back memories of his historic trip to the pristine free-flowing waters of the Catskills in September 1984.

The Catskill Fly Tyers Guild, a nonprofit organization, was established in 1993 with the stated goals of “preserving, protecting and enhancing the Catskill fly-tying heritage, working cooperatively to promote the work of present Catskill fly tyers, providing various ways for members to share information, and promoting the development of future generations of Catskill fly tyers.” 

As the fly tyers gathered in the Wulff Gallery to show off their talents in the art of tying flies, and share tricks of the trade, two images stood out above the dedicated tyers: a large-scale model of Lee Wulff’s famous float plane and a sign proclaiming “A game fish is too valuable to be caught only once.”

Joseph Ceballos, president of the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild, said he was inspired as a youngster to first wet a line by his grandfather Frank Osterlick, “from the old country of Austria, with its hunting and fishing tradition.”

Then in his mid-30s, he got back into fly fishing in the southern Catskills. 

Reflecting on the sport, he said, “If you look at it from the perspective of enjoyment, being in the natural environment, the gentle sport of angling, like a lot of our presidents, you get lost in fly fishing while standing in the stream.” 

While a lot of the tyers are getting on in years, the guild is welcoming the next generation to its ranks, as the young learn the art of tying from some of the masters of the craft.

During the roundtable, a couple of 15-year-olds perfected the art of fly tying under the watchful eyes of some the masters of the craft, thus helping to preserve the art into the next generation.

Ceballos explained that the “charmed circle” of fly fishing in the Catskills is a long-standing tradition, and in recent years was chronicled in print. Authors described the allure of angling in the seven legendary streams known worldwide as a fly fishing paradise: the Rondout, Esopus, Schoharie, Beaverkill, Willowemoc, Neversink and the Delaware (East and West Branches, plus the main stem).

In 1969, Cecil E. Heacoxs penned a two-part article for Outdoor Life extolling the virtues of the charmed circle of trout streams, while a bit later Ed Ostaplczuk wrote “Ramblings of a Charmed Circle Flyfisher,” retracing the journeys of his literary predecessor.

“While fly fishing, you forget about everything,” said Ceballos. “You get to appreciate nature, it’s very calming and relaxing. It’s catch and release!”

For information about the CFFCM, call 845/439-4810, or email For information about the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild, visit

For more photos, visit

Livingston Manor, Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum, Catskill Fly Tyers Guild


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