Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Great Casting Call

This first weekend in April is an important time in my home-town hamlet of Roscoe, New York (a.k.a Trout Town USA). April 1st marks the official opening day of the fly fishing season and, much to the dismay of the trout and the delight of the town merchants, the weekend that ushers in a flurry of activities and visitors.

If you don't think this is serious business—read on. There is a lottery to determine who will throw the First Cast of the season at Junction Pool. There are local politicians in attendance and a celebrity guest caster (this year there were two: Best Supporting Actor Oscar Nominee for The Kids Are Alright, Mark Ruffalo, and jazz pianist and Grammy winner Laurence Hobgood). There are special activities at the Catskills Fly Fishing Center, from live demonstrations on fly tying to historical collections representing the best in the craft. And, if that isn't enough, there is the two-headed trout dinner at the Rockland House . . . an annual occurence since the 1940s.

Now, before you conjure up images of actual two-headed trout rising from the river or arranged with garnish on a dinner plate, the "two-headed" reference comes from a legend surrounding Junction Pool where the Beaverkill and Willowemoc rivers converge. The fable tells of a trout, the Beamoc, who, upon arriving at Junction Pool, was so torn by whether to swim up the Beaverkill or the Willowemoc that it sprouted two heads. Cut! End scene!

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