Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  SPORTS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives

Dahlie Named
CFFCM Director

By Ted Waddell
LIVINGSTON MANOR — April 11, 2000 -- Paul N. Dahlie was recently reeled in by the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum (CFFCM) as its newly appointed executive director.
Dahlie was born in Phillips, Wisconsin a small community of about 1,500 folks in the northern part of the state, about 80 miles south of Lake Superior.
As a young man, he dropped out of college for a semester to join a U.S. Forest Service fire fighting crew. The hot shot crew, called the Mount Baker Regional Suppression Crew, was the next group to be flown in to fight fires in the Western states after smoke jumpers made the initial attack. During that smoke-filled semester of 1960-61, Dahlie took advantage of breaks from fighting fire to fish for steelhead.
After landing a degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin in 1963, he entered the world of banking. A year later, he took a leave of absence from the financial sphere and accepted a commission as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. Dahlie served from 1964-67 as a line officer aboard an attack transport.
From 1967 to 1997, Dahlie worked at various financial institutions in the United States and overseas. After retiring, he was talked back into the workforce to “fix a bank” in Warsaw, Poland.
Dahlie was then lured out of what he called “re-retirement” to accept a position as head of the local center for fly fishing by the CFFCM’s board of directors. Members of the CFFCM executive committee: Howard Braunstein, Dickson Despommier, Fredrick Eck, Alan Fried, Jim Krul, Harry Rhulen, Paul T. Shultz, Miriam Stone and Joan Wulff.
A Life on the Water
Dahlie started angling for trout when he was about six years old, and at the age of 60 still likes to wet a line.
Before accepting the position at the CFFCM, Dahlie was “somewhat active” with the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, VT. He is a member of the Anglers Club of New York.
He credits his father and grandfather, whom he referred to as “avid fly fishermen” with sparking his lifelong interest in the sport.
“Taking me fishing was my father’s way out of the house on Sundays,” he recalled with a quiet smile. Today, as a collector of fishing related books and antique tackle, Dahlie still occasionally bends his grandfather’s 6-foot bamboo rod made by the famed rod maker H.L. Leonard in about 1917.
“Growing up in Wisconsin, walleye pike and muskellunge were the predominant sportfish,” he said. “But as the years wore on, I became more of a fly fisherman.”
While working in England, Dahlie tested his mettle against the wiles of trout and salmon in the waters of Wales, including the legendary Welsh Wye. Along the way, he figures he’s fished just about every running body of water in the East. Every three years or so, Dahlie heads out West to tackle the wilderness rivers of Montana, such as Nelson’s Spring Creek, the Yellowstone, the Gallatin and the Jefferson.
The New Millennium
Dahlie has fished the local waters since 1982.
“This is the birthplace of fly fishing,” he said. “There’s a history here.”
According to Dahlie, the CFFCM is in the first stage of creating a three-part series of exhibits.
Beginning on January 1, and ending December 31, the museum is putting together a living history exhibit entitled “Flies of the Year 2000.” The museum is inviting tiers from around the world to contribute examples of their work in one or more of eight categories: dry, wet, nymph, streamer, salmon, steelhead, bass and saltwater.
So far, about 400 flies have been submitted from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Russia, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, England and other places around the globe. The colorful flies have been donated by such local luminaries as Poul Jorgensen, as well as lots of common folk.
“Flies of the Year 2000” is the brainchild of Jim Krul, one of the CFFCM’s directors. Jorgensen is photographing each fly as it is received by the museum. Once all the flies are collected, a book will be published for each category showcasing all of the flies in the exhibit.
For the Year 2001, Dahlie plans to assemble an exhibit of fishing tackle and accessories.
Also slated for a future exhibit is a show of pins, patches and flags from worldwide sportfishing organizations. Future plans also include expanding the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame.
On January 1, 2002 the flies and tackle equipment will be placed into a time capsule, buried on the CFFCM property and opened on January 1, 2100.
“We want to capture the favorite flies and patterns of the Year 2000 with a living exhibit of fishing flies,” said Dahlie. “Imagine discovering a trove of fishing flies made by tiers from the Year 1900; the pattern, proportion, the materials and the construction details.”
An exhibit dedicated to fly tier Art Flick is nearing completion. It was made possible in part with funds from the Sullivan County Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the NYS Council on the Arts, which is administered by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA).
Dahlie said the center and museum has about 850 members and attracts between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors annually.
The Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum was incorporated in 1981. The first museum opened in Roscoe two years later, and in 1987 the CFFCM moved to an old farm house situated on about 50 acres along a one-mile stretch of the Willowemoc. The state-of-the-art museum building was completed in May 1995.
In addition to owning the famed Junction Pool, where the Willowemoc joins the Beaverkill — it was donated to the CFFCM a few years ago — the CFFCM also offers a wide range of educational programs and special events throughout the year including seminars, workshops, fly tying demonstrations, new exhibit openings, film festivals, art shows and a gift shop.
Wulff Run, a beautiful catch-and-release section of Willowemoc Creek, flows through the center’s property, luring visitors to one of the region’s finest trout streams.
The motto of the CFFCM is “Preserving the Past… Enhancing the Present… Protecting the Future.”
Dahlie would like to see more educational opportunities offered to the public at the museum, as well as eventually creating a cold water resources research center, possibly in cooperation with Trout Unlimited, the National Wildlife Federation and/or the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Dahlie replaces former museum director Lisa Lyons and CFFCM’s artistic director Kathy Bryant, who resigned on September 31, 1999.
“I would like to see the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum become the living history museum of American fly fishing,” said Dahlie.
For information about the CFFCM, call 439-4810; FAX 439-3387; e-mail c/o; or their website address is



top of page  |  home  |  archives