By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR July 27, 2001 Dozens of youngsters recently had the opportunity to increase their knowledge of fly fishing.
The Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum in Livingston Manor held its annual Environmental Education Programs over the past three weekends. This is the 16th year the Fly Fishing Center & Museum offered a full program of educational and recreational activities to youngsters.
In addition to learning the fundamentals of fly fishing, the education program attendees enhanced their knowledge of topics such as stream ecology, entomology and freshwater biology. The program also strived to instill an appreciation for the environment in general and especially the water environment.
About 16 youngsters attended the July 7-8 session, which was specifically designed for children between eight and 10 years of age. A dozen kids turned out for the July 14-15 program for those 10 to 12 years old. And last weekend (July 21-22), 10 boys who are 12 to 14 years of age participated in the program.
Teaching those youngsters were Eric Denman, Anthony Durkin, Mike Ellmauer and Cindy Ellmauer. Denman works for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, while Durkin and the Ellmauers who are siblings are teachers. Durkin teaches math and Mike Ellmauer teaches science at the Jeffersonville-Youngsville campus of the Sullivan West district, while Cindy Ellmauer is a fourth-grade teacher at the Liberty Elementary School.
The four, who all enjoy fishing themselves, have been program instructors for several years.
We cover the basics of fishing, Mike Ellmauer said. We get them excited about it and they want to fish more and more. We also throw in a little environmental science and stream ecology so they have a better understanding of the water.
The group of youngsters spent a portion of their Saturday morning learning about various types of fish and the insects those fish consume to survive. Other activities included a nature walk and talk about stream safety.
Following lunch, Durkin showed the boys how to tie knots for the all important fly. They watched carefully as he turned a simple hook into a fly that resembled an insect and once it is placed into the water will hopefully attract the desired fish.
With guidance from the instructors, the boys tied their own flies. They had an opportunity to test out their own handiwork as they fished Saturday night. The boys did some more fishing Sunday afternoon before the program ended and their parents picked them up.
The actual fly tying seemed a highlight of the program for the instructors and kids alike.
Anything to get them fishing, Durkin said with a smile as he tied a fly.
Adults and kids alike enjoyed the short walk from the classroom to the museum itself Saturday afternoon. Once in the museum, they, along with several members of the public, enjoyed a demonstration by fly tying expert Poul Jorgensen.
For more information about the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum and the programs it offers, call 439-4810.