By Rob Potter
ROSCOE April 8, 2003 Scores of men and women who love the sport of fishing packed the Rockland House Saturday night for the 49th annual Two-Headed Trout Dinner.
The event began in the 1950s at the famous Antrim Lodge in Roscoe.
Back then it was held the night before fly fishing season opened in New York State.
About 10 years ago it was moved to the weekend closest to opening day so more people could come, said Ellen Skarka, who co-chaired this years event along with Miriam Stone. This is the major fund-raiser each year for the Roscoe-Rockland Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to the dinner, the evenings events included a silent auction and a raffle. Items such as a Golden Stackwing salmon fly tied by Poul Jorgensen and a Jack Yelle print of the original Antrim Lodge were up for bids in the silent auction. Dozens of area business donated raffle prizes, which included stays in local hotels and motels, dinners at area restaurants and, of course, fishing-related prizes like a fishing shadow box and fly casting technique kit.
We really depend on the generosity of our members, Roscoe-Rockland Chamber of Commerce President Eliot Kornhauser said. Some of the funds we raised last year helped us with beautification projects and we won second prize overall from Sullivan Renaissance. We also use the proceeds to stock the rivers and plant trees near the rivers.
Kornhauser added that the chamber had plans to build a six-plus acre park along the Willowemoc near Stewart Avenue. He said he hoped the park, which would include amenities such as walking trails, would be completed by the fall.
The evenings guest speaker was Ted Rogowski, a conservationist and former counsel to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He also was one of the founding members of the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers and Federation of Fishers.
I tied my first fly at age 10, Rogowski said. My life has revolved around fishing in one way or another, much of it as a member of the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers.
In his remarks, Rogowski shared memories of fishing trips he took with his son Barry to the states of Washington and Wisconsin.
He also spoke of the creation of Route 17 in the early 1960s and how it impacted area streams and creeks that are well-known for trout fishing.
We were able to have the highway realized and not interfere with our stream beds, Rogowski said. We wanted to allow fishing to be continued and not impacted by the federal highway program. We got the government to allow fishing in the Beaverkill Valley and that was one of the highlights of the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers.
Rogowski also discussed the Clean Water Acts of 1965 and 1967. He was among those people responsible for helping to get the acts passed. The acts, he noted, are vital to everyone around the nation who enjoys fishing.
He said he was pleased to see the Antrim Lodge is being rebuilt, as it has a history of great significance to many, many fishermen.
That comment drew a round of applause from the crowd.
Master of Ceremonies Sandy Stone presented a dedicated fisherman certificate to Chuck McEvoy of Loch Sheldrake, who fished an incredible 325 days or more in the year 2001.
Near the end of the evening, a few audience members shared their best and humorous fishing stories.
Organizers noted the dinner raised approximately $3,000 for the Roscoe-Rockland Chamber of Commerce.
We did very well tonight. Were very pleased, Miriam Stone said.