By Kathy Daley
ROSCOE Down at creek level over the weekend, neither the fish nor the fishermen seemed to know much about the suppressed excitement charging through Roscoe.
That the hamlet would likely win the zesty new title of “2011 Ultimate Fishing Town USA” a significant coup that carries a $25,000 financial benefit as well as prestige that money can’t buy seemed not to have filtered down to the quiet world of fishing the Willowemoc.
“This is a renowned area,” said Ben Pomeroy of New York City, walking up from the creek, rod in hand, through a field of white and pink phlox. “The fishing areas here are accessible, the streams are varied, the scenery is beautiful.”
Ah, precisely the point. Scrappy little Roscoe, for generations known as Trout Town USA, justly deserves its latest badge of distinction, awarded by the World Fishing Network (WFN) and was made official yesterday.
“This is the result of a lot of love,” said Elaine Fettig, president of the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce.
“A lot of people have very strong feelings about this area, and they voted from all over the country.”
Gaining the most online votes 272,257 Roscoe won out over 300 other towns, all vying for the bragging rights as the WFN’s Ultimate Fishing Town for the year. The competition involved an intensive six-week voting campaign from April 12 to May 31.
WFN, which is North America’s only 24-hour fishing lifestyle network, will donate $25,000 to the Roscoe Chamber and feature the town on its cable network.
“We did it! said Roberta Byron-Lockwood of the Sullivan County Visitors Association.
“We worked very hard in a real countywide effort shopkeepers, kids, waiters and waitresses, business owners, the county, moms and dads. We submitted photos, wrote testimonials, logged lots of emails.”
Even audience members at Bethel Woods’ Memorial Day weekend Phish concerts did their patriotic duty, logging in their votes once alerted to the cause.
“This all gives us a sense of inner pride and of what we can do when we all band together,” said Byron-Lockwood.
She added that the Visitors Association will use Roscoe’s new title in upcoming promotion materials to emphasize the natural beauty of the fishing streams and the countryside in and around Roscoe and throughout the county.
Chamber President Fettig said Roscoe will consider using the WFN check for several projects: creating a fishing education program for children, increasing access to the rivers, and helping to build a walking bridge in Roscoe’s park as an access to Junction Pool, a project which already has received $10,000 in Sullivan Renaissance funds.
Anything that helps Roscoe is a victory for its loyal fishermen, said anglers David and Diane Allan of Philadelphia. The couple has traveled to Roscoe to fish its streams for more than 40 years.
“We love it here,” said Diane, as the couple enjoyed a post-fishing lunch at Buffalo Zach’s in the heart of Roscoe’s downtown.
“We go to Raimondo’s [Restaurant], to the fishing shops [Catskill Flies and the Beaverkill Angler] and to the variety store The Little Shop,” said David. “There are numerous places to stay: Reynolds House, Rockland House, Roscoe Motel, Baxter House. The people here are hard-working and treat tourists nicely.”
The streams, he said, are varied and beautiful from the smaller, quieter Willowemoc, to the Beaverkill, with its headlong rush to the Delaware River.
“Roscoe,” the fisherman from Philly said, “deserves to be the Ultimate Fishing Town.”