By Rob Potter
ROSCOE As they have for decades, several members of the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce, community members and anglers made their way to the famous Junction Pool on Saturday morning to celebrate the opening of the New York State Trout Season with the Ceremonial First Cast.
It actually was the second opening cast this month as the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum held a first cast ceremony in the Beaverkill in front of the museum on April 1.
Roscoe Chamber of Commerce President Ellen Fettig noted that the chamber usually hosts its First Cast activities closer to the actual opening day of April 1, but delayed this year’s event due to religious holidays.
The Roscoe Chamber of Commerce set up a table with coffee, hot chocolate and several baked goods under the banner proclaiming Roscoe as the Ultimate Fishing Town USA. Roscoe earned that designation last year in a World Fishing Network contest in which more than 267,000 votes were cast for Roscoe, a hamlet with about 600 residents. Roscoe beat out several larger towns and cities across the nation to earn the title.
The celebrity caster for Saturday’s ceremony was Joe Perrone Jr., an avid fly fisherman and author from Hendersonville, N.C.
Perrone drove up on Friday to be at Saturday morning’s event. Perrone, who used to live in New Jersey, said he has been coming up to Roscoe to fly fish for about 40 years.
“I love it here,” Perrone said of Roscoe and Junction Pool. “My heart and soul is here.”
In fact, Perrone wants to be near Junction Pool even after he passes away.
“My wife has instructions to spread my ashes at Cairn’s Pool,” he said of a good fishing spot about a mile from Junction Pool.
Perrone, who was also a licensed fishing guide for a number of years, has included Roscoe in a series of books he has written called “The Matt Davis Mystery Series.” The third book in the series, “Twice Bitten” includes characters based on real people who live in Roscoe. One of them is based on Frank Kuttner, proprietor of Kuttner’s Fly Shop.
Perrone plans on attending First Cast ceremonies for many years to come.
“Coming here is great,” he said. “It’s like a religion.”
New York State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther has attended Opening Day at Junction Pool for seven years.
“I like it,” she said. “It’s a great event.”
Gunther noted that the event is big for the anglers as well as the local economy.
“If you look at the motels and bed and breakfasts, you see that they are all full,” she said. “That’s nice to see.”
“We have a lot of people here for this weekend,” Fettig said. “It’s a great day in a wonderful town.”
Saturday’s activities concluded with the annual Two-Headed Trout Dinner at the Rockland House that evening. In addition to speeches and the sharing of fishing tales, Perrone signed copies of “Twice Bitten” at the dinner.