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Craig Buckbee

Frozen Rope.
The fall colors unfold on the main stem of the Delaware.
Craig searches for trout in likely water on the main stem.
Our ventile cap and our new flannel shirt (coming this November).
Line management in the big waters of the main stem.
A “fishing loop” in riffle water.
Caught and released on the main stem. Admiring the beauty of a four year old wild brown trout.
“If there were a god, he’d give us a full eight hours of this light, and dogs would live to the same age as us.” - Craig Buckbee
Making the most of the day. Craig uses a head lamp to choose a spinner in low light conditions.
Caught and released on the main stem, the most elusive of ladies: a hen rainbow trout.
Our Light Waxed Cruiser stands up strong to the cold October rains.
Fall foliage in the Willowemoc.
On the banks of Painter’s Bend on the Beaverkill. Craig shows Peter how to hinge a streamer using a loop knot.
“The Catskill Appetizer,” Craig’s interpretation of a classic streamer.
Deciding to go up or down river on the Beaverkill.
Rules of the river at Cairns Pool on the Beaverkill.
Although Craig ties all his flies, we had to pay homage to 4th generation royalty, and the oldest fly shop in the country.
At Dette’s Craig and Peter leaf through Ernest Schwiebert’s classic tome, Trout, Volume One.
Fishing always builds an appetite. At the Riverside Cafe and Lodge in Roscoe, (aka “Trout Town, USA”).
Fly fishing has no shortage of great story tellers, and Craig has no shortage of great stories.
Tension and timing is everything. Craig throws a back cast on the Willowemoc.
Peter and Craig suit up. The trunk of a car is every fly fisherman’s changing room.
The boys march in time to see who will catch the first fish. Craig sports the Melton Wool Field Coat.
The ever-vigilant eye, Craig watches his loop.
The Ventile Cap and Melton Wool Field Coat.
Craig wears the Olive Drab Standard Sweatshirt as he spots for rising fish in the dawn mist of the West Branch of the Delaware.
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Fly Fishing the Catskills

Virtuoso / Guide / Instructor / Mentor

The origins of this adventure are on the East and West Branches of the Delaware River, the main stem of the Delaware, the Willowemoc, the Beaverkill, the Schoharie, the Esopus, and the Neversink. These are the rivers of the Catskill Mountains, and the birthplace of American fly-fishing. Since the 19th century, these rivers have been popular because of their proximity to New York City and famous for their majesty, fertile waters, and clever trout - and the great men and women who have fished for them.

It's easy to be a dedicated fly fisherman in these parts, but it's hard to be a great one. Craig Buckbee has made a life out of his uncanny grasp of the most nuanced pastime in the most fabled waters. Craig travels the country to compete in casting tournaments, and he is a master casting instructor. Since the age of eleven, he has tied all his own flies, and has used them to effectively fool trout. Craig is a great fly fisherman.

Craig guides the Catskill rivers, and if you are fortunate enough to have him as your guide, you'll be reluctant to part ways with him at the end of a long day. Aside from being a charming and optimistic sort, he is decidedly generous with his knowledge and undaunted by the pain I can only assume he must endure having to teach someone like me to fly-fish.

- Peter Buchanan-Smith

Thanks to Robert Cohen, David McIlvaney, The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, Dette's Trout Flies.

Photographs by Christina Holmes