ANGLERS OF DISTINCTION

It's my intention to acknowledge the Fly Fishing luminaries who have visited the Little Lehigh Fly Shop and fished our “pastorial waters.“

 

Fran Betters

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I was fortunate to meet Francis Betters, known for his 5 decade intimacy with the rivers of the Adirondack Mountains and his “blue collar” shop.

His father provided a first-rate education in fishing, observing the natural world and the opportunity to meet and learn from famous anglers like Red Wilbur and Ray Bergman.

While still a teenager he developed the Haystack…

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…still used by anglers who need an unsinkable, highly visible fly in fast, rocky, turbulent currents.

Over 47 years Betters, a local legend, offered advice to customers and fisherman and.created a fly pattern the AuSable Wulff ....

 

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The AuSable Wulff was named one of the top 10 trout flies of all time by Field and Stream magazine, along with the Haystack.

The most important thing I took away from my acquaintance with Fran was his observation relating to the large stonefly and mayfly nymphs, He said they seem to have a slight rusty orange coloration in the thorax and some red in the heads of the flies. Since meeting Fran, I’ve tied most of my flies with red heads.

An ambassador for trout fishing in the region, tourists would seek out his shop and his articles which appeared in magazines and newspapers throughout the Northeast.

Betters is a member of the Catskill Fishing Hall and a great fisherman.

Mary Kuss

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Prior to retirement, Mary S. Kuss was Chief Instructor of Orvis-endorsed fly fishing schools and Director of Instructional Programs for The Sporting Gentleman Orvis Store. Over the past thirty four years she has taught numerous group classes and private lessons in fly fishing and fly tying.  She has also volunteered many hours teaching for and serving on the boards of several non-profit conservation organizations.  Mary is a life-member of Trout Unlimited and has served as a board member for the Ken Lockwood, Valley Forge, and Delco-Manning Chapters of T. U.  She is the founder and an active member of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association, one of the largest clubs of its kind on the East Coast.

 

Mary did a memorable wet fly tying program with an emphasis on Leisenring patterns in 2005 at my shop.. I still contemplate that presentation.

 

Any time you can expose yourself to Mary’s quiet competence I suggest you do so.

Oliver Edwards

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The week after the Somerset Fly-fishing show in January of 1997, British Fly Tying extraordinaire Oliver Edwards joined us at the Little Lehigh Fly Shop. Opening his fly box he exposed creations so life like, my friend Julien Robbins ran to his car to get his insect repellent.

The weather was abhorrent, snow, sleet, rain and cold . Oliver braved the elements. From dawn to dusk he cast his feathered impostors to the Little Lehigh’s finnicky finned residents with no success. During a coffee break, in OE’s case a tea beak, he got to talking with Al Miller. As Al compared his Rat to Oliver’s masterpieces it was obvious the polite and considerate Mr. Edwards was humoring Al.

Another day of braving the elements produced no fish, Oliver was very discouraged. Suddenly the shop door burst open, Oliver was holding a magnificent Brown. “Oliver, what did you do?” With downcast eyes he said “It was that bloody Rat."

The experience exhibited the importance of the Primary trigger device in trout flies tied for wild trout.

When I see a trout rise to my dry fly I used to say “now I gottcha” to avoid setting the hook prematurely. Now in Olivers honor I say God Save The Queen,

Dr Ernest Schwiebert

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Dr Schwiebert was the first fly fishing legend to grace the threshold of the Little Lehigh Fly Shop / Springhouse.

He honored Big Jim Leisenring by participating in our first Leisenring Memorial celebration.

 

Ernie crafted the inscription for the memorial and presented the keynote address AT NO CHARGE!

His clout enabled us to acquire an impressive display of Leisenring memorabilia and his keynote address guaranteed a successful event despite dreadful weather.

He enjoyed the Pig Roast, autographing books and mingling with some of Jim’s cronies.

His vsits to the shop were not uneventful. The first Rohrbach / Schwiebert debacle occurred when the plaque was delivered with Schwiebert spelled incorrectly. The error was corrected before he arrived. Whew!

 

His second visit got off to a rocky start. I contracted him to do a school at the shop. My standard procedure was to pay speakers their fee to conduct a seminar and provide me with two flies. One for my collection (now on display at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center) and one to raffle for charity. When Dr Schwiebert arrived I was about to hand him his check as I asked him for the flies. He responded saying, Oh. I don’t give flies away to anyone. I told him that wasn’t the deal. I was cancelling the event. He sat down and tied two beautiful flies using the fur of his Siamese cat. The seminar proceeded.

Another debacle occurred with our cuisine.

Steve Stallard, an accomplished chef and fly fisherman arranged to have Artic Char flown to us from his fish farm in Iceland. The Char which swimming in Iceland in the morning and became Gravad Locks of Arctic Char with Classic Garniture in  the afternoon.

 

Steve presented this sumptuous repast to the good Doctor with a generous supply of fine Cognac. I was charged with placing this culinary treasure in the refrigerator, I delegated my responsibility to another piscator who put it in the freezer instead of the refrigerator. So much for the

Gravad Locks of Arctic Char with Classic Garniture. Ernie reacted as the gentleman he was, Chef Stallard, not so much.

 

One hot summer day Dr Schwiebert called me from his club, the Dream Mile. He was entertaining an associate from Princeton. The heat and drought was killing the fishing. Knowing the Little Lehigh was a limestoner he wanted to know how it was fishing. I told him to come on down.

It turned out Ernie’s associate was a colleague of the late Albert Einstein. He looked just like Albert E.

Schwiebert got his friend into some fish, I got to meet an interesting man..

Life was good.

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Don Baylor

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Patrons of the Little Lehigh Fly Shop benefitted from programs provided by the best  of the fly fishing world, but when it came to endocrinology, none approached the quality of Don Baylor’s presentation.

Don’s program is a vehicle for even the none Latin angler

to understand the essence of the sport.

Live specimens from spring and freestone streams literally bring his presentation to life.

Don’s programs on the history of fly fishing the Poconos and Fly Fishing Colorado are also outstanding.

If you have the opportunity to have Don speak to your group do so.

Checkout his web site for a complete description of his art, programs, DVDs and other goodies.