DAME JULIANNA LEAGUE
1971 marked the start of the digital age, the first year of North Sea oil drilling and the voting age was lowered to 18. This was the year of Apollo 11, the opening of Disney World, the year I was engaged and the publishing of the Pentagon Papers. While Greenpeace was coming into existence we were watching Diamonds Are Forever, listening to Tony Orlando and Dawn and watching McCloud and the Odd Couple on TV, Dallas won the Super Bowl, Pittsburg the World Series and Montreal the Stanley Cup.
All of these events pale in comparison to the creation of the Dame Julianna League by Dr. Ogden Frank, Jack Mickievicz (the father of one of my favorite fly tying materials, HONEYBUG CHENILLE) , Ken Fulton, Tom Finkbinder (of Slate Run Tackle fame,) Richard Estler, Dick Allebach and Frank Wilson.
Jack Mickievicz drew up the club's first by-laws, and was the first President. He provided the "glue" in the early days that held everything together.
The club takes its name from Dame Juliana Berners, a 15th century Benedictine nun who wrote one of the first essays on fly fishing entitled "A Treatyse of Fysshynge Wyth an Angle" published in 1496.
They adopted French Creek, Chester County, PA as home water.
Club member Dick Esther designed a logo using a drawing of the first wet fly tied and fished by Dame Juliana in England several hundred years ago.
The club shares camaraderie and fishing trips, but it is a working club. Besides doing stream improvement projects on French Creek they worked with the Kimberton Fish & Game Association, the Chester Valley Sportsmen's Association, local landowners and the area's Waterways Conservation Officer to establish a Catch and Release Fly Fishing Only on French Creek It’s float stocked by club members.
The club consists of over 110 members and continues to grow.
It publishes a quarterly newsletter, holds regular monthly meetings with noteworthy speakers, conducts fly fishing and workshops.
I’ve been privileged to speak at the club a few times and was impressed.