Art Flick Chapter Trout Unlimited

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History of Art Flick!

OUR STORY (download a PDF copy here)

Contents (Click on the links below to go to that section) 

Preparing Our Story. 6

Origin and Early Events. 7

Leadership. 17

Pins and Patches. 23

Officials and Agencies. 24

Current Activities. 27

Outreach. 27

Environmental Activities. 28

Recreation. 29

Looking Ahead. 31

 Researched and Assembled by Mahlon “Mel” Lantz

Writers:                                                           Contributors:

Mike Fassula                                                    Hap Barnes

Ivan Frank                                                       George Costa

Mel Lantz                                                         Tony Ertola

Steve Metzler                                                   Chart Guthrie

Bill Rabitan                                                      Richard Haimes

Paul Schwack                                                   Bob Hurd

Chuck Neuner                                                  Chuck Koscuik

                                                                        Gregory Kozlowski

                                                                        Jim Ludlow

                                                                        Mark Malenovsky

                                                                        Richard Monko

                                                                        Charles Neuner

Covers by Jim Ludlow                                      Bruce Rowland

                                                                        William Sheridan

Printed January 2010                                      Norman Soule

                                                                        Dave Thompson

                                                                        Ed Waltmann

Preparing Our Story

During the summer ’09, Art Flick President Mike Fassula and I discussed preparation of a history of the Trout Unlimited Chapter.  Most Chapter members were not involved in the beginning, some 26 years ago and the story could help to put us all on the same page.  New members could learn  about events being discussed at meetings, and by understanding the history, feel more involved.  Decisions could gain acceptance if the background was known to all members.  During the September meeting, Mike announced that the board had asked me to do the project.

Writing the story at the outset seemed to be a simple matter of talking to a few members, gathering some pictures and converting notes to script.

Richard Monko invited me to his home to meet with him and Bill Rabitan in order to discuss the early events.  They shared a lot of information, we looked at some pictures and they named others who had been involved, some now deceased.  I made a few calls.  Seemingly, each person I talked to mentioned others who I should talk to.  The project was growing.

Ivan Frank emailed a list of presidents and wrote about early members and activities.  Dave Thompson gave me a copy of the original Charter.  Bob Hurd mailed a packet of newsletters with written information about events and member activities.

During a meeting of the Eastern Flyrodders of Long Island, the speaker mentioned previous works together with Art Flick Chapter which included he and Paul Schwack and pointed to the gentleman sitting next to me.  “Wow!  Paul was the second President of the Chapter!”  I thought.  At the break I introduced myself to Paul and learned that he was pleased to become involved and to share his memories.  George Costa produced two books: a complete record of Chapter and Board meetings during the administration of Dave Thompson written by Ivan Frank; and a large album dating back to the origin of Art Flick.  Photos and documents were in the album.

And so it went.  One contact led to another and again to another.

I experienced difficulty capturing the flavor of the times and, thankfully, Bill Rabitan wrote about the people and the events and brought the story to life. Ivan Frank wrote about early events and activities and his records were valuable in recanting Chapter life.  Living past presidents wrote about or described issues during their terms of office.  Early members were contacted and their memories helped to describe motivations and achievements.  All writings were shared with the person involved and were changed as necessary.

Contacts were made with resource people such as DEC personnel, Cold Springs manager and Connetquot State Park officials.

An interesting adventure highlighted communications with Steve Metzler.  He and I talked during the December meeting and he wrote a couple of short emails.  But I needed information about his experience as president.  I called several times during December, the holidays came and went and my deadline for turning the manuscript over to the printer was January 6.  On the 4th my answering service yielded a short message from Steve.  He was in Arizona.  He referred to his writing.  But I didn’t have any writing!  In desperation I went back over all my emails about the project and on one of Steve’s short notes was an attachment which I had overlooked.  Lo and behold!  There was two and a half pages of really interesting copy!

Our Directory cover artist, Jim Ludlow, continued his creative efforts by producing front and back cover artistry.  As usual, Jim offered several choices and together we made the final decisions.

The Book, Art Flick Chapter Trout Unlimited, Our Story, is presented in five sections: Preparing Our Story, Origin and Early Events, Leadership, Recent Activities and Looking Ahead.  Several subsections are presented.  The latter section is my views about the road ahead for Art Flick Chapter Trout Unlimited.

Enjoy the book.

Origin and Early Events

About 7 PM on the second Monday of each month, September through June, cars begin pulling into the parking lot of the Brookhaven Recreational Center in Blue Point, New York.  Those arriving from the north and west often take Nichols Rd to Montauk Rd., look for the King Kullen sign and turn into the next drive.  Some arrivals begin offloading supplies and materials for the meeting.  Others simply arrive.  Friends are found and conversations center around fly patterns, recent experiences and hot spots.  About 7:30, President Mike Fassula calls to order the meeting of the Art Flick Chapter Trout Unlimited.  Members stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, recited in unison.

This Trout Unlimited Chapter, named for author and fly fisherman, Art Flick, is perhaps typical of most such organizations in this first decade of the twenty first century.  The TU mission directs members to achieve a philosophy of personal satisfaction with the outdoors and to direct efforts to protect and conserve fishery resources, especially as applies to trout and salmon.  Members are also attracted by a fellowship which offers opportunities to pursue the sport of fishing, and especially fly fishing; and to learn from and bond with others having similar interests.

While this chapter is similar to others, it is also unique.  Situated on an island with a rich history of early trout fishing in the new world, and made up of members born or raised there or attracted to this setting, the Chapter is one of a kind.  It is special. The story of its origin and achievements and a view of the future follow.  The Story is written or told by those who lived it.

Carmans River Fly Tyers

Several men who would become enthusiastic fly fishermen grew up in the general vicinity of the Carmans River, near the south shore about an hour from the city.  Don Hiller came from Yaphank.  As a boy he sneaked into the private Hards Lake Park armed with pole and a can of worms and caught trout.  Later, he and his wife purchased a house within a stones throw of the river and he renewed his love of the fabled creek.  Now a fly fisher he met his brother Bob(also from Yaphank) on the banks, rain or shine.  Don told his wife, Cathy, that he was going to see Sal Fontinella (Brook Trout=Salvalinus fontinalus).

Don talked his wife’s best friend, Michelle Rabatin, (employed at Brookhaven National Laboratory and who had been Cathy’s Maid of Honor) into purchasing a fly rod for her husband as his first Father’s Day gift.  Bill Rabatin was from Brookhaven Village and he and Don had been school chums.  Another friend was from East Patchogue, Tom Blake, and he also became an owner of a fly rod.  The guys were all newly married and finances were tight.  They shared equipment and materials such as books, magazines and flies.  Tom knew a pair of guys from the Shoreham Power Plant, Richard “Rich” Monko, from North Patchogue and Bob Hurd from Hauppauge, who were interested in fly fishing and the Carmans.  They all began to fish together and during the winters to tie flies.  Weekly they met in the basements of Rich Monko, Tom Blake and Bob Hurd in order to tie the flies of the moment.  The group members shared two values: trout were immediately released and the best flies were kept to be given away.  Jokingly, they called themselves The Carmans River Fly Tyers.

Several joined Trout Unlimited and began to attend meetings of the Long Island Chapter which met in Bethpage.  Members of this latter group tended to be well-to-do and fished in the Catskills and Adirondacks.  Of course they knew of the Carmans River but the up-state waters had more prestige and they believed that the Carmans River brookies tended to be smaller.  The guys from eastern Long Island were all working men and felt a cultural separation.  They were happy to have their beloved stream to themselves.

Fishing the Carmans offered something for everyone.  In the northern sections, a few scuffles with a boot on the gravel substrate  released nymphs and the fish downstream began to feed.  Sulphers might be rising there and dry fly guys like Don Hiller would do well.  Sand bottom further down could produce a caddis hatch and Rich would do well with his nymphs and muddlers.  Still farther down, a Blue Wing Olive Hatch could be going on.  Certain places along the river were spots to watch others ply their skill.  The watchers enjoyed a rest and observed the skill displayed by one of the gang.  They might fish until dark when a campfire was lit and a pan of chili began to reheat.  A case of beer would quench ones thirst while the days events were being played out.  The time limit for occupancy might be past but Bill had the gate keys.  Fishing the Carmans was the highlight of the young men’s lives.

The Brookhaven National Laboratory Fly Tyers

In 1978, Bill Rabitan, Environmental Coordinator for Brookhaven Town, saw an ad in his wife’s newsletter from an employee desiring to learn how to tie flies.  Bill called but the gentleman reported that he had already been contacted by an in-house club.  Bill asked for the telephone number, called, and was soon invited to join.  Meetings of the Brookhaven National Lab Fly Tyers were on Wednesday nights and dues were $2 per annum. The club received a grant of $150/yr. from the Brookhaven Employers Association, which was intended to be used for buying materials.  All materials were purchased from Eric Leiser’s shop in Huntington.  Members were Dr. Richard Stoner, John McCafferty(Mac), Kurt Jellett, Jim and Joe Hanson, and later Helen Quinby.  Bill receive permission to bring a guest and invited his pal Don Hiller.  The idea was to bring aboard a bright likable guy and see how things turned out.

Don had become a skilled fly tyer, self taught from books and magazines and he favored  dry patterns.  Catskill tyers he followed were Walt Dette, Harry Darby, Roy Steenrod, and Art Flick.  Soon, other Carman River Fly Tyer members were invited and this group felt privileged that working guys could rub elbows with men like scientist, Dr. Stoner.  Availability of quality materials like Metz necks was a real plus.  Dr. Stoner and some of the others favored larger patterns like Art Flick’s Black-Nose Dace and smaller hackles used for dries were left on used necks.  There was plenty for everyone and the materials were first class.  The groups were a great fit.  The working guys felt privileged to rub elbows with scientists and the Lab professionals seemed to enjoy being “one of the guys”.  

Dr. Stoner’s research involved usage of mice.  Since the mice were subjects of research, numerous dead creatures were byproducts.  Dr. Stoner donated these bodies to the Quogue Wildlife Preserve, a rescue house for injured wildlife.  The mice were used as food for owls.

Don Hiller was a force for melding together the groups.  He talked “old timers” into stopping into the small club at the lab and having a brew with the guys.  Meetings after tying sessions became warmly-received events.  It was during one of those bonding times when the idea of Trout Unlimited was first advanced.

The Chapter is Formed

Several of the group continued attending sessions of the Long Island Chapter Trout Unlimited and during one of the meetings the eastern guys met Ken Geherty (author of “Trout Don’t Live in Ugly Places”), Mike Greco, and Paul Sequira.  The Suffolk County members drove far from home to attend these sessions.  They also felt need to focus more attention on their beloved Carmans River.  Members of the LI Chapter unselfishly encouraged formation of a new Chapter, even though such a move would result in a loss of membership for the Nassau County group.  Ken Geherty lived in Centereach and began to attend BNL meetings.  Don brought a new friend, Dave Hoffman, who became an enthusiastic addition.   Meetings were a happy time enjoyed by all.  They tied, talked, drank and discussed Trout Unlimited and the Carmans River.

Mac promoted the Trout Unlimited chapter idea.  Most were in favor yet some dreaded the addition of strangers to the group and possible loss of close companionship.  A new organization would impose structure including regulations, procedures and politics.  Everything would change with expansion of the membership.  Members of the Carmans River and Brookhaven Lab clubs were all local.  New members could live anywhere in Suffolk County.

Mac prevailed and wrote to Trout Unlimited requesting approval (next page).  In his first request he proposed the name “Brookhaven Chapter Trout Unlimited,” but soon realized that his friend, Art Flick, should be recognized in the Chapter name.  Art Flick was a symbol of the principles which Trout Unlimited embodied.  Owner of a restaurant frequented by fishermen in the Catskills, he did basic research for Preston Jennings.  He specialized in aquatic insects, their habitats and behavior.  His own volume, “New Streamside Guide,” was the down-to-earth solution to the complex world of  fly fishing for trout, providing answers to identity of stream insects, suitable patterns for “match the hatch” flies, and the book sold thousands of copies.  Such a man would symbolize Chapter ideals.  Again, the discussion waxed pro and con.  Some believed that the Art Flick name would be more appropriate for a Catskill Chapter.  Again, Mac sold the name and Trout Unlimited officially “approved the request for a Chapter” in a letter dated June 6, 1983, the birth date of Art Flick Chapter Trout Unlimited. (second page following).

New members proved to be a precious resource.  Men like Ivan Frank, Paul Schwartz, Tony Ertola and Jim Marzuillo provided leadership, talents and help in achieving Chapter goals.  Still, club meetings and projects took time previously spent fishing and tying.  Don’s leadership and example assured that members pulled their weight.  Don was the glue that bound them together.

Mac became first President.  Long Island Chapter Trout Unlimited members supervised early meetings at Mac’s house and praised the Chapter to Trout Unlimited officials.  Brookhaven Town approved a request to schedule meetings at historic Swezey/Avey House in Yaphank on the shores of Upper Lake, Carmans River.  Many have described their feelings of warmth and fellowship during meetings at this riverside site. 

The computer print from Trout Unlimited National dated October 8, 1984, cited the Chapter as being number 425 and reported total membership to be 91.

Charter Signers

Signers of the Charter made significant contributions to the new organization and to Chapter conservation efforts. John McCafferty was first President.  The person named as President on the Charter form, J.W. Grassie, remains a mystery as none of the living existing members remember him.  Donald Hiller(Carmans River Fly Tyer) was the second signer.  David Hoffman, third signer, was first Newsletter Editor. Thomas Blake, brother-in-law to Donald Hiller, signed fourth.  Other signers follow in order.  Helen Quinby (Brookhaven Lab) was first Secretary and was knowledgeable about limnology.  She made a powerful presentation about acid rain to officials attending an upstate meeting.  Kurt Jellett (Brookhaven Lab) became Treasurer.  Bill Rabatin and John McCafferty were seen as the force behind the organization of this Chapter.  Richard Stoner, a Scientist at the Lab, was expert in identification of stream insects and was a skillful fly tyer.    Bob Hurd (Carmans River Fly Tyers) was in charge of membership for the incipient organization.  Mike Bender worked for Brookhaven Lab.

Remaining signatures on the Charter were all written in the same hand, thought to be John McCafferty, and were believed to have been added in order to fill blanks on the form.  H. E. Christiensen and James Christiensen, M.D., and Jim Holly were friends of Mac.  Bob Hammer was an LITU member; James Marguillo was an early member of the Chapter and was active in stream restoration projects.  Art Flick’s signature was also written in the same hand.  Lou Ruggiuro and Tom Sullivan were the last signatures.  Sullivan was believed to be a dentist in Saranack (Charter appears on next page).

Early Projects

Enthusiastic member participation and accomplishment occurred during this early period.  Stream improvement projects on the Carmans and Connetquot; and sponsorship of young people to DEC environmental camps were examples.  The first Carmans habitat improvement was restoration of the wing dam located downstream from E Gate.

Most of the work was done on the Carmans but Bill Sheridan also recalls helping Gil Bergen work on the Connetquot.  Bill and Don Hiller loaded their pick ups with rock and delivered the loads to be used for stream work.  Handling the large stone was a problem solved by installing rope handles on old pieces of plywood, providing hand-holds for multiple carriers.

During the spring of 1984, a fly fishing clinic was conducted at Sweezey/Avery House.  Both youth and adults were included and attendance was good.  Dr. Richard Stoner demonstrated fly tying.  Ivan Frank delivered a presentation, “An Introduction to Fly Fishing and Equipment Needed by the Beginner”.  State regulations were discussed by a DEC Conservation Officer.  The program concluded with demonstrations of fly fishing and practice at the edge of the lake.  A fly tying clinic was scheduled at the main lodge at Connetquot State Park.  Photos of fly tyers, Dr. Stoner, Bill Rabitan and Don Hiller are featured on pages following.

Two years later, a similar program was conducted at the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge with Ron Miller as the chief instructor.  Fellow Art Flick Chapter members assisted.  Ron, an Orvis-certified fly fishing instructor, became the fourth Chapter President.

One of the first projects of the new Chapter was to sponsor young people’s attendance at DEC camps.  Usually two were sponsored but three attended during one year.  DeBruce in the Catskills near Livingston Manor was the camp of choice.

Early Chapter Meetings

During the first years many meetings were held at Sweezey/Avery house.  For a short period meetings were scheduled at the Knights of Columbus Hall at Centereach.  The Chapter returned to the Yaphank facility for a few years before moving to Blue Point.

Earliest Board meetings were at the homes of Board Members on a rotating basis.  Later, with the help of Board Members who worked there, permission was granted to hold meetings at a Brookhaven Lab Biology Dept. room.  This site continued to be the meeting place for several years during the 1980’s.  Currently, Reese’s restaurant in Patchogue has been the Board meeting site for several years.

Recollections of Early Members

Bill Rabatin was a key figure in the merging of the Brookhaven Lab and Carmans River groups.  A personal friend of John McCafferty , the two innovated and achieved approval for the fly tying project.  Financing of the equipment and materials helped make possible a higher level of work during those times of tight finances.  Bill achieved a career goal when he went to work for the Brookhaven Lab as a firefighter.

Working on the Carmans River wing dam between G and H is a project which Bob Hurd believed brought a lot of member satisfaction and bonding.  Various materials were tried including plywood as members attempted to create stable structures.  Bob recalls that the group had the river pretty much to themselves, but that poachers using bait occasionally reduced fish stocks.  After the Chapter formed, work responsibilities forced Bob to leave Chapter activities for a time.

An early member was Ivan Frank, who attended the first meeting of the Chapter.  Ivan had previously been a member of the Nassau Chapter, Long Island Chapter Trout Unlimited.  Ivan believed that the Carmans River needed more attention and was attracted to the new Chapter. Ivan served in several capacities including Secretary and was active in most functions.  A skilled fly tyer, he led the Saturday workshops for several years.   He completed several annual fly boards promoting contributions of member-tied flies, organizing, mounting and labeling the patterns.

Bill Sheridan joined the Chapter in 1983.  Most of the activity centered around stream improvement on the Carmans.  Members would schedule a work day to repair wing dams and to place rocks for the purpose of channeling the stream flow and providing sheltered places for trout.  Work groups typically consisted of eight or so members.  Stream work was occasionally halted at the direction of the DEC in order to provide time to determine impact.

Opening day was a big event enjoyed by Bill, Don Hiller, Bob Hurd, Richard Monko and others whose last name has faded including Tony, Ritchy and Dave.  Soon after dawn on the sparkling clear spring day, the group gathered at the river and spread out to explore runs and pools.  An hour later a second gathering was held around a campfire and soon the smells of frying bacon and eggs and coffee aroused appetites and the fishers enjoyed a hearty breakfast.  More fishing followed and occasional breaks were times for more sustenance.  Some years the guys would spend the entire day at the river.  Park and river vandalism and littering were continuing problems.  Walking the bank, one might kick or spot heavy monofilament tied to a stream structure and when pulled in was found to be tied to several baited hooks.  The term “river rats”, began to be used to label such miscreants.  Apparently in time the term began to acquire another meaning.  Some began to amusingly refer to dedicated Carmans river fishers as being “River Rats”.

Tony Ertola joined the Chapter about a year after formation.  He enjoyed the “good old days” meeting in the historic Swezey/Avey House.  Cleanups of the Carmans were often a major undertaking requiring the crew to complete the Saturday work on Sundays.  Boatloads of trash were collected and hauled to the dump.

(A member at the center of many activities was Al Ronner, deceased.  The following was written by Ivan Frank)  Al Ronner joined Trout Unlimited in July of 1982 and became an active member of Art Flick Chapter soon after formation of the Chapter.  Al was a retired NYC Fire Department Captain and lived in East Quogue.  He was a part time charter boat captain with a boat docked at Hampton Bays.  Al was a chapter vice president and also a membership chairman.  Among activities that he was involved in were fund raising and arranging of the annual Roscoe trip.  One of the fund raisers was donation by Al of a days fishing in Shinnecock Bay for bluefish and fluke, which was raffled by the Chapter.

Reading trout fishing adventures in Sports Afield magazine conjured up mental images for Hap Barnes.  He saw himself wading a crystalline brook wearing a fedora and hip boots plying his bamboo fly rod.  Those were the days in the ‘60’s when Sears and Roebuck catalog offered such rods for a few bucks.  Lacking an instructor, Hap taught himself and dreamed of the day when an actual trout would take his offerings.  Before long, he was catching small brookies in small brooks.  He marveled at their ability to race around and jump lured by a Mickey Finn streamer not much smaller than them.  He heard about Trout Unlimited and joined.  The organization offered goals which matched the principals he believed in.  He was assigned to the Long Island Chapter but decided not to travel to Nassau County for a meeting.  When Art Flick was chartered, he was reassigned and is listed as one of the ninety one members on the earliest print out which we have, dated October 8, 1984.  He treasures memories of the early meetings attended with a fellow worker at Shoreham, Bill Sheridan.  The meeting place was on the shoreline of the upper lake, and was, of course, the Swezey/Avey House.

Bruce Rowland also taught himself the art of fly fishing.  Once he became interested, the first task was to purchase tackle.  Not knowing of any fly shops on the island, he went to the city.  His father had worked in Manhattan all his life and Bruce visited the Anglers Roost on the lower floor of the Chrysler Building.  After moving to Mastic Beach he became interested in the Carmans.  Fishing the 6 wt., 7 foot fiberglass rod from the Anglers Roost, he learned by doing.

Owner of the Anglers Roost was Jim Darren, a well known fisher of the Catskills.  He was friends with the Bettes, Fran Betters and other Catskill fly tying/fishing stars.  Author Jim Frazier, (Through a Fishes Eye) devoted a book chapter to Darren describing his tall husky build and gravelly voice.  The fly fishing store was famous attracting Wall Street executives arrayed in expensive suits and famous personalities such as Bing Crosby, Jimmy Stewart, Myrna Loy and others.

Bruce met Jim Mazerillo fishing striped bass near the Montauk Highway and they began to chat about fishing.   Jim thought that Bruce would enjoy membership in the Art Flick Chapter.  Bruce joined about 1985.  He and Ritchy Monko fished occasionally.  During one evening excursion at low tide, Bruce’s graphite tip section came loose and dropped into the river.  Since tide was low and current negligible, Ritchie said that he would stay in place to mark the spot and Bruce should go for a flashlight.  In the light  from the flashlight they quickly spotted the female section sticking up signaling to them.  Bruce remembered another evening driving along Montauk and spotting a bonfire. Walking in that direction, he came across Ritchie, Bobby Hurd and Tommy Blake cooking fish.  They happily asked him to join them and a fine session of telling fishing stories was enjoyed by all.

When the first printing of “Our Story” was distributed, Chuck Neuner showed me an error on p. 19.  I had misspelled the name of “Wolly Woleniec”, p. 19.  Charles then told me the following story about his friend:

"He was a landscape architect by profession, and worked for an architectural firm in New York. Wolly was one of the original members of Theodore Gordon Fly Fishers, TU, and FFF.  He was also the founder if the Long Island Fly Tyers (LIFT), and taught a great deal of people to tie flies and fly fish.  Wolly lived in Massapequa, and his home TU chapter was the Long Island Chapter, but many people from both chapters, as well as many non-TU fly fishermen, were members of LIFT.

“I was already tying when I joined LIFT at 14, and Wolly took me under his wing.  I would join him on trips to the Catskills and he introduced me to the Dettes, Art Flick, the Folkert brothers, Harry Darby, the Keeners, and others.  He also told me about the Anglers Roost in New York (then at 44th and Lexington), where I met Jim Darren.  Wolly and his friends hung out at the Anglers Roost in their free time.  Jim was very kind also, and gave me a lot of tying materials for free when I would visit him.  I would go in to see him on my own via the LIRR (I was 14 or 15).  Jim died not long afterwards.  He was always kind to me, and loved to tell me stories about brook trout and salmon fishing in Ontario and Labrador.

Wolly also introduced me to Eric Leiser at the Fireside Angler in Melville.  To have a tying material supply house like that on Long Island is something we may never see again, and it is still sorely missed by any of us that have the opportunity to shop for materials there. Wolly also donated his landscaping and architects skills to Connetquot SP, and designed the handicapped fishing area and platforms we see.  He also wrote letters encouraging the state to build them and pushed for their funding.  Wolly loved to see anyone fly fish who wanted to, and this is another example of his generosity and conviction to our sport.

Wolly passed away a few years ago, but the perspectives and tying skills he instilled in others lives on.”

Leadership

Chapter Presidents

John McCafferty "Mac"         1983-85                 Steve Metzler                                       1997-99

Paul Schwack                       1985-87                  Dave Thompson                                 1999-01

Bill Ballen                              1987-88                 Charles Neuner                                   2001-02

Ron Miller                              1988-90                 Steve Metzler                                      2002-03

Richard Gostic                       1990-91                  George Costa                                    2003-05

Bruce Doing                           1991-93                 Richard Haimes                                  2005-07

Bob Lindquist                         1993-95                  George Costa                                    2007-09

Mark Malenovsky                   1995-97                  Mike Fassula                                     2009-10

                                                                              Doug Swesty                                     2010- resigned 12/18/2011

 

Perhaps no individual had more impact on formation of the Art Flick Chapter than Mac.  He attended meetings of the LITU Chapter and visualized that more could be done to protect and preserve the Carmans River through an affiliation with a national conservation organization.  The lower river was declared a Scenic and Recreational River; and John understood the necessity of working with the Department of Environmental Conservation which was a prelude to stream improvement projects. John’s personal contacts with Suffolk County Parks officials were also significant. Convincing members of the Carmans River Fly Tyers and the Brookhaven National Laboratory Fly Tyers that a chapter should be formed, he negotiated the succession from LITU.  Ken Geherty, a LITU and State Council member, acted as liaison between the two groups. With other members, such as Helen Quinby, Paul Schwack, Ron Miller and Al Ronner, he attended the New York State TU Council meetings and tied the connection between the local and the state organizations.  Other initial projects which started with Mac’s leadership were noted the previous section, “The Chapter was Formed”. 

Paul Schwack 1985-1987;

Belonging to a family which practiced fly fishing, Paul Schwack was a fit as a member of the new Art Flick Chapter.  Prior to membership in Art Flick, Paul owned a beautiful Egg Harbor Sport Fishing boat, had secured a Captains license and had chartered fishing trips.  He had served as President and held several other offices in a blue water fishing club and possessed the background to succeed John McCafferty as second President.

Projects included repair of a wing dam on the Carmans and several other joint works with the DEC.  A new parking lot and access path at the intersection of the river and Montauk Highway enabled folks to safely fish the river below Southhaven Park.  Several stream cleanups and trout stockings were accomplished with help from Don Hiller and Bill Sheridan.  Booths were manned at several fishing shows and expositions.  Several deserving children were sponsored to attend a fly fishing summer camp at DeBruce in the Catskills.  Fly tying lessons were held at Paul’s home and at Adult Education classes at Wm Floyd High School.  With Don Hiller and Howard Eskin help an informative monthly newsletter was mailed.  A club dinner/fishing outing was held at the Campbell Inn on the Beaverkill River in Roscoe.  The event was attended by Art Flick and his wife, Lita.  Other members who assisted during that period were Kurt Gillette, Bob Lindquist, Mike Madden and Rich Gostic

Bob Lundquist. 1993-95

During his administration, the Chapter met at the Swezey/Avery House on the Upper Lake in Yaphank which afforded members opportunity to fish before meeting.  There was close cooperation with Ed Woltman of the DEC, Region 1 and the Suffolk County Parks and a stream improvement plan was begun.  Projects were to include log deflector dams, stone structures and a fish ladder at the Hards Lake dam.  Permits were applied for and approved.  Unfortunately there was little interest in serving the various offices in the Chapter.  Bob essentially was the organization serving as treasurer, secretary, Red Quill editor, and even made the coffee for the meetings.  The only other officer was Mark Malenovsky, vice president.  During his second term new TU member, Joe Fetter, stepped forward to be treasurer and Steve Metzler became secretary. At the end of his term Bob announced his resignation, left the room and the meeting adjourned pending contact with Mark.

Mark Malenovsky.  1995-97

During the October meeting, Mark assumed the presidency of a Chapter in crisis.  There were no funds, no Red Quill editor, very little attendance and then the group was evicted from their meeting place.  Mark scrambled to find a new meeting place and; briefly, the group met at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Centerreach, then moved to Brookhaven Recreational Center in Blue Point.  Discussion was held about the meeting night but it was believed hat a change would result in even lower attendance.  Mark reorganized the Chapter.  Steve Metzler became editor of the Red Quill in addition to serving as secretary.  Chapter attendance rose as the stream improvement projects were begun.  Members enjoyed much camaraderie during those work sessions in the Carmans river cutting logs, pounding steel rebar through the logs into the riverbed, moving rock on canoes and placing the rock to provide refuges for the trout.  Members worked side by side with people from the DEC. Mark saw the need to raise funds for rebuilding the three deflector dams.  Members pressed for donations.  Mark requested donations from those with whom he did business.  Howard Eskin secured a trip to a lodge in Alaska.  Special fund-raising raffles were held for a fund named “Save a Brookie”.  Three thousand dollars was raised.

Steve Metzler.  1997-99; 2002-03

Possibly serious environmental threats surfaced during Steve’s first term.  Newly discovered plumes of contaminated ground water could impact the river.  Dave Thompson served as leader of a new organization, Carman’s River Water Quality Committee.  The committee worked in combination with official leaders and other volunteer civic organizations.  Steve believed that having survived a period when the Chapter’s survival was at risk that morale would be lifted by success in moving reluctant officials to prevent damage before it occurred. Dave arranged a visit by an official from TU National who toured the river and publicized its plight.

Other activities included fishing trips and attendance at sporting shows.  Boardwalks were placed in the swampy access trails to help the infirm gain access.  Stream improvement projects were completed.  Lobbying success prevented planting of two-year old brown trout who were suspected of eating fingerling brookies. More members volunteered.  During Steve’s second term, Dave Thompson became vice president and George Costa was named secretary.  The Carmans River was featured in Trout in an article written by Nick Karas.  During the latter portion of Steve’s term or at the beginning of Dave Thompson’s presidency, the river was filmed for Trout Unlimited and was aired on the Sports Channel, with Dave Thompson as spokesman.

A major environmental challenge occurred during Steve’s second year in office.  Home Depot proposed building a 140,000 square foot box store on a site between Montauk and Sunrise Highways in Shirley.  The 18 acre parcel, owned by Marin Elias of Jericho had been previously rezoned  “Residential” by Brookhaven Town.  In a statement by an Environmental Defense Fund lawyer it was argued, “A large portion of the (Marin) Elias Parcel slopes down towards the (Wertheim Wildlife) Refuge and the Carmans River.  Both surface and groundwater flows are toward the refuge and the river…no matter what kind of storm water drainage system any prospective developer, such as Home Depot, polluted water will interrupt the flows of wildlife between the land to the east of the Refuge and the Refuge itself.”

A massive environmental coalition was organized including 18 civic, environmental and sporting organizations and included Art Flick and Long Island Chapters Trout Unlimited.  Steve Metzler signed a petition to the Town of Brookhaven protesting the project.  Members attended informational and Town meetings and the project was defeated.

Dave Thompson.  1999-2001

Possessing a remarkable memory for names, Dave used his extensive contacts to further environmental initiatives.  During Dave’s stint as President, Ivan Frank served as Secretary and kept extensive minutes of Board and member meetings.  Ivan’s records listed contacts with DEC personnel, leaders of other environmental groups. Civic group leaders, Chapter speakers, State Council leaders, Trout Unlimited National officers, and others.

The minutes recorded the attention directed to environmental threats: such as the building of commercial properties at Carmans River headwaters, and plumes of pollutants.   Management of the river for the benefit of the native brook trout was a goal.   Speakers were from environmental officialdom such as the DEC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and New York State Parks. Nick Karas, Ichthyologist, spoke about the history of brook trout and the Carmans River and discussed effects on the native species of stocking rainbow and brown trout. Attention was directed to repair of wing dams and clean-up on the Carmans.  Fund raising was conducted.

After his term as Chapter President, Dave has served as State Council Representative and State Council Vice-President.  He actively pursues environmental issues attending numerous civic, Town and meetings of various environmental groups.

A skilled woodworker, Dave built display cases for the fly board project.  Choice woods such as dogwood and walnut were crafted into a first rate cabinet.  Sales reflected recognition of the quality of this work.

Chuck Neuner.  2001-2003

Chuck and Vice-President Joe Johnston recognized that the Chapter was experiencing three problems: low membership, low funds and a Carmans river needing attention.  A decision was made to focus on those three.  A skilled bamboo rod maker, Chuck donated rods to the Chapter.  New members were given free tickets.  Effort was made to keep meetings interesting.  The agenda was limited to the Pledge of Allegiance, reading of minutes and Treasurer’s report, reading of decisions by the board and the program.  No debate was allowed.  Those who wished to discuss Chapter business were asked to stay after and make their point.  The fly board project was continued.  Treasurer, James Reilly, developed a funding plan and Chapter moneys were enlarged.  During the annual Holiday party, fund raising was featured.  The group worked with Chart Guthrie of the DEC on problems of the Carmans.  Work crews rebuilt wing dams, placed rocks to create eddies, and focused on streamside projects such as pathways.

George Costa. 2003-05; 2007-09

Ownership and management of a Ronkonkoma restaurant for 30 years occupied most of George’s time.  His fishing outings were focused on the tide waters of the

Carmans, Upper and Lower Lakes.  A newspaper article about the Art Flick Chapter caught his attention and he attended in 1997.  After joining the Chapter, George jumped into the activities with both feet.  He served as Secretary for three years and assumed his first term as President in 2003.  Other initiatives which he answered included editing the newsletter, the Red Quill; serving as leader of barbecues; leading outreach activities including DEC Free Fishing Day on Belmont Lake and Nassau Coliseum Sportsman's Show; representing the Chapter in meetings with civic and Town officials and heading up the Chapter Banquet.  In short, George has served as Mr. Art Flick Chapter Trout Unlimited.  Several assignments were assumed when former leaders completed terms of service and George took on the jobs himself rather than lose service to the Chapter.  George has also attended State Council meetings and reported to the Chapter about various issues.

During his second term, a fish ladder over the Hards Lake dam was completed.  First proposed during the Presidency of Steve Metzler, completion of this project required passage through a field of land mines consisting of procedures, laws, approval of various related conservation agencies and civic groups and local legislative approval.  The project was testament to George’s political skill and persistence and offers fresh and salt water species free access to natural spawning areas.  Perhaps brook trout will use the opportunity to return the species to life during days of yore before construction of dams.  George also promoted and helped oversee the first annual Chapter banquet.

In October, 2009, George, Dave Thompson and Current President, Mike Fassula met and assisted a crew from Trout Unlimited National in filming activities on the Carmans and Nesquonset Rivers.  Since the season was over, fishing was restricted to tidewater sections.  The film is displayed on the TU website and is labeled “On the Rise”.

Richard Haimes.  2005-2007

Dwindling attendance at Chapter meetings caught Richard’s attention and he began initiatives to capture member interest.  Quality speakers were contacted:  Nick Karas, author of Brook Trout, Ozzie Ozewald, and Mary Dette were featured.  The raffle program was revised to offer quality items at regular meetings and special raffles were organized.  Items such as graphite rods donated by Mark Malenovsky and bamboo rods donated by Chuck Neuner were raffled.  Dave Thompson constructed quality cabinets for fly displays and tickets were sold at Chapter booths ( at events such as the Nassau Coliseum Sportsmans Show) to raise funds.  Richard personally tied and donated flies and fly boxes. 

 

Other programs were added.  Saturday fly tying sessions at South Haven Park were started.  Ivan Frank and Richard led and instructed the well-attended sessions.  Trips were begun to the Frost Valley YMCA camp on the Neversink River.

Attention was given to communications.  The website was begun.  Richard and Brian Haines developed this outreach tool.  Issues of the Chapter newsletter, The Red Quill, were increased to be monthly communications.  Richard wrote “Fly of the Month” tying directions in each issue.

During this administration, initiatives continued which led to the finally successful erection of the Hard’s Lake fish ladder. The Frost Valley excursions have continued to be popular venues with annual sell outs.  Wise fly fishers continue to look for the “Fly of the Month” patterns in the now electronic version of the Red Quill.

Mike Fassula  2009-2010

New Chapter leader, Mike Fassula, has begun his first term with several new initiatives.  A firm statement of Chapter direction was written in the November issue of Red Quill.  Mike concluded that Chapter activities should fulfill interests of those having environmental goals, those desiring membership in a fishing club and of those members interested in social activities.  A full statement of this article is contained in the final section, “Looking Ahead.”  We may expect that programs and outings will serve to achieve these goals.  Increased involvement of the board has occurred.  The web site has emerged as an information source under the guiding hand of Doug Swesty.  A spring banquet, being organized by Past President, George Costa and Vice President, Gil Miller, will provide funding opportunities and social interaction with other members and spouses.  The first annual “Member of the Year”, Mitchell Fine, was named in December.  A goal of the leadership is to increase member participation.  With a strong board and background in leadership as a volunteer firefighter, Mike has qualifications to lead the Chapter to new achievements and fulfillment of member interests in belonging to a pleasant working organization. 

Pins and Patches

Organizations secure identity by wearing pins and patches using colors and symbols peculiar to the group.  These symbols are pinned or sewn to shirts, jackets or fly vests.  Typical practice is to sell these membership badges at a cost which secures funds for the group.

A membership patch for the Brookhaven National Laboratory Fly Tiers is shown on (next page).  This colorful patch is believed to have been designed by one of the group leaders, Dr. Richard Stoner. The upper border proclaims “BNL” in red.  “Fly Tyers” also in red is below.  The white upper border is bound by a light blue band and a Red band is below.  A colorful streamer fly held by a vice is at the center.  Dr. Stoner was an enthusiastic tyer of streamer patterns.

To the right is an Art Flick patch thought to have been the work of Kurt Jellett. The manufacturer is believed to have been limited in ability to use colors and the patch is dark green with black lettering.  The words, “Art Flick” appear in the upper border and “Chapter” appears below.  “T” is to the left and “U” is to the right.  A white band with the words”Red Quill” in red support a copper colored fly.

Bill Rabatin designed the first pin for Art Flick Chapter, (next page).  Bill used the cover jacket design for Art Flick’s book, New Streamside Guide, as a model.  The Red Quill fly pattern portrayed in the upper right was the centerpiece.  Bill knew a pin manufacturer, Dr. Harvey Oswald, of Battle Creek Michigan.  Dr. Oswald enhanced the red quill body by producing lovely oblique stripes in the body.  Greens and blues from Flick’s book jacket were used.  Words “Red Quill” are displayed under the fly, over a blue background.  A green border surrounds the circular blue background and   “Art Flick Chapter” is the upper label and Charter June 4 1983 is the lower label.  The “TU” logo appears below at center.

The design was very popular and Bill sold many of the pins.  Some confusion occurred because Bill had neglected to inform Chapter officers of his plan.  He and Don Hiller planned the project as a surprise. Donating $800 in profits settled the question.  All pins were sold except for two which Bill owns.

A lovely plaque was the joint project of Bill Rabatin and Ben Savage, a skilled craftsman from Brookhaven.  Bill supplied the design and Ben brought it to life the beautiful stained hardwood plaque with the red quill fly, the blues from Flick’s book cover and, in gold lettering, “Art Flick Chapter, T.U.”  The piece was hung in the background at events sponsored by the Chapter.

Recognition of the Art Flick Chapter is displayed in the Catskill’s Fly Fishing Museum.  Pins and Patches were collected by Al Rohner which exhibit the name of Art Flick and the TU Chapter named in recognition of his achievement.

A 15 year memorial pin was designed and is currently available for purchase at Chapter meetings.  The blue and green are reversed and the Red Quill fly was redesigned.  “Art Flick Chapter is contained in the upper light blue border and below appears “15th Anniversary and 1983-1998”.  The “TU” logo appears below and at the center (previous page).

A tan cap is also available for purchase at meetings.  The cap is labeled "Art Flick Chapter”, a Red Quill fly is below and the words “Trout Unlimited” appear below the fly (next page).

A twenty five year Chapter anniversary pin was designed by Krys Kosciuk working with her husband, Chuck.  The design was converted into a lovely pin by a firm in Louisiana.  Mounting the photo of a leaping trout on a slab of deer antler, the pins featured the Chapter name, the 25th anniversary and the dates of Chapter establishment and 2008, and were given as a gift at the 2007 Christmas party of TU (next page).

Officials and Agencies

Department of Environmental Conservation

Chart Guthrie, current Freshwaters Fisheries Manager, DEC, knew John McCafferty and Don Hiller but was assigned to the warmwater division during the early years of the Art Flick Chapter.  His principal contacts with the Chapter involved the approvals and construction of the fish ladder at Hards Lake dam.  After struggling through the years-long approval process, he stood with the Chapter and saw the ladder constructed.  Currently, Guthrie’s department has been victimized by the state and national financial crisis and the loss of two biologists.  Direct opportunity to communicate with the department is available by attending quarterly meetings of the Fresh Water Advisory Council.  Meetings are on the third Monday of the months, January, March, June and September.  Leadership of the Chapter has participated in this outreach.

 

Ed Waltmann, was a Regional Fisheries Manager, assigned to the island during the ‘90’s.  He worked with Mark Malenovsky, President of the Chapter.  Steve Metzler, Secretary, was another individual who Ed remembered.  Work on the Carmans included initiating “catch and release” guidelines for the upper Carmans in an attempt to strengthen population of the native trout.  Use of barges to transport stockers was directed in order to distribute fish throughout the stream.  Natural materials were used for stream improvement projects in order to return the river to a more native appearance.  Ed believed the relationship with the Art Flick Chapter to be positive; and he was awarded a Professional Resource Award in 1997, which was promoted by Chapter leaders.

Gregory Kozlowski, a fishery biologist was assigned to the island from 1992 to 2003.  During his tenure, he remembers working with Mark Malenovsky, Dave Thompson and Steve Metzler about Chapter projects.  Habitat improvement structures on the Carmans were on the list and discussions were held about the advisability of stocking two year old brown trout.  Greg assisted with electric census operations and served on the Fresh Water Advisory Council.  He and Dave Thompson worked to halt week spraying near Mill Pond Creek in Oyster Bay in order to avoid contamination of a natal brook trout stream.

Cold Springs Fish Hatchery

Norman Soule, Manager, has been with the hatchery about 30 years.  In April 1982 the facility became a private nonprofit operation.  Since the hatchery was not  public, most of the stocking with which the chapter has assisted did not involve Cold Springs Hatchery.  During this past year, Cold Springs was contracted to provide trout to the Connetquot River and future stocking operations could continue to  rely on this facility.  A fellow Trout Unlimited member, on the board of LITU, Norm has had contact with some of the Art Flick members.  Norm has also participated with Brookhaven National Laboratory by providing fish taken from Lower Lake of the Carmans River.  The Laboratory contracts to have these fish tested and the results are a baseline for other fishery studies.

Connetquot State Park

Interwoven with member stories and Chapter activities were memories of the Connetquot River and the Connetquot State Park.  In his book, “Brook Trout”, author Nick Karas detailed the history of this stream.  Early sportsmen traveled by ferry and horse-drawn carriages from the city to fish the productive waters; and wealthy sportsmen purchased the land and formed the South Side Sportsmen’s Club (later the Southside Sportsmen’s Club of Long Island)  When taxes became prohibitive, the land was sold to the state in 1963.  A ten year lease to the club prevented the general public from fishing the river but planning by officials prepared for opening the new park in 1973 for limited fishing.  We are told that Trout Unlimited officers were among those gathered in the room warmed by the wood-burning stove as the planning proceeded.

Art Flick members have enjoyed use of the park facilities and the river for Chapter events.  Photographs in this tome display some of the fly-tying and casting events.  Numerous fishing outings, picnics and gatherings occurred there.  Members have volunteered to coach and assist groups of youths and recovering cancer victims during fishing outings.  Relations with Manager, Gil Bergen, have permitted Chapter involvement in Park activities.  Several members have spoken of Chapter assistance in the hauling of stone and gravel for road repair and for stream improvement.

Experiences in this historic site featuring pure waters of a unique river have been an important feature of life in the Art Flick Chapter Trout Unlimited and deserve a headline in Our Story.

Current Activities

Membership in Art Flick Chapter Trout Unlimited currently stands at 290.  Although the talents and interests of a group this size is nearly unlimited, a continuing problem of this and of most Chapters nationwide is to capture scarce members time by offering interesting programs.  The listing of Chapter activities below contains a broad diversity of events and members may select programs of interest.

Chapter business can be organized into three categories: outreach, environmental initiatives and recreation.

Outreach

Activities in this category are intended to inform the membership and the public about the Chapter and its business.

Web Site.  www.artflicktu.org  Leaders who established and have maintained the site include Richard Haimes, Brian Haimes and currently, Doug Swesty.  The site informs the members and the public about Chapter business.

Newsletter.  The Red Quill.  Published monthly, August through May, and edited by George Costa, the newsletter informs members about meetings and activities and contains advertising.  Copies can be mailed or members are encouraged to secure copies by email.

Directory.  First printed for the 2008-09 year by a committee consisting of Bob Gladwish, Mel Lantz and Jim Ludlow.  The three contacted Chapter members seeking  permission to print contact information.  Jim designed the cover.  Bob innovated the idea of including pictures and Mel put the thing together and printed it.  The 2009-10 version contains information about 78 members.

Welcome to the Chapter Pamphlet.  Developed fall 2009 by Mel Lantz, this fold-out contains basic material about the Chapter and its activities.  The pamphlet was originally designed for the Kalamazoo, Michigan Chapter by Steve Schullery and has been redone with his permission to detail the Art Flick activities.

Monthly Meetings.  Scheduled for the second Monday evening of each month, September to June.  The Board plans each meeting and typically the agenda includes: Pledge of Allegiance; Program; Reports from activity leaders; coffee, tea and refreshments; old and new business and drawings.  Meetings are chaired by President Mike Fassula, tickets for drawings and prizes plus sale of pins and caps are managed by Chuck Kosciuk and Richard Manel, and refreshments are managed by Bruce Waring, Gary Saunders and Fred Hansen.

Board Meetings.  Led by Mike Fassula these are held monthly at Reeses in Patchogue.  Board members provide leadership and feedback about meetings and all Chapter business.

State Council Trout Unlimited.  Dave Thompson is Art Flick representative.  The task is to attend State Council meetings, participate and inform AF members.

Assisting Groups with Fishing.  AFTU volunteers work with individuals and small groups to assist with learning of trout fishing skills.  Groups worked with include:

                                Peconic Dunes Camp.  A summer camping experience for young teens.

                                Casting for Recovery.  Breast cancer survivors.

                                Boy Scouts.  Help with fly tying and casting.

                                Nassau Coliseum Sportsmans Show.  George Costa assembles and erects the booth and assembles list of volunteers to man the exhibit.  The Chapter is explained to viewers and chances on prizes are sold.

Survey of Member Interests and Concerns.  Performed when scheduled by the Board.

Environmental Activities

Items in this category include hands-on environmental work and political action.

Stream Improvement.  A favorite of many members the Chapter has worked with the DEC to build and improve stream structures on the Carmans and Connetquot Rivers.  From the beginnings of the Chapter members have helped with building and maintaining stream structures and cleaning banks and substrate.

Assist the DEC with Stocking.  Time schedules are coordinated and members meet stocking trucks, offload stockers and use rafts to plant the stream equitably.

Fish Ladder.  George Costa and Dave Thompson have led the successful effort to construct a fish ladder at Hard Lake Dam.  Fresh and salt water species have been monitored using the ladder.  The lower Carmans has been reconnected to the ocean and species may once again return to earlier patterns of migration.

Meetings with Other Environmental Groups.  Activities have been coordinated with other committees and groups.

Meetings with Other Citizen Groups.  Most recently, George Costa has represented AFTU with a Brookhaven Town committee to study impact of weed invasions on the Upper and Lower Lakes. Any interested member may attend.   Concerns of possible impact on the entire Carmans River has been represented.

Surveys of Insects and Alewives.  In cooperation with the DEC, members have studied the Carmans River and have collected data about these life forms

Recreation

Perhaps most members of Trout Unlimited were fishers before they joined.  For we select few, the sport seems to be in our blood.  But how the sport has changed.  When I began fishing back in the ‘40’s, sporting magazines were full of a culture of harvesting the catch.  We read passages like, “patterns which kill well” and “filling the creel“.  Honey holes were private business and not shared except with closest friends.  It was believed that fish hatcheries could support this mind set.

As the population grew and environmental concerns began to mount, it became unwise to hide the favorite streams.  When danger threatened, the help from other fishers and an organization became necessary to protect the streams.  There were other problems. Hatchery fish were not like those who were raised in the wild.  Raising fish was expensive.  Killing the catch meant the fish was not around to catch tomorrow.  A workshop title at a national fisheries conference was, “Catch and Release is the Answer, now what is the Problem?”

In 1959, Trout Unlimited was born.  Our mission is conservation.  Our passion is fishing.  The Art Flick Chapter has sought to fill both needs.  Following are the recreational opportunities.

Fishing Outings.  Most trips have been scheduled for spring, however, day trips have occurred throughout the year.

Day Trips.  Usually scheduled for the Connetquot, but this may change dependant upon DEC decisions for this river.

U  Scheduled by Gary Saunders.  Fishers have stayed at Riverside Resort on the banks of the Beaverkill.  Fishing in the Willowemoc, Esopus and Delaware are convenient options.  Overnight lodging and some meals are at the resort.

Adirondacks .  Leader is Jim Ludlow.  Fishing is in the AuSable and some lakes or ponds.  Overnight lodging is at the Hungry Trout resort and exceptional meals are the standard.

Frost Valley YMCA Resort.  Leader is Richard Haimes and the resort is on the East Branch of the Neversink, also in the Catskills.  Meals are also exceptional.

Chapter Banquet.  To be held in the spring and leaders are Gil Miller and George Costa.  This is a dress up event and couples are invited.  The banquet features dinner and entertainment followed by a sale of member-donated items of interest to both genders.

Fly Tying Instruction.  Scheduled for several Saturdays in the fall and winter.  Leaders have been Ivan Frank and currently Richard Haimes.  Some Chapter-owned equipment has been available.  

Looking Ahead

The Art Flick Chapter, Trout Unlimited was formed of two fishing clubs: Carmans River Fly Tyers and Brookhaven National Laboratory Fly Tyers.  Though they continued to enjoy fly fishing as a sport, leaders heard duty calling.  The Trout Unlimited culture added another role: protecting the environment of the fishes they loved.  Adding the environmental duties would insure that the sport would continue.

Mother stream of the Chapter was the Carmans.  Members have cherished this river and its fishes and for many the river is the reason they loved the sport of fly fishing.  Although fly fishing and the Carmans are not  necessary ingredients in the “Trout Unlimited culture” they remain as strong reasons for becoming and remaining Art Flick members.  A second stream, the Connetquot, has also attracted Chapter attention.  Members have studied diets of the trout in the Carmans and the “Connie”, tied flies to “match the hatch”, shared observations, repaired wing dams, cleaned up the streams, stocked trout, and bonded at streamside events to celebrate.  This is the glue which held the organization together.

Perhaps the deteriorated condition of the Carmans spoke to the leadership of the need for help from Trout Unlimited.  The Connetquot needed attention as well.  Some members believe that the need to work on these streams was the reason that Trout Unlimited Chapter was formed.  They feel a strong pull to continue in this direction.  During the twenty six years that the Chapter has been in existence, radical changes have occurred in Suffolk County.  Increased development and new threats to waterways have called other members to the task of political action as a means of protecting the home waters.  The discovery of Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis in Connetquot fishes has caused temporary closure of the hatchery.  Solutions for problems for the Connie in these economic times are questionable.  It appears that the way forward for the Chapter has been complicated by a phalanx of challenges.  Should we continue on the course last traveled or cut new paths?

President Mike Fassula spoke to this challenge in his “President’s Line” in the November Red Quill.  This message is repeated here as it speaks to the basic question of chapter direction.

“Who, exactly, are we?  Several times since I have been a member of Art Flick TU, that question has arisen, and it seems to be more pertinent today than ever before.  There are some who feel that we are a fishing club, comprised of members passionate about fishing for trout and other species.  There are some that feel we are a social club, with members who simply enjoy spending time together.  The truth, of course, is that we are all of these things. And that’s the beauty of it.  To simply think of our chapter as just any one of these things would be selling us rather short.”

“Our strength, I believe, lies in our diversity.  We have members who are passionate about conservation, who volunteer their time to attend the various meetings necessary to ensure that our agenda of preservation is addressed.  We have members who are talented fishermen and fly tyers, whose prowess in these areas often amazes me.  Some of these members run fishing trips and give presentations to the rest of us.  And we have a lot of simply great people whose company we all enjoy sharing.  I’d like to think that we have something for everyone.  Along those lines, in the coming months you will see a diverse agenda at AFTU with some exciting changes and new initiatives.”

“At next chapter meeting, Chuck Neuner will be giving a presentation on bamboo fly rods.  The date for that meeting is November 9th.  In December, Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, will be addressing the chapter.  The December meeting will also be our holiday party.”

“The Art Flick fly tiers continue to meet at Southhaven Park on most Saturday mornings.  This is a great program, and it’s completely free.  Come out and join us.”

“At last months meeting I mentioned a possible cleanup of the Swan River.  We are moving ahead with plans for that, and hope to get a day on the river this fall.  Please stay tuned, as more information of the project should be forthcoming soon. “

“We are going to be trying something new with the Red Quill.  Due to mainly financial constraints, last months issue will be the last regular issue printed and mailed to everyone.  We are moving to an electronic format.  Members who have provided us with an email address will be sent a copy each month, and the entire Red Quill will be available on the Chapter website (http://www.artflicktu.org/).  Members who don’t have access to the electronic version, and who come to a chapter meeting and request it, will still be able to receive a printed version in the mail.  The chapter banquet has been rescheduled for March 12, 2010.  We now have almost five months to make this event a success.  I know we can all do it!”

“The last thing I’d like to do is to ask for your help.  None of these things can be accomplished without the participation of our members.  As I said above, I really believe this chapter has something for everyone.  I have the same request for each of you.  Participate. Come to a chapter meeting, attend a fly tying session, come help at one of our shows.  You’ll be glad you did!”

“Until next month, tight lines!”

What an inspiring message!  What a view into the future!  Mike and the active board, will offer an interesting two years.  Listed below are additional comments about significant initiatives moving forward.

The Carmans.  At the center of Chapter life, this river will require

continued attention.  Scheduling clean-ups, stream work, and trout stocking are never-finished tasks and have provided a lot of member satisfaction.  A follow-up project could be to assess the results of erecting a fish ladder over Hards Lake dam.  Some assessment has been underway. We could study questions such as: Have alewife runs increased?  Are brook trout using the passage to move between fresh and salt water?  Has stream insect life been affected?  Needless to say, all of the above would require approval and direction from the DEC and perhaps aide of specialists.

Communications.  Mike outlined the increased use of the internet to transmit information.   A friend from Michigan has acquired the title “email guy”.  He sends all the latest information about interesting events, chapter doings, and notice of relevant meetings to those who file their address.  The Board has elected to go in  the direction of using the web site and the electronic version of the Red Quill to communicate with members.  It is my hope that they will keep in mind the idea of relevant emails to help with important communications.  It goes without saying that members lacking computer access will need assistance from nearby friends.  Mike assured those who attend meetings the option of receiving hard copies of the Red Quill.

Membership.  I recently attended a meeting of a fishing club in which dissolution is a possible outcome.  Frank discussion during the meeting asserted need to work on adding members in order to spread the work of the club.  When a member performs an office for a period of time a common result is that a rest is desired.  New members help the group continue while those who have served take time to enjoy social life.

Having made numerous calls to inactive members while developing the Chapter Directories, we learned that person-to-person contacts provide results.  Present Chapter membership stands near 300.  Having previously been a member of a chapter of that size, I saw the number grow to near 500.  Believe me, such a change results in increased activity.  The secret seems to be to recruit on a person-to-person basis, provide interesting programs and activities, offer opportunity to serve, outline the boundaries of an office, then get out of the way.  The results can be amazing!  We need a membership working group.

Chapter Finances.  With net balance below a thousand dollars, Art Flick is limited in outreach and program.  Perhaps the new Banquet program will bring in funds.  Perhaps not.  A possible initiative is to start a program of contributions.  The Chapter may not charge dues, but it can offer a voluntary contribution effort.  A program which I saw to be workable defined a yearly contributor to be a Patron for a donation of $25 and as a Sponsor for donating $50.  Patrons and Sponsors received neat badges(crafted by a member with an artistic hand) and free tickets for drawings.

The Connetquot.  The entire fishery is in flux and Art Flick members should become active in the committee studying the situation.  It appears that no one can predict how this will play out.  We should listen and reflect.  Chart Guthrie has developed and publicized an interim policy which will continue fishing on the Connie, but the days of several dozen catch and releases in a half day session are a fond memory.

The Department of Environmental Conservation.  State finances are in a deficit mode and likely will remain so for some time.  The Freshwater Fisheries Division has lost two biologists and has no authority to replace them.  A quarterly public talk-back, The Long Island Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Council, is conducted by Chart Guthrie.  We should notify his office of interest and plan to attend.  Perhaps some voluntary help could relieve the present load.

As this book goes to press during the first month of the second decade of the third millennia, the Chapter stands prepared to move forward.  Whichever directions the members and officers choose, the results will enrich the lives of all and hopefully, will assist in preservation of the fishes and the sport which has captured attention of us all. This is Our Story.

 

Newsflash

 

 

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*Angling Humorist   >>>Hank Patterson Explains TU To Some Newbies<<<

* READ THE LATEST CHAPTER NEWS... >>>JUNE RED QUILL NEWSLETTER<<<

 

* NYS DEC seeking volunteers for its Summer 2017 WAVE PROJECT (Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators)..More detail in the >>>CONSERVATION SECTION<<<