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Welcome back to the new NEFF. Take a break from Twitter and Facebook. You don't go to Dicks for your fly fishing gear, you go to your local fly fishing store. Enjoy!

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Hi everyone, hope all is going well for you this winter. I've been playing a bit of hockey and must say that aside of the many ailments that come with playing hockey (recent broken nose (Took a nice slap shot to the nose), dislocated arms, broken teeth, black and blues everywhere (yes, even there (I don't where a cup)) etc...) I'm actually in the best condition I've ever been in. I went from weighing 225lbs just a few years ago, and from playing hockey, I'm now between 170 - 180 and went from a very tight 38 pant to a perfect fitting 32. Something strange about hockey... Nothing feels better than getting hit with a puck. That sting followed by the pain shortly thereafter really gets me going and I love it. Getting knocked around and knocking others around is the best! Anyway...

I haven't put a fly in the water since some time in Sept. Strange huh... I used to fish all year round but now I feel as if I can do without it. When I first started this site a while back, I was in love with the sport of fly fishing. I fished as often as I possibly could. I remember working for a company in Manhattan back in 97'. The manager picked up and left, leaving the few of us with a very laxed manager. So laxed that we could roll into the office at 10:30, and be out by 2:30. I took advantage of those early hours and fished just about every day when I got home. Those were the days! I couldn't wait to get to a stream and cast a line, whether or not I was catching wild fish or stocked fish; it just didn't matter.

Then I put up a little shitty website (Click to see the original version of this site) and learned some website development. I didn't develop the software that runs this site but I've had to learn quite a bit in order to modify it and customize it. It was fun learning how to do all of this.

You meet some strange characters on the web. I'm not saying that in a bad way... We're all strange in some way or another. It's interesting to meet other people who are strange in different ways.

Everyone has a different opinion about how things should be done. A perfect example is that I complained about the most recent fly fishing show in Somerset, NJ. A few chimed in and added their thoughts on the show which were considerably different than mine. Hey, to each his/her own. Everyone will get something different out of the same experience. Some enjoy catching 2lb trout in the KLG while I prefer to catch any size trout as long as they're wild (at least as long as I think they might be wild, I'm satisfied). There is definetely a difference in catching a fish that's been in a river for a while then one that has not.

I no longer fish places like the KLG because it doesn't do anything for me. Recently a friend called and asked if I wanted to fish the Little Lehigh. Now I don't care what anyone says... There might be some wild fish in that stream but there is a hatchery spill way there, and if you stand near the spill way, there are thousands of fish that are willing to take anything you toss at them. That's fine for some people and that brings plenty of joy and excitement to some people. Personally, it puts me to sleep.

Although I stopped fly fishing the catskills a while back, I found my way back probably around 2001 or so... Then with some words from a few on this site, I was lured to the Delaware river. That changed everything for me in a great way. I fell in love with the river and never looked back. The size of the river, the numerous types of water to fish, and of course the scenary! I think that's what keeps me going back every weekend. If you put 3000 more fish in per mile (they'de probably all die off because of the lack of water management :)) but put developments and factories along the river, I probably wouldn't return. The beauty combined with the fishing is simply magical though, and it keeps me coming back.

Now we're introducing power lines, casino's, and the worse part of all, poor water management with various organizations who from my point of view, cannot get along.

We read about some townspeople who hate the fishermen (I even remember seeing something on the news about this... Someone speaking in Livingston Manor blamed the flooding on the fishermen). I understand that person cannot speak for the entire Catskill area, but there are people out there that would love to see the rivers void of fish and fishermen. I even believe that some would break the windows of our cars to deter us from coming to the area. Now this hasn't happened to me or anyone I know, but some of the rumours I've heard from what I would like to call reliable sources have told me that people broke into the cars of fishermen. Whether the purpose was to steal the goods and pawn them off or deter the fishermen from coming, doesn't matter. Oh yes, I can drive to a local mall and have my car broken into, but it's not the same because I would expect something like this to happen in a local mall or similar place. I would never expect this in such a nice area up in the mountains. Either way, it does appear to happen, and I still park my car wherever I can in order to catch a trout.

So here I am in my 5th year or so of running a fly fishing website. Over the past year, after reading all the bickering, I have to say that I'm better off not knowing anything about what's going on with my favorite fishing place or the people who are involved with keeping it pristine (in a way that probably suits them the best). Here's why... I've become friendly with people from this site, the FUDR, and of course the DRF. The part that's tough is dealing with everyone on a level playing ground. Being the webmaster puts me at a central point of contact which often places me in an awkward situation. This guy doesn't like that guy so ban him. Phone calls asking me to unban members that I've banned, people literally fighting with each other, photo's uploaded depicting one thing but are purposely posted to put things into another context that suit the needs of something else, etc... I have people out there who can't stand me because I 'allow' certain material to be posted to this site and when that information is posted, I'm looked down upon because I don't remove it. It's a mess... I think once in a while some folks should take a look at the situation that they're prepared to drag me into, and deal with that issue by picking up the phone and calling the other party themselves. Instead, Party A will bicker with Party B. The BS will start to fly, then both party's contact me to ask me why I let this post proceed then ask me to work my webmaster magic against each other! When I disagree, I'm of course the bad guy. After all, we're all friends, and friends do favors for friends... Incredible.

At the Fly fishing show, I went and spoke with someone who owns a business and was actually asked by that person to go speak with another person (on his behalf) whom he had a big issue with. I'm not going to mention a name or say what this person asked me to ask the other person because that would give everything away. That said, I also spoke with another person from the same place who would hardly look at me because I let certain posts proceed. What this person failed to realize while appearing to take out his frustration on me was that I'm not the one who made the disparaging remarks. Of course I'm the one who needs to be given the cold shoulder though.

The reason you don't see any advertisements on this site is because if I offer an advertisement, I kind of owe the person paying for the ad some type of guarantee that people won't come on and post evil about their company. An example... I visit Flyshop A and become friendly with the owner. The owner asks me to place a banner ad on the site. I agree and post the banner. Now some unhappy customer (also a friend of mine) decides to come on the site and mention that, "Billy Bob", skrewed him over and did this that and the other thing to him while he was visiting FLyshop A. Being that I'm friends with, Billy Bob, Billy Bob kinda feels that I should remove the post. So, to allow people to be honest, there are no advertisements. This avoids me having to play the middle guy or Bad Guy, at least for that type of situation. By the way, if your have a problem with a company, please feel free to post about it. As long as you're honest, the post will be welcomed. A few have contacted me and asked me if it was ok to post their bad experiences with a company. This has happened a few times, and what I did was contacted the company to see what the other side of the story was. As it turns out, sometimes things work out for the better and everyone walks away happy. It's nice to see that this website at times, brings results for both you as well as some company who is going to be bashed.

As you can see, this has been taking a toll on my overall fly fishing experience. As much as I love running this website, I'm not so sure I love the sport anymore. Some of the comments and some of the actions taken after the comments have really turned me off.

Who would think that such a sport could bring so much hatred amongst people. I mean, we're talking about fish here, right? I would expect such hatred if this was a site about religion or politics, but not fishing! If I had a nickel for everytime someone threatened me physically, I wouldn't have to work anymore (I'd be in the hospital :) ).

As I sit here and write this, I'm thinking of fishing one of my favorite spots on the West Branch. I see myself having a great day then I get out of the water to goto one of my other favorite locations on the mainstem. I see myself having potentially the best day ever. Then I think about a 'what if' situation: I see myself running into one of the party's who have been involved with some of the trash or treasure they've encountered or took part in while visiting this site. Then having my day ruined because Joe Schmo wants to have a lengthy conversation about how this site or I screwed up their 'progress' with the river and its fish and how this site and or my actions or lack of, potentially ruined their livelyhood.

Anyhow, maybe I've just got the winter blues and just getting impatient waiting for the Hendricksons. I love fishing the Hendricksons on the West Branch! I don't think the Wb can be beet between April - mid May for these insects. Walking along the bank watching huge brown trout gulping these bugs like it's the last super is great!

Well, that's all I'll say for now, I'm going to bed.
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Although I do understand that your post wasn't intended as a "fishing expedition" for compliments, I'd just like to say thank you for providing us all with this board. I KNOW that's its helped me a great deal with my "hobby" of fly fishing. It also provides a great resource for disseminating and debating information as it applies to some specific rivers.

It is truly unfortunate that by doing so, you feel that your fishing and fishing related experiences have suffered because of it. I do wish people could allow you to keep the board (and the people and posts on it) and YOU (the fisherman and friend) separate. I can't imagine the phone calls and pms and e-mails you must endure.

I'd be thrilled to NOT talk one word about the board if you'd show me what you know about Hendricksons come spring. :) For that matter, ANY bug, ANY time.

I can't help thinking, that you'd probably love it if some of us took up Hockey :) (An opposing team of course)

P.S. If you think it might help, I can probably find a set of NY plates to hang on your car... :) Maybe you can print some out on magnets to put over your Jersey tags when you park it. Just a thought... ;)
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Great post . Dennis you have probably done it all through the years and with flyfishing and fishing in general in the current state of dissarray with all the non issues it just doesnt seem worth it getting out sometimes and knowing all that you know and the possilble consequenses it might bring probably make it harder. I feel the same way sometimes for other reasons but , iam sure it will pass and allow you some quite time on the river again. We are all evolving in our lives and what you are feeling is just a natural process that will hopefully bring you to a better place when you get to the other side of it.
You know I think its the case with any industry/sport and not just fly fishing but it does take a toll on you. Everyday people ask how I feel about this proposal and how this might change things for the better or worse. Often my reply is I try not to speculate or pay complete attention to every detail of every proposal as in my experience its the averages of all of these things that is the real big picture. Now don't get me wrong its important to not turn your back to the obvious but at the same time you can't let it ruin your life and or sanity in the process. The good news usually passes quickly and the gloom and doom seems to spread like a virus. But hey its all ups and downs and don't let the winter weather get the best of you! But I will say good riddance to 2006.... ;)
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Wow....after reading through your entire post, I was greatly surprised that your last line wasn't.."I'm outa here!".
I have felt the same frustration that you have felt over the last three years, after becoming active in the attempt to get better/more flows for the rivers we all love. The first and formost frustration is having to deal with the political entities that control the flows...it takes tons of time and attending the meetings in Trenton to get a feeling of all the relationships that are in play.
That said, everyone has their own ideas about what the "best" water flow policy shoud be. I have read many many articles by fish biologists, worked with stream temperature computer models, worked with the OASIS model that is used by the decree parties (gaining some understanding about what it does well and not so well)...and also have a solid understanding in research statistics. I realize that more water would be better for the rivers...but its not that easy. I realize that there will be folks who complain about the new proposals for river flow management that will be discussed over the next several months.
I also realize that many of you still work, and do not have the time it would take to understand all of the issues that are taken into account in coming up with these new proposals...but I believe there will be a source where everyone can go to obtain this info...hopefully soon.
Stay tuned,
When fishing becomes a business and no longer a life passion, one's perspective changes. The pressure to run a profitable shop or to line up customers for float trips so you can pay your mortgage really takes the shine off a beautiful pursuit. In your situation, you have spent countless hours setting up a website that hundreds of anglers have benefited by. The information shared and discussed and sometimes squabbled over has made all of us more informed about the river, the insects, the fly patterns and the politics. This has become a business to you just without any monetary profit.
If you wanted to bag it no one would criticize you for it. This site has some great anglers and fly tyers and then some people who could polish up their people skills. It runs the whole spectrum of personalities. I continue to visit it almost everyday like public television and I really haven't given anything in return. So, if you need any help doing anything except cleaning garbage off a 60 degree incline hill along the West Branch (maybe even that), just let me know.
I am grateful that you combined your skills with IT and fly fishing. It is often a thankless job dealing with posts and updating the site, and knowing you I can say that you really are in this for all of the right reasons. You have always been fair in my mind even if I'm not a Winston dealer... Only kidding!
Once you get to the business side, things do change, they have to. You acquire a much deeper understanding of what it actually takes to have fly fishing in the crowded Northeast. With regards to conservation, there are conflicts, some of which are worth dealing with and some that are dropped on your doorstep. But there are victories too and I think that at the end of the day we are certainly enriched by your efforts. As for me, I haven't had much time to fish lately either but the Early Black Stones are here and the Blue Quills are only a couple of weeks away.
Dennis, I have wondered for a long time why you put up with all this crap, but thankful you do because I have learned so much. What ever happened to the days of " A River Runs Through It" or the "Fly Fishing Rabbi's view of this sport. It was not long ago that some of those ideals were our main focus. I also wonder how welcome we are, or are not in flyfishing country and also wonder if it is because of modern communications with the internet, our own doing or a combination of these things. Whatever the cause I dont like it and it has dimmed my view of the sport as well. I will keep up the sport but I am less interested in reading all the bs and think I am better off not knowing who hates who. I have no interest in criticizing some guy using worms or shouting at some guy taking a fish he is not supposed to be taking or using some technique I dont like, I just want to fish and enjoy myself without being harassed and not bothering anyone else. All the stuff going on today with politics, hate and self rightnesses is really getting to me.
First off - thank you Dennis for hosting this website. Sure there's other places, but this is the only one I visit pretty much every day.

I come here to read and talk about fly fishing in the North East, fly fishing gear, tactics, flies, etc.

Not just the UD. And not politics.

I'm with you Dennis. Sorry to hear how much BS you've had to deal with.
Dennis.....yours was a long post with a lot of scope, but I have a few comments on a couple of the main themes. Having purchased my first fly rod at the age of 16, I have now been fly fishing for over 25 years. Over that time there were several long periods where I ignored the sport for one reason or another......I certainly preferred the bar scene in New Brunswick and the pursuit of the opposite sex during college. When I got into my early professional career I got tied up with a bunch of golfers and I put my efforts into that sport. Then I got married and had kids......my point is that I kept coming back to it. Now that my oldest son is capable of wading without taking a bath we are starting to go together. What an absolute rush I experienced the first time he stood next to me in the stream when I nymphed a couple of rainbows with him standing knee deep right at my side. He hasn't caught a trout on a fly yet, but I'm sure that will happen this spring and I can't wait to be there with him. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there will be ups and downs over time with any hobby. I bet at some point something will happen that will rekindle the fires.....it always has for me.

In the mean time, if any individual gets openly mad at you for something that someone else posted on your site, that is an individual that is just trying to use you, and to whom you shouldn't be associated with. You have made it abundantly clear that any and all views can be represented, albeit within the bounds of a few common sense rules that you have also clearly pre-established.

I really appreciate the site and your tolerance of the BS. If there is another place on the web where the UD issues can be discussed as openly, please let me know. I love the WBA resort, shop, and Tightloops' advice, but would they allow local residents to post pro channelization positions on their site?

Kudos for maintaining this site as well as you have. While I am relatively new to the site, having only joined a little over a year ago, I cannot begin to list how many useful posts I have come across. I started fly fishing for trout back in 1989 and gave it up in 1996 for various reasons. Anyway, last Christmas my brother decided it was time for me to start fly tying and gave me a starter tying kit (if he only knew how much he was going to cost me in the coming year). Surfing the web for some information on tying led me to this site. It wasn't long before I found more information than I had hoped for on more topics than I'd expected. The best thing is that you offer so many forums to pick from. Therefore, I am not subjected to reading posts that are of no interest or impact to me if I choose not to. Often enough I get curious (or out of boredom) and find my self reading more than I wanted to. Yes there is a lot of bickering that goes on between some posters, but the bottom line for me is that this site has given me so much more knowledge than I could have learned by just fishing alone over the last season. I managed to land more fish last year than I ever had in my previous trout seasons; caught my first trout on flies that I tied myself; made my first trek to the WB; and, gained a better appreciation for the area watersheds. I give much credit to this site for getting me back into a sport that I truly love. Many thanks to you and your readers.