Vintage Authors: Art Flick

Art Flick, Catskill Legend – A Remembrance of His Life and Times by Roger Keckeissen, Published 2014 by Clark City Press, 197 pages with photos.

He ran an Inn in West Kill, NY near the Schoharie. A fisherman’s Inn – fly fishers that is; grouse hunters too. The elite of the fishing world came and stayed. Ray Camp of the New York Times, Dana Lamb and Ernie Schwiebert. Cool stuff, right?

I was attracted to Art because he seemed approachable, even to me as a new comer to his sport, although I never met him in person.

This book bears out that fact and offers insights into what fishing at the time was like, the challenges it faced and the people who were involved. It also speaks to the conservation story that evolved and the history of the eastern mountains, the effect of the depression and the war, even the spinning rod.

I suggest you read all of his books but start with this one so you will know where the others came from if you can find it as it may be out of print.

When I first got into trout fishing I bought his “New Streamside Guide to Naturals and Their Imitations” which was published in 1969.  (The original Streamside Guide came out in 1947.)

It gave me the basic information I needed on fishing the dry fly in the Catskills. It simplified what was, back then, a dizzying assortment of flies to choose from – today there are thousands more making this classic even more helpful to the beginner and old timer a like.

Art-Flick's New-Streamside-Guide 1969
Art Flick’s New Streamside Guide 1969
Art-Flick's Streamside-Guide 1947
Art Flick’s Streamside Guide 1947

When I began to tie flies, his book was the first one I bought – Art Flick’s Master Fly-Tying Guide (Crown 1972). Again, he made a complex pursuit simple and also introduced me to his contemporaries – a modest, self-effacing man, his goal was to see that the reader benefited from the work of all these individuals, not just him.

Art-Flick's Master-Fly-Tying-Guide 1972
Art Flick’s Master Fly-Tying Guide 1972

He never considered himself a commercial tier leaving that business to the Dette and Darby clans to the west. He did tie a bunch, mostly for his patrons at the Inn. I was fortunate to find these:

Art Flick’s Flies

He never traveled much while in the hospitality business but once the Inn was sold (and shortly after burned to the ground) he got around the country fishing Michigan and Montana as well the Canadian Maritime. He also got to Long Island and our Eastern Suffolk chapter of TU is named for him, but the Catskills were his home and always will be.

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