In 2003, I had just resigned from the board of a conservation organization that had pledged to protect the Upper Delaware River. Up to this point, there had been a loose collection of anglers and businesses who wanted to safeguard the river, but no one really knew how to do that. The organization I left had some great people involved who really wanted to do the right thing. But after a little more than a year of trying, it had become obvious to me that this group was lost, and it wasn’t going to be the advocate the Upper Delaware really needed.
The first thing I did after resigning was call Lee Hartman and Al Caucci. These two men are Delaware River legends. They were fighting to protect the river long before I had ever fished it. They weren’t involved with the group I had left (one of that organizations flaws), and I wanted to let them know why I was leaving the board. But I also knew that we couldn’t allow the Delaware to remain unprotected without a strong advocacy group. The powers that regulate the Upper Delware’s reservoir releases had made it obvious, time and again, that they cared little for the health of the Delaware’s amazing wild brown and rainbow trout fishery. And without a unified voice to speak for the river, more damage was sure to come.
The three of us met later that week at Al’s house on the West Branch to discuss how to best protect the fishery. It was at that meeting that the foundation for the Friends of the Upper Delaware River (FUDR) was formed. We left the meeting tasked with the mission to involve others in our cause. Two weeks later, we would meet again with all of the other supporters that each of us were able to collect. We met at Lee’s former business, Indian Spring Lodge, and chose the name FUDR for our little group. Now, 10 years later, it’s amazing to see what this group has accomplished.
FUDR was not a perfect organization in its earliest days, and the group made some mistakes as we tried to understand how to best serve and protect the river. But today, under Chairman Dan Plummer’s leadership, combined with an amazing board of directors, FUDR has become the organization I had always hoped it could be. I am no longer a member of the board. I resigned after the terrible flood of 2006 forced me to move away from my beloved river in search of a better economic future for me and my wife. But I still maintain close contact with many of the board members, and I’m an unapologetic supporter of the group.
That brings me to FUDR’s One Bug Fundraiser. Jim “Coz” Costolnick had the idea for the One Bug early in FUDR’s development. He had competed in the Jackson Hole One Fly Tournament and thought that a similar model would help FUDR raise money to help cover the costs of the meetings, mailers, stream restoration projects, web site, community projects, and many other expenses that FUDR incurs. Like FUDR itself, its amazing how successful this event has become.
I try to attend the Friday night Gala every year. But I only competed once, in 2009. My partner Andy Tumalo and I were lucky enough to win that year. But this event isn’t about anglers winning or losing. The only entity that really wins the One Bug is the Upper Delaware River. And that’s how it should be.
FUDR is still looking for a couple teams to round out the field for this year’s One Bug. If you have the opportunity to participate, I strongly urge you to do so. The Friday night Gala is a blast with great food, drink, and camaraderie. And any reason to spend two days floating the Upper Delaware is one worth exploring. I know I’ll be there.
The 5th Annual One Bug™ Fundraiser: April 27th – 29th, 2012
Group photo of the guides and competitors for the 2009 “One Bug”. That’s me, hiding in the back, on the far left.
The 5th Annual One Bug™ Fundraiser (From FUDR’s web site)
We are pleased to announce the fifth annual One Bug™ event on the weekend of April 27, 28, and 29. The One Bug begins with a dinner and auction on Friday evening, April 27th at the Old Capitol theatre, 170 Front Street, Hancock NY, followed by two days of team fishing led by the best guides on the Delaware.
All Profits are used to protect, preserve and enhance the ecosystem and cold-water fishery of the Upper Delaware River System including any environmental threats to the area.
The One Bug™ celebrates the sport and camaraderie of fly fishing, and promotes “CPR”, Catch, Photograph and Release.
Under the rules, each two-person team selects a single fly for each of the two days of competition. If it’s lost, the contestant is allowed to tie on a new fly to enjoy the rest of the day fishing but can no longer score points for their team. Teams are paired with top guides and assigned to a specific beat or stretch or water which changes each day.
Join us for the Friday Night Gala or for the whole weekend as a team member and help us celebrate our five-year anniversary of our annual One Bug special event. Ask anyone that has attended in the past – we truly have a blast!
The closing ceremonies
The Friday Night Gala tickets are $100 including dinner by award winning grill master Michael Cartechine, open bar, auction and raffle.
The team entry fee is $2,400 for two anglers and includes Friday Night’s Gala; two days guided fishing with all meals, drinks, and snacks
An angler tries to retrieve his One Bug
The coveted Lucite trophy
More 2012 One Bug info:
Highlights from the 2011 One Bug Here:
FUDR’s Home Page:
Some of FUDR’s many accomplishments:
If you fish the Upper Delaware River or if you simply care about the health of wild trout fisheries, please consider joining FUDR:
*All photos, except 2009 One Bug trophy, courtesy of FUDR’s web site.