Flick moved from Kingston, NY to the Catskills in 1941 to take over management of his parents’ hotel, the Westkill Tavern. There, near the banks of the Schoharie Creek, he began a lifelong commitment to stream conservation. He helped secure legislation that created New York’s first “no kill” or “catch and release” water. Flick was instrumental in obtaining the first public fishing waters in New York on the Schoharie Creek. For over 50 years, he lobbied and fought to protect Westkill and Schoharie Creeks as prime trout habitat. Flick was a founder of “Catskill Waters”, an organization that fought for improved tail water releases from New York City’s reservoirs. He served as advisory to five NYS Conservation Commissioners. In 1983, he received Trout Unlimited’s “Conservationist of the Year” Award. After several years ofcollecting and categorizing the life cycle of Catskill aquatic insects, Flick created many flies to imitate the various life stages of these insects. His straightforward findings are summarized in his popular book, “Streamside Guide to Naturals and Their Imitations”, in which he introduced fly fishermen to the joys of simplified fly selection.
The “Father of American Dry Fly Fishing”, Gordon left the cities for a quieter life near the Neversink River in New York’s Catskills. Gordon learned about the English dry fly revolution from his English friend Frederic Halford. Gordon totally changed the appearance of the dry fly by tying flies with stiffer and more sparse hackle. This gave them buoyancy in the faster American waters, thus originating the “Catskill Style” of fly tying. He created some of the first truly American dry flies. Gordon was a prolific writer and had regular columns in the weekly Forest and Stream and the English journal, The Fishing Gazette. He was a staunch conservationist and early advocate for stream and watershed protection and the teaching of conservation in schools. Anglers who enjoy the delicacy and visual thrill of dry fly fishing will surely attest to the importance of Gordon’s innovations.