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Tom Zacoi donates flies to Catskill Fly Fishing Center

LIVINGSTON MANOR – The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum (CFFCM) is the recipient
of a major collection of flies, tied by the world’s pre-eminent fly tyers, past and present.

“The Masters Fly Collection” has been a three-decade-plus project curated by Tom Zacoi of
Venetia, PA. It includes over 2000 flies in nine museum-quality fly cases. Three hold 48 vials of
preserved entomological specimens (representing the major hatches throughout North America) with flies tied for each life cycle stage of the insect’s development. Three more boxes house realistic and salmon flies, saltwater and bass bugs, and caddis flies.

The collection was tied by 575 people representing 32 countries, including: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Wales.

Eleven-year-old Anton Rist from Claverack, NY is the youngest boy tyer; 13-year-old Amalie Nielsen of Silkeborg, Denmark is the youngest girl. The eldest tyer is 97-year-old George Grant
from Butte, Montana. “There are talented fly tyers throughout the world – innovative men and women who have practiced the craft, honed their skill and are able to transform a utilitarian object into a work of art,” said Zacoi. “They are gracious people who willingly share their knowledge and generously donated one of their beautiful creations to this collection.”

CFFCM received half the collection last fall and displayed it at an event in December. The remaining flies are scheduled to be delivered in September. The collection is housed in the museum’s archive with a major exhibit scheduled for 2018.


In the past, the collection has been displayed at the Federation of Fly Fishers Conclave, regional Trout Unlimited meetings, the yearly Masters School of Fly Fishing, Penn State’s Great Insect Fair, local and regional Boy Scout and Girl Scout Jamborees, Trout in the Classroom and many other events.

“It is no secret there are fly fishers worldwide who have amassed extensive collections of beautifully tied and handsomely framed flies. Many hang where they can be privately viewed. Sadly, my friends, the day will come for all of us when our collection will need to be dispersed. My hope is you will consider bequeathing your collection or, for that matter, any historically significant fly fishing tackle to the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum or any accredited organization where your donation can be an inspiration and enjoyed by those of prominence as well as the masses in perpetuity,” Zacoi said.

Evan Romeo