30 Years on the Beaverkill: A Personal Look into one of America’s Most Legendary Fly Fishing Rivers


This is a guest blog by American Rivers’ intern, Madelaine Pierce.


Beaverkill River, NY | © Madelaine Pierce

Beaverkill River, NY | © Madelaine Pierce

The water of the Beaverkill River is as clear as it is cold, as it should be, remaining one of America’s most protected and beloved rivers in the northern region. Flowing through New York’s Catskill Mountains until meeting with the East Branch of the Delaware River, this river holds a special importance to many townspeople, national anglers, and to my family. Known for its historically famous trout fishing, some of the most respected American Fly Fisherman, such as Theodore Gordon, Rube Cross, and A. E. Hendrickson, made names for themselves along its banks. Its history has led it to remain well preserved for over a century, and for me it stands as an icon for river conservation efforts.

Home to an abundance of Brown, Rainbow, and Brook trout and numerous insect species, such as Mayflies, Caddisflies, and Stoneflies, the Beaverkill feeds more than just the mouths of its teaming wildlife. Its fresh water flows into one of our nation’s most important rivers, the Delaware. According to the Philadelphia Water Department [PDF], the Delaware River supplies over 6 percent of U.S citizens with water yearly – over 17 million people. Preserving rivers like the Beaverkill and Delaware, and the springs and tributaries that sustain them is a never-ending responsibility yet one of infinite importance.

Beaverkill River, NY | © Madelaine Pierce

Beaverkill River, NY | © Madelaine Pierce

My father first called this river a home in 1981 when he obtained a small plot of land and began constructing a rudimentary, yet charming one room cabin just outside the town of Roscoe. Here he would come to escape from city life on weekends, and soon he would bring my sister and I to enjoy the silence and starlight. Our cabin lies just up a steep mountainside and next to a trickling spring-fed waterfall, of which my fondest memories of rivers stem.

After 30 years on it’s banks my father has worked to protect his share of the Beaverkill’s beauty, and currently works to stabilize erosion along the cliff side feeding into the our much-loved waterfall. Not only are we suffering from loosing land, soil runoff can cause damaging effects for aquatic wildlife. Removing debris and trash from nearby waterways, installing erosion blankets, and notifying your state of changes in water sources are all steps we can take to conserve and restore our American rivers.

American Rivers hosts countless National River Cleanup® events in New York State and across the United States. What are you doing to keep your rivers healthy and clean for future generations? Take action today!