Travis receives coveted Crooked Staff Award


In its December 11 meeting, the Taconic Chapter of Trout Unlimited presented William Travis of Pittsfield with its most prestigious award, the Crooked Staff Award.  This award is presented to the person who best exemplifies the ideals of TU, those being the conserving, protecting and restoring of North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

Bill is a valuable member of the Board of Directors of the chapter who has taken on the task of arranging programs and speakers for its meetings and for coming up with different ways to attract new members.  For example, he is heading up the Chapter’s efforts to host an International Fly Fishing Festival on March 27 at the Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield.  (More to come on that in a future column).  He is constantly coming up with innovative ways to promote the Taconic Chapter of TU.

He has participated in programs to teach youths how to fly fish.   He has been involved in the chapter’s river clean-ups and culvert programs (river continuity program).

He is an avid steelhead and king salmon fly fisherman who is frequently seen battling them on the Salmon River, a tributary to Lake Ontario.

Incidentally, if he looks familiar, Bill was the Superintendent of public schools in Pittsfield for ten years and for Mount Greylock for five years.*****

Congratulations to Chris Porter and the members of the Onota Fishing Club for recently putting on another successful game dinner at the ITAM Club in Pittsfield.  They served 255 meals including 8 meals for the folks from Soldier On.  The food was excellently prepared. At that event, a check for $750 was presented to Soldier On.  When we left that place we had full bellies and good feelings about that donation.   Chris thanks everyone who attended, and contributed in any way.

MassWildife is looking for additional information on does harvested in Management Zones 2, 4N and 4S.  They are interested in looking at the jaws, or photos of the teeth, from does taken anytime during the 2014 season from the three Zones.  If you harvested a female deer from one of these Zones please contact the Western District office (413 684-1646) or email a photo of the teeth to*****

The folks at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries remind us that Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permits for 2015 are now available for purchase. You can obtain them online   or at a local tackle shop. The online permit system is mobile friendly and will allow you to download your permit onto your smartphone or tablet after you have purchased it – no need to print.  Carry your digital permit on your mobile device, wherever you go.

If you plan to fish in December 2014, you must have a 2014 recreational angling permit.  The 2015 permits go into effect on January 1, 2015 and are available now.  For more information, or to purchase your 2015 recreational angling permit, visit their website at *****

Getting back to TU and the crooked staff, local sportsmen were saddened to learn of the passing of David Oclair of Richmond at the age of 73.  He was a long time director of the Taconic TU Chapter.  In 2005 he received its Crooked Staff award for his involvement over the years in stream restoration programs, stream continuity programs, annual stockings of salmon fry into our local streams, in ASERP (Atlantic Salmon School Education Program), acid rain monitoring, assisting in the Casting for Recovery program, a Berkshire County League of Sportsmen youth outreach fishing volunteer, and he was involved in local dam removal projects.  He was a board member of the Friends of the Williams River, a member of the Alford Brook Club and TU’s long time delegate to the County League.

On a personal note, Dave and I went back some 30 years.  We both retired from our jobs at about the same time and did a lot of fishing together in such places as Wyoming (where he once helped me out of some quicksand).  With other friends, we fished in five of the Canadian Provinces and many rivers in the Northeast.   For nearly 25 years, we fished for bass every Friday evening during the summer on Ashmere Lake in Hinsdale.   We also shared many frigid days ice fishing.  He was an esteemed member of the ROMEO’S (Retired Old Men Eating Out) and for the last dozen or so years, we drove together to those weekly luncheons.

I received the phone call with the sad news last Saturday morning at my quiet, snowy deer hunting stand up in the mountains – not the worst place to receive such news.   Dave has passed beyond the river bend, but will be greatly missed here.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

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