William H. “Catskill Bill” Kelly

An early all consuming interest in nature guided the young Bill Kelly to his life career in Fisheries Management.  He began fishing when in kindergarten – tying his own flies and reading all he could about fish and fishing.  Bill worked for the New York State Conservation Department doing fisheries research.  He came to the Catskills in 1958 to set up and work in the DeBruce Fisheries Laboratory, and moved on to Fisheries Management at the New York State DEC Region 3 at New Paltz. Under his leadership, programs were developed to reclaim and restock Crystal Lake in northern Sullivan County with native brook trout, and to introduce landlocked Atlantic Salmon into the Neversink Reservoir, providing NYS fishermen with new and improved fishing opportunities.  His research paper “A Fish Planting Formula for Hatcheries” became the basis for trout management in New York State.  The recipient of many honors, Bill was most proud of being honored by the Sullivan County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, “For having the courage to try something different.”

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