Definitive History

Painstakingly researched for over 30 years, The Beaverkill: The History of a River and its People is the definitive exploration of a legendary river.  Winding through the heart of New York's Catskill Mountains, the Beaverkill is America's most beloved and famous trout stream, considered the birthplace of fly fishing in the United States.  This engrossing book chronicles the river's history, offering portraits of the men and women who affected its life and development as a world-class fishery.  

The Beaverkill provides insight into what fishing was like prior to the introduction of hatchery trout, chronicles the human disturbances to the watershed - including stream habitat degradation and the exploitation of native brook trout - and includes a comprehensive study of the introduction of brown trout, the emergence of the dry fly, and the evolving changes in fly-fishing tactics. 

Revised & Expanded Second Edition

New for 2016, the Second Edition is a considerable update to the original. 


New features

  • New & restored artwork
  • Greatly expanded text
  • Catskill Flies feature exploring patterns with ties to the river
  • Famous trout pools feature 
  • Newly discovered historical information
  • 256 pages, over 150 photos and illustrations
  • Published by Stackpole/Headwater

Holiday Special: 2-day Shipping available, order by December 20, 6pm to guarantee delivery by Christmas.

Purchase a copy here. Signed & personalized copies available. Amazon shopper? Buy a signed copy here

Reviews (First Edition)


Publisher's Weekly– 

"In the heart of New York's Catskills runs a waterway revered for its fishing. Indeed, 'troutfishing enthusiasts look upon the Beaverkill as "America's stream,"' says Van Put, a fisheries professional with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In this clear and concise, though not artistic, history of that celebrated river, he details the changing experiences of those living and fishing along the banks of the Beaverkill over the past 350 years. With emphasis on the personalities of the world's fly-tying legends, including Theodore Gordon, Rube Cross and Harry Darbee, as well as with a discussion of the merits of using dry versus wet flies, it would seem that the book might appeal only to angling fanatics. Its engaging presentation of the Beaverkill's environmental degradation and revitalization, however, should broaden its appeal dramatically. Van Put describes how the native brook trout were largely fished out last century, with those not caught being killed by the many polluting industries developing streamside. Happily, the advent of hatcheries, the introduction of brown trout and a recognition of basic principles of conservation biology have helped the stream recover. Seventy archival photographs handsomely complement the informative text."


"The Beaverkill River winds through New York's Catskill Mountains and is among the country's most famous trout streams. Van Put has written an engrossing natural and social history of the river, the region, and, incidentally, fly-fishing in America. The Beaverkill first attracted attention in the early 1800s when people discovered its abundance of brook trout. Soon the Beaverkill was a mecca for trout-fishing enthusiasts, and resorts and inns flourished. By 1850, however, the river was in grave danger. People were taking out huge quantities of fish, while the region's growing tannery industry was dumping pollutants into the river. Concerned individuals fought back, resulting in some of America's earliest conservation efforts in the areas of fish management and restocking. Meanwhile, fly-fishing was changing, too, with the advent of the dry fly and new fishing tactics. Throughout, Van Put is a passionate advocate for the river."

-Brian McCombie

About the Author

Ed Van Put has worked as a fisheries professional with New York State since 1969. An avid fly fisherman for more than fifty years, he also authored Trout Fishing in the Catskills, an expansive exploration of the development of the Catskills as America's premiere fishing destination.  His articles have appeared in The ConservationistTroutFly FishermanFly Rod & Reel, and elsewhere.