Dave Brandt, fly fishing legend, dies in New York

By Mark Taylor

Trout Unlimited has lost one of its legends. 

Dave Brandt of Oneonta, N.Y., died on March 26. He was 75. 

Brandt was well was a longtime TU volunteer leader, his dedication so above and beyond that he had a chapter named in his honor. He’s one of just a few TU members to have a chapter bear his name while living. 

Brandt was a legend the Catskills angling community — literally. He was inducted into the Catskill Fly Fishing and Center and Museum’s “Legends” hall of fame in 2017. 

The head instructor at the Wulff School of Fly Fishing in Livingston Manor, N.Y., Brandt drew praise from the school’s famous leader, Joan Wulff. 

“Without Dave Brandt, the Wulff School of Fly Fishing would not have achieved its level of success,” Wulff said. “Dave was our strongest connection to the trout’s natural world and we will forever miss him.” 

Brandt, who taught at the school for more than 30 years, was also an accomplished fly-tier, and was the inventor of the Dave Brandt Tied and True Hackle Gauge. 

He was also known as something of a pool shark, and was an accomplished musician who sang in a doo-wop group, played the piano at Carnegie Hall and once played trumpet alongside Louis Armstrong. 

Kelly Buchta worked with Brandt for several years while serving as a trustee and board president of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. She said he shared his zest for anything related to fly fishing, casting, tying, music, billiard tips and more.  

“He was a gentleman with an easy smile, a memorable laugh and a love of Newcastle Brown Ale,” Buchta said. “Never did he hesitate to engage in conversation and share his knowledge. He taught more than fly tying and casting; he was a teacher of life. His presence in the Catskills will be missed and he shall remain a fixture in the Catskill tradition and lore.” 

Click here for the full obituary. Two celebrations of life are planned. One will be in Oneonta and the other will be at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. The dates are to be determined.  

Donations in Brandt’s memory may be sent to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum at P.O. Box 1295, Livingston Manor, NY 12758. 

By Mark Taylor. A native of rural southern Oregon, Mark Taylor has lived in Virginia since serving a stint as a ship-based naval officer in Norfolk. He joined the TU staff in 2014 after a 20-year run as a newspaper journalist, the final 16 as the outdoors editor of the Roanoke Times. A graduate of Northwestern University, he lives in Roanoke with his wife and, when they're home from college, his twin daughters.