The World's Number 1 Fly Fishing Destination

 
 
 

 

Charles K. Fox

One of the World's Great Fly Fisherman
by

Eugene P. Macri jr.

In Memoriam

1908-1997

Copyright© 1998 Macri International and Flyfisher.com This is a friendly copyright. We allow you to copy or store the article. You may use it for your own use. It may not be sold, modified or reprinted without written permission. Please do not abuse this in any way. Thank You

Once upon a time there was a place that some fly fishers called Camelot. To those who had visited ,it was a magical world. It had a spring borne from rock layers that witnessed the dawn and death of the dinosaurs. The waters flowed clear as gin with watercress and moss,  and the aromatic smell of mint filled the air. The waters were icy cold and would take the heat from a hot summer´s day. Insects would emerge in quantities that would bring giant piscatorial legends to the surface, and shake the souls of those who waded its cold waters. Charlie Fox One of the World's Great Fly FishermanIts waters were a haven for a breed of fish that would test the world’s greatest fly fishermen. In most instances they would leave beaten but proud. But all had a story to tell of the huge trout that had refused and occasionally taken their fly, and for the man they had met. They came from all over the world and like a pilgrimage to the Holy Land or Mecca, this mystical place captivated them. And like all good legends this stream had its own river keeper. A Merlin-like figure who seemed to have the wisdom that other humans lacked. He protected and cared for the stream and its creatures. The anglers the world over would stop at his court for his blessing and guidance. He honored them all, --novice or expert, he had time for everyone. Yet this river keeper and the stream existed not only in a magic book or in the mind of those anglers but also in the real world.


He was not a wizard, or magician and his only court was a little wooden table and bench where he would often sit and observe the fish, tie flies, and talk to the hordes of anglers who stopped to meet him. He was the quintessential gentleman of fly fishing. His name was Charlie Fox and his stream was the LeTort Spring Run in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was perhaps one of the most famous fly fisherman who lived since Izaak Walton, and one of the most influential. He was a conservationist before anyone really knew what one was. For over fifty years he faithfully guarded one of the most sacred streams in the world. His efforts included protecting the fish and stream through proper environmental Charlie Fox and Ernie Schwiebert at Charlie Fox's Party Held by The Letort Regularsmanagement, to physically hauling and strategically placing gravel in the stream, so that nature would increase the chances of the spawning fish. (Photo to the left: Charlie Fox and Ernie Schwiebert at a banquet for Charlie Fox held by the Letort Regulars).


His books are considered classics in the literary world of fly fishing,  The Wonderful World of Trout and Rising Trout are a testament to a man’s love of nature and his fellow man. Some of the most famous people passed his way including the late publisher and founder of Esquire magazine, Arnold Gingrich. Arnold would make the pilgrimage to the LeTort with other anglers from the four corners of the earth. Arnold often stayed at Charlie’s and the late Gary Mortensen’s fishing cabin on the Charlie Fox cuts his birthday cakesouthwest branch of the Miramichi in Canada while salmon fishing. Gingrich asked Charlie to write a couple of articles for Esquire. But Charlie hesitated. Charlie obliged after Arnold’s insistence. Charlie had written for Esquire in its finest hour. Yet, he always felt a little embarrassed about it. He told me once, Gene, "I shouldn’t have been writing for Esquire. I’m not a writer of that caliber. But Arnold wanted these articles on salmon fishing. So I did it for him. And you know he took care of his friends. He really did. When I got the check for the articles, well, I really couldn’t believe it....it was a lot of money in those days. In fact, it’s a lot of money today!" (Photo of Charlie Fox cutting his birthday cake by the light of a lantern at a picnic on the Letort).

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