Fishing on the Delaware River has provided sustenance and recreation for residents and visitors for thousands of years. As the last major river on the Atlantic Coast that is undammed for the length of its mainstem, the wild and scenic, largely ecologically intact, and free-flowing conditions of the Upper Delaware River support superb water quality and natural habitats that provide clean drinking water for millions of east coast residents and ideal fishing conditions for trout, bass, and shad.
This fly fishing rod is purported to have belonged to famed fisherman and author, Zane Grey, who began visiting the Upper Delaware River in the early 1900s before buying a home in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania alongside the Delaware River. Zane’s first published article, “A Day on the Delaware”, was published in the May, 1902 edition of Recreation magazine, in it he describes his day out fishing “after big game”. Basic steel rods such as this were mass produced and very common. The cork handle could be reversed to be used both as a fly rod and also with a bait casting style reel. The rod breaks into four pieces for easy transport. An accomplished fisherman, Zane was able to afford many different types of rods and reels for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. He was often sent new products to test for marketing purposes, so his collection was large and very diverse. This rod was left behind at his home in Lackawaxen when he and his family moved to California in 1918, where movies based on his now famous novels were being filmed. His house in Lackawaxen is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public as the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Visitor Center at the Zane Grey House.