If you have the chance to venture outside of New York City's 5 boroughs, upstate NY has some of the US’s most preeminent technical fly fishing water. If you do, there is a good chance you'll stumble upon legends Lee and Joan Wulff, fly fishing's royal couple.

Considered the “First Lady of Fly Fishing,” Joan Wulff pioneered elements of modern fly fishing and casting that are now essential to the sport. Joan’s love of fishing grew into a talent the sport of fly fishing had never experienced before. Her casting was so prolific that Joan won 17 national titles from 1943-1960. It all boiled down to her impeccable technique. Using the platform she created as a celebrated angler, Joan went on to contribute to Fly Rod & Reel Magazine where she began to dissect the mechanics of casting so that newcomers to the sport could grasp the delicate intricacies of fly fishing.

Wulff Fishing School - Adsum
Joan and Lee at their fishing school on Beaverkill River

Joan’s husband Lee Wulff was a MacGyver on water. There are accounts of Lee jumping off of bridges with his waders on to prove that you don’t sink and piloting bush planes into remote areas of Labrador to then tie a fly pattern on spot to match the hatch taking place on the river. Lee was born in Alaska and bounced from the west coast of the US, to Adsum's hometown, Brooklyn in his younger years. After graduating with a degree in engineering from Stanford University, he decided to pause on starting a career in his newly graduated field and follow a different course in life. He jumped on a plane, and soon enough he was enrolled in a Parisian fine arts school. Upon returning to the US, Lee eventually found a career working for ad agencies and became friends with NY based artists Mead Schaffer and Norman Rockwell.

Lee Wulff on the River in Front of Plane
Lee Wulff infront of his Bush Plane after a good day.

Fly fishing was the constant in Lee’s life. Wherever he found himself, he went looking for a river to fish and always managed to find friends along the way that shared his passion. Lee and Joan’s paths eventually crossed after both being previously married. Their new found love for one another and tried and true love for fishing landed them on the fabled Beaverkill River in Upstate NY.

Joan and Lee Wulff Together - Adsum
Joan and Lee Wulff.

Together as a couple the Wulff’s created a school on their Beaverkill property where they would share their love and skill with people willing to make the pilgrimage to the school. Lee’s untimely death in a plane accident while flying his Piper Super Club plane left Joan to run the school by herself. Close friends of Lee’s and Joan’s have kept the school functioning to this day.

Royal Wulff Line Packages
Another technical contribution to fly fishing, Lee created the Triangle Taper fishing line.

Lee and Joan’s love for each other and fly fishing will live on forever through the books, videos and classes that they shared with the world and with the many fly fishers who follow in their steps, fishing the pristine waters of the Beaverkill river.