Community Service

The FTTU Youth Conservation & Fly Fishing Program

Rod Cross Leads a Fly Casting Lesson on Loyalhanna Creek

From 2005 through 2016, FTTU conducted our youth program at the Loyalhanna Creek Watershed Association headquarters in Ligonier. Under the direction of Drew Banas, the course ran from January through March and included instruction in fly tying, trout behavior, stream ecology, knots and fly casting. We also had fishing trips to local streams, macroinvertebrate kick net studies and electro-fishing surveys on local waters. FTTU members acted as mentors for the kids. We had more than 150 kids go through the program.

In 2018, the youth group returned as a part of teacher Ryan Podlucky’s Outdoor Club at Ligonier Middle School. The new program follows essentially the same cirriculum as the original. FTTU members are the instructors and Drew is back as the director. There were 17 kids that completed  the course in 2018.

The youth group is only open to kids who sign up for the Outdoor Club at Ligonier Middle School. FTTU no longer recruits or signs up members.

Click the link below for this year’s schedule.

2019 Youth Group Schedule

Youth Group, Ligonier Valley Middle School

FTTU Mentors Teach Fly Tying, January 2019


In 2018, FTTU organized our first disabled veterans fishing event. In cooperation with Project Healing Waters, the event was held on May 12 at the Foggy Mountain Lodge in Stahlstown, PA. Eighteen veterans participated with at least as many FTTU helpers. Each vet was paired with a helper/mentor. The vets had varying degrees of disablilities, some were in wheelchairs and needed more assistance than others, but a good time was had by all. The fishing was done on a small lake on the lodge property. FTTU stocked rainbow trout but the lake has a good population of bass and pan fish as well. The fishing was great with some vets catching more than 30 fish of combined species!

FTTU would like to thank Jim and Karen Dunn, the owners of The Foggy Mountain Lodge for hosting the event, Boy Scout Troop 465 and Project Healing Waters. Boy Scout Troop 465 of Greensburg prepared and served a delicious lunch for the whole crew and the scouts also assisted the vets in getting up to and around the lake. Project Healing Waters helped with advice, planning and with recruiting vets for the event. Some came by bus from the VA Hospital in Pittsburgh.

The 2019 event will be held on Saturday, May 11 at the Foggy Mountain Inn.


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Russ Mason watching for rising trout on the Yough River

One of the many great things about trout fishing, conservation, and the outdoors is the wealth of books and literature available on the subjects. From Dame Juliana Berners’ “Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle” to present day works by authors like George Daniel and Charlie Craven there must be thousands of titles on “How To”, “Where to” and even “Why”. Our friend and colleague in conservation, and avid reader, Russ Mason was one who appreciated these resources and with that, FTTU is pleased to announce the opening of the Russ Mason Memorial Library located at the Nimick Family Education Center in Ligonier. The library is made up primarily of books from Russ’ personal collection. Russ passed away in 2016 and the books were generously donated by his brother Dave Mason. Supplementing the collection are additional titles from the collection of longtime FTTU member Bill Meidel of Latrobe who also passed away in 2016.
The library was the idea of Russ’ friend and fishing companion Hank Balles who handmade the beautiful bookcase which houses the collection.
The bookcase is situated near the entrance of the Nimick Family Education Center located in the refurbished barn near the Loyalhanna Creek Watershed office in Ligonier. Thanks to Hank for donating his time, skills and materials for the bookcase.
The library is made up of over 150 books covering travel, conservation, entomology, fly tying, fly fishing, tackle craft and rod building, and stories and literature on trout fishing and the outdoor life. Many of the books are classics and hard to find titles. Authors are among the most famous and well read writers in the genre including Schwiebert, Gingrich, Marinaro, Geirach, Sparse Grey Hackle and more. There’s also a lot of local info on PA streams and hatch information. You can see a full list of titles here. Library Catalog
Check out the Russ Mason Memorial Library by coming to any FTTU meeting at the Nimick Center. You do not have to be a member to withdraw a book, just fill out the sign-out sheet and bring the book back in a couple of weeks. If you have any surplus books in your collection that will fit into the library’s theme, you may donate them.
FTTU would like to thank Susan Huba and the Loyalhanna Watershed Association for allowing space for the library and our monthly meetings.