Recent Posts

Posted in Youth Education

Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp Accepting Applications

Rivers Conservation Camp Logo

The Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp is accepting applications through February 28, 2023.

The camp runs from June 18th to the 23rd and is held at Messiah University in Grantham, PA (this is near Yellow Breeches Creek in Cumberland County). The camp is open to boys and girls aged 14-17.

FTTU will consider sponsoring at least one student from our local area to attend the camp this year.

For more info, visit the camp website riverscamp.com

If you know of someone who would like to attend, contact us at info@forbestrailtu.org.

Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests February 2023

Rock Run January 29, 2023
Rock Run January 29, 2023

“If a tree falls in the forest, and no-one is there to hear, does it make a sound?”

The answer is “Yes”, and a pretty loud one too when this one came crashing down roots and all across Rock Run, probably during high winds from the storm on 1/25/23.

Results of water tests 1/29/23
Water Temperature: 38.5°
Air Temperature: 38°
pH: 7.8
Alkalinity: 3.8
Linn Run Gauge: 1.94′

Posted in Youth Education

Latrobe HS Seniors Learn the Art of Fly Casting

Casting Instructor
TU instructor Rod Cross explains the mechanics and physics associated with casting

It’s a little hard to think about fly fishing with the temperature hovering around freezing and snow starting to cover the ground.  But that didn’t stop nearly two dozen seniors at Greater Latrobe High School from honing their casting skills in the auditorium.  Warmer days will soon arrive and some of the students will head to the trout streams.  

The Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited Chapter (TU) was invited into the Greater Latrobe High School by Biology instructor Mr. Patrick Roberts to participate in a seminar.  He asked if TU could assist with his Capstone Project for seniors, on track for further study in the biology and natural resource conservation sciences.  TU provided a two-day program where the first day was fresh water conservation instruction, taught by Monty Murty.  The second day was fly casting instruction led by Rod Cross, with assistance from TU members: Ron Miller, John Albright, Monty Murty, Milt Claney, Ron Rodgers, Angela Schultheis, Bill Somogyi and Joe Bilotta.  

“Today we assisted Mr. Roberts with his Capstone Project teaching his students about fresh water conservation and fly casting”, noted TU instructor Joe Bilotta.  “The school is surrounded by premier trout streams that need ambassadors like these students to help protect them.  I have no doubt these bright seniors of Greater Latrobe High School will go on to be our next generation of conservation leaders”.

Twenty-three seniors now have a better understanding of fresh water conservation, trout, their ecosystem, and catch and release fly fishing, all thanks to the coordination of Mr Roberts and the educational volunteers of TU.  While teaching the fine art of fly casting, the instructors took time to share with the students the importance of stream etiquette, use of barbless hooks to minimize injury to the trout, and the practice of catch and release, especially with wild trout.  Trout can be caught an unlimited number of times if handled properly.  But they can only be eaten once.  They are too precious of a natural resource to enjoy just one time.

Whether or not these students pursue a career in biology, or some closely related field, they can also be part of the effort to protect our clean waters and fisheries.  As volunteers they can offer their time and talents to assist with stream cleanups, building riparian buffers along streams to restrict runoff of pollutants, or participating in stream remediation projects.  This Capstone Project helps them appreciate that it takes government agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations like TU to protect our streams.  These students are learning that throughout their lives, they will wear many hats in addition to what they do for their livelihood.  We can all be good environmental stewards.  These students are our future.

Girls Casting
TU instructor Angie Schultheis explains the technique of the back cast (L-R) Josie Marts, Ryleigh Repko, Brynna King, and Sydney DeGram
Boys Casting
Students line up to practice casting to targets (L-R) Koen Fulton, Nolan Brahosky, Rocco Marino, and Owen Ortiz
Posted in Fly Tying
Fly Tying Flyer
Posted in Trout In The Classrom

Forbes Trail TU Volunteers Assist PFBC with Trout in the Classroom Program

Volunteers
Forbes Trail members (L-R) Ron Miller, Bill Somogyi, Rick Yaksic, Milt Claney and Joe Bilotta.

Five members of Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited spent Monday, January 9, 2023 packing rainbow trout eggs to be shipped to schools across Pennsylvania.  The PA Council of Trout Unlimited and the PA Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) partner in an interdisciplinary program to teach students in grades 3-12 the challenges of raising trout from eggs to fingerlings ready to be released into a stream.  Of course surviving in an aquarium being fed every day pales in comparison to surviving in the wild dealing with flood waters, pollution and predators.  But that too is part of the curriculum taught in the classroom.  The program titled Trout in the Classroom (TIC) began in PA in 2008.  The packaging took place at the PFBC Centre Region Office Warehouse in Bellefonte.   

Each year volunteers from Forbes Trail and other TU chapters assist with packaging both eggs and fish food.  This year, 384 boxes were shipped overnight to schools across the Commonwealth.   The interest in TU members helping is so keen that the limited offered seats are claimed within minutes.  Its rewarding knowing we are part of a program to teach students about coldwater conservation and the survival challenges that trout face from the time the eggs become fertilized. 

Teachers must complete a training course conducted by the PFBC then secure all the necessary, expensive equipment to raise the trout in their classroom.  Grants are made available to purchase equipment.  It requires dedication from both the school staff and students to successfully raise the trout and release them into a trout approved stream.  Forbes Trail members sometimes assist the teachers with the equipment set-up and eventual release of the trout.

The process of packaging the eggs is a well-designed and efficient process but is highly dependent upon TU volunteers.  PFBC staff train the volunteers in each of the stations from measuring and packaging eggs to labeling the boxes for shipment.  It’s a fast assembly line operation and each volunteer must keep up a steady pace.  PFBC provides a pizza lunch after the work is complete.  The event helps build camaraderie among chapter members as well as with other chapters and PFBC staff.  Come April, hopefully most of those eggs that were shipped will be trout swimming in a stream.  And, the students will have a better appreciation for the life cycle of a trout.

Measuring Trout Eggs
Ron Miller measures and packages trout eggs.
Packaging Eggs
Bill Somogyi (L-R) and Milt Claney doubled bag the eggs in water to protect them during shipment.
Final Boxing
Joe Bilotta seals bag then places in a Styrofoam box.
Posted in Events Fund Raising

Raffle Prize Donations

FTTU 50th Logo

We already have a lot of fantastic prizes lined up for the 50th Anniversary Banquet raffle, but if you know of a business that would be willing to donate a prize, you can use the official letter available for download below.
Soliciting raffle prize donations is a good way for members to help the chapter put on a great banquet and celebrate our 50th year. Prizes should have a value of at least the price of a banquet ticket ($35). Thank You!

Donation of Prize Letter

Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests 1-1-23

Mouth of Rock Run
Happy New Year. Beautiful winter scene on Rock Run.

The first of the year brings some snow but warming temperatures.

Air Temperature – 37°F
Water Temperature – 34.5°F
Linn Run Gauge – 1.81 ft.
pH – 7.5
Alkalinity – 4.3 ppm

Posted in Fund Raising

FTTU Fulfills Promise to Donate Portion of Raffle Profits to the Westmoreland County Food Bank

Check Presentation
Check presentation at the Westmoreland County Food Bank. (L-R) Denny Hess, FTTU Vice President; Larry Myers, FTTU President; Ron Rodgers, FTTU Treasurer; Jennifer Miller, WCFB CEO; Monty Murty, FTTU past President; Scott Minster FTTU Secretary.

Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) recently presented a $600 check to the Westmoreland Food Bank to help those in local communities in need of food.  Through its annual, fall meat raffle, TU gave away seven $250 gift cards to either Werry’s Provision Meat Market in Scottdale, or Walmart.  TU members sold over 700 raffle tickets at $10 each to friends and family members throughout Westmoreland County.  The winning numbers were drawn on November 17th and the gift cards were delivered shortly thereafter.  TU donated 10% of the raffle profits to the Food Bank.

“We are grateful to Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited, for once again choosing the Westmoreland Food Bank as their charity of choice for this amazing fundraiser” expressed Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Miller.  “We are grateful as well to all who supported it!  In this time of uncertainty with inflation and gas prices as they are, we need people and organizations such as this to give a hand up to their neighbors in need.  This is, indeed, what they have done!”

“This is an easy way for our chapter to raise unrestricted funds for community, school and local stream projects” explained Larry Myers, Chapter President.  “It’s an opportunity for all of our 500 plus members to get involved in fundraising with minimal effort.”  Trout Unlimited also thanks our partner, Werry’s Provision, for promoting our raffle on their Face Book page and selling tickets at their market.  Their market is easy to find near Overton just off Rt. 119, and their meat quality and selection is excellent.  

“We gave away one gift card for every 100 tickets sold, which are really good odds.”  said Myers.  “Knowing that each ticket purchased helps those in need of food makes the selling very easy.  There are many families in our communities who could use a helping hand, and the raffle is a simple means for us to provide that support.”

Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Final Rock Run Water Tests For 2022

Mouth of Rock Run 12-3-22
Mouth of Rock Run 12-3-22

FTTU Citizen Scientists wrapped up monthly water tests at the mouth of Rock Run for 2022. After a few months of low water, The flow was at its highest since April. Readings showed pH at 7.4, and Alkalinity at 5.5. Air temperature was 50° and water temperature was 43°. Linn Run gauge was at 2.03 ft. and discharge was 16.3 ft³/sec.

Averages over the 12 months of 2022 were 7.55 pH and 6.85 alkalinity. Alkalinity was down a bit from 2021 but average flow was a little higher. Those two things go hand-in-hand. When flow is up, alkalinity goes down. Overall averages show significant improvement and slow but steady progress since we started doing monthly tests in 2017. Alkalinity that year was 5.9 and pH was 6.47.

The pH and alkalinity chart for 2022 can be seen here – pH Chart 2022

Posted in Fund Raising

Thank You For Another Successful Fundraising Raffle

The FTTU Fall fundraiser – “Autumn Special” Raffle wrapped up this evening with the drawing held at PA Fly Co fly shop on Three Mile Hill near Acme, PA. This year, we sold 623 tickets and we drew six winning tickets.

Here are the winning numbers:
4073
2306
0994
2099
0248
0057

Congratulations to the winners. They will have their choice of a $250 gift certificate from Werry’s Provision, Walmart or half and half.

If you have one of the winning numbers, you should have already received a call. If you have a voicemail from us, please call back and state your gift certificate preference. The prizes will be sent out via certified mail.

Thanks to all of you who purchased and/or sold tickets. Check back for a complete financial rundown – 10% of our profits will be donated to the Westmoreland Food Bank.