FTTU Completes Linn Run Study/Notice of Public Meeting
Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited initiated a study in 2020 to determine the overall health of Linn Run and its watershed. The study was funded by the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, a grant-making foundation that invests in efforts to protect healthy, natural streams around the state. This particular study is formally referred to as a Coldwater Conservation Plan. A comprehensive written report will soon be released.
The findings of the study and recommended next steps will be discussed at a public meeting to be held Thursday, March 30th beginning at 6:00 PM at the Powdermill Nature Reserve. Registration is required. Please RSVP via email@example.com by March 27. Visit www.carnegiemnh.org/visit-powdermil for directions.
Linn Run is a high gradient, mountain stream nearly seven miles in length, draining a watershed of ten square miles and passing through the village of Rector before merging with Loyalhanna Creek. Much of the stream runs through Linn Run State Park and Forbes State Forest which draws tens of thousands of hikers, campers, anglers, birdwatchers, hunters and photographers annually.
This study was somewhat unique in that it was a partnership effort involving numerous state and local agencies, scientists and nonprofit organizations. Over forty Trout Unlimited members, local professionals and citizen scientists assisted with habitat assessments, water quality testing and collection of macroinvertebrates (trout bugs) over a two-year period.
The stream and the surrounding watershed were severely damaged by acid rain in the mid to late 1900s, which nearly destroyed the wild trout population. Additionally, the hardwood forest was ravaged by the spongy (aka gypsy) moth and today is threatened by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Being a high gradient mountain stream, Linn Run is also prone to flooding and severe erosion from summer storms. The frequency and intensity of those storms are likely a result of climate change.
Despite the adverse historical impacts, Linn Run today is a healthy, albeit somewhat fragile, stream supporting both stocked and wild trout. A lime treatment system installed in 2005 on one of the main tributaries, Rock Run, has demonstrated that the acidic characteristic of the headwaters can be remediated. Trout Unlimited is interested in partnering with DCNR, the PA Fish and Boat Commission and local foundations to continue improving both water quality, the fishery and the forests that protect the stream.
50th Anniversary Celebration
The Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited celebrated its 50th anniversary on March 18th at Ferrante’s Lakeview in Greensburg with 200 guests in attendance. The Chapter was formed in 1973 in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Anges the summer before. The storm damaged much of Ligonier driving the waters of Loyalhanna Creek over its banks and destroying everything in its path. The creek was left looking essentially like a lifeless canal.
Local sportsmen and businessmen chartered a new chapter of Trout Unlimited to work with the PA Fish Commission, Penn DOT and the Army Corps of Engineers to redesign the creek into the premier trout stream that it is today. The section of stream running through Ligonier is designated Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only (DHALO) and also a PA Select Stream which qualifies it to receive more and larger trout. It is included as one of the top 10 streams in the Trout Unlimited Laurel Highlands Trout Trail www.laurelhighlandstrouttrail.org A true success story for the region!
Many of the Chapter’s original leaders and members, captured in the news clippings, slideshow and photos on display at the event, shared stories of their stream remediation work and the beginning of their education and outreach programs. Guest speaker, Alan Stansbury, was a close friend of one of the early leaders, Don Robb, and spoke of how Don helped fuel the interest in fly fishing in the region. Don operated a tackle shop in downtown Ligonier where he built custom bamboo fly rods and tied flies for local anglers, some who traveled worldwide pursuing trout and salmon.
Westmoreland County Commissioners issued a proclamation to the Chapter for their service in the community and for protecting coldwater fisheries. Commissioner Doug Chew attended the event and presented the award. Monty Murty, past president for the Chapter, was Chair of the Banquet Committee and Board Director, Rod Cross served as Master of Ceremonies.
Forbes Trail is one of 49 chapters in PA and has over 500 members. About 50 active members teach coldwater conservation, fly tying and fly casting in local schools. They sponsor an annual clinic for disabled military veterans to teach them to fly fish as a means to heal the body and Soul. And 40 volunteers recently completed a two-year study to develop a Cold Water Conservation Plan for Linn Run.
Banquet Ticket Sales Now Closed
We have officially ended banquet ticket sales. Our ticket count has been submitted to Lakeview and we can sell no more.
Tickets are not sold at the door.
Thanks to all who have purchased tickets, we have exceeded our goal of 175. See you March 18!
Rock Run Water Tests March 2023
Monthly Rock Run Water Tests 2-25-23
It was a cold morning as the FTTU citizen scientists conducted monthly pH and alkalinity tests with frozen hands.
We arrived to find even more trees and branches down over the stream.
Air Temp – 28° F
Water Temp – 37.5° F
pH – 7.3
Alkalinity – 3.4
Linn Run Discharge – 21.1 ft³/sec – Medium High
Special Guest Speaker at March Meeting
Former Pennsylvania Waterways Conservation Officer and Outdoors writer Bob Steiner will be our special guest at the chapter’s March meeting on Wednesday, March 1st at 6:00 pm at the Nimick Center in Ligonier.
Bob is the author of “River Boots, A Fish Warden’s Tales of Pennsylvania Fish and Game Law Enforcement”.
From Amazon: RIVER BOOTS is a career synopsis, a training manual, a history book and one conservation officer’s slightly twisted view of a quarter century in the business. It is a sometimes “belly laughing” look at a profession that can turn deadly serious in a second and can leave tears running down your face from laughter a few minutes later.
The 253 stories in RIVER BOOTS were written for fishermen, hunters, boaters, conservation officers and their deputies, all law enforcement officers and anyone that has an interest in the outdoors.
For conservation officers it is a textbook, with the how-tos and the how-not-tos, the whys and the why-nots. For conservation agency folks, it is a bit of nostalgia with a smirk. Other law enforcement officers will see a little deadly serious, perhaps lifesaving thinking, coupled with a “Barney Miller” attitude. Folks considering a job in the agencies will get an on-the-spot look at what they are asking for and will come away eagerly awaiting their turn to join in.
The license-buying hunter, fisherman or boater will get a firsthand look at how their license fees are spent for the good of the sport, the environment and the fish and game resources. Sorry, no statistics or charts included. You will laugh at the scofflaws and the conservation officers alike. Mostly, like reading “Notes from the Stream” or “Field Notes” produced by our fish and game agencies, you will grin and laugh and ponder.
To answer the question, the RIVER BOOTS were green 10-inch leather boots the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission issued with those snazzy green-and-brown uniforms we wore. They leaked.
Bob will have autographed books for sale.
Cabin Fever - February 26, 2023
The 22nd Annual Cabin Fever Expo, sponsored and run by the Penn’s Woods West Chapter of Trout Unlimited, will be held on Sunday February 26th at the Doubletree by Hilton Pittsburgh – Cranberry in Warrendale, PA.
The Cabin Fever Expo has:
- Nationally known speakers to draw many attendees to the show
- Over 500 free parking spaces – no paid parking for exhibitors or customers.
- Over 11,000 square feet of unobstructed space on one floor. A diagram of the 2023 Expo layout can be found on our website to help you determine potential booth locations
- Regionally known for its quality which drives word-of-mouth advertising in addition to our other promotional efforts
Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp Accepting Applications
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rock Run Water Tests February 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°
Linn Run Gauge: 1.94′
Latrobe HS Seniors Learn the Art of Fly 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.