What an incredible day of fishing and camaraderie as over 40 veterans and first responders hooked and landed trout, panfish and catfish! Military veterans, first responders, Scouts and volunteers from Kinston Veterans Sportsmen Club and Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited celebrated the end of summer with a spectacular day on the water. Unfortunately, the weather was more cooperative than the trout this year. Some of the anglers spent Saturday relaxing and reacquainting with friends. Others took the fishing opportunity more seriously learning how to use a fly rod for the first time and honing their casting skills.
Veteran Fred Exley expressed, “I really want to get more into fly-fishing next year. I borrowed this rod this morning but I need to learn out to reach out further on the water with it.” Steve Shirley from Trout Unlimited was helping Fred with his casting skills, teaching how to transfer the energy from the rod to the shooting line. Trout Unlimited teaches fly fishing to veterans as a means to heal the body and soul.
Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited began its program in 2018 focusing on military veterans. Partnering with Kingston Sportsmen allows ADA access to their lake stocked with trout, lunker catfish and panfish, and easy access to other facilities. This year, for the first time, they extended the invitation to local first responders. “We want to recognize first responder for their brave and dedicated service to the communities where we live”, noted Chapter President, Larry Myers.
Keith Riffle, Club VP and President of the Veterans Committee recruited many of the veterans by visiting numerous VA medical centers, VFWs and American Legions. A veteran himself, Keith explained, “We’ll do whatever it takes to provide a rewarding day on the water for our veterans and first responders.”
This was the first time many of the veterans and first responders participated in this fishing event. For others, it was time for reacquaintances. The purpose of the program is primarily to introduce veterans and first responders to fly fishing for some R&R. But if using a fly rod is not comfortable, mentors assist the veterans using whatever fishing tackle they prefer. Some veterans have actually built their own fly rods and tied their own flies.
For retired Army First Sergeant, Cynthia Butler, this was her second event and would like to see more lady veterans get involved with fishing. Cynthia and several family friends and veterans enjoyed the day, even though the fishing was more challenging this year. The water was still a little warm and the bright sun, while welcoming to the anglers, drove the trout deeper in the lake. Still, every angler said they enjoyed the beautiful fall day and are looking forward to coming back next year. As a bonus, everyone enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch and many won raffle prizes of fly rods, autographed books and gift cards. Westmoreland County Commissioner, Doug Chew was on hand to recognize both military veterans and first responders for their dedicated service to our country and communities.
Other partners were Scout Troops 465 and 305. The Scouts, as in past events, prepared and served lunch for the crowd of 120 veterans, first responders and volunteers. They also opened the event by posting colors and later held a flag retiring ceremony which the veterans appreciated. We thank our event sponsors…Home Depot, three local Giant Eagle Supermarkets, Fish USA and Bent Rods Bait and Tackle.
The partner volunteers look forward to the annual event and enjoy the opportunity to, if even for just one day a year, be able to serve those who served their country. It was another relaxing and rewarding day on the water for all involved. Trout Unlimited salutes our veterans and first responders, and thanks all of our partners and sponsors who made this all happen.
Laurel Highlands Trout Trail Signs Installed
Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited began installing signage along trout streams that are highlighted in the Laurel Highlands Trout Trail (LHTT) project. Seen in the photo at the tailrace of the Yough Dam are (L-R) Larry Myers, Ron Rodgers and Ron Miller. Two signs will be installed on each of the ten streams by various TU Chapters. LHTT is a product of Chestnut Ridge, Forbes Trail, Ken Sink, Mountain Laurel and Penns Woods West chapters. The intent is to assist anglers find premier trout streams to fish in the Laurel Highlands. And in the process by purchasing meals, tackle, gas and lodging, they are helping to drive the local economy. The project was funded via grants from Go Laurel Highlands and Penns Woods West TU. Visit www.laurelhighlandstrouttrail.com for more information.
Rock Run Water Tests 7.29.23
Citizen Scientists were met with a downpour for monthly water tests at the mouth of Rock Run on July 29. The (much welcome) rain forced a quick sample collection and tests conducted in the pavilion at Adams Falls.
Air Temperature: 68°F
Water Temperature: 63.5°F
Linn Run Gauge: 1.85′
Linn Run Flow: 9.65 ft³/sec
Despite the hottest day of summer on the previous day, Rock Run flows at a trout healthy 63.5 degrees.
Rock Run Water Tests for July 2023
The testers were greeted with heavy rain on the morning of July 1, but the skies soon cleared and they were able to conduct monthly water tests at the mouth of Rock Run.
The storm raised water levels from 1.9′ to 2.0′ in less than an hour and with additional rain later in the day peaked at 3.93′ with a flow rate of 565 ft.3/sec at 9:30 pm.
Here’s the test results as of 10:30 am, Saturday, July 1:
Air Temperature: 65°F
Water Temperature: 59.5°F
Linn Run Gauge: 2.0′
Linn Run Discharge: 13 ft³./sec
Alkalinity was surprisingly good considering the influx of rain water.
Afterwards, we went up to the headwaters and checked on the limestone sand that was placed in the stream last year.
It is estimated that 90% has been washed down into the stream. We shoveled the remaining sand in closer to the water.
Please note that if you receive the PA Trout newsletter in the mail or view it on-line, the report for our chapter is incorrect. At the end of the report, it inaccurately mentions a picnic for July 16 at the Kingston Sportsmen’s Club. There is no chapter picnic this year. We had a banquet for our 50th anniversary, and will not have a picnic this summer.
Rock Run Water Tests For June
Monthly water tests were conducted at the mouth of Rock Run on Saturday, June 3.
Water Temperature – 57.5°F
Air Temperature – 66°F
pH – 7.2
Alkalinity – 6.1
Linn Run Gauge – 1.65′
Linn Run Discharge – 3.54 ft³/sec
Hot, dry weather has come early to the Laurel Highlands this year, however, there was a lower flow recorded in June of 2020 when the Linn Run gauge was at 1.42′. Some rain would be nice though.
Veteran's and First Responder's Fishing Day Registration Now Open
Our Veteran’s Fishing Day date has been announced for Saturday, September 16, 2023 and registration is now open. This year, we are opening the event to First Responders as well.
You must register to participate.
To register, go to the Veteran’s and First Responders Fishing Day page, fill out and submit the form. We will email you with confirmation.
Trout Unlimited Assists Local Youth with 4-H Project
Luke Sanner, a dual-enrolled junior, and the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited celebrated Earth Day working on Luke’s 4-H project. Luke completed the requirements for his Diamond 4-H project with a hands-on education program at Rotary Park in Latrobe. The program included an introduction for other 4-H members to stream ecology, macroinvertebrate (trout bugs) identification, fly tying and casting. Luke, along with eight instructors from Forbes Trail taught the various activities. As part of the Earth Day program, TU volunteers picked up litter along Loyalhana Creek earlier in the week when the weather was more cooperative.
The macroinvertebrates were collected in nets in the adjacent Nine Mile Run and included mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, crayfish, beetles, cranefly larva and dragonfly nymphs. The students, using ID charts, identified each of the critters before releasing them unharmed back into the stream. The students also learned about the value of riparian buffers to protect the stream from runoff of pollutants such as fertilizers from the golf course and the value of tall trees to provide shade to keep the water cool.
One of the 4-H students whose family operates a farm, explained how they follow Best Management Practices to protect their pond and stream. By allowing high grasses and brush to grow along the pond and stream banks, they prevent runoff of cow manure. And fences along the stream prevent the cattle from causing bank erosion.
TU mentors explained how the fly patterns they were learning to tie were to imitate some of the trout bugs they caught in the stream. Luke demonstrated tying a slightly more complex pattern and presented each of the students with a plastic fly box to store their tied flies. The students also got to try casting a fly rod, which was a little challenging fighting rain showers and heavy winds.
Luke and his family are members of Trout Unlimited and have supported many of TU’s activities and functions. Forbes Trail sponsored Luke at the Rivers Conservation and Fly-Fishing Youth Camp at Messiah College in June of 2022. Luke’s interest in stream ecology and macroinvertebrates sparked when assisting Forbes Trail with the study of Linn Run in 2021 to develop a Coldwater Conservation Plan for the stream. The Chapter considers Luke one of their rising stars who will one day lead the organization and help protect our trout streams. Congratulations Luke on your many achievements!