Posted in Events

Get Your Picnic Tickets Now!

Deadline for picnic ticket sales is fast approaching. Last day for ticket sales is June 14, all tickets must be sold in advance.

Members, don’t forget to send in you ticket order form, but you don’t have to be a member to attend, you can download a ticket order form from the Summer Picnic page on this website.

Join us for a day of fun and camaraderie and to celebrate the chapter’s accomplishments in 2024.

Tickets are only $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids 12 and under. You can’t beat that for a gourmet meal, drinks, cake and more.

Alcoholic beverages are BYOB but no glass containers.

Posted in Loyalhanna Creek

Trout Unlimited Volunteers Celebrate Earth Day Cleaning Stream Banks

TU member volunteers spent Wednesday afternoon cleaning litter along Loyalhanna Creek in Ligonier and Latrobe.  Each year the Forbes Trail Chapter picks up litter and cleans illegal dumps to make the stream banks look more attractive, and to make them safer for us wildlife.  Much of what they found was likely a result of recent flooding washing items from backyards downstream until they were deposited in low lying areas.

Volunteers reported that they didn’t find the amount of litter as in the past which is always refreshing to hear.  Maybe the local Litterbugs are getting the message that our waterways and roadsides in the Laurel Highlands are too precious to trash.

Loyalhanna Creek is one of ten premier trout streams in the Laurel Highlands Trout Trail.  Visit www.laurelhighlandstrouttrail.org to learn more about the Trout Trail program.  Anglers can win fishing gear by participating in the “Poker Run” and fishing all ten streams before July 31.

The two areas the cleanup focused on were the Delayed Harvest Area from the Rt. 711 bridge in Ligonier down stream to where Mill Creek enters.  And also, where Mission Road in Latrobe crosses the Loyalhanna.  Historically these have been areas heavily trashed.  But this year, between the two sites, volunteers recovered just 12 bags of trash, a 5-gallon bucket, some scrap sheet metal, a lawn chair and plastic molding from an automobile.  Still not good…but not as much trash as in the past.

Trout Unlimited wants to remind our readers that if they see anyone dumping garbage along our streams or roadways, please take a photo of the vehicle if you can do so safely, and report it to Keep PA Beautiful at www.keeppabeautiful.org or (724) 836-4121 in Greensburg.  This is your community’s environment…make sure its respected!

Posted in Fishing Youth Education

Students Exploring the Outdoors

As impossible as it might seem, every student who participated in the Trout Unlimited first, annual “Students Exploring the Outdoors with TU” event caught at least one trout…and some caught many more.  This was a partnership effort developed by the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU), Ligonier Valley School District, the PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and local landowners.  The intent was to introduce 5th graders to the sport of fishing and use the school sanctioned field trip to teach a little about stream ecology, water safety, trout bugs and becoming responsible environmental stewards.

The event was held April 18 and 19 on a trout stream near Ligonier where property owners and neighbors had remediated a section of stream specifically for youth anglers.  The neighbors sponsor a youth event each year on the traditional first day of trout season, but this event went above and beyond.  Each day, forty students from Ligonier Valley elementary schools were bussed to the site and divided into groups of five to seven students, then rotated every half hour through six learning stations.  The stations, managed by TU volunteers and partners taught casting, stream ecology and macroinvertebrates, water safety, fly tying, the value of riparian buffers, and of course…trout fishing.  

In preparation for the event, the PFBC stocked the stream and TU purchased another delivery of trout from a local hatchery in an effort to up the odds for the students to catch fish.  “That might not be how it works in nature”, noted Angie Schultheis, Education Committee Chair and event organizer for TU.  “But in order to get the students “hooked” on the sport, they needed to ensure a “fish-on” experience for each student.”  Mission accomplished!

It was rewarding for the volunteers to see the excitement of the young anglers landing, what in many cases, was their first fish ever.  Mr. Ryan Podlucky, Health and Physical Education Teacher at Ligonier Valley Middle School, and coordinator for this event, arranged for ten students from the District’s Life Skills program to participate in the fishing also.  They had first shot at the trout on the second morning.  Those students all enjoyed a memorable experience catching trout, and releasing them unharmed.

Mr. Podlucky provided eight Junior Mentors each day from his school to assist the younger students.  The Junior Mentors had just completed a winter-long program with TU and were anxious to demonstrate their newly developed skills to the fifth-graders.  In just three months of working with TU in the classroom and on the stream, the students grew from being learners, to being instructors.  Being close in age, the Junior Mentors and new learners worked well together. 

Local Waterways Conservation Officers, a Game Warden and adult TU mentors worked alongside the Junior Mentors to help the 5th graders read the stream, cast to likely hiding places, set the hook, then net the fish and safely release it.  Students took a break at noon to enjoy a bag lunch provided by the school district.  TU cooks provided a grilled lunch for the volunteers as they caught their breath for the afternoon session.  Over twenty volunteers and teachers worked like a well-oiled-machine to provide the students with a rewarding outdoor education and memorable experiences.


 

Posted in Uncategorized

Rock Run Water Tests 4•27•24

Rock Run April 24

Here’s the results of water quality tests at the mouth of Rock Run on April 27, 2024

Air Temperature – 45° F
Water Temperature – 47° F
Linn Run Gauge – 1.95′
Linn Run Discharge – 15.1 ft³/sec
pH – 7.2
Alkalinity – 3.8

Posted in Events Fishing Trout Trail

Laurel Highlands Trout Trail Poker Run

Announcing the first annual Laurel Highlands Trout Trail Poker Run!

Here’s how it works:

  • Fly-Fish all 10 of the top ten Laurel Highlands Trout Trail streams
  • Take a photo of participants at each of the Top Ten Stream signs and submit the photos to us at info@trouttrailtu.org
  • Participants submitting all ten photos will be included in a drawing for the prizes
  • Adult prize is a Douglas ERA fly rod with Cheeky Preload 375 reel with line and backing
  • Youth prize is a Echo Gecko youth outfit with rod, reel and line ready to fish 
  • Registration fees are $20 for adults and $5 for youth 15 and under

Visit the Laurel Highlands Trout Trail website laurelhighlandstrouttrail.org for all the details and locations of the LHTT top ten streams and signs.

  • The Poker Run goes from April 6th to July 31
  • Photo submission deadline is August 7, 2024

Download the Flyer: Poker Run Flyer

Download the Rules and Registration Form: Poker Run Rules and Registration

Posted in Fishing Loyalhanna Creek Youth Education

Ligonier Valley Students Celebrate Spring with Fly Fishing

Youth Photo 3
LVMS students ready to hit the stream.
Youth Photo 7
Mr. Podlucky assists Bella Butler with biggest caught fish of the day!

Fourteen students from the Ligonier Valley Middle School demonstrated their fly-fishing skills on Loyalhanna Creek on Wednesday, April 10, as part of a school sanctioned field trip.  The students had just completed a six-session program from January through March learning the importance of coldwater conservation and how to tie flies and cast using a fly rod.  This program, originating with the school’s Outdoor Club many years ago, is an effort by the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited to share with the next generation their passion for fly-fishing.  But more importantly, it’s an effort to teach the students the importance of protecting our trout streams and the coldwater fisheries.

The “final exam” was putting into practice all the skills the students learned during the course from selecting the correct fly pattern, experimenting with casting techniques, mending their lines, and learning how to “read a stream”.  A few of the students had some previous fishing experience with family members while others were quite new to the sport.  While many of the students caught fish, what impressed the TU mentors the most was their perseverance and attention to detail.  

When it was time to get back on the bus, a couple of the students almost had to be threatened with detention to get them to leave the stream.  Haley Robertson had snagged her trout fly on a rock and broken it off.  While still standing in the stream, she demanded another rod with a fly already tied on it, then proceeded to catch one last trout.  And Haley may have claimed the titled for most fish “caught”…by her definition! 

As a means of explanation, the mentors also taught the students some of the finer points of the sport of fly-fishing, such as terminology.  For example, when an angler hooks a fish and fights it for 5 seconds or longer before it breaks off, that is considered a “Long Distance Release”, or LDR and counts toward the daily catch total!  In essence it’s a modified version of “catch and release” that TU promotes.  The students seemed to grasped that quickly!  Fishing is sometimes as much about story-telling as it is a sport itself! 

Mr. Ryan Podlucky, Health and Physical Education Teacher and Advisor for this program did his share of tutoring and netting fish.  After demonstrating to students how to catch a trout himself, he proceeded to help a couple of students who weren’t having as much luck.  In his words, “Today’s trip, although probably the most memorable for my students, was probably about 5% of the time that Forbes Trail TU had dedicated this year to my students.  This organization and volunteers pour their time and energy into their passion.  It is really great to see my kids outside of the normal classroom walls learning and having experiences they normally wouldn’t be able to have.  LVSD really appreciates the efforts of FTTU.”

Youth Photo 8
Rocco Harris with first trout of the day.
Youth Photo 6
Mentor Milt Claney helping Carter Bizup rig his fly rod.
Youth Photo 4
Mentor Angie Schultheis guides Parker Smith to waiting trout.
Youth Photo 2
Haley Robertson - Sometimes we catch more than fish!
Youth Photo 1
Mentor Ron Rodgers assists Cooper Hegan land his first trout of the morning.
Youth Photo 5
Mentor Larry Myers helps Alyssa Queer read the stream.
Posted in Events Meetings

Spring Events Rescheduled

Loyalhanna Creek High Water
Area streams have receded some since a high water mark on Wednesday April 3rd, but Loyalhanna Creek runs bank full in the DHALO section in Ligonier on April 4

Steady rain and a soaked parking area at the Nimick Center forced us to cancel the April meeting scheduled for April 3rd, and with it the “Slide Show ‘n Tell” program. We have decided to reschedule the “Slide Show ‘n Tell” for the May meeting on Wednesday, May 1 and push the swap meet/flea market to Wednesday, June 5. Both of these events will be held at the Nimick Education Center in Ligonier. Check back for details on the swap meet/flea market.

Prospects For Opening Day?
Local streams were running fast and extremely high earlier this week, but have begun to recede. Be careful wading strong currents if you venture out on opening day.

Posted in Youth Education

Happy Trails, Joe Bilotta!

Joe Accepts Gifts From Students
Joe accepts gifts from Ligonier Valley Middle School students Haley Robertson and Karson White

Friends and FTTUers bid a fond farewell to FTTU Education Chair Joe Bilotta at a dinner at the Tin Lizzy in Youngstown March 20. Joe and his wife are building and moving to a new home in Annville, PA. Upon retirement, Joe wasted no time in getting involved with FTTU and took over the Education Committee duties a few years ago. Filling the big shoes of Drew Banas, Joe hit the ground running and did an outstanding job that would make Drew proud. From classroom lessons to on-stream events, Joe scheduled activities, coordinated with the schools and made sure there were adequate volunteers, supplies and equipment on hand.

As a testament to Joe’s good work, word has gotten out and requests for FTTU educational programs keep coming in.

Fortunately, veteran FTTU volunteer and Chair of our Women’s and Diversity committee, Angela Schultheis has agreed to take over the Education job as well.

Good luck Joe, we’ll miss you!

Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests for 3.30.24

RR Bridge
Rock Run Runs under Linn Run Road before flowing into Linn Run
pH Testing
Scott Minster and Denny Hess check pH meters

Spring is coming to the Laurel Highlands as the FTTU citizen scientists conducted water quality tests at the mouth of Rock Run.

pH – 7.2
Alkalinity – 3.5
Water Temperature – 41°
Air Temperature – 42°
Linn Run Gauge – 1.82′
Linn Run – 10.0 ft³/sec

Posted in Events Veterans

FTTU Presents Member’s Vietnam War Experience

Vets
Monty chatting with other vets after his program

On March 13, Monty Murty, past president of FTTU, put on a presentation covering his on-the-ground experiences as an infantry army commander in Vietnam in 1968, the deadliest year of the war.

The event, held at the Westmoreland Conservation District barn, was attended by 64 veterans and guests.

So what does this have to do with Trout Unlimited anyway?

Trout Unlimited started a “Service Partnership Program” many years ago to teach military veterans and first responders to fly fish as a means to heal the body and soul.  This has been a time-proven, effective healing technique.  Forbes Trail has held five fishing events beginning in 2018.  Veterans and first responders are invited to attend the event this fall at the Kingston Veterans Sportsmen Club, east of Latrobe, on Saturday, October 5th from 9AM to 3PM.  The event is free and fishing equipment, lunch and mentors will be provided.  Preregistration is required.  Details and registration instructions will be provided here on our web site in the spring. 

Proclamation
Monty accepts a proclamation honoring him from Westmoreland County Commissioner and TU member Douglas Chew
PA House Award
State Representative Eric Nelson presented an award to Monty from Rep. Leslie Rossi and himself