The Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp was back in 2021 after a one-year hiatus due to COVID. This year, FTTU awarded a full sponsorship to local student Nicholas Vargo to attend the camp which ran from June 20th through the 25th at Messiah College along Yellow Breeches Creek in central Pennsylvania. Nicholas gave a short talk and slide show on his experiences at the camp at our September meeting. He said the camp really opened his eyes on the importance of cold water conservation and increased his fly fishing and fly tying skills ten-fold. The camp has college level courses on a variety of topics related to cold water conservation. Nicholas said he particularly enjoyed the electrofishing session which revealed some of the fish species inhabiting Yellow Breeches Creek. The kids had time to fish each day before classes in the morning and again in the evening.
If you know of a deserving young person who would be interested in attending the camp in 2022, contact us for more information at email@example.com. The camp is open to boys and girls aged 14-17 and will be held June 19 – 24, 2022. FTTU would be interested in sponsoring at least one local student.
Good numbers from Rock Run this month. Even though recent storms raised the flow a little, alkalinity increased.
Air Temperature: 75° F
Water Temperature: 67.5° F
Linn Run Gauge: 1.44
Flow: Low and clear.
After an absence due to COVID in 2020, the Military Veterans Fishing Outing is back. This year, it will be held on Saturday, October 2nd from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Kingston Veterans and Sportsmans Club in Latrobe. The event is sponsored by the Kingston Club and FTTU.
The outing is open to all active duty or veterans of the U.S. military. Participants do not need to be disabled, but 30 spots are reserved for disabled vets. The event is free but you will need to register if you would like to take part. To get registered, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also participate as a mentor or volunteer. For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact us at the same email address.
Fishing will be done on the club’s lake for stocked trout and panfish. No fishing license is required and all tackle will be provided by FTTU. Volunteer mentors will be on hand to provide help for the disabled and instruction to those who would like to learn to fly fish. A grilled lunch will be served by the local Boy Scout Troop.
We have held this event in 2018 and 2019 and it has been an extremely successful and fun day. See the Community Service page for a report from 2019 and a slide show. Hope to see you there!
FTTU held a volunteer appreciation day on Wednesday, June 29, on Linn Run and invited the local media to attend. A picnic lunch was the chapter’s way of thanking everyone who volunteered their time and services for the study. Demonstrations of electro-shocking and macroinvertebrate collection were conducted. Josh Penatzer, Project Manager for Loyalhanna Watershed Association donned the battery pack and electrodes and probed the waters while volunteers followed with nets. The sampling was abbreviated because the water was low and they didn’t want to stress the wild brook trout. More extensive electro-shocking will be conducted in the spring during higher water flows and fish will be checked for gill lice then released unharmed.
Andrea Kautz, Research Entomologist for Powdermill Nature Reserve instructed volunteers on how to use nets to collect trout bugs. Alongside the stream, she coached the volunteers how to sort and identify the bugs which are indicators of water quality. They captured an assortment of mayflies, caddis flies and stoneflies in a matter of minutes. Both Andrea and Josh supervised the volunteers on June 16th when they sampled 12 sections of Linn Run including the major tributaries.
FTTU received a grant through the Foundation For Pennsylvania Watersheds to do a comprehensive study of the Linn Run Watershed with the end result being a Cold Water Conservation Plan identifying problem areas that can be addressed to improve conditions for the native brook trout inhabiting the watershed.
With assistance from our partners at The Loyalhanna Watershed Association, DCNR/Linn Run State Park, The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Powdermill Nature Reserve, Westmoreland County Conservation District, PA Fish and Boat Commission, The Ligonier Valley School District and our own citizen scientist volunteers, we have so far completed a visual habitat assessment, a macroinvertebrate survey and a water quality analysis. Look for the conservation plan to come out in 2022.
As a tribute to Pennsylvania’s state fish, the brook trout, the Altoona Curve Double A baseball club will be playing their June 25-27 games against the Harrisburg Senators as The Altoona Brookies. The players will wear caps sporting a leaping brook trout and jerseys adorned with the brook trout’s natural colors and markings.
Local conservation organizations will be at the ballpark including Tout Unlimited, the Blair County Conservation District, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, PA Fish & Boat Commission and the Little Juniata River Association.
On Wednesday, June 16, FTTU volunteers gathered at the Grove Run Picnic area in Linn Run State Park to do a comprehensive aquatic macroinvertebrate collection and study of Linn Run and its tributaries. Andrea Kautz, Research Entomologist at the Powdermill Nature Reserve, and Josh Penatzer, Project Manager with the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, were the professionals who supervised the study. Previously, Andrea conducted a macro identification training session for volunteers via zoom, and both Andrea and Josh demonstrated the use of kick nets, explained the collection protocol, and oversaw the identification, sorting and scoring process on site. FTTU members with previous experience in macro collection led teams that carried out the kick net collection at 11 different sites within the watershed. Each site had at least 200 organisms captured. The samples were collected in buckets and brought back to the Grove Run Picnic Area where they were counted and sorted to the Genus level and then returned to the stream. All this work was carried out between 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm thanks to the great response we had from volunteers and Andrea and Josh’s guidance.
The numbers and types of macroinvertebrates inhabiting a stream are great indicators of stream health particularly the “high quality” Genus’s of mayflies, stoneflies and caddis flies.
The final report for the Linn Run Coldwater Conservation Plan will be produced in about one year. The study is to determine the overall health of Linn Run and the fishery. Next step, based on the information collected, is to determine if there are potential remediation projects we can undertake that might improve stream health and trout habitat.
FTTU has been wanting to do a comprehensive study of the Linn Run watershed for a long time and finally, it’s happening in 2021. President Larry Myers has assembled a team with FTTU and local conservation organizations including the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Westmoreland County Conservation District, the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, the Powdermill Nature Reserve, DCNR – Linn Run State Park and FTTU citizen scientists and local volunteers to accomplish the work. The first step was to do a visual habitat assessment of the watershed which involved walking the entire length of Linn Run and its tributaries. FTTU and community volunteers were assigned “beats” and put boots-on-the-ground looking for impairments and scoring their sections in various categories including sediment deposition, channel flow, embeddedness, riparian vegetative cover, riffle-run-pool frequency and bank stability. The teams took detailed notes, photos and GPS coordinates.
Water quality was next. Samples were collected at various locations around the watershed and were tested for pH, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen and total dissolved solids at our on-site lab at the Grove Run Picnic Area on May 12. Other samples were taken in key locations for professional testing for nitrates, phosphates, acidity, aluminum and turbidity.
Up next will be a macroinvertebrate study and an electro-fishing study. Locations for these activities is to be determined.
Many thanks to our partners, Greg Schaetzle of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy conducted the habitat assessment training, Andrea Kautz of Powdermill will do the macro identification training and Josh Penatzer will handle the electro-fishing study.
The project is funded by a grant from The Foundation for PA Watersheds.
The results will be compiled into a Conservation Plan which will make it easier for us to acquire grants for future stream improvement projects.