FTTU Assists with 2023 Envirothon
Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited was invited to participate in this year’s Westmoreland County Envirothon at Twin Lakes Park in Hempfield Township. Westmoreland Conservation District organizes the annual event and seeks local businesses to help sponsor it. One hundred and twenty-five students were tested on their knowledge of Current Issues, Aquatics, Forestry, Wildlife and Soils. Trout Unlimited provided a separate station where students learned to cast a fly rod and tie a trout bug pattern called a Green Weenie, designed by a former Forbes Trail tying instructor Ken Igo.
Groups of 20-25 students spent 30 minutes at each of the stations being tested on what they’ve learned in each of the subjects. Some school districts provided up to three teams. Each team consisted of five students who would collaborate on the tests. TU teaches coldwater conservation, fly tying and fly casting in schools, to scout groups and to adults on a regular basis. They even take classes of students on local fly fishing field trips.
The Envirothon is quite different. It’s like speed dating where instructors have just 30 minutes to teach a very concentrated lesson on either tying or casting. A group of ten students would sit at a table with a vice, tools and materials and follow along as an instructor explained the tying process step-by-step. Most of the students produced a final product that any trout would chase.
Another group of ten would watch a casting demonstration by experienced castors, then grab a fly rod and try to emulate the instructors. The students were taught the “back cast” and “roll cast”, the two most common casts used on trout streams. Students eventually learned the hand placement on the rod, line control and the arm rhythm to where they could hit their target…most of the time. For many of the students, this was their first exposure to fly tying and casting, which was TU’s intent…plant a seed and watch it grow.
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!
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
Raffle Prize Donations
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!
Yough Defense Party 11/17/22
The Mountain Watershed Association and Yough Riverkeeper will hold a Yough Defense Party on Thursday, November 17 from 2:00 – 10:00 pm at the Falls City Pub in Ohiopyle, PA
Join us for an evening of celebrating the Youghiogheny River
Live music, silent auction with outdoor gear and goods from local artisans, potluck dinner, and great company
Indoor and Outdoor space, we’ll be ready for cold weather with fire pits and an outdoor event tent!
WIN A KAYAK, DRY SUIT, OR ANOTHER OUTDOOR GEAR ITEM VALUED AT $1,500 OR LESS
Silent auctions end at 7pm and 8pm.
Door Tickets are $20.00
The door ticket gets you entry to the event, free food, one free drink ticket, and an entry for the door prize. There will be a Will Call list at the event with your name.
Tickets are available through the Mountain Watershed Association.
Veteran's Fishing Event Postponed
Due to an increasingly bad weather forecast calling for rain and cold temperatures on Saturday, October 1st, we have reluctantly decided to reschedule the Veteran’s Fishing Day for next Saturday, October the 8th.
All else remains the same. The event will begin at 9 am and run til 3 pm. There will be drinks, snacks and a grilled lunch served by Boy Scouts. Fishing tackle will be provided for those without their own and there will be expert mentors for those who need assistance.
Here’s hoping for nice weather and that everyone can still attend.
FTTU Summer Picnic
The Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited held its summer picnic for members, family and friends on Saturday, July 16th at Kingston Veterans & Sportsmen Club, east of Latrobe. Because of the Covid pandemic and related restrictions, this was the first picnic of its kind since 2019. It was a treat to be outdoors to enjoy both the summer weather and the camaraderie of family and friends.
There were raffle prizes, including a Yeti cooler, adult size fly rods and several fishing rod/reel combinations for the kids. The event also included a “swap” where used and excess fishing and fly-tying gear was sold. Activities for kids included painting wood cutouts of trout and tying a “crazy fly” with paperclips, pipe cleaners and hackle.
Adults tested their fly-casting skills on a par-3 casting course. And bean bags were constantly flying through the air on the corn hole courses. A buffet lunch was catered by Forks Inn, Ligonier and a trout decorated cake was provided by the Laughlintown Pie Shoppe.
Attendees enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere and opportunity to meet new friends and chat with some they had not seen for a couple of years. Some of the students from Ligonier Valley Middle School’s Outdoor Club, which the chapter interacts with, attended and were able to purchase used fly rod and reel combos at drastically reduced prices.
TU extends a special thank you to our partner Kingston Veterans & Sportsmen Club for hosting us.
Congratulations to the Raffle Winners
This month’s meeting will feature representatives from local organizations who will speak on conservation work in our area. Represented at the meeting will be The Loyalhanna Watershed Association, Powdermill Nature Reserve, Linn Run State Park, Ligonier Township, PA Fish & Boat Commission and The Westmoreland Conservation District.
Here’s a rare opportunity to get up-to-date information on conservation efforts in our local area.
Meeting starts at 6:00 pm at the Nimick Education Center in Ligonier on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. See the side-bar for directions.