LVMS Students Learn About Cold Water Conservation and Fly Fishing.
Twelve students from Ligonier Valley Middle School’s Outdoor Club participated in a winter program to learn about stream conservation and fly tying. This is a program to teach the importance of protecting our coldwater fisheries and to train them to be environmental stewards.
The Outdoor Club meets every other Thursday indoors for five events. The learners will test their skills fishing for trout in April, the final class. The program is conducted by the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
“The Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited Chapter mentors do an amazing job teaching our learners about the importance of coldwater fisheries, and introducing them to fly fishing”, noted Ryan Podlucky, Health and Physical Education Teacher and Outdoors Club Advisor.
Each session begins with a video presentation about trout streams, the importance of clean water for trout, and a lesson on a particular macroinvertebrate…or trout bug. The learners then tie that particular fly pattern to make it look like the real deal. During their field day, they’ll use their hand-tied flies to try to fool trout in Loyalhanna Creek.
The patterns include trout egg imitations, bait fish, leeches, insect larva and adult trout bugs. The learners will practice casting, reading the stream, making a near-natural presentation and, how to release trout unharmed. TU teaches the value of using barbless hooks as well as the practice of catch-and-release.
“It’s a great hands-on learning experience for the students” notes TU class instructor Joe Bilotta. “And it’s one more opportunity for Trout Unlimited to instill our values in our next generation of coldwater conservationists.” TU wants to introduce young learners to fly fishing as an outdoor activity they can enjoy with friends, or by themselves.
Fly fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and take a break from studying, work, competitive sports and trying to keep up on social media. The more, young learners TU can recruit, the more ambassadors we’ll have to help protect our precious natural resources.
The Fly Tyer’s Reunion is returning on Thursday evening April 28, 2022 to Seven Springs Mountain Resort at the Highlands Sporting Clays Lodge located at 777 Water Wheel Drive Champion, PA. Along with many nationally known fly tyers that have participated in the past, a number of new tiers will be demonstrating their tying skills this year. All the tyers will showcase their famous fly patterns and will be selling their best signature patterns as well. They will provide advice and share their secrets that have helped make them the best fly tyers in the sport.
Tyers already confirmed to attend are Tom Baltz, Scott Loughner, Rob Reeder, Shane Hawryliak, Tim Cammisa, Shawn Holsinger, Bob Patlen, Randy Buchanan, Greg Heffner, Chuck Furimsky along with West Virginia’s First Family of fly tying, Joe and Jodi Messinger. Realistic style fly tyers including Bob Meade, Joe Jackson and Amran Ahmar will also be on hand. Other tyers are still being added to the show’s lineup. Show Director Chuck Furimsky reports, “I am waiting to hear from Braden Miller, a sixteen year old, who is one of the finest articulated fly tyers in the country.”
Headwater Books Publisher and Editor Jay Nichols will join Lenny Lichvar, an outdoor writer and a co- author of the book Keystone Fly Fishing which be available for purchase, to discuss angling opportunities throughout Pennsylvania.
New this year will be an entrance fee of $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for anyone ages 13 to 19, and children will be free. Parking is free. All attendees will receive three tickets for the 8:30 PM drawing for over five hundred dollars worth of various fly tying materials. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early for food and beverages available in the Lodge dining area. The tying will begin at 6:00 PM and end at 9:00 PM.
If I can remember correctly, my fly-fishing adventures began in the 1980’s. At that time, it was nothing but a hobby which I enjoyed while being out in nature and the solitude on a day off from work here and there. I never really developed a true appreciation of the sport because like many of us with homes, families and careers, there was always something that needed to be done.
My children became adults and I retired nearly 8 years ago which freed up some time for me to pursue some of my interests. A good friend began a tradition of a yearly fly-fishing trip to his hunting/fishing cabin in the State College area to chase the wild brown trout in the limestone streams in that area. Initially we began chasing the sulphur mayfly hatch. What an eye opener. To be wading in a stream full of wild trout during a prolific mayfly hatch is truly something indescribable.
The sulphur chase evolved into chasing the green drake mayflies. Then it was the march brown, which turned into the Hendrickson, and so on and so on. Our novice group was evolving quickly from stoneflies, caddis, midges, scuds, mayflies and terrestrials. Entomologist’s we certainly were not, but we were trying and learning as we went along. The group which goes on that trip annually consists of 6-10 guys. One in that group has just finished his third competitive fly-fishing tournament. We were learning and having fun. Of course, there is always that competitive nature which is unspoken but absolutely felt amongst a group while fishing.
That was the path that led me to the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited (FTTU). I was seeking knowledge to learn more about the cold-water fisheries and become a better conservationist. I actually believed that if I started tying my own flies, I could save a boatload of money. I quickly learned that was in no way the case. If you are thinking you will save money tying your own flies, you are absolutely wrong. I will tell you this though. There is nothing more rewarding than catching a fish on a fly which you tied yourself. Couple that with being able to identify and match what those fish are seeing and eating gives one a great sense of accomplishment.
I believe it was 2014 or 2015 while attending a FTTU meeting there was discussion about getting a group together to tie flies. I was all in on that. My quest for information at that point had peaked. I wanted to learn all I could. YouTube and the internet are nice but I feel there is nothing better than hands on experience and actually doing it and making mistakes as you go. The late Drew Banas was heading up the group as the coordinator. He did a great job securing a venue and communicating with everyone interested.
So here I am, now the coordinator of this fly-tying group associated with FTTU. With the exception of one covid year, we have been active every year since the start. The group is filled with fly-tyers willing to help. Ask questions and learn as you go. We were recently told to decide on a name for this group. The name decided upon is the TU Gray Hackle Gang.
The TU Gray Hackle Gang is primarily a group comprised of members of the FTTU. We are a part of FTTU. The skill level is broad in the group. There are members who began fly-tying this year and there are members who have been fly-tying for years. There is an active member willing to work with new fly-tyers and teach them the basics. Every member who attends is willing to help out. If you are interested in fly-tying but are intimidated, let me relieve your apprehension. This is really an activity in which one may proceed with as much detail as desired. Anything from winding yarn on a hook to adding feathers, fur, beads or fuzz. Whatever your comfort level is perfectly acceptable.
We typically start meeting sometime after Christmas and continue weekly until the weather breaks enough that we can start getting on the water using the flies that were tied. Currently, we are meeting every Tuesday at noon for lunch. This year we are meeting at the Tin Lizzy in Youngstown PA. Once everyone has finished their meal, we move to a private room and all tie whatever each individual wishes to tie on that particular day. Our session is usually finished and everyone is cleaned up and ready to head home around 4 PM.
We have tried tying the same pattern each week as a group but that didn’t work out very well. Everyone does their own thing. We share ideas on patterns, materials and techniques. Believe it or not, there are no secrets that I have encountered. Everyone is open and happy to share. Typically, each individual brings all of their own equipment. This includes a vice, tools and materials. The chapter has loaned out equipment in the past for new fly-tyers to use until they determine if this is something they wish to get involved in. Our goal is to tie flies of all types, familiar patterns, unfamiliar patterns or some that have recently been ‘released’.
The possibilities are endless. Flies have been tied for native brook trout, wild brown trout, stocked trout or great lakes steelhead. Whatever is of interest to the individual is within reach. We have had members tie patterns in preparation for various fishing trips out of state. I won’t mention anything about bass or panfish because after all, this is Trout Unlimited.
Additionally, we all enjoy the socialization and interacting with each other. Of course, there are always some fish tales told as we go. Anyone and everyone are welcome to participate. If you are new to fly-tying or feel it may be something of interest to you, let us know and we will make arrangements to ensure everything will be available for you to try it out. If you are a seasoned fly-tier and looking to tie with us, hear or tell some tales on Tuesdays, come and join us. Email any questions to email@example.com and someone will gladly respond.
When: Tuesday’s – Noon for lunch, then fly tying afterwards.
Where: Tin Lizzy Restaurant, 259 Main Street, Youngstown, PA
(on the corner of Main Street and Route 982).
Want to join in? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sub-freezing temperatures and nearly a foot of snow didn’t stop lady fly tyers from getting together to practice their craft on Sunday afternoon, February 6. Ladies from the area, including members of Forbes Trail, Penn’s Woods West and Mountain Laurel Chapters, met at PA Fly Co fly tackle shop on Rt. 31 east of Mount Pleasant to practice some new patterns. The ladies started with the “green weenie’, a somewhat controversial, but very effective pattern. Other patterns they mastered were the zebra midge, mop fly and single egg.
Husband and wife team, Tim and Angie Schultheis, organized the event in an effort to introduce more ladies to fly-tying and start building a small group to tie and fish together. Angie is Forbes Trail’s Diversity Committee Chair, and serves on the Board of Directors. She has been collaborating with Amidea Daniel, PA TU’s Women/Diversity Initiative Chair and Judy Sittler, PA TU’s Youth Education Chair, as well as Penn’s Woods West’s Diversity Committee for two years to formalize and grow the group of fishers. Husband, Tim, was one of the first Forbes Trail youth members to learn fly-tying in 1995 from the Chapter founders, even before they had a formal Youth Education Program. “We want to reach out and help mentor others so they can experience the fun our entire family enjoys fishing and fly-tying” noted Angie.
Joslyn from Berlin, PA, brought her own tying kit given to her by her kids as a Christmas gift. Joslyn has fly fished, but now wants to learn the art of tying. She has taken online tutorials provided by Amidea and has practiced on local streams including Wills Creek in Somerset County.
Mandy is from Pittsburgh and has fished with the Penn’s Woods West ladies on the Loyalhanna Creek in Ligonier, as well as other area streams. Now she wants to learn to tie and brought her i-pad to take scrupulous notes while mentors provide step-by-step instructions. She too has taken advantage of online tutorials including Forbes Trail’s Facebook.
Doug Yocabet owns and manages the recently opened fly shop on top of 3-mile hill. Doug has offered his classroom to many fly-tying groups in an effort to get more kids and adults into the sport of fly-fishing and art of tying. As Doug shares…”Tying is an activity many of us enjoy, especially during winter months. I enjoy interacting with the students and seeing them master the eye-hand coordination needed for this art. I like seeing the expression on their faces when they finish their first masterpiece! It’s rewarding!”
Trout Unlimited Chapters are always trying to introduce new students to the art of fly fishing and fly tying. Learning the art helps gain an appreciation for the need to become ambassadors for coldwater fisheries where we practice our sport. Reaching out to ladies and young students encourages entire families to become involved with fly fishing as well as stream conservation projects.
Please check back on Forbes Trail’s Facebook page or our web site at www.forbestrailtu.org for more planned events. Students do not have to be a TU member to participate. And those who join the activities will find plenty of skill and willing mentors
Those wishing to learn how to tie flies or learn techniques and new patterns will want to check out live fly tying sessions on FTTU’s Facebook page. Doug Yacobet along with a panel of guest tiers will tie two patterns each Sunday evening at 8:00 pm. One pattern will be for beginners and the other will be for advanced tiers.
Here’s the link FTTU Facebook Fly Tying
You can ask questions or comment live during the session.
Check it out Sundays at 8 pm.
Several of our members get together on Thursday afternoons during the winter to tie flies. It’s a nice opportunity to share favorite patterns, learn new tricks and of course to build camaraderie. This year’s sessions will begin January 9th and be held on the second floor of the Tin Lizzy Restaurant in Youngstown, PA. Fly tying will begin around 1 pm. Those who are interested can join us for lunch first in the dining room at noon. Because of limited space, sign-ups will be handled on a first come, first serve basis. Please contact email@example.com to register.
A one-day beginner’s fly tying class for women will be offered on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at the Westmoreland Conservation District Barn in Greensburg.
This program is co-sponsored by FTTU and Miss May Fly. FTTU volunteers will be the instructors.
Here are the details.
• Location: Westmoreland Conservation District Barn – 218 Donohoe Road, Greensburg
• Date: Saturday, March 23, 2019
• Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
• Lunch: Provided by FTTU (pizza, chips, water)
• Participants: Up to 20 Women on a First Come First Served Basis
• Cost: FREE No Fees or Charges
• Equipment, Tools and Materials will be Provided by FTTU
• Registration is handled by Miss Mayfly through Social Media. Click Here to Register.
Spots are filling up fast, so get registered today!