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 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 or (724) 836-4121 in Greensburg.  This is your community’s environment…make sure its respected!

Posted in Fishing Loyalhanna Creek Youth Education

Ligonier Valley Students Celebrate Spring with Fly Fishing

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LVMS students ready to hit the stream.
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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.”

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

Trout Unlimited Clears Litter Along Loyalhanna Creek

Teams of Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited worked at three locations to pick up litter along the banks of the Loyalhanna on Tuesday, April 18.  The section of stream in Ligonier is designated by the PA Fish & Boat Commission as both Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only (DHALO) and a PA Select Stream.  And Trout Unlimited has included it in their top ten premier trout streams in their Laurel Highlands Trout Trail program.  In other words, it’s a very special trout stream because of its natural beauty and superior water quality.  Unfortunately, a few thoughtless people continue to ignore the charm of the stream and leave their drink bottles, candy wrappers and bait containers scattered along the trails and banks.

As part of the annual Great American Cleanup of PA and Great Ligonier Valley Cleanup, Forbes Trail partnered with Loyalhanna Watershed Association to pick up trash along the DHALO section, around the causeway at Sleepy Hollow and on Mission Road in Latrobe.  Fortunately, it’s a very tiny percentage of the general public who still refuse to manage their wastes properly.  And more than likely the same slobs that throw their trash in the same locations every year.  TU encourages angler to leave absolutely no trace other than boot prints.  And in fact, anglers are asked to carry a bag to pick up trash left by others, leaving the stream banks even cleaner than they find them.

The teams picked up 20 bags of trash and one lawn chair.  The most unusual find was a garter snake trying to stay warm inside a discarded bed pillow.  They had to clean an illegal dump where someone, possibly a local resident, dumped garbage over the hillside, directly across the stream from the Giant Eagle supermarket.  Residents are asked to report illegal dumpers to the PA State Police or Keep PA Beautiful.  Littering in PA carries a fine of up to $300.  It’s only a few careless people causing the problem.  Do your part to report them.  It’s your tax dollars that pay Penn DOT to pick up and dispose of all the littler collected along the highways and streams.  We can find better ways to celebrate Earth Day than picking up trash left by a few thoughtless litterbugs!

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Picking up trash along Mission Road in Latrobe
This garter snake came out to say “thanks for cleaning up my neighborhood!”
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Mission Road crew L-R Ron Miller, Bill Simogyi and Angela Schultheis
Posted in Conservation Loyalhanna Creek

Earth Day Litter Sweep


In conjunction with the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, FTTU celebrated Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, by holding a litter clean-up day on two sections of Loyalhanna Creek. The Latrobe crew worked from the 982 bridge to about 100 yards downstream of the Mission Road Bridge (Murphy’s Bridge) and collected 15 bags of trash and some large junk items. This area had not been done in quite some time. We had 4 (and a half!) volunteers work this area including Angela Schultheis, Everett Schultheis, Ron Miller, Ed Barger and Scott Minster.

The Ligonier volunteers worked from the 711 bridge to the Two Mile Run bridge and filled 9 trash bags along with some large junk items. This area was last done in 2019 since we had to cancel last year’s clean-up. The Ligonier crew consisted of Joe Billota, Milt Claney, Rod Cross, Monty Murty, Larry Myers and Bonnie Robinson.

The L.W.A. provided gloves and trash bags and Penn Dot will pick up the piles of trash. Thanks to all who participated!