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Posted in Fly Tying Women's Involvement

Lady Fly Fishers Learn to Tie Their Own Flies

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


Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests For February 2022

Mouth of Rock Run 2/6/22
The Mouth of Rock Run 2/6/22

Neither rain nor snow nor frigid winter temperatures will keep the FTTU citizen scientists from their appointed rounds! A beautiful winter morning greeted the testers at Linn Run State Park on February 6th. Water levels were up with recent rain and snow melt and the air temperature was a chilly 17°.

Air Temperature – 17° Fahrenheit
Water Temperature – 34° Fahrenheit
Linn Run Gauge – 2.24 ft.
Linn Run Flow – 33.3 ft³/sec
pH – 7.7
Alkalinity – 2.8

The idea here is to record monthly pH and alkalinity readings at the mouth of Rock Run to track the progress of the chapter’s acid mitigation project on this important Linn Run tributary. The limestone sand deposits are placed in the headwaters to treat the stream for acidity. If readings at the mouth are good, then it can be presumed that alkalinity and pH in the entire stream must be healthy. A goal would be to have alkalinity readings of 10 at the mouth. We haven’t reached that goal consistently yet. Higher flows typically bring alkalinity numbers down as we see in his month’s readings, but overall, alkalinity of the stream has improved since the project began.

 

 


Posted in Conservation

DEP’s Integrated Water Quality Report Now Available.

Did you know that there are 85,568 miles of rivers and streams in Pennsylvania? They’re all covered in the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s “2022 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring Report” now available for viewing here –  2022 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring Report
This assessment of impaired waters in the Commonwealth is conducted and updated every two years.  The report provides a wealth of information about what streams are not meeting EPA’s water quality standards and for what parameters they fail.  This is yet another tool that Trout Unlimited can use to help identify trout streams that could benefit from remediation services and help us prioritize where we want to invest resources.

Unfortunately, the 2022 report shows an increase in impaired stream miles of over 2,000 miles since the last time the report was done in 2020.

A description of the report can be found in the PA Environment Digest.

There is an interactive map where you can research any stream in Pennsylvania and see if it is attaining its intended use for aquatic life or recreation or if it is impaired by any number of causes such as mine drainage or siltation.
It’s best to view the demonstration video first before exploring the map.

Link for the Map
Link for the Demonstration Video

The report contains a wealth of detailed information. You can spend hours researching you favorite streams or seek out information on ones you’d like to explore.


Posted in Youth Education

Wildlife Leadership Academy Now Accepting Nominations

The Wildlife Leadership Academy is currently seeking referrals of motivated students ages 14 to 17 to become Certified Conservation Ambassadors. Nominations are now being accepted online at  www.wildlifeleadershipacademy.org/nominate. Letters will be sent to nominated students with an invitation to apply to the 2022 program.

Nominated students should have demonstrated interest in wildlife and/or fisheries conservation. Accepted nominees will become certified Conservation Ambassadors through attending a 5-day residential summer field schools which focuses on a particular wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, bass, brook trout, turkey and bear. Students in each field school will gain extensive knowledge about natural resource conservation, leadership experience, and communication skills.

Applicants may be nominated by an adult who knows them well, but is not a relative (teacher, school counselor, Envirothon advisor, employer, youth group leader, etc.).

As Conservation Ambassadors, students can receive a letter of a recommendation for college applications; certification of community service work, and a certificate designating them as Conservation Ambassadors.  Students are also eligible to apply for three college credits through Cedar Crest College, return to the Academy tuition free the following year, compete for college scholarships, and join an Academy Alumni Network of wildlife, fisheries, and conservation professionals.

Academy Alumni and Conservation Ambassador Aubree Reiter of Blair County describes her participation in the program as an “absolutely amazing experience”.

She shared, “Everything was absolutely amazing. The people we met were extraordinary and the amount of information we obtained was just mind boggling. I still talk about my experience to my family and I am constantly referencing my notes. I can’t wait for my future!  The field school reached beyond my expectations.”

The mission of the Wildlife Leadership Academy is to engage and empower high school age youth to become Conservation Ambassadors to ensure a sustained wildlife, fisheries and natural resource legacy for future generations. The Academy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a cooperative initiative involving state agencies and conservation organizations.

FTTU Youth Group members have attended the academy in the past and it is well worth while. The WLA has a coldwater conservation program called “PA Brookies”.


 

Posted in Trout Trail

Grant Provided for Laurel Highlands Trout Trail

Check Presentation
Ed Barger, Penn’s Woods West Chapter Treasurer presents the grant check to Larry Myers, President of Forbes Trail TU. L-R: Monty Murty, FTTU Treasurer; Larry Myers; Bryan Mathie, PWWTU President and Ed Barger.

The Penn’s Woods West Chapter of Trout Unlimited presented a $3,900 check to fellow Forbes Trail Chapter for an ecotourism project called “Laurel Highlands Trout Trail”. The purpose is to guide fly fishers to premier trout streams in the Chestnut and Laurel Ridges region of southwest Pennsylvania. The streams will be selected by experienced fly fishers from several TU chapters. All streams will be within what is designated the Laurel Highland Landscape by the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. It’s an opportunity to share their favorite fishing spots with fellow anglers, while helping small support businesses in the region such as tackle shops, restaurants, gas stations and motels.

The other TU chapters participating in this initiative are Chestnut Ridge, Ken Sink and Mountain Laurel. The group will also partner with University of Pittsburgh Johnstown (UPJ), Business School under the direction of Dr. Skip Glenn. UPJ initially helped design a web site and in the second phase will help develop a marketing plan and brochure for the initiative.

In spring 2022, volunteers will install interpretive signs in parking areas along all of the selected streams to identify them as part of the Trout Trail. QR codes on the signs will direct readers to a web site where more detailed information about the Trout Trail and TU chapters can be found.

The original Laurel Highlands Trout Trail project was initiated in 2012 in partnership with the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, and the local Chambers of Commerce. A website and promotional brochure were developed but the initiative was not being financially maintained by the partners. Forbes Trail TU eventually bought the intellectual properties of the initiative. With the assistance of UPJ in the spring of 2021, the web site message and technology were re-visioned toward trout fishing ecotourism focused on the coldwater conservation and outreach missions of Trout Unlimited. That web site can currently be accessed via www.forbestrailtu.org and clicking on the link at the top of the home page.

For more information about Forbes Trail Chapter activities, and to view photos of recent events, visit our web site at www.forbestrailtu.org  Additional information about Penns Woods West Chapter activities and events can be found on their web site at. https://pwwtu.org.

 

 


 

Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests January 2022

Rock Run
Mouth of Rock Run January 2, 2022

Several days of rain brought the highest flows since January of 2021.

Air Temperature: 44° F
Water Temperature: 47° F
Linn Run Discharge: 48.9 Ft³/sec
Linn Run Gauge: 2.52 ft.
pH: 7.4
Alkalinity: 3.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Posted in Fund Raising

FTTU Fufills Promise with Donation to Westmoreland Food Bank

Check Presentation
Forbes Trail TU officers present check to Westmoreland Food Bank. L to R Monty Murty (Treasurer), Scott Minster (Secretary), Denny Hess (Vice President) and Lauren Hill, Director of Development for WFB.

Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) recently presented a $600 check to the Westmoreland Food Bank to help those in local communities in need of food. Through its annual, fall meat raffle, TU gave away eight $250 gift cards for Bardines Smokehouse in Crabtree. TU members sold over 800 raffle tickets at $10 each to friends and family members throughout Westmoreland County. The eight winning numbers were drawn on November 17th and the gift cards were delivered shortly thereafter. TU donated 10% of the raffle profits to the Food Bank.

“We are grateful to Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited for their true act of selfless giving,” said Jennifer Miller, CEO of the Westmoreland Food Bank. “If it were not for the community and their generosity, we would not be able to do what we do best and that is feed people and nourish lives.”

“This is an easy way for our chapter to raise unrestricted funds for community, school and local stream projects” noted Larry Myers, Chapter President. “It’s an opportunity for all of our 600 members to get involved in fundraising with minimal effort.” This is the second year that Forbes Trail partnered with Bardines and the Food Bank on the meat raffle. We gave away one gift card for every 100 tickets sold, which are really good odds. “Knowing that each ticket purchased helps those in need of food makes the selling very easy.” said Myers. “There are many families in our communities who could use a helping hand, and the raffle is a simple means for us to provide that support.”

 


 

Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Year End Rock Run Water Tests

Mouth of Rock Run
The Mouth of Rock Run 11-27-21

Icy temperatures and the first dusting of snow greeted the testers as the final water sampling at the mouth of Rock Run for 2021 was done on Saturday, November 27.

Air Temperature: 25° F
Water Temperature: 34.5°F
Linn Run Discharge: 7.95 ft³/sec
Linn Run Gauge: 1.76 ft.
pH: 7.7
Alkalinity: 7.8

The final averages for the year are 7.43 pH and 7.03 alkalinity. These are the best averages we’ve recorded since we began taking monthly readings in 2017.
2017-2018: pH-6.47, Alkalinity-5.9
2018-2019: pH-6.5, Alkalinity-6.1
2019: pH-6.5, Alkalinity-6.2
2020: pH-6.88, Alkalinity-5.92
2021: pH-7.43, Alkalinity-7.03

Plans are to add limestone to the headwaters in 2022.

Click Here Rock Run pH Chart 2021 for the complete 2021 chart.

 

 

 


 

Posted in Youth Education

Rivers Youth Camp Registration Now Open

Rivers Camp LogoThe 27th annual Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp will be held June 19-24, 2022. The camp will be at Messiah University in Grantham, PA. It begins on Sunday and ends the following Friday. Admission is limited to 24 selected qualified students from 14 to 17 years of age.

Applications will be accepted now through December 31. Applying via the camp website is preferred. Students selected for the early acceptance will be notified in early January 2022. Applicants who apply during the regular application period of January 1, 2022, through February 28, 2022, will be notified in early March 2022.

The camp tuition is $550 per student. There is no cost to apply, and no money is required until a student is accepted. Financial aid may be available to qualified students. All meals and accommodations are included for the residence camp. The highly structured curriculum is based on college level classes. Students are instructed in ecology, aquatic biology, geology, hydrogeology, erosion and sediment control, ichthyology, riparian corridor protection, watershed management, entomology, and much more. Students also participate in a hands-on stream habitat improvement project.

But it’s not all work. There are 10 fishing sessions, casting, and fishing instruction and fly-tying classes. Over 25 instructors, all experts in their field, teach the various classes. A student doesn’t have to be an accomplished fly fisher or a budding aquatic biologist to attend. The student only needs to be highly motivated and willing to learn.

For more information, a camp brochure, or to apply, visit the camp website at www.riverscamp.com. Be sure to watch the camp video there or join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/49190088991/about . Questions may be submitted at the website or via email to riverscamp@gmail.com

Forbes Trail TU would like to sponsor at least one area youth to attend the camp. If you know of a deserving student, contact us at info@forbestrailtu.org.


 

Posted in Citizen Science Conservation Linn Run

Linn Run Cold Water Conservation Plan Update

Kick Net
Elizabeth Bruner inspects rock for aquatic organisms while Luke Sanner collects bugs in his net as they are flushed downstream.

Forbes Trail members and local volunteers wrapped up three days of water quality sampling and macroinvertebrate (trout bugs) studies on Linn Run and its tributaries in mid-November. They enjoyed beautiful weather for two of the days. But, the last day of macro, they had to deal with rain, falling temperatures and working under a dark pavilion to sort and identify the bugs. All in all, they collected a large quantity and wide assortment of bugs and the water quality in the stream is looking good.

Andrea Kautz from Powdermill Nature Reserve and Josh Penatzer from Loyalhanna Watershed Association were the bug experts assisting volunteers with sorting and making correct identifications. Strict protocols have to be followed for collecting the bugs from the stream, including the length of stream sampled, how long to kick the stream rocks and debris, and specific mesh nets to be used. The sorting and identification is a very tedious and eye-straining activity. Many of the bugs must be picked from leaf packs with tweezers.

Water quality samples were first analyzed stream-side by TU members for a number of parameters including pH, alkalinity and dissolved oxygen. Duplicate samples are being analyzed at St. Vincent College for additional parameters using a Microwave Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrophotometer. Analyses there include nitrates, phosphates and metals. Collectively the results will tell the overall health of the stream and its ability to support wild trout.

We thank all of the TU members and volunteers who gave of their time and talents to complete this portion of the study. We’ve had several volunteers from the PA Master Naturalist program offer their skills and expertise over the past year. We offer a special thank you to Elizabeth Bruner who is a 4-H and TU member and homeschooled senior from Blairsville, and Luke Sanner, 4-H member and sophomore at Hempfield High School for their participation. We are pleased to see the younger generation taking such an interest in coldwater conservation projects.