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The Newsletter of Penn’s Woods West Trout Unlimited #042

Hatches & Rises September/October 2008 Penn’s Woods West Trout Unlimited PO Box 4106 Pittsburgh, PA 15202 Officers & Board of Directors President: Walter Reinemann (412) 963-2824 Vice President: Bill Hayes (412)741-5150 Treasurer: Chuck Meyers (412) 655-2265 Secretary: Earl Morgan (412) 486-8558 Membership: Joe Kline (412) 761-9762 H&R Editor: Christian Shane (412) 916-2979 H&R Underwriting: Joe Kline (412)761-9762 Webmaster: Steve Shanahan Board Members: Vic Ball Dick Bosetti Honorary Directors: Mac Seaholm Rick Bujak

Volume 12 Number III

George Altemus Named “Fly Fisherman of the Year” “George Altemus has done just about everything a fly fisherman can do” said Jack Hess of Pittsburgh Flyfishers, “and that’s why we presented him with our Fly Fisherman of the Year Award.” George has been fly fishing for bass and trout for over 48 years. He has fished nationally and internationally in both fresh and saltwater. In fact (although he does not brag about it) some time ago he even participated for money in seven yearly bass and saltwater tournaments. His unique philosophy – try everything once and if you don’t like it, don’t

do it again – has led him on many diverse paths, from skydiving to snorkeling but he said nothing has given him more satisfaction than fly fishing for trout. When he found that the handles on over-thecounter fly rods were too small for his hands, he decided to build his own. Starting with the old Sglass blanks through boron to today’s sophisticated graphite composites, he taught himself the art of rod building. “I just wanted to do it,” he said, “and along the way I taught other people to do it too.” The same is true of fly tying. Again, it was just

something he wanted to do. And he had some legendary mentors including Charley Fox, the Lord of the Letort, Harry and Elsie Darbee who ran a fly tying business in the Catskills and both of whom were two of the world’s foremost fly tiers and Art Flick, author of the New Streamside Guide to Naturals and Their Imitations which is still one of the most influential reference books for the trout angler. It was Flick who taught him the importance of understanding and imitating insect life cycles. (Continued on Page 2)

PWWTU New Mailing Address Notice to all members: Effective immediately, all mailing directed to PWWTU should be sent to:

Penn’s Woods West TU PO Box 4106 Pittsburgh, PA 15202 Also, any submissions, ideas or comments for upcoming newsletters can be sent to our new editor, Christian Shane at The deadline for the next issue (Nov/Dec) is October 1, 2008.

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Fly Fisherman of the Year (continued from Page 1) Sharing his knowledge as is his generous custom, George instructed fly tying classes to students in his home and at the local community college. For years, his favorite form of fly fishing was fishing nymphs but now, 90% of his fishing is with a dry fly. “Nothing beats a splashy surface strike,” he says. When asked what is the most significant advance in fly fishing he’s seen over the years, George says it’s the remarkable improvement in tippet material although he adds that some manufacturers

continue to cheat on their breaking strength claims. “Fly fishing is not that terribly important in life, but so many other concerns in life are equally unimportant and not nearly as much fun.” Today, George still travels to exotic locations like Costa Rica, the Bahamas, the Amazon River and to Alaska in his pursuit of new fishing adventures. One he vividly and sadly remembers is hooking a

sailfish estimated to weigh at least 125 pounds and after playing it for 1-1/2 hours he lost it. With a sly grin, George says, “Fly fishing is not that terribly important in life but so many other concerns in life are equally unimportant and not nearly as much fun.” Fly fishermen everywhere will agree. Congratulations George on your well deserved recognition and award and keep trying new things at least once.

President’s Beat by Walter Reinemann As I write this, it is another cool summer morning; there is no rush to get out to my favorite stream, the terrestrial fishing will be good all day long. For the most part we have been fortunate – going into August with relatively mild temperatures and ample rain keeping our waters healthy. I hope that you have had ample opportunity to enjoy what Pennsylvania has to offer. As fall approaches, we are gearing up to offer another session of TU activities. This year we have some new volunteers filling some key positions. Last year we had a void in that we did not have a program coordinator to procure speakers for the monthly meetings. This year Peter TenEyck has enthusiastically stepped forward to help out. The importance of having a good speaker or presentation to make a meeting successful can’t be stressed enough. Finding interesting or fresh topics and presenters is a challenge. Starting with Jessica Smyth on October 13th, we can look forward to a robust meeting schedule. In addition to becoming our new Hatches and Rises Editor, Christian Shane has been utilizing the resources of Trout In the Classroom with his students at McKnight Elementary School. Christian’s background is well suited to the job. Really, a double thanks is due to Christian for his efforts on both accounts. And a thanks is also due to former editor Rick Bosworth for his work in the last two years. Folks, it is a job that requires a lot of time and effort. Thanks Rick. In conclusion, we are looking forward to a good year complete with all our usual activities, from meetings to Cabin Fever to seminars and the Spring Creek Bus trip. I look forward to seeing you. Enjoy the fall fishing.

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Raised & Released by Christian Shane

A teacher’s account of the Trout in the Classroom project When my Second Grade students and I received over 200 trout eggs in November of 2007 for the Trout in the Classroom project, I didn’t realize the impact that this experiment would have within my classroom. Not only did my students observe the daily changes that our trout made, but we were able to tie in so many curricular connections to the project each day. Trout in the Classroom is a conservation-oriented environmental education program for students. Throughout the school year, my students raised trout from eggs to fry and then released them into Pine Creek and North Park Lake

with approval from the PA Fish & Boat Commission. This act of raising, monitoring and caring for young trout fostered a conservation ethic within my students.

(A trout fry with its parr markings)

From Math to Science to even reading and writing, we incorporated our experiment of raising trout into our daily routines, and they became part of our class family. My students monitored the water temperatures, changed the water and fed the fry daily in their Trout Teams. They even kept a “Trout Journal” to write their thoughts and observations on the fry development. It was bittersweet as we released them near the end of the school year, and I knew as I released my students into the next school year that they would remember this project for years to come.

Trout in the Classroom Timeline July 2007 – Applied for grant to PATU (with help from Penn’s Woods West TU) August 2007 – Received grant for TIC project from PACTU October 2007 – Attended the TIC training in Bald Eagle State Park & received equipment (Eggs - Actual Size) October 2007 – Set up tank, chiller, filters, air & water pump to prepare for eggs November 2007 - Received over 200 trout eggs from PA Fish & Boat Commission December 2007 – Eggs hatched into alevins or sac-fry January 2008 – Alevins turned into fry – fry began eating “0” food (under an inch) February 2008 – Fry swam freely within the tank – began eating “1” food (about an inch) March 2008 – Fry began taking positions in the tank – eating “2” food (over and inch) (Alevins - Actual Size) March 2008 – Offered a “Finny Friend” raffle within school to release the trout April 2008 – Students received “Trout Tickets” & released trout @ North Park Lake June 2008 – Released the rest of the trout fingerlings @ Pine Creek

On behalf of my students and school, McKnight Elementary (North Allegheny) would again like to thank Penn’s Woods West, Walter Reineman (TU president), Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited (PACTU) and the PA Fish & Boat Commission for their donations and support with our TIC project. With assistance from the PACTU and PWWTU, I hope to continue this project for many years to come!

(Trout Fry - Actual Size)

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When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer By Joe Kline You might remember reading Walt Whitman’s “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” in a high school English Literature class. It’s one of the American poet’s most celebrated works and is perhaps a lesson we trout fishermen should think about. Whitman, in order to increase his knowledge and appreciation of the celestial planets and the universe beyond the earth, tells about attending a lecture by a learn’d astronomer. But to Whitman’s dismay, the learn’d astronomer’s presentation consisted of endless and dull scientific facts. He writes:

“When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me, When I was shown the charts and diagrams to add, divide and measure them, How soon accountable I became tired and sick, Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself In the mystical moist night air, and from time to time, Look’d up in perfect contentment at the stars.”

Sometimes we fly fisherman – like the learn’d astronomer – too often get overwhelmed by the minutia of the sport. There’s the incessant effort to tie the perfect fly correct in every proportion, color and detail. We struggle to micro-manage every last yard of fly line on every cast but yet we have often caught nice fish more than once on embarrassingly sloppy casts. We agonize over the mystery of why a particular trout struck our fly or why it passed it up. We constantly search for new rod and leader tapers that will deliver the fly more delicately than the natural itself alights on the water. And lastly, we frantically change flies in the hope of stumbling across a pattern that a trout will show an interest in. Don’t misunderstand. We all go through these kinds of exercises and rituals. None are trifling. They are integral to becoming a proficient fly fisherman and adding to our expertise and skills. But perhaps by too deeply immersing ourselves in the unending complexities of fly fishing, we often practice it only from the scientific approach – the learn’d astronomer’s proofs and figures and charts and diagrams - and by doing so, strip away all of the sheer joy of it and instead replace it with anxiety and frustration. It happens easily. All of us eagerly look forward to the thrill of landing a trout in its underwater home. There it knows the subtle

nuances of every current and feeding lane. It can be quite selective about what it will feed on and whether it will dine on the bottom or sip from the top. We enjoy planning our fishing trips and trying some new techniques we hope will outwit our wary and formidable adversary. Weighty matters indeed. And yet, perhaps like Walt Whitman, we might consider from time to time to “look up in perfect contentment at the stars.” To allow ourselves the occasional luxury of leaving behind fly fishing’s fastidious intricacies and simply go out trout fishing just for the fun and for the wonder and beauty of it all. And if along the way we happen to land a trout or two, that’s a delightful extra reward to a contented day on the water.

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Opening Work on Little Pine Begins By Tom Walsh Monday, July 21, 2008 Volunteers from the North Area Environmental Council (NAEC) water monitoring team began their opening work on the grant for the remediation of Little Pine Creek, a tributary of Pine Creek. PWWTU received a $133,000 Growing Greener Grant from the state. The chapter also received a check for $5,000 from the Allegheny County Conservation League to buy materials for this project.

The project will stabilize the banks of Little Pine Creek on a 1,000 ft. stretch in Shaler Township at Fawcett Fields Park and reduce downstream silt deposition. PWWTU has retained Blazosky Associates as our consultant to design and supervise this project. The Pennsylvania DEP approached us to sponsor this project, and they are our advisors. Shaler Township, NAEC and the Allison Park Sportsmen's Club are all cooperating with this project.

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AP Sportsmen Club Says Thank You For the past several years, PWWTU has financially supported the annual Dan Wagner Memorial Kid’s Fishing Contest held at North Park Lake. The following is a letter of appreciation sent to the chapter from Joe Landefeld on behalf of the Allison Park Sportsmen’s Club:

Dear Walter (Reinemann), We want to thank your Penn’s Woods Chapter for its very generous and ongoing financial support. Your large contribution to this yearly Kid’s Fishing Contest ensures that every child registered receives a prize. It’s an honor for our small club of 58 members to be considered worthy of support by Trout Unlimited. The stone for gabions (retaining walls) built in Pine Creek and paid for by your members is also appreciated. Our small club would be pressed to do gabions without help. Here’s a “box score” from the Dan Wagner Memorial Kid’s Fishing Contest held on Saturday, May 17, in North Park Lake: *131 kids with 145 adults *131 kids received a prize *over 100 trout caught plus pan fish *nearly 300 hot dogs and sodas *mounds of snacks *many, many smiles and great photos

Again, our thanks, Sincerely, Joe Landefeld

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Vic Ball Receives Award of Special Merit “Anytime there’s work to be done,” said PWWTU Vice President Bill Hayes, “Vic is usually the first guy in the line of volunteers.” In recognition and appreciation of his outstanding contributions and service to the chapter, Vic was presented with the award at PWWTU’s March 10th meeting.

and has been an invaluable participant in the annual Fly Fishing Seminar and the Pine Creek Restoration Project.

Vic joined TU about 18 years ago and shortly after, was elected to PWWTU’s Board of Directors where he has served with distinction since 1996. From the beginning, he has been one of the leading forces behind Cabin Fever, has organized our chapter’s Lake Gosling and Beaver Creek outings

in the line of volunteers.”

“Anytime there’s work to be done, Vic is usually the first guy

He is also one of PWWTU’s most accomplished fly tiers. His two original and innovative fly patterns – the River Rat and the Black Magic - are becoming “standards” on local waters.

They were developed after years of experimenting with various new patterns on the Yough, Vic’s favorite waterway. Sharing his expertise, he teaches a fly tying class for Family Tyes and has made generous fly donations to the chapter’s annual January Great Fly Sale, to Casting for Recovery and to U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. Thank you Vic for years of dedication to PWWTU. Your practical, common sense counsel has helped guide it through years of sustained growth and accomplishment. Your Special Merit Award is well earned.

TU Meetings & Greetings Penn’s Woods West Trout Unlimited meets the second Monday of each month September through June at Brentwood VFW Post 810, 3801 Clairton Blvd., 3.5 miles south of the Liberty Tubes, corner of Rt. 51 and Marlea Street.

October TU Meeting Guest Speaker Earlier this year, PWWTU sponsored Jessica Smyth to attend the Penn State Conservation Leadership Program at State College. Jessica will speak at our October 13 General Membership meeting and tell us about the program and what she learned.

Hatches & Rises is published 5 times yearly: Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, Sep/Oct, & Nov/Dec by Penn’s Woods West Trout Unlimited to enhance communication among members & share information with the public. H&R is supported by tax-deductible underwriting, reader donations and the group’s general fund. Views, opinions and advice contained herein do not necessarily reflect the position of PWWTU or its Board of Directors.

HATCHES & RISES Penn’s Woods West Trout Unlimited PO Box 4106 Pittsburgh, PA 15202

NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID Bethel Park, PA Permit No. 990


Inside this issue:

Wanted: Fly Tiers!!! It's getting to that time again to remind members that flies are needed for our annual January Great Fly Sale. Due to the generous fly donations from our fly tiers and the brisk sales of their professional quality creations at the vise, the January Great Fly sale has become a significant revenue generator for the chapter. It works like this. You select the patterns and sizes. The chapter will package them in a half-dozen per box, label each box with the pattern and size and give credit to the tier. Give your fly sale donations to Joe Kline at upcoming general meetings. If you can’t attend the general meetings, call Joe Kline at 412-761-9762 for shipping instructions. The chapter thanks you!

Fly Fisherman of the Year: George Altemus


President’s Beat


Trout in the Classroom


When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer


Pine Creek Update


Thank You to PWWTU


Special Merit Award: Vic Ball


Meeting Information


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