OUR FIRST FAMILY FLY FISHING PROGRAM, FUN & EDUCATIONAL FOR ALL

Planning for our chapter’s first Family Fly Fishing program started in March when I attended a Fly Fishing Instructor addendum at the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission’s North Central office in Pleasant Gap. A prerequisite for the training was the PFBC’s Fishing Skills Instructor Course which I had taken several years ago. Allan Schreffler, PFBC Northeast Region Education Specialist, thought that doing a program in the Fall would be a great idea. It seemed natural to hold the event at the DCNR Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center and utilize the expertise of Lauren Forster, Environmental Education Specialist Supervisor. I needed a large pond for the casting and fishing part of the program and decided on utilizing a public access pond on the Ballas tract, a Bushkill Township open space property only 3 miles from the Environmental Center. The date was set for October 14th and the registration filled quickly. Through a generous donation from Easton Fish & Game Association, we could stock some trout in the pond from Green Walk Trout Hatchery the morning of the event.
The first two hours of the program included in depth instruction on equipment, rods, reels, line, leaders and flies. We talked a bit about tactics too before moving on to a knot tying session that included the clinch, blood and surgeon’s loop knots.  Then Lauren talked about macro-invertebrates and passed around sample dishes for the participants to identify and explained how we select flies to match the things found in the stream. After breaking for a quick lunch, we proceeded to the Ballas tract. Each student, put together their own Orvis rod and reel supplied by PFBC and strung the line through the guides. One of our volunteers then demonstrated the basic cast and roll cast on the grassy area near the parking lot. From there, we spread the students out by family groups and assigned each group at least one volunteer from the chapter to assist them with learning to cast. After everyone became acquainted with the different casts, they proceeded to the pond with their designated volunteer and began casting on the water. When sufficiently skilled, their volunteer provided them with a fly and they began fly fishing!
Fish were caught and it was a full day of fun and learning for all the participants and volunteers. All the volunteers made this a very personal and special mentoring event for our guests. As our guests left the program, I only heard overwhelmingly positive feedback about the program.

Special thanks to Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission for equipment loan and training, Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center and DCNR environmental educator Lauren Forster for use of their facility and expertise, Bushkill Township for use of their "open space" Ballas pond, Easton Fish & Game for a donation for trout and all the volunteers from our chapter and Art Williams from Hokendauqua and Ed Hart from Monocacy.


Brian Wagner
Chapter Youth Education Coordinator

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