The Season of Productivity, Stewardship, Advocacy, and Conservation

Fall is here, and for the team at Muddy Creek Trout Unlimited, that means one thing… we’re busy! It sure feels like we’ve hosted an event for each of the last few weekends, and that’s because, for the most part, we have.

Our recent string of events began back in mid-August with our annual Red Lion street fair presence. Visitors to our stand generously supported our efforts by purchasing MCTU shirts, hats, flies, and more. The street fair provides a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with the community, discuss the importance of conservation, and as always, talk about fishing! The event resulted in a record number of new members to our chapter, and we look forward to getting to know each of you in the coming months.

From there, our focus turned to the fall stocking schedule. Throughout the month of September, Fred Wilt and his dedicated team of volunteers stocked over 700 holdover brown trout in Muddy Creek. Our fall stocking program provides anglers the opportunity to fish for larger trout that have grown in our nursery for nearly a year. The release of these 14-16 inch fish also makes room for our next round of fish. At the time of this blog post, all 8000 of the new trout have arrived at the nursery and are doing great! These 5-6 inch brown trout will grow at the nursery until spring thanks to help from our team of fish feeding volunteers.

Speaking of holdover brown trout, nearly 100 of these fish were stocked in preparation for our Women’s Introduction to Fly Fishing event! Held in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the event offered a full day of education, demonstration, fly tying, casting, and fishing for nearly 20 participants. Fish were caught and great times were had. We wrapped up the event with prizes from our generous event supporters, including but not limited to Precision Fly and Tackle, Myers Flies, Big Y Fly Co., the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, JL Miller and Sons Meats, Romberger’s Appliances, Texas Roadhouse, and Bass Pro Shops. A big thank you goes out to Jim Keirn for conceptualizing, planning, and organizing this event! Amidea Daniel, Andy Desko, and the rest of the team at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission put on an amazing event and we’re so appreciative of the support! Finally, none of this would have been possible without the generosity of a local landowner who allowed us to host the event on their property!

While most of our team was busy at the Women’s Fly Fishing event, MCTU President Jimmy O’Connor attended the Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited Virtual Annual Meeting. Jimmy was happy to report that Muddy Creek Trout Unlimited was the recipient of three awards!

1. Best Chapter Newsletter

2. Best Chapter Project: 2020 Riparian Forest Buffer Planting

3. Outstanding Volunteer: Fred Wilt

“As I look at this award, all I can think about are all of the volunteers who work so hard to help us with our stocking efforts.” said Fred Wilt upon receiving a citation in recognition of his award and all of his hard work for the chapter. “We wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we do without your help.” Fred is seen here with Pennsylvania Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill.

Of the many programs at Muddy Creek Trout Unlimited, our incubators work is among my favorite. Our dedicated incubator page does a beautiful job of explaining the details, but it goes something like this… cold spring water is gravity fed into modified refrigerators where it filters over brown trout eggs. The trout eventually hatch from their eggs and swim out of the box and into a nearby tributary of Muddy Creek. Although these trout are not wild, they’re about as close to wild as they can be without actually being stream-bred. And while it seems like a system that allows the trout to take care of themselves, it doesn’t happen without a lot of work from our team. On Sunday, October 3, volunteers assembled to clean out our incubator boxes and prepare them for 80,000 eggs that will soon be arriving. Thanks for your hard work, team!

One of the goals of our Chapter is to create outdoor recreation opportunities. Many of our events achieve this goal, but there’s one event that takes the cake. Every year we partner with VisionCorps, a non-profit organization with the mission of empowering individuals who are visually impaired. This year’s event took place on October 9 and offered 20 children and adults the opportunity to spend a few hours fishing at our handicapped accessible portion of Tom’s Run. 100 of our holdover trout were stocked for the participants and MCTU members mentored the participants as they tried their hand at trout fishing. This event speaks directly to one of Trout Unlimited’s core values of creating outdoor recreation opportunities that are inclusive to all community members. I think those smiles speak for themselves.

On October 16th MCTU hosted our One Fly Tournament and Fall Fest/Landowner Appreciation event. Nearly 20 participants gathered bright and early Saturday morning to draw beats (sections of the water that teams were assigned to fish), choose a single fly pattern, and head to the water to see how many fish they could successfully catch and release during a 4-hour window. With water levels low and lots of leaves in the water, the conditions were not very forgiving, but many teams found willing fish and returned to the nursery with stories of a beautiful morning on the water. The teams used everything from woolly buggers to hare’s ear nymphs and even a caddis dry fly.

Back at the nursery, the contestants joined the rest of our Fall Fest guests for a meal, conversations, and an opportunity to win one of our many raffles and silent auction items. The result was a record turnout and a great time had by all. Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate, especially all of the landowners that allow fishing access via their property!

This past Saturday, October 30th, we brought our series of fall events to a close with a grand finale! Remember that Best Chapter Project Award for our 2020 Riparian Forest Buffer Planting? Well, roughly 30 volunteers gathered to plant nearly 800 more trees next to last year’s buffer. 

If you don’t know, Riparian Forest Buffers are one of the most efficient conservation practices for improving water quality. As the trees grow, they will stabilize the stream banks, filter nutrients and sediment from nearby agricultural fields, and eventually provide shade for the stream. As leaves and other woody debris from the trees make their way into the stream, they will establish the basis of the ecosystem by generating food and habitat for insects. Thank you to Tim White and his family for being such gracious hosts and allowing us to plant not one but two riparian forest buffers on their property! Thanks to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay for bringing the expertise, funding, and trees to these projects. And thank you to all of our volunteers, including but not limited to Codorus TU and Penn State Master Watershed Stewards! 

So as you can see, we’ve had a productive few months here at Muddy Creek Trout Unlimited. We’re working hard to get more people on the water, show them the value of our resources and protect our watershed! If you’re interested in helping with future events, please consider visiting our events page or filling out our contact form.

Tight lines!