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> > A Day on the Letort

Oldredbarn has attached these 16 pictures. The message is below.
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Old bridge over the Letort...Don't let the gray in his beard fool you, this boy is 12 at this moment. :)
Old bridge over the Letort...Don't let the gray in his beard fool you, this boy is 12 at this moment. :)
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A little Letort jewel. The future of this stream, decended from royal stock.
A little Letort jewel. The future of this stream, decended from royal stock.
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Protein factory...
Protein factory...
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Standing where giants trod!
Standing where giants trod!
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Big Spring.
Big Spring.
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Eric showing me how you fish to these trout on the Letort.
Eric showing me how you fish to these trout on the Letort.
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Another mud soiled little jewel.
Another mud soiled little jewel.
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Nice buttery little Brown.
Nice buttery little Brown.
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Waiting for Charlie and Vinny to show up to fish with us.
Waiting for Charlie and Vinny to show up to fish with us.
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Good luck dreamer!
Good luck dreamer!
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Success! :)
Success! :)
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Bridge on Big Spring
Bridge on Big Spring
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From bridge at Big Spring
From bridge at Big Spring
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A classic Letort picture..."In the Ring of the Rise"...When I got buck fever and pulled the fly away from this brute I turned to see Eric taking a walk talking to himself! :) He would of pushed me in if it wasn't the Letort. Sorry my friend...Too much tea at breakfast...That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;)
A classic Letort picture..."In the Ring of the Rise"...When I got buck fever and pulled the fly away from this brute I turned to see Eric taking a walk talking to himself! :) He would of pushed me in if it wasn't the Letort. Sorry my friend...Too much tea at breakfast...That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;)
OldredbarnApril 15th, 2013, 1:29 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2587
This is where this dry-fly guy gets emotional...I will try to keep this brief and add to it as called for...

If you are unaware of the Letort near Carlisle I suggest you start with Ernie Schwiebert's short stories, "Legend and the Letort" & "Letort Soliloquy". If the names of Vincent Marinaro, Charlie Fox, Ed Shenk, or Ross Trimmer, among others, are unfamiliar to you, you don't know squat about the history of our favorite pastime.

I have always been attracted to the angling masters from the Cumberland Valley and my discussions here on this site about "those Pennsylvania Boys" probably led the modern masters of PA to invite me to their state...

I hope this post may get Eric to speak up a bit here about Big Spring and the Letort and how a young man skipped school and through trial and error learned how to fool the larger fish of these two historic spring creeks.

These streams are bug rich beyond your imagination. Eric pulled a handful of aquatic plant from the stream and it was literally crawling with life. Very large trout move along the edges of this mat of plant life picking bugs off as they go.

My fly fishing mentor is considered, by some, to be the best dry-fly guy in Michigan. Rusty Gates' has told me this nearly every time my frind Bill's name came up. He introduced me to the boys of PA...Most look to the Catskill Traditions in dry-fly history, but Bill and I looked to Vinny first and after, all the others hanging around this area of PA.

Eric and I visited the river a couple times, but most of these photos are from my last day in PA. I was to meet Eric at our favorite breakfast spot, just across the street from the spring that starts the Yellow Breeches (more on that later)...

My wife was visiting her sister and a couple girlfriends in Santa Fe at the same time I was visiting PA,,,I sent her an email message, though I knew she was asleep, that went something like this, "Dear. I'm thinking about pointing the truck towards home today. Feeling a little road weary...Meeting Eric for breakfast and I'm betting you the young man is going to do everything in his power to talk me in to staying and fishing the Letort today...It rained last night and is overcast and there will be olives, no doubt. What do you think the chances are of your husband telling him no? :)"

Need I say more? I stayed with him until 5:00pm when I finally said goodbye to my friend and drove toward Detroit...I pulled up in to my driveway around 1:30 or so in the morning.

The friendships I made this past week will stay with me for the rest of my life...These boys worked hard to spoil me...The few times I was able to put a smile on Eric's face are priceless to me...He was trying so hard! When I caught fish he would beam...I caught him turning away a couple times with a grin on his face I'll never forget. How was I to tell him no?! :)

As soon as we got into fish instant emails were sent to the others that had to head home...They seemed to know what was going on as soon as I did. :)

The picture of me in front of the ancient bridge crossing the Letort is priceless...We stopped there one day to find two sippers working under the bridge...We ran back to the car and strung up our rods and grabbed our vests...We took turns at them and both moved them one time each...We smashed our leader and fly more often against the face of the one lane bridge...Flies I didn't lose in this manner I snagged on trees etc...I went through more than a half dozen flies.

When I was a little guy I fished a stream by my grandmothers and we fished under the highway bridge...I won't tell you how long we dallied here, but needless to say we were late to where we were supposed to be. :)

The Letort is a great deal different than the glory days...Marinaro spoke of the highway 81 being built over it way back when he wrote, "A Modern Dry-Fly Code"...There is a watercress farm upstream that contributed to a fish kill years back...There are warehouses around it and a jogging trail and we even saw a kayak and canoe coming downstream...The two local anglers were stunned and even Eric's wife thought it wasn't right that they were there...I had the feeling that if the PA anglers where not so polite or didn't want to disturb the water more, they would of waded in and tipped those crafts...Marinaro may have shot them.

I can't relate to you how important it was for me to see the Letort...Eric knew this and he wasn't going to let me leave with any regrets...Thank you my friend!

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
BrookymanApril 15th, 2013, 2:05 pm
Banned
Posts: 797
Hi Spence you had a excellent trip your face is glowing. One question.
I have never fished nor do I know allot about the classic Letort.

It looks like paradise for hatches. Who faces are the people in the
bronze memorial plaques ????

Mack.
Banned for threatening another user and then trying to circumvent a kinder "soft" ban with fake accounts
PaulRobertsApril 15th, 2013, 3:37 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Nice.

Wow. I almost feel like I'VE been fishing with friends.
EntomanApril 15th, 2013, 4:28 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Ditto, Paul.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnApril 15th, 2013, 5:16 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2587
It looks like paradise for hatches. Who faces are the people in the
bronze memorial plaques ????



Brookyman...I should be scolding you but I'm still in a good mood. :) They are of Vincent Marinaro, "A Modern Dry-Fly Code" & "In the Ring of the Rise" and Charlie Fox, "Rising Trout" & "This Wonderful World of Trout"...

There's your reading list for next winter from Mr. Lore. ;)

Paul, Kurt...Someone on the trip was calling Troutnut, Match.com for anglers :)...This gang and me fished together like we have been doing it for years...We are cut from the same cloth...I think it shows.

I forgot a funny story: Tony and the boys made way too much over my being a vegetarian...They seemed set on getting me to a good place Saturday night on the campus of Penn State and we walked restaurant row there with thousands of hungry students...Everywhere there was 20-30 min wait...Tony was talking with his iphone (Siri I think she's/it's called) trying to find us a place and she misunderstood him and Tony became frustrated and started to swear at her...Her response was priceless, "Antonio! Watch your language!" We fell over in the street laughing...Tony kept it up and she said, "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that."...Then she became unhelpful until Bruce and I convinced Tony that he should appologize to her...Which he did and all was well with the worrld again. :) How about that!?
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
JOHNWApril 15th, 2013, 7:30 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Spence,
Thank you for reminding me of just how deep in the cradle of Fly Fishing I spend my everyday life.
AS you know the Letort is is a stream that many curse and it is my belief that if one is able to consistently catch fish in her hallowed channels, there is not a stream nor river that they need fear the dreaded skunk on. She is my litmus test always and some days I smile and some days she smiles.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
CrepuscularApril 15th, 2013, 8:36 pm
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 917

AS you know the Letort is is a stream that many curse and it is my belief that if one is able to consistently catch fish in her hallowed channels, there is not a stream nor river that they need fear the dreaded skunk on. She is my litmus test always and some days I smile and some days she smiles.


Exactly John, that's why when I saw that we were going to have clouds and drizzle and Spence said he might head for home, there was no way I was going to let him go. If we had any shot it was then. (Not that it was hard to talk him into staying). And it worked out we had olives and rising fish.
DayTripperApril 15th, 2013, 8:56 pm
Northern MI

Posts: 70
Its weird seeing pics without snow in them. Looks like a great time, always wanted to fish down there when I lived in NY.
BrookymanApril 15th, 2013, 10:14 pm
Banned
Posts: 797
Thanks Spence I will pick them up. I knew both the names just didn't
know that was them. Their faces and memories are there forever.

Mack.
Banned for threatening another user and then trying to circumvent a kinder "soft" ban with fake accounts
CrepuscularApril 16th, 2013, 8:34 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 917
I hope this post may get Eric to speak up a bit here about Big Spring and the Letort and how a young man skipped school and through trial and error learned how to fool the larger fish of these two historic spring creeks.


What if my mom sees this? skipped school to go fishing? who? me? never!

OK, I am guilty as charged. Once I turned 16 (which somehow was 28 yrs ago) and was set free to terrorize the world, I spent many many days on both Big Spring and the Letort instead of High School. Big Spring is a different world. Once I cracked the code which really wasn't that hard to figure out, just observation. Presentation became paramount. With the Letort it is all about when you fish it. And I am fortunate enough to only be 10 minutes away so when conditions are right, I can be there. The fact that Spence traveled all those miles and we happened to have a day when the bugs and the fish cooperated speaks highly of his Karmic bank account.
Feathers5April 16th, 2013, 9:20 am
Posts: 287"Paul, Kurt...Someone on the trip was calling Troutnut, Match.com for anglers :)...This gang and me fished together like we have been doing it for years...We are cut from the same cloth...I think it shows."

I did. You mean it isn't? This is were Antonio and I first hooked up. It's been a match made in heaven.

Bruce, Lastchance,Goose, Feathers5
MartinlfApril 16th, 2013, 9:34 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2877
The fact that Spence traveled all those miles and we happened to have a day when the bugs and the fish cooperated speaks highly of his Karmic bank account.


Add an excellent day on Penns to that, and you have a Karmic millionaire. Or, a couple of them. Good work, guys.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnApril 16th, 2013, 10:57 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2587
Karma?! An aging, gray bearded, vegetarian, old hippie. Not sure I know what you are talking about. ;)

I'm sorry Eric if my big mouth got you grounded. Your skip days were more productive than mine. Thanks Patty, thanks Suzy! I should of told you about the time my mother caught me with Patty in my room. Not a pretty scene. Sorry ma...I've already owned up to my share of her gray hair, but I was the oldest of 7, it wasn't all because of me. :)

Actually Eric, I'm glad you are still talking with me brother after I missed that nice fish. The miles, your effort, and I let the fish beat me. Maybe the Letort was just trying to keep me from getting too big of a head. Keeping me humble and my good karma intact. We all know that if that fish was north of 16" you all would be starring at it for eternity as my new profile pic. :)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
MartinlfJuly 6th, 2015, 10:07 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2877
Just ran across [limestone legends on the internet, and thought Spence and some others might be interested:

https://books.google.com/books?id=8Vvklbk0K1UC&pg=PA35&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnJuly 10th, 2015, 4:28 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2587
Louis...Thanks for reminding me...When I was visiting your neck of the woods a couple years back, Eric told me about that book, and I kind of forgot it. I have a guy here for rare books and he had one and is sending me a copy. Some of the pics in there are worth the price of the book! You and I could read the discussion there and probably every few pages find some interesting tidbit from those boys that would start a serious thread here on Troutnut...They considered just about everything important in fly fishing and fisheries management.

I guess its true that there is nothing new under the sun!

I think of Vince as the professor and he may not be for everyone, especially those just starting out, but it should be mandatory that Charlie Fox's, "Rising Trout", and "This Wonderful World of Trout", be read before you can get your degree! :)

Thanks!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
OldredbarnJuly 13th, 2015, 5:00 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2587
Louis...My copy showed up on the front porch today! :)

Since you pulled up this thread from a couple years back I thought I'd add a snippet from "Limestone Legends" that seems appropriate in this context. It's called, "The Pennsylvania Boys" by Sparse Grey Hackle (Alfred Miller). It's from February 6, 1948, but still rings true to me.

"Those who think that the center of angling progress and sophistication is in the Catskills would change their minds if they were to spend a week fishing around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania., as I did this summer. They would be convinced, as I was, that the angling progress of the future will come from there, in part at least."


Thanks again Tony, Eric, Louis, Bruce, Shawny, and JohnW!!! Wonderful hosts!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
OldredbarnJuly 13th, 2015, 5:13 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2587
If someone follows your link above, Louis, they will see a wonderful picture on page 41 that is worth the price of the whole book!

Ross Trimmer (would I have loved to fish with that old-timer!), Mr Schwiebert, Ernie, Schwiebert, Don DuBois, and Charlie Fox..."behind Otto's farmhouse to fish the Letort, circa 1961". 52 years before I showed up! :)

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
MartinlfJuly 14th, 2015, 12:27 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2877
Yes, I enjoyed looking around a bit in Google books. May have to get a copy myself. Tight lines, my friend.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
SmugglerJuly 15th, 2015, 10:15 am
Lebanon, Pa

Posts: 16
I had to sign up when I saw this post. Great outing! Two tough streams but, incredibly fun to try and solve. I can attest to many outings on the Letort bank crawling to spotted risers.

I'm about due for another trip.
Www.flymphforum.com

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