FTTU Hears Guide Fishers
Inside the Outdoors, September 03, 2010

The setting was the patio area behind the Winnie Palmer Nature Center. Helicopters and small planes were descending at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, and the brightness of the sun was slowly losing strength. But that didn’t take away the enthusiasm as approximately 16 members of Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited gathered to hear the success stories of two guide-experienced fly fishers recently.

The pair represented the Laurel Highland Guide Services. Licensed by the Department of Conservation of Natural Resources, Jim DiBiase and Ernest Pribanic will take interested parties on half or full day float tours along the Youghiogheny River, a beautiful stretch of river that flows through Ohiopyle State Park.

Many anglers are aquatinted with this water basin as being excellent for rainbow and brown trout, not to mention smallmouth bass.

These excursions include wading voyages as well, and are definitely worth the investment.

According to DiBiase, the Yough, as it is commonly referred, is 132 miles long. The middle and upper sections are the best fishery. He pointed out that “In the tailwaters big fish grow, the water is in the low to mid-forties, and the fish are feeding all day long.”

Of that, Pribanic noted, “Between the middle and upper sections of the river are best for fishing. There is a lot of structure, the bank depth is about two to three and one-half feet deep and the pH is 6.5 to 7.2.”

He had a many suggestions as to fly, rod and line use. He suggested reels with sinking line, tippets and split shots. “Our fishing plans coincide with conditions. We often have to fish as they dictate,” he pointed out. “Streamers are the best,” he said

Even though one may run into obstacles such ac other boats drifting down the Yough particularly in the summer time, one can plan one’s trip to stay clear of tourists who may be boating down the river.

“What we do when we drift down the river is fish little chunks of a river at a time.

Of all the months we recommend anglers invest in our services in the fall. It’s worth to fish these months just for the scenery,” he said. “That is the time one can also get some nice brownies.”

In talking about the Laurel Highland Guide Services, Pribanic shared that fishers or fly fishermen have told us “We have learned more on these drift fishing tours than going to three days of Orvis fishing school. We provide everything people will need, including rods if one needs them.”

Anglers are reminded to bring a current Pennsylvania fishing license, waders, a wading staff, a vest or chest pack for wade-fishing, camera, rain gear, sun block, hat, polarized sun glasses and one or two fly rods rated for five or six pound lines. As noted before, the guides do have spare rods. The guides remind people not to forget their meds or sting kits.

For additional information, one may call 724-433-7151.

Recently, I received a news release from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stating that it recently released six to nine yearling trout into the Yough and Kinzua tailraces from the Pleasant Gap State Fish Hatchery.

According to the PFBC, “These fish were surplus to the production goals of the Pleasant Gap facility and have been stocked in these tailraces to grow and become available to the anglers fishing these waters,” revealed Brian Wisner, chief of the PFBC’s Division of Fish Production.” Brown and rainbow trout were stocked in section 2 and 3 of the Yough from the mouth of Casselman River downstream to the mouth of Ramcat Run and from the mouth of Ramcat Run downstream to State Route 0381.

Whether you are heading down to Fayette County to the Yough to enjoy a day of fishing by yourself, or engaging the LHGS to show you how to catch really big fish on that waterway, I recommend spending a day or two down there. Everything points to good fishing and memories to share.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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