Library Presents Fishing Show
Inside the Outdoors, April 27
, 2012

Attention all anglers, particularly fly fishermen and women. There is a show in The Pennsylvania Room of the Ligonier Valley Library that is a “must see.” This year’s Historical Photography Show, “Fishing for Trout in the Ligonier Valley,” will not only give all onlookers an appreciation for the historical significance of past adventures of those who fished area waters, but create a stir of excitement viewing each artifact or photograph that may be displayed.

Held in conjunction with the Laurel Highlands Trout Trail, the exhibit was gathered and arranged by many area residents, including Shirley Iscrupe, curator of the library, Barbara Banales, Joshua Starrett, Don Kowatch, Bob Shusko, Marlene Murty, Ray Kinsey, Liz Mickinak, Madelon Sheedy, Bruce Shirey, Jennifer Sopko, Lois Neiderhiser, Harry Frye and Frank Dominick. Laura Argenbricht, marketing manager of Hidden Valley Resort, was instrumental in providing a free poster promoting the show that is hanging in the front window of the library. The list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the many people who loaned and donated the many items displayed.

The exhibition, which began April 17, will run from now until June 12.

There is so much to see and read. There are photographs of fly fishing, artifacts and documents. One example of the latter, Wade Kinsey’s Fishing Log, from 1941 to 1946 is a periodical whereby the author goes to great length in explaining in depth his experiences of fly fishing throughout the area. Believe me when I tell you, anyone who has interest in the sport, should sit himself down and read some of his writings. It will “wow” you over. Beside it, are bound Ligonier Echo newspaper articles going back to the late 1800’s that are also worthy of reading. A matter of fact, one could spend days in that library basement room milling over the many articles pertaining to the subject.

“Fly fishing is the art of using artificial insects as bait. It’s been popular in America since before the Civil War. For much of that time almost all fly rods – cheap, expensive and in between – were made of bamboo,” it was revealed in a Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited document. Some of interesting excerpts included, “Great old bamboo fly rods seldom turn up in yard sales. The Stradivarius of fly rod makers is Hiram Leonard who inspired a generation of expert cane rod builders: Edwards, Payne, Tomas, Garrison, Granger and Dickerson. If you own one of their rods, in mint condition, ‘you have a national treasurer’ as the saying goes. Some great bamboo fly rods were sold under labels like L. L. Bean, Orvis, and Abercrombie and Fitch.”

The concluding information is valuable at best. “The best way to identify and value a bamboo fly rod is through the people who deal with them.”

And as always, anyone who attends these shows will always meet others who have stories to tell.

Harvey Childs, an avid fly fisherman, related the little story that upon coming to Ligonier from Colorado, he met his wife, Patricia. But through family orders, the two could not marry until she learned the sport as well. Needless to say, the happily married couple has been fly fishing for a number of years now and enjoying every moment of it.

Rector resident Sue Sheedy told me the story about her mother’s fear of worms and snakes, and that she had to bait the hooks. At the age of three, her interests were stirred concerning the sport. Her husband, Chris, also took up fishing at a very young age. Talk about the magic number, their daughter, Ella, 3, won first place last year as the youngest angler to catch a fish in a fishing derby.

This is the Eleventh Annual Historical Photography Show. The mission of these shows is to present a facet of Ligonier Valley history that is interesting, educational, and may have been overlooked in the past. In addition, the photographs and documents copied become a permanent part of the Pennsylvania Room collection. This is an ideal manner of preserving the history and provides patrons with a strong base from which to conduct research.

On May 1, at 7:00 p.m., Monty Murty, president of the Latrobe-based FTTU Chapter will present a program titled, “Vanishing Trout, the Repeating History of Pennsylvanians and their Environment” in Ligonier Valley Library’s Community Room. Light refreshments will be served. But wait, there’s more fishing related programs.

On May 22, beginning at 7 p.m. there will be an Antique Fly Rod and Fishing Tackle Road Show in the Ligonier Valley Library Community Room. Bamboo fly rod experts will be on hand to identify items and help value them.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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