Although taxes are due on Monday, there won’t be a surge of people getting their taxes prepared on Saturday. That’s because it’s somewhat of a cultural holiday in Armstrong County – the first day of trout season, marking the first official event of Spring.
Several men have assisted in providing fishing equipment to those who otherwise may not be able to afford it.
“I refurbish old fishing poles and I give them away to kids for free and various organizations that reach out to me,” said Dale Ortmann during an interview on Family-Life TV’s “Talk of the Town” cable show. “I started on my front porch. Then I got busy and had to move it down to my basement, but it’s easier to work from my front porch.”
Ortmann told the story of how he began with old poles and equipment that he repaired to give away.
“When I first started, my wife’s grandfather had passed away. Before he passed away, he asked me if I wanted his fishing poles. I told him that I already had fishing poles and I had enough. He said, ‘Well then, fix them up and give them away to kids.’ That started a little idea in my head. I was laid up from an injury for awhile, so I had been sitting on my porch. I had a tumor in my eye and I actually ended up losing the vision in my right eye from the radiation treatments from it. I’m sensitive to sunlight and bright lights”.
Ortmann said that while he sat on his porch in Manorville recuperating, he saw opportunities to help local children.
“I saw kids walking up and down and they said that there was nothing to do. I asked them if they wanted to go fishing. There’s a river right there, but they said that they didn’t have any fishing poles. I told them I had a few extra ones left laying around that I had fixed up that I would be happy to give away to them. That started it. Then everywhere I went, I also left signs because more people heard what I was doing and they started donating more stuff. Then, I put signs up like at Jordan’s Ice Cream, a few bars here and there, Riverside, anywhere there was a store.”
Ortmann was joined on the show by his friend, Paul Kropinak, who demonstrated several types of rods and reels.
“This is a Zepco Model 33. Zepco Corporation made millions and millions of dollars selling this reel. And, for good reason too. First of all, it’s easy to cast – you just put your thumb on the button and as you’re throwing out, you leave it go and it goes out. The line inside does not curl up (you don’t get a crow’s nest). The best thing about them is that they’re very efficient. They last a long time. And, they’re economical. This is the reel I grew up with in the 60s and 70s,” Kropinak said.
Kropinak also demonstrated the Spinning Reel and then discussed Fly Fishing.
“Fly Fishing rods are very long. You can tell a Fly (Fishing) Rod by the smaller eyes. And, the reason why they’re small and they’re all in line is because it allows the line to shoot out more easily. The reel is on the fly rod and the only reasons it’s there is to hold the line. There are fly lines from a 2 weight ultra light all the way up to a 13 weight where you see these guys up on the skiff out on the ocean going like that (swaying side to side).”
Kropinak said he recommended a fishing line weight of four or five when fishing for trout. He said that there is a difference between using standard reels and Fly Fishing.
“All these reels (shown during show) depend on the weight of the bait or the weight of your lure to throw it out. Fly Fishing’s different. In Fly Fishing, you throw the line out and the fly follows the line out. You pull it through with your hand. The reel is only to hold line, that’s all on a fly rod.”
Kropinak described three different types of flies.
“There are nymphs, wet flies, and dry flies. Nymphs are most popular because 90% of a trout’s diet is nymphs. When I say nymphs, I’m saying small caddis worms, mayfly nymphs, stonefly nymphs take up 90% of a trout’s diet. Wet flies are used when nothing is happening on the stream – you don’t see any trout activity whatsoever, you try a wet fly. A wet fly will sink however deep you want it to sink. You can just leave it go out there and wave it around.”
He also said the floating of the fly in the water is important.
“Your drift has to be perfect. If the fly is going a little bit too fast or a little bit too slow (drag), the fish may come up and look at it, but they’ll never take it. Your drift has to be perfect.”
Kropinak suggested watching videos or go with someone who is a fly fisher and learn from someone who has been fishing with flies.
For more information of Ortmann’s program, call 724-763-3046 or 724-793-0762.