Military veterans are invited to a free day of fishing, food and fun at Kingston Veterans and Sportsmans Club in Latrobe on Oct. 1.
The event, which is in its fifth year, is sponsored by the Forbes Trail and Ken Sink chapters of Trout Unlimited along with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. Originally designed for military veterans with disabilities, it is now open to all veterans ranging from experienced anglers to those fishing for the first time.
Trout Unlimited will provide one-on-one instructions and a full-time mentor along with gear for those who need it.
“We will have fly rods and spinning rods available but you are welcome to bring your own,” said Larry D. Myers, president of the Forbes Trail chapter. “If you’re not comfortable with fly fishing, we’ll have spinning rods and live bait on hand. We want to do everything we can for veterans to catch fish and enjoy the outing.”
Veterans can bring a guest. Lunch, bottled drinks and snacks will be provided at the facility, which features a large lake with easy wheelchair access and ADA accessibility along with two pavilions and portable restrooms.
Myers expects to be able to accommodate up to 75 veterans but asks that they email the veteran’s name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Monday, Sept. 19. Attendees are asked to provide their own transportation and bring a camping chair.
Attendees will not need a valid Pennsylvania fishing license, as a permit from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission covers all participants for the day. In the event of foul weather, the event will be rescheduled for Oct. 9.
The lake in the Laurel Highlands contains bass, catfish, panfish and has been stocked with a few “monster trout,” according to Myers.
“Everyone has said it’s been one of the best days of the year for them, getting out on a nice mountain lake and enjoying the fishing,” Myers said. “The volunteers find that this is one of the most rewarding events, knowing that they can help our veterans to get out there. Some are trying fly fishing for the first time; some have built their own fly rods and tie their own flies, but it’s an opportunity to get out there again on a lake where there are tons of fish and just practice their skills and enjoy the outdoors. It’s a beautiful setting.”