On Monday May 13th, the 17th Annual On The Fly Event will be held on Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania, on the property of the Wayne Harpster family. I have been invited to participate as a guest fly tier; this will be my fifth or sixth appearance at this event. It is a great time!
On The Fly is a fund-raising event for Centre County Youth Services Bureau. Four-person teams compete by fishing on assigned beats. Various sponsors contribute to promote the event. Food is catered, a local winery and brewery make beverage contributions to help support the event.
My part is mostly spent tying flies as entertainment for the team members and volunteers during their off times. I donate flies in return for my participation. This year I am donating three dozen fishing flies and a collection of twenty Carrie Stevens streamers patterns, tied by me, presented in a Riker Mount. There is a live auction in the evening after dinner.
On The Fly sign at the Harpster covered bridge on Spruce Creek.
Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style on the covered bridge. Look at those cookies! Yum!
View of Spruce Creek looking upstream of the covered bridge. The signs designate the boundaries of the fishing contest “beats.” You can see the rings on the water – it was raining.
View of Spruce Creek downstream from the covered bridge.
From the covered bridge entrance, a view of the main dining tent, the Harpster cabin (partially obscured), and the Otto’s Brew Pub beer trailer at left. Yes, it was raining off and on last year, mostly on.
Parking area. There are usually twenty or more four-person teams, plus sponsors. The evening meal is probably served to close to two hundred persons.
Pennsylvania fly fishing celebrity and author Joe Humphreys, right, shares a laugh with contestants.
Contestants prepare for the first afternoon beat.
The beer trailer was a popular spot.
Above the covered bridge, view downstream prior to the first afternoon beat.
The covered bridge. This is a really peaceful, tranquil location.
View of the lunch buffet after most of the crowd had passed through. Note the electric fan light combinations. This is a deluxe model of a covered bridge.
My good friend, Paul Rebarchak, of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, was a contestant last year. Here he is concentrating on his drift while nymph fishing. The person to his rear is the controller – they measure and record the trout for point scoring, and also ensure rules are followed. If you lose your fly, you are finished fishing that beat. Large fish can be encountered, five or more pounds, so most contestants use heavy (2x or 3x) tippets.
The ever-popular beer trailer. “What’ll it be, ladies?”
The main tent – table settings ready for dinner.
Some of my Carrie Stevens streamer patterns displayed in Riker Mounts.
#14 Sulphur Parachute Duns and spinners that I tied during the day last year. The abdomens are made from sulphur orange Flexi-Floss. (Which I found out from the Orvis Rep, Doug Baer, is no longer an Orvis product). The Super Floss, Dyna-Floss, Flexi-Floss, Sexi-Floss, Floss-Flex, etc., topic was discussed on another post here: https://donbastianwetflies.com/2012/04/30/march-brown-spinners/ I’ll be posting these flies separately – soon – with recipes.
The beer trailer – still drawing a crowd.
Appetizers – grilled lamb chops…
…and stuffed mushrooms. There were other appetizers I did not get photos of. Served by friendly, roaming wait-staff.
Lamb chops sizzle on the grill. Am I making you hungry?
View of the Harpster cabin. A waitress carries a plate of appetizers.
Seven Mountains Winery provided a very nice Riesling…
…and a Vidal Blanc, among their wines at the event.
Meanwhile, the Otto’s Brew Pub beer trailer still draws significant attention from the contestants and guests.
Last year the weather was unseasonably warm, early. Hatches and blooms were all well ahead of schedule. In early May, the day after Mother’s Day last year, the Green Drakes were hatching on Spruce Creek. This was way early for them by almost two weeks. There were enough duns hatching that some trout fed on them.
Joe Humphreys gives a nymph fishing demonstration.
Attendees prepare to enjoy the evening dinner under the main tent.
The entree – filet mignon, sea scallops, baked sweet potato, and asparagus. All the food was excellent!
Apologies for the less-than-sharp image – dessert was the legendary sticky buns from the State College Diner, and vanilla ice cream.
A bonus for my participation – I get to fish after dinner. Here’s a brown about 19″ – taken on a white Krystal Bugger.
Another very nice brown on the white Krystal Bugger.
Of course, this report of this day can not end without the big-one-that-got-away story. After landing these two nice browns, I went downstream and hooked another nice trout, but lost that one when the hook pulled free. The next pool below that, I hooked a real hawg. I mean, this fish didn’t even move off the bottom. He just gave a heavy head-shaking and pull of serious weight, then after about ten seconds, my 3x tippet broke. I believe that trout was over two feet long.
I went to the beer trailer for one nightcap beverage and then headed back to my friend Paul’s for the night. His hospitality saves me from a drive of an hour-and-a-half.
The On The Fly Event is always looking for sponsors and contestants. Here is the web link with more information: http://www.ccysb.com/onthefly/
I’m leaving shortly to fish on Spring Creek above Bellefonte this afternoon and evening. Monday May 13th, I’ll be on Spruce Creek at the On The Fly Event. Hope you enjoyed this post! Thanks to all site visitors for your support of my blog!