Joe Boston has a big night ahead of him.
On March 25, the fly fisherman will receive the 2016 George Harvey Memorial Spring Creek Heritage Award at the local Trout Unlimited chapter’s 44th annual dinner and fundraiser.
Boston has been participating in different branches of Trout Unlimited since 1961, but will be recognized primarily for his contributions to the health of the Spring Creek Watershed. His long resume of volunteer water work includes Fisherman’s Paradise, Rock Road and the “550” bank stabilization and riparian planting project.
Below, the angler talks more about the natural beauty of a pristine stream.
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Q: Where and when did you learn to fly fish?
A: Learn ... Unfortunately I was self-taught. My initial fly rod was a metal telescoping fly rod and far from the rod technology of today. My real fly casting started when I purchased a Fenwick Feral-lite rod in about 1962 and started fly fishing with experienced casters I met through TU. My advice for anyone just starting fly-fishing is, get casting lessons from a good instructor. The casting stroke is the most important part of fly casting.
Q: Do you have a favorite place to fish in Centre County?
A: There are three top-notch native brown trout streams near State College. The Little Juniata River, Penns Creek and Spring Creek. I have spent more time fishing Spring Creek starting in 1956 and it is certainly my favorite. It is a special stream.
Q: Has your enjoyment of fly-fishing provided you with a greater appreciation for nature and the environment?
A: Time along a trout stream is special experience because there is so much to appreciate. Spring Creek is a living entity, supporting many living organisms, fauna and macroinvertebrate and, yes, trout. Birds are attracted to the stream because of the insects and nesting opportunities. The vegetation is usually lush and diverse because of the moisture. You can see waterfowl, a variety of birds deer, mink, muskrats, osprey and bald eagles and king fishers. The rise of a trout to the surface to eat a hatching insect will likely cause a rush of excitement even when you are not fishing.
Q: Weather and temperatures permitting, how much time do you spend in the great outdoors in any given week?
A: In my younger days I fished Spring Creek all months of the year and sometimes most days of a week.
Q: Do you think that there’s a high awareness of some of the issues facing local waterways? Is there an easy way for people to get involved or changes they could make in their own lives that would yield a positive effect?
A: The Spring Creek Watershed is blessed to have many committed and loyal supporters. ClearWater Conservancy’s stewardship program maintains 60 riparian projects. Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited has financed and organized 20-plus stream habitat and riparian projects. SCCTU now has a stewardship contract with Pa. Fish and Boat Commission to maintain six of its properties. The most popular fishing location on Spring Creek is the Fisherman’s Paradise section. This section is now maintained by volunteers from SCCTU.
Q: You’ve been a member of several different chapters of Trout Unlimited. What’s been the most rewarding aspect that relationship for you?
A: SCCTU is a very committed and accomplished chapter. The Golden Trout Award in 2016 was very much deserved. The chapter’s leadership is very much committed to protecting and enhancing Spring Creek. I have really enjoyed my involvement in their habitat commitments. They have supported all of my suggestions for habitat projects. Membership have been most generous with their volunteering.