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Reborn club has plans for river

| Saturday, March 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

It's not often that something good goes away and then returns.

When's the last time you enjoyed a Twinkie, found a penny candy store that actually sold sweet treats for one cent, or noticed your hair getting thicker and darker? Not any time recently, I'm guessing.

But this might be the exception.

At one time, sportsmen stocked trout in the mile or so section of the Yough River between Perryopolis and Whitsett. Some they raised, many more they bought by selling tickets and membership buttons and doing other fundraisers.

That all ended a few years ago.

Now, though, it's coming back. Volunteers calling themselves the Youghiogheny Sportsmen/Stock the Yough Club are raising money to put trout in the river again this spring. The plan is to stock between $1,500 and $2,000 worth of fish on the Wednesday or Thursday before the April 13 opening day of trout season, then stock a similar amount of fish on another yet-to-be-determined day.

“We're going to put some big fish in like we used to,” said club member and spokesman Tom Strother, who used to live in Whitsett but now calls Pittsburgh home. “About three quarters of each load will be fish 12 to 16 inches, with the rest 16 and up. And each load, we're probably going to put maybe two or three 20-inchers in. A 20-inch trout is going to weigh four to six pounds, if not more.”

About 50 of the trout will be tagged for various prizes, ranging from gift certificates and cards to cash.

A lack of volunteers and other issues previously killed the stocking program, Strother said. No one is focused on the past, though, he said.

“We're just trying to get this going again,” he said.

The club is selling membership badges for $10, with white and pink ones for the ladies and black and green ones for the men. Those — together with $20 tickets for a gun and cash bash fundraiser set for May 4 at the Perryopolis Moose — can be purchased at Mayor Edz in Perryopolis.

Other fundraisers may follow, along with events for children, as time and money permit.

The long-term goal is to put a lot more fish in the river. That might mean restarting a cooperative nursery. It might mean just buying fish.

A lot of what happens will depend on how hard the volunteers want to work and how well the community supports them, Strother said. But he has high hopes.

“We're going to get back up there to where we can out $10,000 or $12,000 worth of fish in the river like we used to,” he said. “It's maybe going to take a couple of years to get there, but it's going to work.”

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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