The First Annual Coaltown Throwdown competition, part of the Troutlegend Fly Fishing League, was held in northeastern Pennsylvania May 18 and 19.
Greg Gondella, Troutlegend Professional Circuit and Adam Nidoh, manager, A&G Outfitters, Dickson City organized the event that brought 17 fly fishermen from states including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut to fish sections of the river from the I-81 Bridge in Dickson City downstream for one mile, the Lackawanna from the Southside Complex downstream one mile May 18.
On May 19 the venue changed to the South branch of the Tunkhannock Creek from the College Avenue bridge downstream to the end of the Keystone College Property and then from the Lackawanna Trail Elementary School downstream to the Clifton Township recreational park.
Bryan Doyle, Juniata County, was the overall winner with 24 trout; Pat Weiss, State College, took second and Bill Steudler, Philadelphia came in third.
A total of 205 fish were caught over during the two-day competition, including Brown Trout and Brook Trout, with a few Rainbow Trout mixed in, according to Gondella.
“It was definitely a success, between the camaraderie made between all the anglers and volunteer judges, the new friends made, the exposure A&G Outfitters of Dickson City got, and most of all the exposure our overlooked water got. It really surprised the anglers how big and feisty the fish in Lackawanna River are,” said Gondella.
“The water level on Saturday was about as good as it could be, Sunday however, water levels dropped dramatically and fishing was extremely tough on the Tunkhannock Creek. Fish were active both days, but Sunday was a much harder day as an angler.”
Plans are in the works for the Second Annual Coaltown Throwdown but Gondella said, “Next year we will be utilizing only the Lackawanna River. More info to come very soon.”
Sponsors were A&G Outfitters, Main Event Sponsor ; Fastsigns Dickson City ; Plano Molding ; Frabill Nets ; Maui Jim Sunglasses ; McGrath’s Pub and Eatery; Fish Pimp and Goat Head Sole Spikes .
Shane Becker, Bowmanstown, took up fly fishing approximately three years ago, but has been fishing “his whole life,” and was one of the fly fishermen who participated in the competition this weekend.
He said, “Most of us fly fishermen tie our own flies, so we’re creating an object that imitates a life form in the water trying to catch a fish…You’re out in nature enjoying it and with the sound of the water, it’s just great…There’s a lot more thought involved in fly fishing, so it’s more of a challenge and I like to be challenged. You’ve really got to fool the fish.”
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