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?s re: the LeTort

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2011/5/24 8:38
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Hi All,
Been reading books by Charlie Fox and Ed Shenk lately. Had some ?s if you all can help.
Where exactly was Fox's fishing shack on the LeTort?
Where is/was Ottos meadow?
Where did Ed Shenk mainly fish and where did "old George" finally get caught.?
I look at the satellite map of the LeTort so if you can orient me to some of the landmarks on it that would be a great help. I fished it many years ago and memory has faded but do recall seeing a "log" in the stream on my way out that started swimming upstream when i walked past it!!

Posted on: 2020/5/24 7:50


Re: ?s re: the LeTort
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One of the things that makes visualizing the classic Letort difficult today is the dramatically changed landscape. During those years at mid-century much of that section was meadow and agricultural land with cattle and cornfields right up to the stream. Today, the meadows are much smaller or completely gone and most of that area is successional forest and dense brush. The fishing in those days was mostly confined to what is today the FFO section and the upper branches.

Fox's shack was located roughly where the I 81 bridge is today. This is what was Fox's Meadow, it's brush and forest today but you can still see the remains of Charlie's benches by the small plaque on the opposite side of the creek from the trail. The Otto farm is upstream closer to the old RR bridge. This is where Old George was caught.

Posted on: 2020/5/24 9:17


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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Thanks Dave - I've been to the 2 plaques for Fox and Marinaro - is the plaque you mention by Charlie's benches different from these - closer to the I80 bridge?

Also is the railroad bridge you refer to the one where the nature trail crosses the creek by the quarry?

thanks - this helps visualize things when reading these old books.

Posted on: 2020/5/24 10:50


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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I remember many conversations with Charlie about the days before I-81 and his lamenting over the removal of the "switchback" bend that was there before they straightened the creek to build the I-81 Bridge. It was also quiet before the bridge…

Dave's geography is correct. Here are a few other landmarks and named locations we referred to back when I was a regular visitor, coincidentally for eons on this very weekend:

As Dave said, “Fox’s Meadow” or “Charlie’s” as we called it was from Foxcrest Drive or “The Pump” upstream to I-81. Just upstream of Foxcrest Drive on the creek is where there is a plaque on a bench in dedication to Charlie and other Letort Regulars.

The “Barnyard Stretch” or “Laudenschlager’s Farm” was upstream from Fox’s up to what is now referred to as “Vince’s Meadow,” (where the monuments are). Laudenschlager’s was where the old Angler’s Log Book used to reside in an old mailbox.

BTW - Laudenschlager’s is becoming a B&B next year so hopefully CVTU gets some sort of easement in place so that stretch doesn’t become a paradise for rock throwing guest’s kids or another Allenberry zoo. I spent countless hours & days fishing that stretch and I would hate to lose access…

The first bend in the creek upstream from the trail from Vince’s Meadow is the “Little S”. The next big bend about 100 yards upstream from the “Little S” is the “Big S.” Not far above the “Big S” is “Otto’s Meadow” with Ottos’ old house still standing above the creek on your left as you face upstream, like Dave said, it is right below the 2nd old RR trestle that crosses the Letort.

Above that 2nd RR trestle is the “Quarry Meadow” until you pass the trailer park & quarry, then folks called it the “Bonnybrook Meadow” up to the split in the creek and including the RIGHT branch to Bonnybrook Road.

The left branch beyond the 3rd RR trestle upstream was always closed during my lifetime, but open to fishing way back when. The left branch was referred to as the “Left Branch” if you didn’t want people to know you went above the 3rd RR trestle or the “Cress Farm “if you didn’t care.

If you continue up the RIGHT branch after you cross Bonnybrook Road, you are in “Trego’s Meadow.”

Back in the 1980’s there was a devastating fish kill which originated in the cress farm that wiped out just about every fish from the junction of the left branch downstream. During those years, if you wanted to catch something, you were limited to the short stretch of the right branch from the split to Bonnybrook Road and Trego’s.

Trego’s in those days wasn’t the “manicured” meadow it is today. Back then, it was a jungle of weeds & picker bushes with more mosquitos than Guam. It was also all backhand casting on your knees if you were a right-hander with TONS of brush just waiting to snag your fly!

It was tough fishing the Letort back in those days!!

As long as I can remember, there was never access issues, property-wise or geographic all the way from Letort Park up to Trego’s & beyond. Effectively fishing the Letort has always been essentially limited to the bank OPPOSITE of the old RR bed, but fishing from that bank was relatively easy which is a good thing because crossing is about impossible and limited to a few select places.

The “Letort Regulars” did a lot of work putting in “stepping stones,” small footbridges and other things to make crossing flooded or muddy areas easy so moving along that bank wasn’t a big hassle. There were also more than a few spots to park and trails leading to the creek in several locations so you could pick a stretch without having to fish all the way up to it.

Back in the late 1990’s and into the 2000’s things changed DRAMATICALLY. Most of the trails have grown in so getting TO the creek is limited to a few spots unless you have a machete. What is left of the stepping-stones & small footbridges are now ineffective, and NO work has been done in that regard in 50 years.

The bank from the trail at the pavilion at Vince’s Meadow to the “Small S” is a flooded muddy morass. Fishing it is a major challenge and moving upstream (if you don’t want to spook every fish in sight) involves wading through the old millrace and slogging through standing water above the “Little S” to get to terra-firma in the stretch below the “Big S.”

The old cattle fencing at Otto’s now is right smack against the water’s edge so walking up along that stretch between the house and the 2nd RR trestle is about impossible, and you CAN’T wade the creek.

The Quarry Meadow is a sinkhole paradise so walk through but carry a BIG STICK (a rope & a cellphone) and I don’t know how hospitable the quarry folks are these days about walking through.

Trego’s has improved though…

I have a million great memories of fishing there and how it was, but it’s been about 3 years since I fished there last.

Posted on: 2020/5/24 11:34


Re: ?s re: the LeTort
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Quote:

kbobb wrote:
Thanks Dave - I've been to the 2 plaques for Fox and Marinaro - is the plaque you mention by Charlie's benches different from these - closer to the I80 bridge?

Also is the railroad bridge you refer to the one where the nature trail crosses the creek by the quarry?


Yes and yes.

The plaque I'm referring to is at Fox's Meadow where the old benches were (this is a few hundred yards downstream from I81)and is different from the two plaques of Vince and Charlie at the CVTU access area, which is basically the old section known as Vince's Meadow. Both are on the east side of the creek opposite the RR trail.

The famous benches were just boards on cinder bricks. I spent a good bit of time chatting with Charlie there as did all the old CV regulars of a certain age. The big sycamore tree that towered over the spot is still there.

Posted on: 2020/5/24 11:49


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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FWIW - There are three RR trestles that cross the Letort which were part of the South Mountain RR (later controlled by the Reading RR), a branch line that went from Gettysburg to Carlisle.

Obviously all three are footbridges now and two are part of the LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail.

The first trestle is just upstream of Letort Park.

The 2nd trestle is part of the nature trail, is just above Otto's and the most "famous" of the three.

The third trestle is/was hidden in the brush on the RIGHT branch of the Letort and leads directly into the old cress farms. I believe this trestle is now part of the extended LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail.

Back in the day you could drive all the way back to the nature trail/RR bed with a car from Bonnybrook Road, crossing the left branch on a bridge which has been closed to vehicular traffic for years.

The 3rd trestle is about 20 feet upstream of that old vehicle bridge.

Posted on: 2020/5/24 11:56


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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Thank you both for the description of the area and the landmarks - i appreciate it andit helps envision things a bit when reading these books.
It must be great memories of those times and people on the creek, seems like a different time now.

Posted on: 2020/5/24 12:07


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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If you haven't already done so, check out Limestone Legends (Stackpole Publishing in Harrisburg; out of print but readily available through ABE Books and other online services). Letort tales include an attempt to transplant a green drake hatch to the creek and the story of the spawning beds Fox and Co. put in at the lower end of the Fox Meadow (a few steps downstream from the lower plaque and the cinderblock and board benches). Bamboozle's description is exactly as I remember from my teen years fishing it with my dad in the years before the fish kill. Many ups and downs since then, but with the cleaning up of the area below the Army barracks in Carlisle and the Left Branch land trust acquisition, there's potential for a fishery that's as good as ever. Still, it's an amazing creek, but tough in the old days and tough now. Well-fed fish can afford to be picky.

Posted on: 2020/5/24 12:09


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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The first time I fished the Letort I was an impressionable kid, totally enamored with the history and the legends who fished it, most of which I had the pleasure of meeting later on. I felt like I was visiting a cathedral.

On that first visit to Fox’s Meadow, THE mecca at the time, the light green muslin “fishing blinds” that Vince erected to hide behind while taking photos for “In the Ring of the Rise” were in place. There were also spots along the creek with “sticks” sticking out where stepping-stones had been placed in the mud so you could wade out a bit into the creek channel.

We sat on the bench and soon an older man with a beard appeared and I had my first chance encounter with Charlie Fox.

It took a while to figure out, but when I did I took a LOT of nice fish there and had days when I could do no wrong.

It was and still can be magic for me when I go back!!

Posted on: 2020/5/24 12:24


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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Not to hijack the thread because these guys are on point but i have to say it....

Every year the local slaughter of a good number of large Letort fish takes place. Ive witnessed it, others on this board and other highly regarded anglers have all seen it.

This year was no exception.

Then we all ponder why isnt the Letort legendary like it was. In a lot of ways it is better but this one component of growing that "mini population" of 10lb. Browns is missing. This is why.

When are we going to bite the bullet and make it C&R AFLO or something.

Sorry. Rant over.
Just saying......


Posted on: 2020/5/24 19:22
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Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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This has been such a great thread to read. Thanks for the memories. A Modern Dry Fly Code was the only Fly Fishing book in our public library when I got interested in the late 70s—so the remains such meaningful territory for me. Have only fished it a few times, but man, that first little brown from the famous Letort felt like winning an Oscar.

Posted on: 2020/5/24 19:25


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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Great thread, thanks all for sharing.

Posted on: 2020/5/25 13:21


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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What a great read. And bamboozle I want to fish letort with you and get the stories in real time while we look at it. I'll bring the beer

Posted on: 2020/5/25 14:35


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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Nice thread. I haven't fished the LeTort for many years, though I have some nice memories of the trips there. I remember challenging fishing, and I remember its being tough to maneuver around to get casts. I don't know why I have not gone back -- just got distracted, I guess.


Posted on: 2020/5/25 15:05


Re: ?s re: the LeTort

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Way back when, I used to work for a company in Philly and I had a regular monthly manager's meeting in the DC Metro area.

In June & July the day before the meeting, I would leave my office in Philly around 3:00 pm, drive to Carlisle (about 2 hours), check in to a motel, head to Vince's Meadow and be into fish shortly thereafter.

I'd catch fish on Sulphurs (they would still be coming off in limited numbers in July) and Little Black Caddis until dark. Then using the sheen of light from the rear of Home Depot to see the surface, I'd fish crickets until 10:00 or 11:00 pm.

MAN, that was fun; using the "splat" to mark my initial presentation then trying to follow my fly while keeping my head low to the water to use that reflection see the swirl of a take!!!

I would always chuckle during those nights because in those days, the Letort was designated as Heritage Trout Waters and previously it was in the Limestone Springs Wild Trout Water designation. Both of those designations allowed fishing ONLY until one hour after sunset…

What a dumb rule

When I was done, I’d grab some food someplace, go back to my motel, eat and drive down to Silver Spring the next day in the AM, all as a reimbursed expense!!

Those were the days!!

Posted on: 2020/5/25 15:11



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