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A Great Fish

Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 03/05/2012 (3292 reads)
This article is another in Dave Weaver’s on going “Casting through History” series. His previous article in this series was John Brown’s Bass.

Ed KochOver the years many of you, if you’ve visited Yellow Breeches Anglers in Boiling Springs, have probably gazed at one particular dusty old mounted brown trout. When I was a kid, I’d look at this fish and think that it wasn’t the best taxidermy job. If you’re a Cumberland Valley regular or otherwise familiar with the writings of Charlie Fox and others, you’re probably aware of the story behind this fish. If not, we’ll re-tell the story behind this dusty old trophy…..a veritable sacred relic of Pennsylvania fishing history.

Ed Koch is part of Pennsylvania’s unique fly fishing heritage. His book Fishing the Midge is a classic and, like many of the writings of his generation, is always worth a re-read. Ed was also the long time owner of the Yellow Breeches fly shop. Many of you may remember chatting with Ed in the shop. This was Ed’s great trophy, caught from Letort Spring Run in August 1962. Charlie Fox recollects the story in his classic, This Wonderful World of Trout: Ed had hooked the fish three times previously. Finally, he saw the giant again and, after several casts, the big brown rose and ate a Letort Cricket, a popular deer hair dry fly. After a tough, twenty five minute fight in the weeds, the fish came to the net: 27 and a half inches and over nine pounds. Fox describes Koch’s trembling hands when the fish was weighed and photographed. Shortly later, the Fish Commission announced that this was the largest brown trout ever caught in Pennsylvania on a dry fly. Does this fish still hold this distinction today? I don’t know - perhaps. I think every fly fisherman dreams of that fish of a lifetime; a fish that takes perseverance and effort to finally catch.

Ed KochThis was Ed Koch’s fish of a lifetime and he had it displayed in his fly shop where it still hangs today. In the future, this famous fish from the golden era of Cumberland Valley fly fishing will likely be part of the collection of the Pennsylvania Museum of Fly Fishing where it will continue to remind us that a fish of a lifetime is out there…. waiting for us to make that perfect cast.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Museum of Fly Fishing

Excerpts and black and white photo above from:
This Wonderful World of Trout, by Charles K. Fox
Rockville Center NY: Freshet Press, pp 172-178

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Author Thread
Published: 2012/3/6 16:34  Updated: 2012/3/6 16:34
Joined: 06/25/2008
From: Pgh
Comments: 196
 Re: A Great Fish
Thanks Dave for that bit of information.

Also, an article appeared in magazines and later reprinted in PA Angler about that catch. I believe it was titled the King of the LeTort.

I think the Letort Regulars actually named the fish (George??) and Charlie Fox would laugh at Ed whenever he would show up soaking wet from his battle, and loss, with George from the previous times he hooked it and lost it.

I'll see if I can find a copy of the article. Maybe PA Angler Archives would have it .
Published: 2012/3/6 16:56  Updated: 2012/3/6 16:56
Joined: 09/09/2006
From: Gettysburg
Comments: 439
 Re: A Great Fish
Different fish and different "Ed."

"Old George" - a fish of about the same size - was caught two years later by Ed Shenk.
Published: 2012/3/7 11:00  Updated: 2012/3/7 11:00
Joined: 04/12/2011
From: Lancaster Co.
Comments: 664
 Re: A Great Fish
FI - thanks for this article. Been several years since I've been in YBO but I never knew this famous trout is hanging in there. "This Wonderful World of Trout" is my favorite fishing book. I love the stories and characters in the second half of the book. My username comes from one of the stories. I'm guessing the fictional characters were based on real people including Fox, Koch and others.
Published: 2012/3/8 19:26  Updated: 2012/3/8 19:26
Joined: 06/12/2011
From: Newville, PA
Comments: 124
 Re: A Great Fish

Thanks for the excellent article. I have very fond memories of Ed and his shop. Got hooked on fly fishing after discovering Fishing the Midge in the local library when is wad in 6th or 7th grade. I saved my money from a year of shoveling snow, mowing lawns, and delivering newspapers to purchase my first fly rod from Ed a year later in 1971. Really came to enjoy just hanging out absorbing everything I could through listening to Ed and his many notable visitors. I never tire from hearing that story. Still have that rod and the Richardson chest box I purchased a couple of years later.

Published: 2012/3/9 9:59  Updated: 2012/3/9 9:59
Joined: 06/25/2008
From: Pgh
Comments: 196
 Re: A Great Fish
Lol... my middle-age memory is a bit muddled...
Published: 2012/3/15 15:14  Updated: 2012/3/15 15:14
Joined: 06/25/2008
From: Pgh
Comments: 196
 Re: A Great Fish
Found a bigger fish taken from the LeTort while perusing through old PA Anglers.

Terry Ward of Chambersburg caught a 10 pound monster on a streamer during the summer of '69. (Not sure how to upload a pic here, so I'll post it in the regular forum.)

Amazing size fish from the LeTort back in the day!

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