All posts by Joe Workosky

Nymphing on the Little Juniata

When the Red Buds Bloom, I think about two “T’s”, Trout and Turkey. Ok, I know Spring Gobbler is next week, but it’s hard for me to pick between the two “T’s” this time of year. So, for now it’s all Trout!

Above photo is our Guide, Adam Smith, with me and my Grandpa near the Little Juniata River in Blair County. Lately I’ve been practicing my Fly rod techniques on Laurel Hill Creek, near the King’s Covered Bridge, but I wanted to try a new trout stream.

The Red Covered Bridge is a great background for photos like the one of me and my Pups, above, but the fishing there has been tough.

My grandpa said he fished the “Little Juniata” many years ago and thought that would be a good place for us to try. The river is also know as the Little “J”.  We said goodbye to the quaint Red covered wooden structure and looked forward to fishing in sight of a series of old stone arch railroad bridges.

We didn’t have much time for a scouting mission on a new river, so we picked Adam Smith to be our fishing guide. Adam and his partners operate, Juniata Troutfitters, and they take anglers on full or half-day guided fly-fishing trips on the Little Juniata.

Adam lives near by and fishes the stream nearly everyday this time of year. His other team members do too, so they have the best info on stream conditions, water levels, and types of hatches coming off the water and best fly patterns to use.

Adam met us along a stretch of the Little “J” that flows along route 453 just southeast of Tyrone, PA. The trains come roaring by on a regular schedule and you must pay attention when crossing the double set of tracks.

After a short walk down the train tracks we passed under a big stone railway arch and that path led us right to the river.

I was anxious to get my feet wet and start casting, the river was just around the next bend in the trail.

Adam recommends using two flies on your line, about a foot apart. He tied a pheasant tail, bead head nymph, size 16 and a size 18 sulfur fly, to my fly leader. He also added a tiny split-shot above the nymph to help get the flies down near the bottom.

Adam gave me some great advice and instructional tips on my casting style and just a few minutes after stepping into the water, I had a nice strike. But, I missed that fish. That’s frustrating.  A few casts later the fish whacked my fly and I finally had my first “Fish On!”

 

Catching my first Brown of the day was a relief. I didn’t want Adam to think I was just a rookie with my fly rod. It was a colorful fish that jumped out of the water a few times. This Brown helped me understand how to drift the nymph and dropper fly rig through the current.

I’ve caught lots of Bass and Panfish with flies and poppers, since I was a little girl, but I never fished a real famous trout stream like this. It’s not like fishing Paul’s Pond here.

The Little J is a catch and release only stream, and most people use fly rods here, but spinning tackle is legal, too. Every trout I caught was carefully netted, unhooked and released back into the swift flow, without any harm.

 

Adam uses the new soft plastic net material to help the fish survive. The old nets were made of knotted cords that scraped off their scales. The modern nets have less impact on the fins and scales of the fish.

I had several fish on that fought for a few minutes, then got unhooked all by themselves. It was fun while it lasted. These fish fight hard and are tough to reel in to be netted, especially in the fast current. All the Brown Trout here are natives and no hatchery trout are stocked in the Little J by the PA Fish Commission.

The scenery along the banks of the Little Juniata is really beautiful and we waded upstream for close to a mile. It’s good to use a wading staff here, the fast water and slippery rocks can be treacherous.

At one point we had a group of canoe and kayakers, go right by us. The fish didn’t mind at all. I caught two more Brownies at this location just after the boaters passed through our spot.

It was a great evening on the water, I learned a lot about the Little “J”, what flies to use and how to drift the weighted nymphs through the deep fast water runs.

Adam took time out from his instruction and Guide duties to take a few photos of me with my Brownies.

Thanks Adam for taking these nice shots of me. My Pups was always upstream, using his zoom lens to catch our fishing action. He wasn’t able to get nice close-ups like the ones you shot.

This was my last fish of the day. I didn’t want to quit, but we had a long walk out through the woods. So we headed back to the vehicles before the evening hatch started up.

Thanks Adam, for taking this shot of Pups and I and for sharing your fly-fishing expertise. You taught me a lot and I enjoyed catching and releasing all these native trout. Remember that 7th Brown I had hooked…, the biggest one, you know, the one that leaped out of the water and got away…Pups and I may be back for him sometime.

 

 

 

First Day of PA Buck Season

On the First Day of the 2020 PA Buck Season, I was anxious to shoot a deer with my Weatherby Camilla, 7mm08, topped with my Riton Scope. My Hornady 120gr. ammo  is  really accurate and  deadly.

Last year, in Wyoming, I shot a Mule Deer Buck and an Antelope Buck with my favorite rifle, both dropped on the spot. But, I haven’t hunted with this rifle since.

My “Pups” and I were in my ridge top tree stand about a half hour before daylight and watched as the sunlight slowly reveal our hunting grounds. We quickly started seeing whitetails.

The field below us is 150 yards through the woods and my Riton 10×42 Binoculars are so sharp you can easily spot antlers even on a small buck.  

A few doe were feeding along the edge of the field and we even spotted a lone turkey.

There are too many treetops to get a clear shot if a buck appears down in that green field. He’ll have to move uphill into our woods for me to have a chance at him.

If that happens my Camilla is ready for action. It’s a beautiful rifle, slick action, pretty wood, nice checkering and the “Riton Scope” is right on at 200 yards.

Around noon, because no bucks were spotted, we climbed down out of our stand and headed back home for soup and sandwiches, and maybe a nap. Who knew what would be coming by our stand.

Amazing what goes on while you’re eating lunch at home.

After getting warmed up we returned for our afternoon hunt. Then, before he climbed up,  Pups thought he should check the Trail Camera.

Our trail camera is located just a few yards in front of our ladder-stand. While he changed out the SD Card , with a new blank one,  I got up into my seat. I was all ready for the afternoon hunt.

We hunted till dark and when he got home he sent me the pictures of the deer that passed by our tree stand while we were back home. Are you kidding me! A few doe and a couple of small bucks strolled right past our camera. The little spike seems to be looking right up at our empty seat.

We’ve seen that Big Buck a few times and I just can’t seem to get a shot at him. This little spike would have been safe from my Weatherby.  Lesson learned…never go back home for lunch!

 

My Rifle Team Editorial

I was recently asked to write an Editorial for my High School newsletter while in Class. I decided this would be a great opportunity to bring attention to my favorite sport, “3-Position Competitive Rifle”.  I’m on two Rifle Teams, the  Conemaugh Township Indians and the Jerome Jr. Rifle Team and we shoot both 22 cal. LR Small-bore and 177 cal Air Rifle. My Editorial follows;

“Rifle, an Underrated Sport” by: Ruby Korenoski   Oct. 9, 2020

   The winter sports season is just around the corner. Basketball players are warming up, wrestlers are taking to the mat, and cheerleaders are stunting on the hardwood.

    In the background; the Conemaugh Township Indian’s Rifle Team members are wheeling in their gear bags, cleaning off their safety glasses, adjusting their sights and preparing for their matches.

   We all love to pile into the gymnasium and watch Township’s amazing athletes participate in their favorite winter sports. They are even highly publicized, and rightfully so. However, more often than not, when students hear about rifle they say, “Wow, our school has a rifle team?”

   This is my third year of being a member of the Indian’s Small-bore Rifle Team. Ever since I laid down in the prone position, and shot a “perfect ten” for the first time, I’ve had an un-explainable love for this 3-position, Olympic Style sport.

   It is a mental game. A teammate once told me, “A certain thought can ruin a certain shot.” Which is true. A shooter’s head-space must be calm, determined, and decisive. A common misconception, due to the lack of knowledge students have about this sport, is that it requires no skill or it is not a real sport.

   However, rifle has taught me to be extremely disciplined, due to the uncompromising regulations enforced to keep the range a safe environment for everyone. My rifle competitions have taught me to never give up, a bad shot does not mean a bad target.

   Most importantly the sport has given me some of the best friendships I have ever had. Each shooter is in their own world as they take to the line and make their mark on their three position targets. Throughout my practices and in our competitions, I have learned to respect my teammates because; in rifle everyone’s scores come together to defeat the other team.

   This sport is extremely demanding and yet, underrated. Rifle is not about rivalries, and being better than your teammates, it’s about coming together and lifting each other up for the common good of the team.

   I believe that the accomplishments our team members have made throughout the years are unmatched. I love to spread awareness for the amazing team we are lucky enough to have. Our Jerome Indoor Range is wonderful and our dedicated coaching staff and volunteers are the best. This sport has brought students of Conemaugh Township countless opportunities, as those who have received full College Rifle Scholarships can attest.

   I believe small-bore rifle does not get the recognition it deserves and I hope this article helps to spread the word. I encourage you to talk to a member of our team and if competition shooting seems to spark your interest, go for it.

   If you join our team you will experience growth, accomplishment, leadership, and memories to last long after leaving the range.

 

Center of the Nation Mule Deer & Antelope Video

Producing a Hunting Video Program is a big effort and we’ve been working on the editing process for my “Wyoming Adventure” since November. Guy and Shanna Howell were my guides and I can’t explain how much fun this hunt for Mule Deer and Antelope was. You’ll just have to view the my video.

My Antelope was almost 200 yards away when I finally got into position for the shot. The nice Buck dropped “on the spot” with one shot from my Weatherby Camilla, 7mm08 and my Riton 3-9×40 scope. All that summer shooting at my Antelope target paid off.

Shooting at a round bulls eye just isn’t the same as aiming at a live animal. This is my 5 shot group on the drawing. Now,  I was ready to go West for the real thing. Check out my video below, and I couldn’t have done any of it without the patience of my Grand Father and all the hard work John Concannon  did at his editing studio.

Center of the Nation Mule Deer

For the Best Family Friendly Mule Deer and Antelope hunting, go to the Howell’s “Center of the Nation” ranch in N.E. Wyoming.

Last week, I flew West for my first ever Big Game Adventure. Along the drive from the Rapid City SD Airport we stopped to see Mount Rushmore.

At this time of year there were no crowds, no lines and the weather was spectacular.

Our guides, Guy and Shanna Howell welcomed us to their ranch and immediately made us feel right at home. The drive to their ranch was breathtaking.

These two weathered dead pine trees framed the front yard view near the Howell’s Main Gate.

This is the wide territory that the Mule Deer and Antelope live in. Guy tells all his hunters to practice shooting at 200 yards or more. Get comfortable at that distance; getting closer is not easy to do.

 

On day two of my hunt, my Guide, Guy and I were able to sneak within 200 yards of this Big Buck. Guy used his rangefinder as we set up for the shot. In the meantime the deer moved a bit closer to us.

 

My Riton Scope was on 9 power, my 7mm08 barked and my Mule Deer dropped right on the spot. I was so thrilled. My first Mule Deer was an awesome animal.

 

Guy said it was about 300 pounds live weight. I used Hornady Custom Lite ammo, with a 120 grain bullet. It’s a low recoil load. I weigh about 95 pounds and these bullets help me shoot my 7mm08 Weatherby Camilla accurately without flinching. 

My grandpa was along for photos and video production. Guy took this photo of us and you can see how massive this buck’s neck was. I could hardly hold his head in position for photos. The bullet did not exit. The hollow point fully expanded inside the buck, for an instant kill. Guy estimates that the buck was about 160 yards away.

I took this photo just before we spotted my Mule Deer Buck. What a pretty sunrise over a vast terrain. The ranch has 1,000’s of acres where many Deer and Antelope roam. I saw several really big Mule Deer bucks during this hunt. They all seemed to quickly slip away before we could get into my 250 yard comfort zone.

I was just so impressed with this hunt. My Guide “Guy Howell” and his wife, Shanna were perfect Hosts. I’ll Never forget this Hunt!  I’ll have lots more to say and show you about this Wild Wyoming Adventure, so stay tuned for an up-coming video of my Deer and Antelope Hunt at: www.CenteroftheNation.com

 

My Mini Riton Video

My Riton Optics Manager, Tony Tarantino, asked all the Riton Pro Staff members to make a short video about how we got involved in the Shooting Sports.

I got started early with shooting and hunting by going on Spring Gobbler Hunts with my Grandpa when I was 8 years old. Please check out my Riton Mini-Video by clicking on Link below.

Thanks for watching this edition of  “Ruby’s Riton Review”.

Akron University Zippy Open

Our Jerome Rifle Team had a competition in Ohio last weekend. It was held at Akron University and the match is known as the “Annual Zippy Open”.

I’ve only practiced with this air rifle twice before this event, so that made me a bit nervous. I’ve been shooting my Feinwerkbau 2800 a few weeks now. It’s the 22 Caliber and I’m very comfortable shooting my FWB.

The Akron Zips had their Rifle Team members shooting with us during the match. They are extremely good shots. That put more pressure on us High School kids.

The ZIP’s mascot is a Kangaroo? Why, I don’t know? Our Team; Abby, Nicole, Elissa and I were registered to shoot both the small bore “22” caliber and the Air rifle “177” caliber. The Akron Rifle Coach gave us an overview of how the competition is conducted. He also explained the computerize target scoring system. Parents, coaches, and other onlookers could sit in any classroom or hallway that had a flat screen TV.

They could see each shot as it’s fired, where it hit and the shot value. Then it shows a running total score. It was a little intimidating at first, but I liked it. I want a computer target system like this for our Indoor Range. We got a few photos of each of us, shooting at the perfect moment that we shot Tens.

Nicole and I were going a bit slow during the Standing Position.

I liked seeing my shots on the Computer Screen. This is better than looking through the spotting scopes.

Abby and Nicole in the Air Rifle Competition Range. It’s the Zippy Open! There were other Team shooters from York and Harrisburg, PA. and Virginia, Michigan and Ohio.

After we were done shooting, Elissa, Nicole and I were waiting for the Akron University Campus Tour.

The Akron College Shooters are on scholarships and two of them took us on a tour of the University Campus after our shooting was complete. The AU Campus and buildings were impressive. It was a very interesting tour.

Walking all around the big Campus was good exercise after our long shooting match. We then went to have lunch at “Chick-fil-A” located inside the Student Union Building.

We all were happy that we entered this College Competition and it was good to be in a new and hi-tech facility. This helped us adapt to a totally different range, rules and level of competition. I can’t wait to go back next year.

Ruby and Hunter with Riton & Howa

I’ve been practicing with my Howa Mini Action 223 rifle with my Riton scope and I’ve been shooting some nice groups at 100 and 200 yards. My friend , Hunter, and I shot about a box of ammo at 50 and 100 yards at the Jerome Sportsmen’s Club back in June.

My Grandpa went to the range with us to videotape us shooting from the bench. Of course he had to take a few shots with this rifle, too. He likes the heavy barrel for long range accuracy and thinks the Riton Scope is great for Ground Hogs!

We did some fine-tuning on the Riton scope, because we were using a box of new 223 ammo. Hunter has never fired this rifle or used a Riton Scope before. However, Hunter is a good Deer Hunter and she hunts with her Dad, right near her cabin-home. She shot this nice Whitetail Doe last year with her 308 caliber, single shot rifle.

Take a look at my video that Hunter and I did while we were shooting at the range. Just click on the link below.

 

 

 

Riton, Howa and Hogs, Great Combo

Groundhog hunting is very interesting with my Riton 3-12×40 scope and my Howa “Mini Action” 223. It’s excellent practice and helps test my hunting, shooting, range finding and reloading skills. The Riton-Howa combination has proven to be super accurate at 100 and 200 yards. All my targets show groups of a half inch, or less, if I’m doing my best trigger control.

We often see ground hogs from our treestands while bow hunting for deer. On several occasions we’ve seen ground hogs climbing trees, too. I love to watch them with my RITON 10×42 Binoculars.

Scanning the edges of spring and summer fields will produce sightings of all sorts of wildlife, besides the wary woodchuck. Bucks in velvet, fawns, turkeys and turtles, so we always pay attention.

My Pups has been shooting groundhogs since he was 12 years old. He thought they were “Big Game” back then. He wrote an article for “Bowhunter” magazine years ago entitled, “Go Sky High for Hogs”. He explained about hunting these earth-movers from treestands with his recurve bow. The story featured him and my Uncle Ace on the cover. They were low-tech hunters.

Hogs are a nuisance when they’re close to home, too. One industrious pair of hogs dug a huge cavern beneath our neighbor’s long, stone driveway. On Harry’s return home one night the driveway collapsed as his vehicle sped by. Going 25 mph, the front-tire of his new Caddy dropped into the crater. The wheel and axle were completely torn off. Harry permitted hog hunting in his front yard from that day on. I’ll keep watch on this field, they’re sure to be feeding soon.

 

Full Bore Buck Hunt 2018

Ohio is my favorite place for hunting Whitetail Deer. This is my third year for hunting during the Ohio Youth Weekend, where kids under the age of 16 can hunt a Buck or a Doe with their parent, guardian or mentor.

I was so happy that my new friend, Savanah Freer from New York state was successful on her first ever Whitetail Deer Hunt. We were hunting with a few other young hunters at Full Bore Outfitters with our guide, Matt Lamp. She shot her Big Buck with a 50-caliber muzzleloader.

I couldn’t wait to return to Ohio for this year’s hunt with Matt Lamp and the guides of Full Bore Outfitters. Matt assured me that this year a few Big Boys were hanging out around my stand and he wasn’t kidding. This heavy duty Buck came in after darkness fell.

More than a few bucks were caught on Matt’s trail camera during the daylight hours, too. He had the photos to prove it . I was hoping to see one of these monsters while I was holding my Ruger 44 Magnum rifle.

Last year I left my 9 point buck in Ohio with Casey Watterson, an award winning Taxidermist. So I was anxious to return to Ohio to retrieve my 2017 Buck at his Lone Leaf Taxidermy Studio. It was a long wait for me, exactly one year, just to see my trophy buck again. Please take a look at my 2018 Ohio video below: