Sunday Through Friday

June 18-23, 2017

Messiah College, Grantham, PA

The Cumberland Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited is hosting the 23rd Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp. Several other states now offer similar camps, but this is the original camp that became the model for the others.

Camp is limited to boys and girls between 14 and 17.  If you would like to have fun, work hard, and engage in a unique experience, get your application in early. Our application process begins on November 1st.  Up to 32 students will be selected to attend.  We look forward to receiving your application.


While at camp, our students will engage in a variety of activities including fly fishing, instruction both in the classroom and outdoors, fly tying, and building a habitat structure.  They will develop an understanding of what conservation is about while enjoying nature and fly fishing.  Our goal is to instill within the next generation a love for the outdoors while giving them the skills to protect our natural resources.



The purpose of the camp is to educate students in the importance of coldwater conservation.  Our graduates will be the leaders of their communities in years to come.  It is important for them to recognize the importance of clean water and how it relates to everyday living.  The curriculum has been structured to provide the foundation for that education.

Classes include principles of ecology, hydrogeology, wetlands, trout stream entomology, aquatic invertebrates, hydrology, watersheds, the biology of pollution, trout behavior, reptiles and amphibians, acid deposition, the politics of conservation, and the effects of humans on the Chesapeake Bay.

Instructors lead streamside programs to collect aquatic invertebrates, review angling history, electro fishing, and conducting field identification of riparian corridors.  The Camp provides a balance of instructional material and hands-on learning.    


Fly Fishing

Of the many benefits that cold water conservation provides, the primary one enjoyed by students of the camp is fly fishing.  As the camp is located on the famous Yellow Breeches Creek in South Central Pennsylvania, the students have daily opportunities to try and fool these clever trout in a beautiful environment.

Students at the camp are privileged to have the opportunity to learn from experienced fly fishermen (and women!). Many of the instructors are professional fishing guides, entomologists, casting instructors and fly tyers

Students can put into practice some of the many techniques that they will learn from the accomplished instructors.

On the stream the students will have to men and women who fish the Yellow Breeches on a regular basis to work with them.  These “ghillies” will help students catch fish and improve their angling skills.


Habitat Project

The students will also have the opportunity to participate in a conservation project to repair habitat in a stream. The project gives the students a chance to work as a team to build a structure that will have a positive impact on the stream for years to come. It is designed for the students to complete while they are at camp, so that they can observe firsthand the effects of their efforts.



Financial Aid

Many students are sponsored for their tuition. Several chapters of Trout Unlimited will sponsor students from their area to the camp, so your first priority should be to check with your local chapter. Other sportsman’s organizations will also frequently sponsor students.  If that is not available, be sure to indicate on your application that financial aid is needed.  We will make every effort to obtain other sources of funding. 

  • Camp is held annually on the third Sunday in June, starting at noon running to ~2:00 pm on the following Friday.
  • All activities will take place on or near the property of Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Students will have dorm lodging, meals, and class time at Messiah.
  • The majority of the time at camp will be spent in a classroom setting, but many sessions will also take place on the stream or outside. The curriculum covers various topics in conservation and fly fishing.
  • Students are provided with 3 meals per day plus an evening snack. Meals are buffet style with several entrée selections available.
  • Some classes are held in the evenings after fishing.
  • Campers receive all course materials, a camp tee shirt, hat, and flies
  • There are 10 fishing sessions on the Yellow Breeches held prior to breakfast and after dinner each day.
  • Classes are taught by more than 25 different instructors, all experts in their field.
  • Fly fishing equipment is available for loan if needed.
  • In addition to classroom time, the students all participate in constructing a stream habitat improvement project
  • The Leon Chandler Award is presented at graduation to the current student who most displays leadership qualities in the field of conservation.
  • The total cost of the camp is $400 which includes tuition, room and board.

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