.He was just as much a great friend as he was my father; he was always there when I needed him. Not a day goes by or decision do I make without thinking, what would he do. He was a good Father.
Still around his birthday and Fathers Day I queue up his video on You Tube tying his Rat. The sound of his voice and seeing him in his most natural pose behind that vice brings back some great memories.
Allen Miller, J-
Allen G Miller was born November 1, 1923 in Lehighton, PA.
He attended Lehighton High School until his country needed him.
When the Marines discovered he was under age, they assigned him as an embassy guard in Washington, DC. Such duty was too cushy for Al so he snuck onto a Camp Pendleton bound troop train.
He arrived in California without paperwork, the Marines didn’t know what to do with him, and he ended up in the Pacific fighting Japs.
Private first class Miller served as a rifleman at Bougainville from 28 November 1943 to Christmas day 1943; Guam, Marianas Island from 21 July 1944 to 10 August 1944 and
Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands 27 February 1945 to March of 1945, all of the Pacific’s garden spots
He was discharged at Great Lakes, Illinois on the 14th of December 1945. The Marines gave him $154.43 to get back to Philadelphia.
Upon his discharge he traveled with a Carnival worker until 1946 when he married his beloved Elmira.
The Millers moved to Allentown in 1946 so Al could begin his 41 year career as a Bethlehem Steel foundry working.
Al wanted to be fishing so he built a cabin at Preachers Camp on the Pohopco creek.
To Elmira’s chagrin, the Millers spent more time at that cabin than in Allentown.
When the construction of Beltsville Lake eliminated his cabin, Al became a fixture on the the Little Lehigh.
Upon his retirement, Al fished the Little Lehigh about fifty five hours a week, fifty-two weeks a year. For thirty-five years he was a vigilant observer of the stream insects and their imitation. His observations resulted in patterns which out fish traditional patterns.
Most of ALS consistently successful Little Lehigh patterns have two things in common, they are easy to tie and look the same from all angles.
Al’s imitation of tricorythodes stygiatus (Al’s Trico) and his chironomid pattern (ALS Rat) meet these criteria by accentuating the flys primary trigger, the silhouette.
During the first weeks of the trico hatch, trout are easy to catch as they gorge themselves with reckless abandon. As the season progresses they become very selective, rising to the silhouette then refusing the fly when they see over sized wings or other mistakes.
Al’s pattern eliminates this problem. All said selectively feeding trout are looking for whats right not what’s wrong.
Since Al’s Trico has no over dressed wings or tails to turn fish off, they rise to the silhouette and take the fly. The pattern works for duns and spinners.
Al noticed adult midges hatching on spring creeks all year. When there are adults on the surface there are pupae in the film. When other insects aren’t available, spring creek trout have to eat midges. Al adapted to this scenario by developing ALS Rat. The fish take the fly for a midge pupa.
The dark brown monocord provides an excellent silhouette, the Muskrat a simple thorax.
The "Rat" works all day, all year. For many Little Lehigh regulars, it's the first fly they try every day all year.
Al liked to sneak cigarettes at the shop. He thought Elmira didn’t know he smoked but she was to kind break his bubble.
One day Elmira stopped at the shop with one of her wonderful Apple tarts. Al panicked. He thrust his butts into my hand for safekeeping and partook of his breath spray. Elmira gave him a knowing smile but said nothing.
The Little Lehigh and Rod Rohrbach had no better friend.
Video courtesy of Underwater
Al Miller tying his Rat, John Snicsak tying his Quill Gordon
This is my grandson Austin.
When Austin was born in Tacoma, WA, Al Miller managed to give him this Blue Bear.
Austin is in high school, he still cherishes his blue bear.
Al would be pleased.