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The Joe Humphreys Fly Fishing Program (formerly known as the Penn State Fly Fishing Program) runs the Jesse Arnelle Fly Fishing Initiative each semester. This program is designed to introduce fly fishing to underrepresented students enrolled on Penn State’s University Park campus.

About the Initiative

The Jesse Arnelle Fly Fishing Initiative is named after Jesse Arnelle, a two-sport standout in basketball and football, who developed a passion for fly fishing later in life. Jesse wanted all students to experience the benefits of fly fishing, including improved mental wellbeing and a connection with the outdoors. Former Penn State fly fishing instructor, Mark Belden, was instrumental in working with Jesse Arnelle to develop this five-week introductory program to fly-fishing, where students earn GHW credits for participating.


Penn State has been offering accredited fly fishing courses since 1947, and the program aims to teach these lifelong skills to all students enrolled on the University Park campus.

One of the program's primary goals is introducing the lifelong activity of fly fishing to Penn State’s underrepresented students, which is what the Jesse Arnelle Fly Fishing Initiative is all about—providing a quality outdoor experience for all Penn State students.

The program is also affiliated with the KINES Physical Activity Program (KPAP), which introduces students to a variety of lifelong activities.  Students can use these skills for the rest of their lives to provide a calming and rejuvenating activity when life becomes complicated.

Fly fishing is one of the most popular leisure activities in the United States, and the Joe Humphreys Fly Fishing Program and Jesse Arnelle Fly Fishing Initiative seeks to help students sustain a healthy mindset throughout their entire lives.


Students enrolled in the Jesse Arnelle Fly Fishing program will learn about:

  • local and regional fishing opportunities,
  • water quality,
  • angling ethics,
  • entomology,
  • basic fish biology,
  • basic fly-tying skills,
  • and basic fly fishing and fly-casting principles.

Arnelle fly fishing students will have KINES 93  (Advanced Fly Fishing) students mentor them during the course.

The final class involves a 3-4-hour field trip to a local lake or stream to test out their new skills. All fly-fishing equipment and transportation are included with the Jesse Arnelle Fly Fishing Initiative. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about one of the country’s greatest leisure activities.

Classes start March 16, 2023 and meet every Thursday, 6-8 p.m. in 105 Rec Hall, with a 3-4-hour field trip occurring April 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.


Students interested in joining this semester’s Jesse Arnelle Fly Fishing Initiative should contact George Daniel at