I doubt that many of you will be traveling to and fishing the Smokies to fish this month although I
hope you do. January and the first part of February are probably the coldest times of the year and
you will have to pick out the better days to expect much success fishing the freestone streams.
By the end of February, everyone will be doing their best to force the bugs to hatch and the trout to
respond even though they will probably have to wait a few more days to see any surface action.
That considered, I thought I would write about some fishing trips we have made to various other
destinations. Don't expect these articles to win any awards, just tell you about some things I
hope you will find interesting and a few that I look back on with a gleam in my eye.
Fly Fishing Slate Run, Pennsylvania
Based on my writing, just about the time everyone (except local Pennsylvania
anglers) begins to think that the state of Pennsylvania has only spring creeks, I will
throw in a fine freestone stream. Granted, the state doesn't have many freestone
streams, or tailwaters, in comparison to the number of limestone streams. Just
because there are not that many freestoners doesn't mean that they don't have
some that ranks near the top of anyone's list of Eastern freestone streams. Slate
Run is just one of the fine freestone trout streams in Pennsylvania. It is located in
the North Central section of the state. It flows through a deep canyon like area the
locals call a gorge. It has few access points that are close to a road. It is located in
rugged country and you have to do a little walking to get to some of it.
The stream has a good population of wild brown trout and brook trout. It has many
small tributary streams most of which contain brook trout. Slate Run is a tributary of
Pine Creek. The lower section of the stream just above Pine Creek is the most
popular area. I might also mention that another popular Pennsylvania trout stream
is nearby - Cedar Run as well as Pine Creek, which is also a good trout stream. We
have done better in both of these streams than we have in Slate Run but that was
strictly because of the time of years we fished the three streams.
The only reason Angie and I ever thought about fishing this stream was because it
was included in Trout Unlimited's America's Best 100 Trout Streams and we were
attempting to fish all of them. It is one of five streams in the state to made that list.
We have only fished the stream on two occasions, so I am certainly not qualified to
write much about it. The first time was during the later part of August several years
ago. We did not catch a single trout in the lower section. We fished the upper
headwaters and did manage to catch a few small brook trout.
Its lower seven miles are designated as fly-fishing only water. The stream has some
rather large pools, riffles and runs, and even some areas with rapids (so we are
told) when the water level is ranging from normal to high. The second time we
fished the stream was during the month of September. That means we were fishing
during low water conditions both times we were there. The second trip brought only
three brown trout to our nets, none of which were over 12 inches. Considering the
water levels, that was not so bad according to a local we talked to. We caught those
three trout on dry flies during a Trico hatch in the lower section of the stream. It was
a tough day of fishing. All three trout were taken within a 45 minute period of time
out of about 6 or 7 hours of fishing. Our experience should not have any implication
as to the quality of the fishing at Slate Run. I am certain it provides a much better
opportunity at any other time of the year.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh