Month: May 2016

Pine Creek Valley begins up in the Pine Creek Gorge which is affectionately known to locals as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.  There are many small towns along Pine Creek but the one we focused on was Slate Run which houses the Slate Run Tackle Shop and Wolfe’s General Store.  The proprietors of the store are Tom and Deb Finkbiner.  We spent a lot of time in the store sharing fishing stories, getting provisions and some of the best deli sandwiches anywhere.  Tom, Deb and the entire team at the shop were so incredibly helpful and friendly.  We even had a chance to have dinner at Tom and Deb’s with many of the team and other guests.  We made so many memories in the valley but the ones we’ll carry with us forever are the people we’ve met there.

Straub Brewery is an ardent supporter of fly fishing and in particular, the work being done by Tom and others on Pine Creek.  Of course, we always support the local economy and had a few of these refreshing brews.  We met Hana at the store who is a part of the Straub Brewery family and had great stories.  We sampled our way through a variety of the beers but one of my favorites was the Kolsch.

The valley is really in the middle of wilderness on all sides.  Tom told us that the estimated population of Slate Run was about 19 but the bear population at last count in the area was 92.  We never got to personally see any bears but saw pictures each day from people who did.  Given we were out fishing daily in the wilderness we were actually quite relieved we’d not seen a bear.  However, from the pic in the gallery, you can see we saw great locations for bear dens.

In addition to bears, another danger in the area is rattlesnakes.  There is actually a rattlesnake festival happening in a couple of weeks nearby.  Julie, our fishing guide, was reminding us as we hiked along the streams not to reach out and balance ourselves on the rocks.  These rocks are home to rattlesnakes.  It was a constant balancing of quietly sneaking up on fishing holes and pounding our shoes on the ground to scare away snakes.

While we caught many great browns and rainbows from Pine Creek, we were most excited to fish for little brook trout in both Cedar Run and Slate Run.  We drove way up into the watersheds to get to the homes of these beautiful fish and used all our stealth to catch them.

Finally, we’ve caught up to spring in PA.  The flowers are blooming and the fragrant smells are everywhere.  We are very excited for warmer weather and no more snow…. hopefully.

We are on to Kettle Creek for the next few days and then even more fishing destinations in Pennsylvania.  There are more trout streams (10) in PA on the TU Top 100 Trout Streams list than in any other state.  Fish on!

We had the greatest time fishing with Julie Szur on Slate Run and Pine Creek.  As a matter of fact, we had so much fun with Julie we didn’t make it over to Cedar Run until a day later.  We found Julie through Tom Finkbiner at the Slate Run Tackle Shop in Slate Run, PA.   Tom and Deb run the shop and Wolfe’s General Store in Slate Run which is a gem in the Pine Creek Valley.   Two things you MUST do if you want to fish several gorgeous trout streams for huge browns, rainbows and brookies:  1.  Call Tom and book Julie…. she’ll put you on fish and I promise you’ll have a great time… and 2.  Go see Tom and Deb at the store.  They are two of the finest people you’ll ever meet.  The staff at the shop are incredibly friendly and helpful.  Big shout outs to the entire team at the tackle shop and store.  Now… if you want to get a glimpse of fishing in the area, check out the interview we did with Julie and a very special guest!

Our time in NY state was FUN!  When we arrived in the Lake Placid area to fish the Ausable River, it still seemed like winter.  There was still snow on Whiteface Mountain.  It was cold and rainy and perfect for fishing.  As we left Roscoe, NY, we’d had days in the 70’s and sun.  Spring finally caught up to us in New York and we had many fun adventures.

The Lake Placid / Wilmington area is rich with Olympic history and great fishing.  We had a trip down memory lane touring the Olympic Center where the “Miracle on Ice” occurred.  I could still hear the call… “Do you believe in miracles?”  A plaque on the wall memorialized all of the winners, including Eric Heiden who won 5 gold medals in speed skating which was held on an outdoor track, the football stadium for Lake Placid High School, which was flooded for the events.

When we were planning our trip to the area, we had numerous recommendations to get Rachel Finn from Hungry Trout Fly Shop as our guide.  We were so lucky to get Rachel and on a very cold, rainy day, I went fishing with her; Barb decided to stay in the SaraLinda and keep warm and dry.  Rachel took me to several different spots on the West Branch of the Ausable River and taught me to tight-line nymph (euronymph or czech-nymph).  We got into a few fish and had a blast fishing.  We did the guide talk interview in the guide shack of the fly shop.  Rachel is a great guide and her interview is one to be sure to watch.

When we headed south from Lake Placid to Roscoe, we saw spring emerging.  It was fun seeing all the trees budding out and flowers starting to bloom.  And yet, tonight as I’m writing this, we are in a freeze warning.

Roscoe, NY is known as “Trout Town USA”.  It is one of the  top 10 trout towns according to Forbes magazine.  We had some fun taking pictures of all of the “Trout Town USA” sites in town as well as sampling the locally sourced Trout Town brews of Roscoe Beer Company.  We also sampled some of the Catskill Brewery’s products on the recommendation of Zach Anderson.

Zach was our guide on the East Branch of the Delaware River.  I got to float fish with both Barb and Dr. James Kelley who came in for a long weekend.  Zach put us all on fish as you can see in the video.  Ken and Michelle Tutalo of the Baxter House River Outfitters put us together with Zach and also shared some prime spots for us to fish as well as what flies to use.  They were spot on.

Speaking of Dr. Kelley, we had a blast as he came in when Barb went home for her Mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day.  We fished the Beaverkill, Willowemoc, East and West Branches of the Delaware.  We even got to visit not one, but TWO, Hall of Fames.  First, we took a day and went up to Cooperstown, NY, to visit the hallowed halls of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Next, we visited the Catskills Fly Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame in Livingston Manor.  More stories to tell but we were missing our third “Amigo”, Dr. Dan McCormack, who will hopefully join us this fall in Colorado.

Barb and I tried to get in to see a Midnight Ramble at The Barn, Levon Helm’s studio.  Unfortunately, nothing was happening when we were there… BUT…. we finally made it to the site of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, Bethel Woods.  We geeked out and went onto the original site of the festival, stood on stage and pretended to play to the crowd.  The spirits of Jimi, Janis and all the artists were present.  It was a very special trip for us.  The museum is not to be missed.

NY was definitely a “State of Fun” but it’s now time to head back to Pennsylvania and….

Ramble On!


We were so lucky that Ken and Michelle Tutalo of Baxter House River Outfitters in Roscoe NY put us together with Zach Anderson for our trips on the Delaware River.   Zach was everything you’d possibly want in a guide…. great knowledge of the river, patient, good teacher and most importantly, fun!  He told us he’d spent time picking out a new hat for the season and called it “The Sombrero”.

Fishing was great both times we went out with Zach.  I say both because both Barb and fishing buddy James Kelley got to fish with Zach.  We caught some big rainbows and browns on big March Brown dry flies.  We all had a blast and you will too as you watch this “guide talk” interview with Zach.  Enjoy!

Normally, I try to come up with a catchy title for a post hoping to draw your attention.  This time, simply,  “Rachel Finn”.

Rachel guided me on the West Branch of the Ausable River in Wilmington, NY.   She’s well known in the fly fishing community, as we have come to understand, and I had the great fortune to spend the day with her fishing, learning and having an incredibly fun time.  No need for a catchy title at all, simply “Rachel Finn”.

When Barb and I were just starting our journey, we wanted to make sure we found the “characters” who work and play in the trout streams we’d visit.  In fact, our very first blog post titled “Welcome” was tagged with one word, “Characters”.  As we fished our way through Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut we’d ask “Is there a guide on one of our upcoming rivers you’d recommend?”  The response we got over and over when we say we’re fishing the Ausable was “You’ve got to fish with Rachel Finn!”  When we asked, how do we find her, we were told to call Hungry Trout Fly Shop in Wilmington, NY.  When we asked why Rachel, we heard things like “She’s a character”, “She’s a hoot” and most importantly we heard, “There is no one who knows more about the Ausable and you will have a blast”.

After fishing with Rachel, all of these are true.  I’m officially adding my name to the list of anglers who would say, “You’ve got to fish with Rachel Finn!”

I hope you enjoy this interview with Rachel we did in the guide shack beside the Hungry Trout Fly Shop.  Its chock full of great background about Rachel, stories, tips/techniques, places to fish in the area, what kinds of fish to expect to find, what flies to bring and more.   Thanks Rachel!

Connecticut was brand new to Barb and I.  It did not disappoint.  We fished two rivers, the Farmington and the Housatonic and caught some beautiful fish.  We also sampled some great food and stumbled upon a great music venue, Infinity Hall in Norfolk CT.  More importantly, we were lucky enough to attend a concert there that featured local CT artists Kerri Powers, Black River Union and Atlas Gray.   They guys from Atlas Gray were gracious enough to let us use their music as the narration of our time in CT.  I hope you enjoy the video and especially the music by this amazing group of musicians.  We loved all of the Connecticut Color.