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!