The raffle sponsored by the Slate Run Sportsmen was for a damn good cause. The money would help support a project aimed at scientifically identifying as many of northern Pennsylvania’s wild trout streams (previously unsurveyed) as possible before time ran out. The boom in hydro-fracking for natural gas in the region’s Marcellus Shale was reverberating with industrial malice, and the coldwater habitats of wild and native trout required mapping and an effort at preservation. The Slate Run Sportsmen contributed $1500 to the cause, thanks to the Orvis fly rod and reel donated for the raffle by the Slate Run Tackle Shop, and thanks to everyone who pitched in monetarily.
To our utter surprise, my wife won the raffle. Unfortunately, she doesn’t fly fish, but her husband does, and big time.Following the raffle at the autumn meeting of the club, I took the four-piece, seven-foot Superfine model, with its new Orvis reel and four-weight line, to the mouth of Slate Run and started casting. Leighanne was watching from the bank, and by the time I passed the Hotel Manor, she was witness to my first brown trout caught and released with the newly won rig. My caddis dry fly, attached to a long tapered leader, was laid out with such ease that I knew I wanted the rod to accompany me for the whole length of the run. As Leighanne turned away and walked back to the Hotel for a drink, I glanced again at the inscription found near the butt end of the rod: “2011 Pine Creek Watershed Conservation Rod.” Already the tool felt like an extension of my casting arm. I was on my way.
At last, after a year of heavy rains interspersed with a long period of drought, Slate Run was looking good, its full-flowing water registering 58 degrees. I noted several blow-downs from the winds associated with a June tornado. Working up to the Mowry Pool (the “Swimming Hole”) I caught and released several more wild fish including a brightly colored 8-inch brookie. Who said there were no more trout in this renowned freestone creek? At the Mowry Pool I saw dozens of fish, many of them trout, darting through the limpid flow. Ah yes, wild fish in a wild locale. They made this water special.
[to be continued]