I took a short break at Cedar Run, adding a small piece of the stream to my long-range goal of fly-fishing its entire length. I went fishing, though, only after a full day of meeting with the Slate Run Sportsmen’s group at nearby Slate Run village.
The fall meeting of the sportsmen’s group featured an environmental attorney who spoke to us about the rising crisis in the state of Pennsylvania with regard to the expansion of hydro-fracking into the state forests and natural areas by an industry intent on drawing gas from the Marcellus shale.
Following the luncheon for attendees at the meeting, I joined Ted Piotrowski, a group member from Williamsport, to help with our ongoing project of mapping the natural features of the Slate Run gorge. We took GPS readings of several pools and rock formations from the roadway high above the stream which, incidently, has very little access other than faint pathways leading down the rugged slopes.
Slate Run’s inaccessibility and remoteness are part of why this trout stream is appealing to anglers like myself, so I’m definitely of two minds when it comes to mapping it. Both minds are concerned with preserving Slate’s wild character…
Part of me says that Slate Run should remain free, sans mapping, that its pools and holes and ledges should be left for anglers to explore without the use of guided maps, but another part of me says that Slate needs all the friends that it can get, especially in these days of increased pressure from industrialists who are plotting to develop the surrounding wilds.
There are few outdoor enthusiasts who are physically capable or willing to explore the whole canyon, so in order to increase familiarity without compromising the natural integrity of the run, our mapping of the lesser known features, and our pinpointing of forgotten walkways to the stream, may help to garner more interest. If we’re lucky, a little more exposure to the beauty of the stream will increase the number of people dedicated to preservation efforts.
All of this is a round-about way of saying that I needed to go fishing again at Cedar Run. The stream is Slate Run’s fine, twin sister. Both of these runs are exceptional freestone waters; both of them are tributaries of big Pine Creek. They tumble to the valley in an eastward direction, about five miles apart, and it’s fun to fly-fish for their wild trout and absorb the natural beauty of their surroundings.
I needed to unwind, if only for an hour or so. The main difference between Cedar Run and Slate is that the former has a gravel roadway along much of its eight-mile length, and thus it’s more accessible to an angler with limited time.
I parked the vehicle on the forested mountainside, suited up and found a short path to the run. The stream’s Tumbling Run Pool is a long, deep basin under a shelving cliff, significant even though, at late summer, Cedar Run was flowing low and clear. A little feeder stream (a namesake for the pool) falls abruptly into the run and adds a shot of cold clean water to the flow.
Several wild trout were sipping insects at the surface of the pool, but my long casts with a three-weight line were not producing here. Only when I fished the smaller pools and riffles, above and below this location, did I get some action with a bead-head nymph. A couple of small brown trout, and a brookie, came to hand, and then my hour was up.
The catch was small but satisfying. I got my fix for the day, and felt better for having relaxed and taken in the wildness there. This was what the Slate Run Sportsmen group, and others like it, work for, and what they hope to achieve– the preservation of such places for generations to come. The way I see it, they work for the wildlife, for the land and water, and they don’t forget the people who love these places as they are.