Are you like me? Do you find yourself growing tired of the fly fishing circus on the big famous brown trout rivers at this time of the year? Then come along with me for some peaceful relaxing wild trout angling in the headwaters of our very own Pine Creek, aka Tiadaghton, aka River of Pines. Not even once, during two very fruitful days of remote brook trout fishing, did I bump into another fisherperson along the stream up here in the remote hinterlands of Potter County. Rapture has finally arrived and it was exactly what my heathen soul needed.
The water levels were perfectly bank-full thanks to the plentiful rains we've had this spring along with the surrounding mature second growth forest replete with wetlands and springs, slowly metering out their accumulated liquid gold. The fish were fat and happy feeding on a smorgasbord of hatching caddis flies, sulphers, march browns and yellow stoneflies. It was incredibly easy fishing, almost too easy I thought, as the trout were committing suicide on the end of my fly line. I never did get a measured water temperature but my calibrated hand told me it was somewhere between 52-55F.
Eons ago, Pine Creek flowed in a northeasterly direction, hard against a wall of glacial rip-rapped rock and soil deposited by the retreating glaciers. As the glaciers melted a lake formed in the area of present day Ansonia (aka Big Meadows). Eventually the lake level rose high enough to breach it's rock wall dam and the ensuing flood waters flowed south carving today's spectacular Pine Creek Gorge on it's way to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
Then came the Native Americans and the lumbermen and the flatlanders. The Pine Creek Rails to Trails can be clearly seen in these photos running right alongside Pine Creek. When I first started camping at Colton Point 30 some years ago this right-of-way was still an active rail line. You would drift off to sleep at night listening to the low rumble of the trains as they made their way through the gorge. The last train went through in 1989 before they tore up the tracks and turned it into a rail trail. These shots were taken during mid-day from Colton Point State Park on the west rim of the canyon.
The weather was sultry and humid, and the black flies, mosquitoes and gnats truly vexing. Don't forget your Deep Woods Off as the biting insects are quite troublesome this year.
“My cousin came down from Boston a few summers ago, and he and his daughter walked from here to Tiadaghton. In the first mile-and-a-half, I think he said that they counted nine rattlesnakes, and they weren’t really looking for them! There are quite a few in the canyon.”
Pine Creek Watershed Conservation Plan
...but it's always worked for me.
If you have brook trout present in a stream it's in good condition. If you have a reproducing brook trout population then it's in fantastic condition.
Abundant groundwater feeds and surface springs supply good cold water inputs year around and support a healthy population of wild brook trout in these streams.
Sorry about ruining the shot by putting my hand in it, I didn't have my net with me.
A classic freestone pool deep in the woods of Potter County. There was/is a nice head of wild fish in this pool and it fishes as good as it looks. You could see them fining in the amber currents.
Soon to be renamed Anadarko Flats.
Thanks for looking.