My “temporary” trip to Central Pennsylvania (originally designed to be a six-month stint), will find me becoming a permanently settled and very grateful Pennsylvania transplant. The outdoors here are spectacular, the wildlife and fishing are phenomenal, the splendor of the season is unusually beautiful, and the people are friendly and know where they stand on almost everything.
It’s a beautiful, clear, cool fall morning today and the temperature is supposed to be in the 70s and I decide to run up to Elk County and hit Medix Run for some dry fly action. Medix Run is a small stream located at the back end of the town of Medix Run, and flows into Bennett’s Branch (larger stream) continuing east. The Bennett Branch is named after John Bennett who came to this area in the late 18th century and built camps in the valley up to Driftwood. Any trip east from Weedville to Driftwood is a memorable day, and chances are you’ll see elk if you keep your eyes peeled along the creek.
There is a bit of history here at Medix Run: The Seneca Indians were active in the area and hunted and fished in the woods and streams for deer and small game. There are still remnants of “mounds” in the area that the Seneca made where they planted the seeds of corn, squash, and pumpkins as part of their diet as they migrated through central Pennsylvania. In the late 1800s, the coal and timber trade was established here, bringing the railroad, workers and families, and visitors who came mainly to hunt.
My good friend Eric Wilson laced me up with some “high visibility parachutes” about a month ago and I still have a few left. They’re easy to see because the fly’s “post” is a polyester material that helps keep it afloat, and it’s bright yellow and easy to track on the surface of the stream. The shallow streams mean that any fish will be concentrated in the limited number of ponds I encounter as I move up stream.
At the first pool I visit, I approach a weir that empties into a 10-foot-deep pool and launch into the seam of the flow entering the pool. The top canopy is a little tight, but the Sweetgrass Rod is a 4-weight, 7-foot, 3-inch “honey stick” that allows me to maneuver the casting space well. On my second cast I see a fish come up, probably 7 feet from the bottom of the pool and wow! Eric’s parachute is needed! This brown trout is only about 10 inches long, but its color is very beautiful. I remove the barbless hook and gently place it back into its stream after taking a brief moment to admire its smart color. The rod is a quad design and I notice that it is extremely accurate when I am casting. It also has a very nice medium-fast action for a bamboo rod, and is very well finished with obvious attention to artistic detail.
I wade along this beautiful creek for an hour or so, scaring off many of the fish I can see with the low water levels in the pools, before coming across a nice pool where I see a few below the surface of the water It looks like it’s 3-4 feet deep and I throw my fly upstream at the start of the pool and float it down the center and off it goes! Brown trout number two takes the fly. While not as flashy in its markings as the first, it is certainly beautiful and I take a moment to admire it and the casting motion of this well-made rod.
Time to think about the rest of the day and a dinner plan for home, so I leave Medix and walk the half mile down the road back to my truck. Two guys from York, PA (Joe and Ray) are here for a weekend of hunting and stop on their way to the Medix Hotel and ask about my fishing luck. We chat for a while and they say they want to come here to fish so we share our contact information. Something tells me I’ll hear them. After all, they are native Pennsylvanians and they keep their word.