May 20th to 27th 2018
Jenny, Betsy and I went to Pine Creek in the summer of 2017. We stayed at the Happy Acres Rainbow Cottage. The cottage isn’t in the regular campground but about 10 miles away right on the creek. No neighbors across the street and the ones on our side were very friendly. It is not a cottage so much as a trailer, but a nice trailer. Like any trailer it had a kitchen, living room, bathroom, a small bedroom with bunk beds and a larger bedroom with a queen bed. But it also had very nice additions off the back of the trailer overlooking the creek- an attached garage, a cozy den with bunk beds, and a superb enclosed porch surrounded by modern windows that were easily opened for fresh air. Betsy and I loved the trip- there was no phone, no internet, no TV reception or cable, and no cell phone service without a 15 mile drive.
I’d planned this 2018 trip back in October 2017. I’ve never fly fished before and decided to try it out. Jenny was going to be visiting family in the Philippines for 3 months so I planned the trip while she’d be away since she didn’t love the cabin as much as we did. I invited some other guys to join but no one was able to schedule the time, so it was just me, Betsy and the new puppy Abby.
Pine creek was getting a lot of rain and the fishing reports for the weeks before our trip said “fish somewhere else”. Not a possibility when the the trip is already paid for in advance. When we showed up on Sunday the creek was very high, and the Big Jim who mowed the lawn on Monday got stuck in the mud. And then it started raining. From the pictures below you can see an island in the creek. The creek in front of the island was actually all land when we got there, and was where the mower got stuck before it became ‘creek’.
Later in the week I finally got out to that island and tried my hand at some fly fishing. I’d been practicing my cast from the videos I’d watched on the internet and a DVD I brought with me. I thought I had an acceptable cast but all I caught was weeds from behind me. Perhaps my horrific casts would have been forgiven if I was in the middle of the creek, but on the bank I was just losing flies. Flies are pricey. I did the math and figured I could pay someone to help me perfect my cast or I could go buy a bunch more flies.
I headed up to Slate Run Tackle Shop & Wolfe’s General Store to see about finding some help.
Tom told me to come back on Wednesday and he’d take me out back and give me some lessons. True to his word, he gave me the full 101 on fly casting. I learned some great basic exercises and basic casts. Like I always say, you talk to people or watch videos and 50% tell you to do things one way and 50% tell you to do the exact opposite. The good news was I didn’t really have any bad habits yet so I just threw out everything I’d learned and let Tom take over. He talked me through the basics and then showed me the technique. When I had a grasp of the lesson, he let me try it out. I actually wasn’t 1/2 bad. With a few adjustments we decided the best next steps were to go home, relax from the stress of ‘being watched by an expert’ and practice the exercises and practice my cast. I tried to give Tom some money as he gave me a full hour out back, but he refused. He just asked me to come back someday, take him out back and show him my improved cast. Tom is a great guy and I would recommend Slate Run Tackle Shop to anyone.
The rest of the week was pretty wet, the creek was murky, no flies were hatching and the water was too high to get in there, so I did practice practice practice. I tried a couple more times to fish the creek from the bank. I still caught only trees and weeds. A huge hint that it was a ‘fish somewhere else’ week was that I never saw anyone on my stretch of creek all week. They tell me that it gets downright crowded back there when the flies are hatching and the fish are biting.
From talking to the locals it seems the fishing is always a roll of the dice on Pine Creek. Some years the week before Memorial day is excellent, some years it’s a ‘fish somewhere else’ situation.
The good news is the girls and I had a blast. We did some training every day, chuck it in the front yard, and a few excursions in the creek when it went down a bit. Abby the puppy thought the creek was great fun, and Betsy always loves the water.
Acme and Superfresh had fresh trout when we got back, so we got our fill even if it was after the official end of vacation.
The rhododendron bloomed while we were there.
The neighborhood is great and the neighbors Bill & Sandee, Pastor Bill, Scott, Dawn and Josh are friendly and helpful.