Fly Fishing Northcentral Pennsylvania: Slate Run


Name: Slate Run
Region: North-Central Pennsylvania
County: Tioga, Lycoming
GPS Coordinates: N41.47257° W77.50443°
Approximate Length: 7.13/1.7/? miles
State Fishing Designation:
Catch-and-Release Fly Fishing Only*
Slate Run (Lycoming / Tioga) – 7.13 miles; from the confluence of the Cushman and Francis branches downstream to the mouth
Francis Branch (tributary to Slate Run) – 1.7 miles; from mouth upstream to Kramer Hollow

Wilderness Streams*
Tioga County; Cushman Branch – Sec # 1; Upper Limit: HEADWATERS, Lower Limit: CONFL WITH BEAR RN

Tucked away in the Pine Creek Valley is a gem of a trout stream named Slate Run. It is located near the southwestern side of Tioga county and flows downstream through the northwestern side of Lycoming county. Slate Run is a classic Pennsylvania freestone stream. Benefitting from spring seeps, deep undercuts, and heavy tree canopy Slate Run remains relatively cold year-round.

Its headwaters originate from the Francis and Cushman branches. Both branches hold healthy populations of wild Brown trout. The headwaters ranges from approximately 3 to 8 feet wide and is small but has a good pool to riffle ratio.

Slate Run changes in character through the mid-section and downstream of Manor Falls. The pools are deeper and you will find more cliffs as it cuts through the steep mountains. This combined with large fallen timber make for great cover and challenging fishing.

Excellent populations of mayflies, stoneflies, and caddis reside in the healthy waters of Slate Run. By early April you can find Little Black Stoneflies, Blue Quills, and Early Brown Stoneflies. It continues to get better until early June then as with many freestone water the hatches die off but there is still action to be had using terrestrials. Manor Falls is a must fish when visiting the run. Take time to explore its headwaters and other feeder streams along the way.

Considered one of the crown jewels of Pennsylvania fly fishing; every serious angler should visit Slate Run during the season.

Beautiful Brown Trout:

Fishing Notes
Czech and High-stick nymphing is limited to high water and/or stained water conditions. Dry dropper and long leader spanish/euro tactics rule the day. Dry fly fishing is best when the fish have switched to looking up. Streamers are the wild card and won’t get you big numbers but will surprise if you can stick it out. Lot’s of deep cuts and sneaky hiding places.

Stay out of the water as much as possible. Wear camouflage during clear water periods. Practice all casts and prepare for utilizing Bow-and-Arrow casts in certain situations. Watch for Rattlesnakes during summer months. Prepare for short hikes to reach the water. Best fishing mid to late spring but less crowds in pre and post peak seasons.


Hatch Chart

Blue Quill (16-18)    
Little Black Stonefly (16)    
Quill Gordon (14)      
Dark Olive Caddis (16)    
Green Caddis (16)    
Tan Caddis (16)  
Hendrickson (14)  
Little Yellow Stonefly (16)  
Gray Fox (12)  
Sulphur (16 18)  
Slate Drake (12- 14)  
Blue-WInged Olive (14 -16)  
Blue Quill (18)  
Trico (24)    
Midge (24-18)                  

Local History
According to Wikipedia Jacob Tomb is considered the original settler of Slate Run. The Pine Creek valley was known for its virgin forest. This natural resource brought great prosperity to the area. Lumber from the area was considered the best ship mast timber throughout the shipbuilding community. Pine Creek was used to transport timber. Loggers could be seen prying open log jams and floating the lumber through Slate Run and downstream to the sawmills.
Pine Creek, log drive

Of course the native indians were the earliest inhabitants of the area. Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannocks, are documented to inhabit the area and humans have lived in Pennsylvania as early as 10,000 BC. Pine Creek was used as a pathway north and south by the Seneca tribe of the Iroquois. The Pine Creek gorge was consider sacred and the Iroquois never inhabited gorge because of this belief.

Today the rail path which was used extensively during the lumber era is now converted to a bicycle/walking path which is part of the Rails-to-Trails program. Voted by USA Today as one of the “10 great places to take a bike tour.”

Area Highlights
Pine Creek Grand Gorge
Cedar Run
Pine Creek
Wellsboro, PA

Hotel Manor
Cedar Inn
Pettecote Junction Campground
Black Walnut Bottom
Bit Of Heaven Campground
Pine Creek Watershed Association
Tiadaghton State Foreest
Tiadaghton State Forest Map

Slate Run Tackle Shop
Hotel Manor
Cedar Run Inn

Fly Shops
Slate Run Tackle Shop

Seasons Along the Tiadaghton: An Environmental History of the Pine Creek Gorge Hardcover – May, 1993by Steven E. Owlett

Short Hikes in Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon Paperback – 1993, by Chuck Dillon

*Please check for up-to-date designations.

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