Sneaking out on a fall day to fly fish Medix Run | News

My “temporary” trip to Central Pennsylvania in October of 2019, (originally designed to be a six-month stint), will find me becoming a permanently settled, and extremely grateful Pennsylvania transplant. The outdoors here are spectacular, the wildlife and fishing are phenomenal, the seasonal splendor is uncommonly pretty, and the people are friendly and you know where they stand on just about everything.

Today it’s a beautiful, clear, crisp fall morning and the temperature is supposed to hit in the low 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 it flows into the Bennett’s Branch (larger stream) continuing east. Bennett’s Branch is named after John Bennett who came to this area in the late 1700s and built camps in the valley all the way up to Driftwood. Any drive east from Weedville to Driftwood makes for a memorable day and you’ll likely see elk if you keep your eyes pointed along the stream.

There’s some 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 “mound” remnants in the area that were made by the Senecas 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, coal and lumber commerce were established here which brought the railroad, workers and families, and visitors who primarily came for hunting.

My good buddy Eric Wilson tied me up some “high-vis-parachute” dries about a month ago and I’ve still got a few left. They’re easy to see because the “post” of the fly is a polyester material which helps keep it afloat, and it’s bright yellow and easy to track on the stream surface. The low streams mean that any fish will be concentrated in the limited number of pools I encounter as I move up the stream.

In the first pool I visit, I sneak up to a jack dam emptying into a pool 10 feet deep and cast to the seam of the flow coming into the pool. The canopy overhead is a bit tight, but the Sweetgrass Rod is a 4-weight, 7-foot 3-inch “honey stick” which 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 wham! It takes Eric’s parachute! This brown trout is only about 10 inches but his coloring is really pretty. I remove the barbless hook and gently put him back in his stream after taking a brief moment to admire his smart coloring. The rod is a quad design and I notice it’s extremely accurate when I’m casting. It also has a really nice medium-fast action for a bamboo rod, and it’s finished handsomely with obvious attention to artistic detail.

I move up this pretty stream for the next hour or so, scaring many of the fish I can see with the low water levels in the pools, before coming upon a nice pool where I see a few under the water’s surface. It looks like it’s 3–4 feet deep and I shoot my fly upstream at the start of the pool and float it down the center and wham! Brown trout number two takes the fly. While nowhere near as brilliant in his markings as the first, he’s no doubt pretty and I take a moment to admire him, and the casting motion of this beautifully-crafted rod.

It’s time to think about the rest of the day and a dinner plan for home so I climb out of Medix and walk along the road for a half-mile back to my pickup. Two guys from York, PA (Joe and Ray) are here for a hunting weekend and stop as they’re driving over 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 from them. After all, they’re native Pennsylvanians and good on their word.