Brown Trout Club to be featured during Trout Unlimited meeting

PHOTO PROVIDED Slate Run Tackle Shop Brown Trout Club members release big brown trout, 18 to 23 inches in size, into "The Stretch" on Pine Creek. Photo provided

WELLSBORO — The Trout Unlimited Tiadaghton Chapter 688 will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday and its guest speaker will share details about Slate Run Tackle Shop’s Brown Trout Club.

The public meeting will be held at the Wellsboro Community Center, 3 Queen St.

Chapter President Jere White will begin with information about past and future chapter activities, including: Flies and Lies, held Jan. 27, Feb. 10 and March 17; a float stocking in Pine Creek’s Darling Run area on March 16; the March 24 banquet and Blast and Cast raffle; a Route 6 cleanup in Shippen Township; and chapter participation in Earth Day at Mill Cove on April 21; planting 400 trees on the John Griggs farm on April 27 as part of the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership; and SpringFest at Hills Creek State Park on May 19.

At 7 p.m., guest speaker Tom Finkbiner, owner of Wolfe’s General Store and the Slate Run Tackle Shop, will talk about how the shop’s Brown Trout Club went from idea to reality and how the club works today.

“The goal of the club, a non-profit organization, is to provide a world-class trout fishing experience for the general public on public waters at no charge,” said Finkbiner.

At the club’s request, the state Fish and Boat Commission set aside a 2.8-mile section of Pine Creek in 2001. “The Stretch,” as it is now called, starts in the Village of Slate Run at the confluence of Slate Run (the stream) and Pine Creek and ends at the confluence of Bonnell Run and Pine Creek.

The club has evolved over the years. At first, members focused on supplementing the brown trout population in “The Stretch.”

The commission then designated that section of Pine Creek as a delayed harvest area.

For the past three years, “The Stretch” has been designated as a no-kill catch-and-release trout area all year round.

Through sponsors and memberships, the club raises about $24,000 each year, and the majority of that is used to purchase big brown trout.

The trout the club stocks in “The Stretch” are purchased from two hatcheries. Half of them come from the Blooming Grove Hunting and Fishing Club in Hawley, Wayne County, and the other half are from the Moores Run Fish and Game Preserve near Austin in Potter County.

“The smallest brown trout we stock are 14 to 15 inches and the largest are 18 to 23 inches,” Finkbiner said. “We stock a lot of 16- to 17-inch browns.

“A good day of fishing in this section of Pine Creek is equal to fishing on high-quality rivers,” he said. “A lot of guys around here go to Montana for this kind of experience. Now, they can get that experience right here.”

The club has about 700 members. It offers three annual memberships.

“It’s fairly common for our members to give $100 to $300 donations because they love fishing ‘The Stretch’ so much.”

For more information, email Dave Cahill at