Who Says You Can't Go Home Again?

...must have been the Valley Creek trout.

When presented with the need to be in Philadelphia for a few business meetings, I jumped at the chance to head up and get back on my "home" trout water, Valley Creek.

Foot_Bridge_At_Valley_Creek_Pennsylvania

From 2009 to 2013, I probably fished Valley Creek at least every other weekend.  It was a 15 minute drive from my front door. It was where I caught my first trout on the fly. It was where I first fished tenkara. It was also a place that I knew like the back of my hand, and wasn't afraid to show others where to find the fish.

Ever since I moved to Florida, Valley hasn't been to kind to me during my sporadic returns. I had an underwhelming outing a year and a half ago...and this time...well, I went 0 for 2 again. 

Saturday just wasn't a good day. While it was tropical by Philadelphia standards (low 50s), it was the day after an early-Spring snowfall. The banks were a slurry of melting snow and mud, the sun refused to come out for the majority of the day, and it was just downright dreary. The scenery wasn't bad though.

covered-bridge-at-valley-creek-pennsylvania

I saw a few fish, honestly not many, but they just weren't active. They were all holding low in deep pools, not moving a muscle to any of my offerings. I even broke out some of the "break glass in emergency" nymphs, but they just weren't budging. I suppose it's somewhat symptomatic of this time of year, as looking back at fishing reports of years' past, February & March were always tough months to fish Valley, things never really picked up much until April.

Spring is trying to...spring...

On Sunday, the original plan was to meet up with Steven Smith from The Silent Pursuit blog around noon and give Valley a shot. We had worked this out ahead of my Saturday outing. It was actually to be about 10 degrees colder than Saturday, so I texted him to let him know that the prior day wasn't all that epic.  Basically I wanted to spare him a 40 minute drive for fishing I knew was going to be less than stellar.

I almost bailed on fishing completely, spending most of the afternoon in the King of Prussia Mall instead, but I did pop over for an hour or so around 3:30 PM, just to see if with the sun still relatively high in the sky, if there were any sort of bugs in the air or fish rising. Again, no dice. I wet a line in some of the spots that used to be tried and true producers, but no luck. Not even a nibble. I drowned my sorrows in a Wawa hoagie afterward.

dead-trout
A failed catch & release

I have to admit that it's a little disheartening to visit a place you miss so much, wish was closer to (your new) home, and never took for granted.  I know it's not really the creek or the trout's fault, it just would have been nice to have some success, even if only minimal.

A book of witchcraft found creekside?
Maybe that's why the fish weren't biting...

If one can take solace in something, I was really pleased to see a lot of twenty-somethings also fly fishing at Valley over the past two days. In all the years of me fishing Valley, I'd say the overwhelming majority of anglers I'd pass on the water appeared to either be guys like me in their 30s or 40s or anglers that were even more seasoned than that. 

It was extremely rare to see younger anglers at Valley, but this weekend I'd say 6 of the 8 anglers I hopscotched on the banks were decidedly younger than me. The few I chatted with seemed knowledgeable about fly fishing and very personable (which can be rare trait among anglers). One even knew what my tenkara rod was and asked a few questions about it. 

As a flight back to Florida awaits on Tuesday, Valley Creek is their creek now. I'm happy it appears to be in good hands.

Comments

  1. Isn't Tenkara a witchcraft word for skunk?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a reason why I wear a scarlet T! on my clothes...

      Delete
  2. So it was a sausage fest this early in the year? Ugh. How was the yoga pants hatch?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poor hatch. I think it was still too cold. Definite let down.

      Delete
  3. Nice, poignant little piece, Mike.
    I think you've finally slipped bonds with the North.

    Now, watch out for those manatees - they can sneak up on you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You found my book, Mike! Please mail it to me ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You write like a 16 year old girl then..

      Delete
  5. Looks like the next season of Sleepy Hollow is being filmed in Valley Forge...

    Like cheesesteaks could save that turd of a show...

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  6. Haha these other comments are hilarious. Did you check the book for any fishing secrets or maybe a reverse spell? I think I read "deep inside my bones" at the top of that first page....kinda creepy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was really creepy. Not sure why Gin Clear wrote all that stuff...

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  7. As if getting skunked wasn't enough, now we have to look out for the dang blair witch!

    This is what happens when you cut funding for state parks. Less rangers patrolling and before you know it the witches move in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who is this Funcfish, and why is he commenting so much?

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  8. I'm glad you were able to hit your home waters again. I've done some checking and found out that they will in fact let you come back home again whenever you want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the restraining order expired 3 months ago...

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  9. You know, to find a book like that... somebody didn't go missing in the area did they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not that I know of, but if they did, they took the fish with 'em!

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  10. Actually that book was a test from the tenkara grand lodge. You were supposed to decipher it and catch 3 trout to attain the next level of super unicorn initiate 2...

    Sorry you missed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's cool. I'm already a narwhal Grand Master, so it's all good.

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  11. MIke! Nice Post! Gotta say that the fish may not have welcomed you back, I am sure the river appreciated your presence! It still holds all the memories that were made on her banks and I am sure you will bring trout to the Tenkara again! Seriously.....which craft book on the bank, wonder what happened to the witch?!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the visit, yeah...lots of good memories, no doubt. Looking forward to the chance to make some more!

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  12. Great feeling to be on a "home stream." I have to say, I'm kind of intrigued by the book. That's a unique find. I love to invent the ways that ended up there, but probably some freaked out parent found it on their teenager and threw it in the river in a rage :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was kind of strange being there. Don't think it was something mistakenly left behind. I didn't really read much of it ad it was waterlogged and the pages all stuck together, but it was 1/4 full. Kinda creeped me out.

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  13. Hey Mike Philly is nice. That book may indeed be the reason for such lousy fishing.

    WAWA grinders are awesome. We had several stores here in CT a few years ago.

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    Replies
    1. Glad you've had the Wawa experience. I had heard they didn't make it in New England for some reason...probably didn't stock enough Moxie or something...

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    2. Moxie, you could have a point.

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  14. WAWA grinders? Love them almost as much as a Philly steak and cheese! You gotta have that with a big cup of pop though.

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