March 21, 2010

Great Day Outside in Valley Forge

Could the weather have been any nicer this week?  Today was probably about 75 degrees, unseasonably warm for Pennsylvania at this time of's been like this all week...and will be again on Sunday!

Working the corporate 9 to 5 (or make that 8 to 6) everyday kept me in the office all week, but on Saturday morning I was finally able to get outside and enjoy the nice weather and decided to hit Valley Creek in Valley Forge National Park for a morning of trout fishing.
The Barn Near the Parking Area

Most folks aren't trout fishing right now, as all "Approved Trout Waters" - aka the streams that get stocked by the state - are closed until April 3rd, the official opening day of SE PA trout season.  Valley Creek on the other hand is special regulations water, so it's strictly artificial lures, catch and release. I decided I wanted to fish my tenkara rod downstream from the landmark covered bridge, a stretch of water I've only fished once before.
Tenkara USA 11' Iwana - Locked & Loaded!

I'll be honest, I never have much success at Valley, but today I had fish on my line constantly.  Although the haul doesn't sound huge (5 to hand and at least 4 more that spit my fly during the fight), it was my best day at Valley on fly fishing tackle, tenkara style or otherwise.  Here's some pics of a few of the fish, all in the smallish 6 to 8 inch range, but a blast to play and bring in on the ultra-sensitive Tenkara USA Iwana rod.

Most of the fish were caught on a Zebra Midge (a gift from "flyguy" on the forum) drifted beneath an Elk Hair Caddis used as an indicator.


  1. Great day, Michael, on some beautiful looking Brookies! Here is hoping for a bunch more happy hook ups in the days to come.

  2. My wife lived in that area when I met her. We use to go there when I visited her.

    Beautiful fish...nice job!

  3. Right on! Got a question - Is the Tenkara technique easier than the normal technique? Is it mostly for dry flies cast upstream or can you fish streamers and nyphms, too?

    The streams around here are sometimes no more than a trickle and there seems to me with all that line flying around, and the line that gets taken up, I would be snagging on weeds and brush all the time.

  4. Trout - Valley i a tough creek no matter when you fish it. Hooking 8-9 trout there is a great day. The fish's size doesn't matter at all.

    Nice day


  5. @ Mel - Thanks for the wishes. It was such a beautiful day it would have been enjoyable even with no fish!

    @ Dennis - If you ever get back over this way, sounds like a fishing outing is in order.

    @ Owl - I find it easier in the fact that there is just less to worry about (and get in the way). The furled line is easy to cast with a simple short stroke. Believe it or not, although it's strength is probably dries, I've been doing more nymphs with it lately. Also the fish I caught on New Years were on a Wooly Bugger, so streamers work too. You can't strip line like with a reel, the motion is more jerks of the wrist.

    There are limitations. First is the fixed line. You can't cast 50 feet. 20 to 25 feet is probably the max. Also, it takes a while to get used to the extended rod length. My rod is 11', and I was using a 7.5' fly rod for the type of water you describe.

    Don't want to be TOO lengthy here, so hit me up via email with any more questions. I'd be happy to talk more tenkara.

    Three great resources to learn more are:

  6. Those are some pretty fish! What a great day to be out! You can't ask for better weather than this in March.

  7. Those are some beautiful trout!! How is fishing in the fall in PA?

    BTW nice looking blog :)

  8. Shad don't run up that river anymore do they?

  9. @ Bill - No doubt. Think I've been spoiled by all of the warm weather.

    @ Shane - Thanks for stopping by. Visited your blog as well. I'm going to add it to my blogroll.

    @ Zach - No. Shad runs on the Schuylkill don't really happen anymore, so they never get to Valley Creek. You can find some catfish in there from time to time though.