Showing posts with label Valley Creek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valley Creek. Show all posts

January 16, 2022

The Lost Valley Creek Fishing Report


In reviewing my posts from 2021 I realized that I never bothered to write up two short trips I made to Valley Creek during my family's 3 week return to Philadelphia in July. While the weather was warm (we were there around the 4th), the mornings in Valley Forge were nice and cool, as was the water. At least until the sun got high in the sky.

July 3rd...

Yeah, the wooden bridge. It's not the most famous wooden bridge over Valley Creek, but for those that know where this is, they also know how convenient it is to use to access the stream. 

On this day I took my Orvis 3-weight Superfine Carbon on its maiden voyage. I picked it up on sale when Orvis discontinued the model in favor of the fiberglass version. In the time I've fished it I've really enjoyed it. A bit more light in hand and fun to cast than my old Redington Classic Trout, (although that's a nice rod too and much less expensive than this Orvis) - I kinda regret selling it.

After hitting the water at around 9AM, it didn't take long for me to find one of Valley's brown trout. A fine specimen of what the creek has to offer, and one of a few I'd bring to hand on the day.

The fishing wasn't epic by any stretch, but with air temperatures only reaching the 70s, it was an absolute joy to be outside. A lot of other people had the same idea, as there were tons of folks not only fishing, but also riding horses, walking dogs, playing in the water, and all the other things people do on and around trails within a popular park. If you look closely at the photo below, you'll see some people getting their feet wet right beyond the metal bridge.  

July 10...

This day was to be a tenkara day. Not getting into semantics, I'll call it tenkara here, but I largely fished with beadhead nymphs... which is decidedly #nottenkara. I met up with a local fixed line angler named George that I had met on Facebook and we pretty much had our run of the creek that morning. 

It was a bit warmer than the prior week, so we were only going to fish in the morning. If I recall, I caught 3 or 4 browns mostly in the riffles.

I think George caught one or two as well, I don't remember exactly. It was one of those fishing trips where you meet up with somebody and chat for a bit, but give each other plenty of space on the stream. 

George was within view, but we were never fishing next to each other. That said, we'd occasionally meet up and swap stories with lines out of the water.

As planned, we called it quits around lunchtime. Mother Nature's oven was now on full blast and the fishing activity had diminished considerably. After collapsing our rods, we walked back up to the parking lot and stowed our gear while exchanging a few final stories about upcoming fishing plans. 

George is a great guy. I'm thrilled we got to meet up and I'd love to fish with him again someday.

June 22, 2019

Birthday in the Valley

Earlier this month K.C., Lilly, & I spent a long weekend back "home" in the Philadelphia area. The timing was right, the airfare was cheap, and it just kind of came together in a spur-of-the-moment fashion.

It also happened to be my birthday over that weekend, so given the opportunity there was no way I wasn't going to pay a visit to good old Valley Creek.

But first, some history.

In all the years I lived in southeastern Pennsylvania, and with the frequency that I fished Valley Creek, I never really stopped to do the historical stuff one finds in this gem of a National Historical Park.

You know, Valley Forge, the place where Washington and the Continental army wintered over 1777 and early 1778 while the British held Philadelphia? There's a ton of cool stuff to see, so on Saturday, the day before my birthday, the family & I decided to finally take in some of the sights...

George Washington slept here. For real.
The famous Broadway rapper Alexander Hamilton did too!

All of which was incredibly fun and enriching to experience. The history in the area runs very deep, and every nook and cranny of the park oozes red, white, and blue. I'm actually ashamed that I've walked past Washington's headquarters at least a half dozen times in the past, but this is the first time I had ever ventured inside.

Now while all of that is extremely timely and relevant, let's not forget the reason why we're actually here... the next morning of fishing!

And if you've been to this blog anytime between 2009 & 2014, you've definitely seen photos of this covered bridge before...

On Sunday morning the water was a little high, the fish not totally cooperative, and even though I got a little head start, by 9:00 am, fellow anglers seemed to be dropping in every 50-100 yards. Each bend in the stream I navigated yielded another waving fly rod and waders. So not ideal conditions, but still cold water, wild trout, and the feeling of being back where I belong.

Despite my whining, the fishing was good enough that I got into a few using my tenkara rod and white hackle kebari. The ability of tenkara to provide delicate landings while keeping one's line completely off the water can be particularly effective at Valley since the resident brown trout can be spooky and will definitely notice a "line heavy" presentation.

This particular fish had been through some battles in its life, (or at least was possibly caught before), as it was missing that little flap of skin right along its upper jaw on the one side. I've always thought fish like this kind of look like an old man without his dentures...

Either way, let 'em go for another day...

I didn't take many photos, as I probably didn't spend as much time fishing as I would have preferred due to the wader traffic. So you'll just have to take my word that the weather was beautiful, the fish were pretty as ever, and it's amazing how much a stream's features can change over a few short years.

On the hike back out to the car an observant gentleman (who probably noticed the collapsed rod in my hand) did stop me and ask, "fishing tenkara?"

After I replied in the affirmative, he then went on to say he was part of the leadership team with Valley Forge Trout Unlimited (possibly an officer or member of the board, I don't exactly recall) and he wished me luck on the stream. He was not fishing, just hiking a trail with a companion I assume was his wife, seemingly reveling in being near the stream and those that enjoy it.

Before passing, I thanked him for all he and his group do to keep this public (and historically abused) resource an oasis in otherwise what is a very urban and overdeveloped area of Pennsylvania.

And that sentiment was not just polite small talk. I always loved the escape from the hustle and bustle Valley Creek provided, even if you may run into too many other anglers, or unaware dog walkers prompting Fido to take a splash in the fishy looking pool just upstream, or these days, people posing for creek-side selfies in a quest to become Insta-famous.

Despite all of those minor inconveniences, Valley Creek remains special. The riparian buffer provides refuge and the cool of shade on a warm late spring afternoon, the water remains cold and surprisingly clear, the brown trout are abundant, naturally reproducing and wild, and all the hard work Valley Forge Trout Unlimited does keeps it that way.

So on that particular day, little did that gentleman know that he and his VFTU friends were more than partly responsible for the best birthday present this trout angler could ask for. And for that, I'd again like to pass along a heartfelt "thank you."

January 8, 2019

Pondering Valley Creek

Has it really been since 2017?

I think so...

When I lived in Pennsylvania, I used to fish Valley Creek in Valley Forge National Historical Park virtually every weekend. Those were probably the best days of my fly fishing, living so close to that water was something special. It's where I pretty much learned to fly fish; first streamers, then nymphs and dries, figured out line management, clicker reels, roll casts, I even caught my first fish on a tenkara rod there. So many good memories.

It's not a secret stream, not in the least. It actually gets quite a bit of pressure, especially on the weekends. And not just from fishermen... hikers, joggers, dog walkers, and horse riders all come out to enjoy the trails by her banks. Rightfully so, considering it's one of the more picturesque (and few) wild trout streams in the greater Philadelphia area. And those Valley Creek browns, they might not be the biggest, but damn if they aren't pretty fish.

Reflecting on Valley Creek makes me yearn to go back. The last time I was there was two years ago, and even then it had changed so much since my heyday of the early 2010s. Would I still recognize it? Would it fish the same? I guess there's only one way to find out...

The 2019 non-resident (gasp) Pennsylvania fishing license has been purchased. The return is inevitable.

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite pictures of Valley and its residents.