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

July 12, 2017

Photos From The Field

Last Sunday I found myself back in Philadelphia-area for the day... which certainly makes for a good excuse to toss a few photos into a quick post to document the goings on. Plus, my rental car was a sweet little red Kia Soul. I kinda liked it...

July 3, 2017

Fishing Report and Visiting A New River

Ahhh... it's been nice to be back in Pennsylvania for a few days. Even got to do a little fishing, and I do mean a little, but it was all good. A nice recharge of the batteries, as nothing beats the summer heat like a wet wade through some nice, cold water while chasing trout beneath the shade of a wooded canopy. Well, almost nothing...

Saturday: Valley Creek

On Saturday I snuck out to Valley Creek, my old stomping grounds. I'm not going to lie, I didn't have a very good day on the fishing front. I caught two fish, but they were so small I didn't bother to take photos. I'm talking fingerling size, both caught almost one after the other on a size 16 Copper John about 20 yards upstream from the wooden foot bridge. (If you've been to Valley, you know where I'm talking about). The rod of the day was the (updated and new to me) Tenkara Times TRY 360.

Every time I visit Valley, it's much different than the last. It's crazy how much Mother Nature can change the look of what used to be familiar water in a little less than a year. The water was pretty low too, making some of the usual riffles and deeper runs not quite the same. Guess that can be expected for July.

Uh oh, somebody lost their bobber. With Valley being catch and release, wild brown trout only water you don't often see bait fishing gear or associated remains scattered along the banks, so this was kind of a curious find. I suppose either a kid was playing around in the creek, or perhaps it washed downstream from somewhere else.

Sunday: Not So Secret Water

On Sunday, I drove just a little further West and visited one of my old "not so secret spots." Even when some of the other streams in the area slow down during the Summer, this one usually produced for me. I was sure this time would be no exception until...

And then...

Ummm.... those signs are new, and kind of strange considering they run along State Game lands. They were never there before in all the years I fished this section of the creek, so I kind of wonder if nearby landowners didn't just put them up to deter visitors... It's not like they had any specific information filled in on them. Oh, whatever...

Not wanting to really deal with the hassle (or potential gunfire pointed in my direction) should they have been legit, I had to resort to fishing a much shorter section nearby that hadn't really been quite as productive in the past, but I knew still held fish.

Fortunately, it did again. I only caught one wild brown, but it was a pretty specimen... even if the photo below doesn't really show it well, particularly the vibrant red spots. See, I was trying to do the good guy "keep 'em wet" thing and keep it at least partially submerged in my net while snapping a quick smartphone photo, but I didn't realize the amount of glare the water was producing. Almost looks like the fish is in a puddle of mercury or something.

Either way, the brownie put on a pretty good show, making a few deep runs before finally coming to hand/net after a surprisingly good fight. Oh, and as far as gear goes, I was fishing the Three Rivers Tenkara Confluence zoom rod (a feature which came in very handy with all of the summer growth vegetation choking out sections of water), 3.5 Tenkara USA level line, and a size 12 Road Kone Kebari.

That was about it on the trout front. I don't think I'll get out fishing on Monday before heading back to Florida on Tuesday. Can't say I'm disappointed. This trip wasn't really even about going fishing (these two outings were just a few stolen bonus hours), rather, it was about visiting family and getting to meet my new nephew River.

The kid's got a pretty cool name, right?

June 8, 2016

With Apologies To Pete...

Being my last opportunity to fish in Pennsylvania before heading back to Florida, I hit Valley Creek after work on Tuesday hoping find a fish or two.

As I approached the stream, there was a father with two small kids playing in the water I was planning on fishing. No big deal, they were there first, no reason to interrupt their hi-jinks. So I walked about 20 yards on the trail upstream, stood on the bank beside the water, and started to extend my telescoping tenkara rod when I heard...


And I when I turned around I was immediately greeted by a gentleman (& angler) that I didn't recognize. Scanning through my memory banks trying to place the face, he introduced himself as Pete, a reader of this blog for about five years.

To say I was surprised was an understatement, as I fished Valley regularly for almost 7 years, wrote about the creek almost weekly a few years back, and nobody ever identified themselves (or me) from the blog while I was fishing there. So my chance meeting with Pete might have been the coolest thing like ever.

I have to admit, I was a bit caught off guard, and really didn't know what to say. I don't even remember what I said exactly during our brief conversation. I think I said something open ended like "I'm about to fish this run," as in if you'd like to join me...but I probably came off as lame or self-occupied, and hopefully not too much like a douchebag. Pete said he was heading downstream and thanked me for writing the blog.

So in closing, Pete, if you're reading this, sorry if I appeared a little perplexed on the creek yesterday. I was just really startled and my mind was having trouble synthesizing what was going on. If you have a chance, please pop me an email HERE; I'd love to send you some T! swag. After all, it's not every day you meet one of your awesome long-time readers in person.

Oh, and I hope you did better downstream than I did upstream. I managed a hookup, but brought none to hand. Fish were rising, just couldn't get them to take...

June 7, 2016

The Best Laid Plans Of Fish And Men Often Go Awry

The stars just weren't aligned yesterday. But it's still all good.

So as I mentioned on Monday, the plan was to work, then go fishing immediately afterward. That's what I did, or at least tried to do.

In my (lack of) preparation, I neglected to uncover that the normal road I take that runs alongside Valley Creek is under construction and shut down. Like completely barricaded and whatnot. So when I drove to the creek after work, I couldn't access the road, and worse, the water.

So that kinda sucked. So close, yet so far away.

Being crafty, I eventually got to where I needed to be, but I had to backtrack the long way through the historical park, trying not to run down joggers and a peloton of cyclists in my haste, and pretty much wasted 30 minutes of daylight speeding past log cabins, monuments, and defunct artillery.


Fishing was only "meh," but when your last trouting was pretty ridiculous, what should one expect? It was fairly dark and overcast making it hard to see by the time I got into the creek, but I did manage a standard-issue 6-inch Valley brownie for my efforts. So at least the skunk steered clear, (it probably couldn't get past the roadside barricade either).

I'd also like to mention that I broke in my new L.L. Bean wading boots and dem jawns are where it be. It's not so much that they grip great, (they do), or are extremely comfortable, (they are), but I finally broke down and got a pair of boots with a BOA closure. Holy smokes, what have I been missing my whole life? On and off in like 10 seconds. I didn't think it was possible to love footwear not named Air or Jordan.

And while I'm head over heels for my new boots, it is nowhere close to describing how much in love I am with Wawa cannoli dip. Willpower is not my strong suit. And yes, it really is as good as it sounds.

Maybe the stars were aligned after all...

June 6, 2016

Ummm, Is Work Over Yet?

Back in Philly for the next three days for work.
Fortunately tenkara packs light.

Staying in King of Prussia (yes, that's the town's name), so should have the opportunity to sneak over to Valley Creek for a few hours today and Tuesday after work before flying back to Florida on Wednesday. If not Valley, perhaps a trip to my "secret" water, although that's a bit of a drive away. We'll see...

Oh, and since when did Wawa start making cannoli dip?
Like whoa, I'm clearly going to gain 10 pounds over these next few days...

Pardon the poor photo, couldn't contain my excitement

April 4, 2016

Valley Creek In The News...

Found my old stomping grounds in the news twice over the weekend...

Received my Spring 2016 issue of Trout magazine, (Trout Unlimited's member's only magazine) on Saturday. Page 26 features Valley Creek as a "Trout Adventure Near Cities" which it is. It's also not a secret to any Southeastern Pennsylvania trout angler in search of wild trout, so no reason to freak out that the magazine is "hot-spotting" some secret resource. also ran a piece over the weekend about how the Pennsylvania Turnpike expansion project may put those wild trout at risk. The local chapter of Trout Unlimited have concerns that the steps the Turnpike Commission & Tredyffrin Township plan on taking will not mitigate the additional storm water runoff created by the highway additions. The township actually claims that after they are down there will be less runoff. Both sides are presented fairly, which I like.

For those that don't understand why that is a concern, runoff is basically the rainwater that hits an impermeable surface such as asphalt and can't be absorbed. The introduction of runoff into a waterway can increase its temperature and bring with it any contaminants it picks up along the way (oil, antifreeze, etc...), none of which would be good for the resident trout population.

Neither read is particularly long and actually the piece adds additional color to the Trout magazine entry, so if you have access to both, they are good to read in tandem.

I've written about Valley Creek 68 prior times (more than any other waterway). To read previous posts about Valley Creek, including many fishing reports of the beautiful wild brown trout population, click HERE. I'd recommend scrolling down until you find posts from 2013, my last year as a Pennsylvania resident.

November 2, 2015

The Next Time I Visit Valley Creek In October I'll Leave The Rod At Home...

Haven't been back to Pennsylvania all that often since I moved to Florida. It's a shame, I miss it a lot, but for whatever the reason I've only been back maybe three (or four) times in almost three years.

A few weekends ago, back on the 17th of October, we decided to change that...and I even tried to get a little fishing in. Albeit somewhat unsuccessfully.

Look at the size of this HAWG!

It was sort of funny, Mother Nature must have known we were coming from sunny, 85 degree Florida. A cold front pushed through the region coinciding with our arrival, dropping the overnight/early morning temperatures down to the low 30s, the coldest in Philadelphia since April.

I had to use the window defrosters on the car in the morning...I don't even think cars in Florida have window defrosters. That kinda sucked. Ugh, I'm getting soft.

I should have known better, back in 2013 I visited at almost the same time of year and had very similar results. Valley Creek probably could have benefited from some rain too, the water was very low and very clear.

So in lieu of good wild trout pics, here are just some photos of the stream & surroundings.
Despite the cold temps and missing fish it was good to be back, I missed it.
Valley Creek warms my soul.

The covered bridge is evidently still under construction after being hit by a truck

Was bummed these riffles didn't yield any fish, they're usual a "honey hole"

Leaves down and in the water, you can tell it's Fall in the Northeast

A peek upstream - the low, slow water made the run look almost glass-like

The water's usually knee deep here, it was lucky to be ankle deep.

Postscript: October fishing in Valley Creek isn't always bad, I just had some bad luck the last two times. Here's a post from 2010 that shows the other side of the coin.

March 23, 2015

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.


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.


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.

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.

March 19, 2014

The Shit Is Back In Valley Creek

Thanks to a heads up from T! Fishing Blogger Pro Staffer "Dub The Thorax" Mike, it was brought to my attention that there's been yet another sewage spill into Valley Creek.  Yep, that Valley Creek...

Image lifted from

As noted here before, there was also a notable spill further upstream back in March 2012.  Yesterday's spill, at the Route 23 and 252 intersection is much closer to where Valley Creek meets the Schuylkill River...never good to have 5 MILLION GALLONS of waste flowing into a major watershed.  Sigh...

It's one thing to complain, but how to help?  I'm not sure at the moment, appears to be a case of deteriorating infrastructure, so I'm sure public works and PA Fish & Boat will be involved.  That said, it doesn't hurt to send Valley Forge Trout Unlimited some love though, as they are always involved in everything Valley Creek and its wild brown trout population.

October 28, 2013

When It's OK To Admit Your Fishing Trip Wasn't EPIC

Back in Pennsylvania, back in the cool weather, back at home.

I own a house in Jacksonville, but I still haven't adjusted to the "904" enough yet to call it home.  Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying exploring my new surroundings and doing my best to embrace all that they have to offer, but my heart is still in Philadelphia.

Heck, when I was introduced to new people on a business trip to New York City earlier in the week, when asked where I was from, I immediately responded "Philadelphia," not Jacksonville.  It's just the way it's going to be for a while.

So back at home for a long weekend, I had to take the opportunity to go fishing at least one day.  

Doing the hotel & rental car thing, my wife dropped me off at the creek in the AM and took the car to run some errands and meet up with some girlfriends.  She was going to be scarce all day, so I was pretty much left alone to be a vagrant trout bum.  Although I don't look overly excited here, (blame it on the sun in my eyes), I was thrilled to be back with tenkara rods in hand, ready to get a line wet.

Eh, until I took the 100 yard hike down to the water.  Or lack of it.  Valley Creek literally had no water in it.  Only shoelaces deep in spots.  In my opinion, Valley fishes best slightly high and a bit stained, so this wasn't going to be a good day of fishing and I knew it, although I didn't want to acknowledge it.  The constant wind and leaves in the water probably wouldn't help much either.  But at least that is expected for this time of year.

The ducks knew the deal.  Those roots are usually submerged

Matt (from The Functioning Fishaholics) was going to meet me a bit later, so I thought it would be at least the right thing to do to shoot him a text to tell him it was going to be a tough go, just in case he wanted to back out.  However with a new baby at home, he had received a rare "day pass," so I suppose the prospect of poor fishing was hardly a concern.  Or he was just sleep-deprived and drained of reason.  Whatever the cause and despite the forewarning, he still showed up, ready to go.  

It's probably not that surprising to report that we didn't catch fish.  Heck, we didn't even really see any fish, other than some huddled up in the remnants of a usually a deep pool.  They were hugging the bottom, and endless nymphs couldn't get them to budge.  It was just about the polar opposite of the last time we fished together when the fish were super active and everything was working.  After not catching for a few hours, we decided to bail and warm up with some burgers and fries.

Now I'm not one of those guys that waxes poetically about how it's "just great to be outdoors."  I mean it certainly beats being at work, but if I'm going fishing I want to catch at least some fish.  It's rare to get skunked...on my "home" water...chasing my fish of choice.

Numbers aren't important;  I don't need to catch 10, 50, or 100...a simple tug or two on the line and some flash in the water is all that I need to get my fix.

That said, I can't really say that I took this particular skunking all that hard.  Yeah, it would have been that overused adjective "EPIC" to have brought some Valley brownies to hand, especially since I can't just roll out of bed and be stream-side in 15 minutes anymore.

However it was almost just as nice to need to wear a sweatshirt again, feel air that was totally devoid of humidity, chat up Matt on topics you just don't post on Google+ (he boycotts Facebook), or even dip your hand in some cool running water that wasn't coming from a faucet.  I don't get things like that in Florida, I only get them at home.

July 11, 2013

Valley Creek - The Return

Back in Philadelphia for a few days, I carved out about two hours last night to hit up good ol' Valley Creek and say 'hi.'

Last time I was at Valley was back in April for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Blogger Trouting.  The fishing was so good that day I had figured for that I'd just make that the last hurrah for a while and leave it on a good note.  But proximity to my hotel and a new (to me) Tenkara USA Ebisu rod made it simply too convenient to pay Valley Forge National Historical Park a visit.

Oh, that's a new sign...

I'd lie if I said the fishing was epic.  The water was stained, fish weren't rising, and in general, the action was pretty slow.  I mustered one small fish and about a half a dozen "swipes" where the browns took a stab at, but just wouldn't take the fly.  That said, the Ebisu, when paired with a furled line, casts great.  I found the presentation of the fly to the water very soft, I'd like to try some more 5:5 rods/

Not even a fingerling...glad I haven't lost my small fish touch.  :)

My poor luck was probably the fishing Gods balancing things out for my recent catches in Florida.  No big deal, because unlike Florida there was ample shade, clear, cool water, and no biting bugs.  That alone made the the trip extremely worth it.