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Posted: 5/1/2011 5:20:36 PM EDT
I went fishing today. No kids, no wife, no ulterior motive, just fishing.

Valley Creek runs through Valley Forge National Park. In fact, it passes fifty feet from General Washington's HQ just before it empties into the Schuylkill. Surprising for proximity to Philly, it is a Class A wild trout stream, full of stream-bred brown trout. The creek is catch-and-release only; at some point they were all contaminated with mercury or something and no consumption was allowed. The rules stayed and the fish thrived.

There is no resemblance to the Winter of the Red Snow. Everything is bursting with life, from the birds to the bees. The creek is spring-fed, so it is cool and has good flows year-round. The problem is that the creek is sandwiched between a road and a trail, both noisy and high-traffic. It isn't wilderness fishing. There were no dogs or kids swimming today, but a few callow youths flinging stones into the stream.

The fish are picky. They've all got advanced degrees in ignoring your fly. I think they were keying in on caddis emergers because I didn't see a lot of caddis hatching, but I saw a lot of rises that didn't quite break the surface.

They were not all so picky:

I saw him rise, knelt on the bank, got a really good drift on the first try and bang, a foot long brown. He took a size 18 elk-hair caddis with light wings over a grey hackle.

Upstream, three guys were fishing and I guess they got frustrated and left, because the run they were fishing had five or six risers along a seam. I took the same caddis and fished fine and far off, missing a couple of strikes, but nabbing one more larger trout:

I think thirteen or fourteen inches. He jumped and flipped and thrashed like he was a sea-run badass, and I'm thankful to have landed him because as I netted him, the tippet parted at a knot. It was a good day to go fishing.
Link Posted: 5/2/2011 8:24:50 PM EDT
Nice fish Do you ever do any fly fishing on French Creek? My Grandfather used to take me fishing there, as well as many trips to Valley Forge.
Link Posted: 5/3/2011 5:48:24 AM EDT
Nice fish Do you ever do any fly fishing on French Creek? My Grandfather used to take me fishing there, as well as many trips to Valley Forge.

I've never been fishing on French Creek. I just looked it up on the PFBC county guide, and it's only a little further along Route 23 than Valley Creek. This bears further investigation.
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