Pennsylvania Fly Fishing 4 min read

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Valley Creek in Southeast Pennsylvania

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

April 4, 2024

Valley Creek in Valley Forge National Park

You may not have heard of Valley Creek, but you have probably heard of Valley Forge. In December 1777, George Washington used Valley Forge as the Continental Army’s winter encampment. The creek and the Schuylkill River formed a natural defensive barrier for the camp’s rear, making it perfect for Washington.

Of course, now you are much more likely to encounter brown trout than General Washington’s troops, but the place is still a historically rich environment. The Creek is a Class A Trout Stream, with trout measuring up to twenty inches.

It might surprise you to learn that such a thriving stream could exist so close to Philadelphia, but you’ll quickly see that Valley Creek is a very special place.

About Valley Creek

Fly fishing Valley Creek in Pennsylvania

Valley Creek starts in East Whitland and flows into the Schuylkill River. It is about 10.8 miles long and flows through an area known as the Great Valley. On average, the Creek measures 15 to 20 feet in width and has gorgeous pools, runs, and riffles.

The stream provides good hiding places for trout, and undercut banks and logs provide plenty of protection for brown trout. It is fed by a smaller tributary, Little Valley Creek, which also has a large brown trout population.

The Creek is known for its high pH level, supporting an excellent aquatic insect population. Through the efforts of several local Trout Unlimited clubs, the stream has been well-maintained and protected, despite its proximity to Philadelphia.

This spring-fed limestone stream’s water temperature rarely exceeds 70 degrees, even during the hottest summer months. This means you can tackle this stream at any time of the year and still get good results. At Valley Creek, you’ll mostly see wild brown trout, as the stream is not stocked.

Valley Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing spots on Valley Creek in Pennsylvania

Get Directions to the Fishing Access Points shown above with the DIY Fly Fishing Map

Best Spots to Fish Valley Creek

Three miles of the lower sections of Valley Creek flow through Valley Forge National Historical Park. This area is accessible from Pennsylvania Route 252, which follows the stream’s course. There are plenty of parking opportunities along this road. You can also access the uppermost part of the stream by hiking upstream from Interstate 76. Keep in mind that there is privately owned property along the stream, so keep an eye out for public access areas.

The stream is accessible to wade fishermen, however it’s best to stay out of the water if possible as the stream bred trout spook very easily.

If you have time, you should also check out Little Valley Creek, which has an impressive population of brown trout.

Stream Flow and Current Conditions

Be sure to check the stream conditions before fishing. The USGS stream gauge near Valley Forge, PA, provides a good indication of current conditions.

The graph below shows the stream flow (discharge) for the past seven days. If flows are considerably above or below historical norms (yellow triangles on the chart), fishing conditions may not be ideal.

Valley Creek at PA Turnpike Br near Valley Forge

  • Temperature: 60.98 ° F
  • Streamflow: 31.2 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 3.45 ft
Temperature GraphStreamflow GraphGage height Graph
USGS

Best Time to Fish Valley Creek

Spring is the best season to visit. However, because of the spawn, you’ll find the largest brown trout during the fall season. You could also visit in the winter or summer, since the water temperature stays relatively consistent throughout the year.

Best Flies for Valley Creek

Because the brown trout at Valley Creek live in a rich environment, typical of spring-fed limestone streams, they can be picky about what they eat. The trout’s diet in this stream mostly consists of scuds, midges, and sculpin.

You’ll also see plenty of Blue-Winged Olives, Sulphurs, and Tricos. Little Black Caddis, Green Sedges, and Cinnamon Sedges are the most common caddis. Additionally, the trout enjoy terrestrial insects, such as Ants, Grasshoppers, and Beetles.

You’ll have the most luck at the Creek if you have flies that match the nymph and adult stages of the various insect hatches.

Regarding fly patterns, here is a list of some of the best flies for Valley Creek:

  • Blue Winged Olive (#14 – 20)
  • Crane Flies (#18 – 20)
  • Midges (various) (#20 – 24)
  • Sulphur (#16)
  • Tan Caddis (#16)
  • Green Caddis (#14 – 16) 
  • Scuds, Cress bug (#12 – #14)
  • Terrestrials (ants and beetles) (#12 – 20)
  • Woolly Bugger (#4-8)

Gear Recommendations

A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with a floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Valley Creek.  A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 4X to 6X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.

Valley Creek Fishing Reports

Area fly shops and online retailers that publish Valley Creek fly fishing reports are listed below.

Fishing Regulations

Valley Creek is managed under Catch-and-Release—All-Tackle regulations except the river reach in Valley Forge National Park, where the use of bait is prohibited.

Pennsylvania requires all anglers 16 and older to have a standard fishing license and a special permit for trout fishing, which can be obtained online or in most sporting goods stores in the state.

Fishing regulations are available on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.

Trip Planning Tips

The nearest airport to Valley Creek is the Philadelphia International Airport. If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of a major airport, you could also visit the Lehigh Valley International Airport is another nearby option, which is about an hour away from your destination. 

There are plenty of lodging opportunities in Philadelphia. If you are looking for reasonably priced accommodations in the area and don’t want to stay directly in the city, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham West Chester is located a mere 15 minutes away from Valley Creek Park. They offer complimentary breakfast and a free fitness center.

Of course, some of us can’t resist the great outdoors. If you would rather stick to campgrounds, Brandywine Creek Campground is well known for its beautiful location and its close proximity to other attractions in the area. 

Between its rich history, excellent aquatic insect population, and plentiful wild brown trout, Valley Creek deserves to be on your Pennsylvania fly fishing bucket list.

Looking for more places to fish? Visit our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Pennsylvania.