Maybe you haven’t heard of Valley Creek, but you’ve probably heard of Valley Forge. In December of 1777, George Washington used Valley Forge as the site of the winter encampment for the Continental Army. It was the perfect place for Washington, because Valley Creek and Schuylkill River form a natural defensive barrier for the rear of the camp.
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. Not to mention, 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 such a major city as Philadelphia, but you’ll quickly see that Valley Creek is a very special place.
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 length, with some gorgeous pools, runs, and riffles. The stream provides good hiding places for trout, with undercut banks and logs giving brown trout plenty of protection. It is fed by a smaller tributary, Little Valley Creek, which also possesses a great population of brown trout.
Valley Creek is known for its high pH level, which supports an excellent population of aquatic insects. Through the efforts of several local Trout Unlimited clubs, the stream has been well-maintained and protected, despite its proximity to Philadelphia.
The water temperature of this spring fed limestone stream very 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.
Click map icons to get directions to fishing spots and USGS real-time stream flow data.
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 course of the stream. You’ll find 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 your eye out for areas of public access.
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’ll also want to check out Little Valley Creek, which has its own impressive population of brown trout.
Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Valley Creek. 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 7-days. If flows are considerably above or below historical norms (yellow triangles on the chart) then fishing conditions may not be ideal.
The season for Valley Creek is standard Pennsylvania trout season. Spring is the best season to visit. However, you’ll find the largest brown trout during the fall season, because of the spawn. You could also visit in the winter or summer, since the water temperature stays relatively consistent throughout the year.
Because the brown trout at Valley Creek live in such a rich environment, typical of spring fed limestone streams, they can be awfully picky about what they eat. The diet of the trout in this stream mostly consists of scuds, midges, and sculpin. You’ll also see plenty of Blue-Winged Olives, Sulphurs, and Tricos. The most common caddis are Little Black Caddis, Green Sedges, and Cinnamon Sedges. Additionally, the trout enjoy terrestrial insects, such as Ants, Grasshoppers, and Beetles.
You’ll have the most luck at Valley Creek if you have flies that match the nymph and adult stage of the various insect hatches. Here is a list of recommended fly patterns:
- 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)
A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with 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.
Area fly shops and on-line retailers that publish Valley Creek fly fishing reports are listed below.
Valley Creek is managed under Catch-and-Release - All Tackle regulations with the exception of 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.
Valley Creek fishing regulations are available on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.
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.
You’ll find 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.
Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.
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