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Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

Joined:
4/18 22:57
From Philadelphia
Posts: 8
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Hi guys. I have fly fished twice, ever, on a recent trip to Patagonia. Pretty amazing place to try out this beautiful sport for the first time. I suck at it, but I am nevertheless obsessed and dedicated to making a good go of it. Heck, I even READ a River Runs Through It! Anyhow, I just bought the stuff I need to get started and plan on going by myself for the first time to Valley Creek this Saturday. I have a 9' 5wt Orvis Clearwater rod and have some basic questions, like...

Is Valley Creek horrible for a novice because the fish are so spooky and I'm a garbage novice caster?

Is my rod too long and line to heavy?

How does a 10ft 5x leader with 5' 6x tippet sound? I know it depends on the fly size...

After doing some flailing around the internet about Pennsylvania spring flies, I bought a sampling of things I saw consistently across a few forums, but probably bought them in the wrong sizes (i.e., too big) for spring/Valley Creek. Specifically, I bought:

Prince Nymphs: #12 / #14
Gold Bead Hares Ear Nymph: #12
Adams Dry Fly: #12 / #14
Quill Gordon Dry: #12
Wd-40: #20
Griffiths Gnat Dry Fly: #18
Elkwing Caddis Dry Fly: #16
Slow Water Caddis Dry: #16

I also bought the Orvis Eastern Trout Spring selection, featuring a variety in sizes 14-18: http://www.orvis.com/p/eastern-trout-spring-selection/79x6

Given what I've read here, it seems like I should be trying sizes #16 (at most) and smaller (#18, #20) on Valley Creek, and likely the WD-40, Griffiths, Elkwing Caddis, and Slow Water Caddis listed above. Does this seem about right? I recognize I'll have to try a few things out, and at least try those flies from my meager beginner's selection that appear to match the size and shape of what I observe the fish to be eating. I know there aren't hard and fast answers here; just trying to make sure I'm generally on the right track.

I also purchased some New Zealand Strike Indicators and split shot. Seems like I should forego the split shot, but should I use the New Zealands or try this wild dry dropper thing I heard about for the first time ever by reading this thread? Or should I just wing it and skip any kind of indicator because I'm new and over-complicating things?

I plan to practice my casting for a few hours on each of the next two evenings in the local park (I live in South Philly a few blocks from Pat's/Geno's and will look...peculiar). Anything else I should do to prepare for this momentous personal occasion?!

If you'd all be so kind to answer even some of these questions and provide tips, I'd be most grateful. This seems like a real positive place with people willing to teach those who wish to learn, so I'm happy I found you. My first excursion will undoubtedly be a bungled mess, but it's gonna be a blast.

Finally, I'm new to this community and happy to be told bluntly what the etiquette is, i.e., should I have posted this in another thread or its own thread.

Thanks folks. Be gentle!


Posted on: 4/19 0:09


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators
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Joined:
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
Posts: 2838
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"Yo" to you South Philly guy.

Valley is tough, but give it a try. Your 9' 5wt rod outfit is fine, no need to buy anything else.

The "10' 5x leader with a 5' 6x tippet" you mentioned will be way too long for you to cast . Try simple 9' 5x leader and add a 3' tippet of 5x or 6x for smaller flies. If you have trouble casting, just shorten up until you find the length of leader/tippet you can handle.

The New Zealand strike indicator should work, just trim it down fairly small for stealth, plus a smaller indy will work fine for the smaller flies you should be fishing.

You may want to try a dry-dropper instead of an indy. Just tie on a fairly buoyant and visible dry fly, and tie a length of tippet to the bend of the dry and tie on a small sinking fly to ride below your dry. The dry fly will act as your indy and the fish may hit either fly. The second fly can be tie from 12"- 36" depending on the depth of the water.

You have a useful selection of flies listed:

Prince Nymphs: #12 / #14
Gold Bead Hares Ear Nymph: #12
Adams Dry Fly: #12 / #14
Quill Gordon Dry: #12
Wd-40: #20
Griffiths Gnat Dry Fly: #18
Elkwing Caddis Dry Fly: #16
Slow Water Caddis Dry: #16

For dries, the adams is a little big to imitate the blue winged olives but may be used for you dry dropper rig. The EW caddis may work on it's own or be a for a great dry dropper. The slow water caddis and griffiths gnat would also be a good flies to try on top.

The bigger nymphs can be fished with your indy while the WD40 would be great for the sinking fly on your dry/dropper rig. Give them all a try!

I saved the most important advice about fishing Valley for last. All the above is meaningless if you spook the fish before or during your cast.

Stay out of the water when you can. Wade carefully when you must wade. Stay low and spend more time casting from your knees than standing up when fishing Valley. Try not to cast your line over the fish.

Give it go! Have fun! Post a report. Good luck

Posted on: 4/19 7:38


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

Joined:
4/18 22:57
From Philadelphia
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What a remarkably fast, thoughtful, and comprehensive reply. Thanks so much. It seems obvious now that 15' of leader/tippet is far too much. Duh. And great tips otherwise. My Orvis "spring selection" includes a smaller blue winged olive or two, so I could try those directly in place of the Adams. But glad I seemed to have gotten a useful selection.

I will be very stealthy when fishing...Valley Creek just seemed to be the best combo of close and lovely for fishing spots. The Wissahickon in Philly is a more urban experience than I'm looking for, and likely very crowded so I wanted to go a little farther even if it'd be easier for me to fish.

More general questions about stocking up on flies and organizing them. First, you can see the selection of flies I have. First, does it make sense to get each one in all of the sizes I can reasonably tie to my 4x, 5x, and 6x tippets (i.e., #10-#20 or #22, I think?), or is that silly? Just trying to understand what is "normal" when buying flies.

Second, it seems like it will take me a long, long time to memorize by sight what each of my flies is when they are in my fly box (I still have them in their labeled packaging). Am I wrong that I should organize them in my fly box by (1) keeping flies of the same kind together and (2) otherwise organizing them by size and shape? Not sure if there's a better organizing principle that I'm missing.

Thanks!

Posted on: 4/19 10:35


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
Posts: 2838
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Quote:

bsullivan wrote:
What a remarkably fast, thoughtful, and comprehensive reply. Thanks so much. It seems obvious now that 15' of leader/tippet is far too much. Duh. And great tips otherwise. My Orvis "spring selection" includes a smaller blue winged olive or two, so I could try those directly in place of the Adams. But glad I seemed to have gotten a useful selection.

I will be very stealthy when fishing...Valley Creek just seemed to be the best combo of close and lovely for fishing spots. The Wissahickon in Philly is a more urban experience than I'm looking for, and likely very crowded so I wanted to go a little farther even if it'd be easier for me to fish.

More general questions about stocking up on flies and organizing them. First, you can see the selection of flies I have. First, does it make sense to get each one in all of the sizes I can reasonably tie to my 4x, 5x, and 6x tippets (i.e., #10-#20 or #22, I think?), or is that silly? Just trying to understand what is "normal" when buying flies.

Second, it seems like it will take me a long, long time to memorize by sight what each of my flies is when they are in my fly box (I still have them in their labeled packaging). Am I wrong that I should organize them in my fly box by (1) keeping flies of the same kind together and (2) otherwise organizing them by size and shape? Not sure if there's a better organizing principle that I'm missing.

Thanks!


Here's a link to a blog article about fly seleciton I wrote a while back > Dozen Top Flies

I worked at a fly shop not long ago, and your questions about fly selection were asked by beginning FFers just about every day.

My best advice is to use tried-and-true patterns in different colors shapes and sizes and also be observant. If you see a large dark fly hatching on the water, tie on a large dark fly!! ....and so on. Just match what you see. No need to memorize the names of the flies you carry > big dark ones, small light-colored ones....

The last lines of the article describe the different types of insects that hatch > mayfly, caddisfly, stonefly and terrestrials. If you just learn to ID these types of insects and match their size, profile and general color, you're well on your way.

Again, stealth is first.

Finding the fish is the second key to success (although at Valley there are fish everywhere).

Making a good presentation is next.

Fly selection is usually the least important key to success.

See what happens if you don't spook the fish, and get a good drift over a trout with the "wrong" fly......

Posted on: 4/19 11:38


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

Joined:
2016/12/8 16:56
From Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 40
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bsullivan,

I'll attempt to add some more information on Valley Creek for you since I do my best to fish it fairly regularly, although I'm sure not as regularly as some members of this forum. Afishinado had some great points as well! TCO Fly Shop now in Haverford in the Orvis store is also super helpful, so don't be afraid to stop in there or give them a call. You may even drive past it on your way to Valley Creek.

I was just out there last week and the fish were definitely feeling the dry dropper method, so I would try that. As afishinado mentioned, the caddis and griffiths gnat flies would be the best dry flies to use in that combo. If I am fishing a dry dropper, I usually fish the dropper about 18" below the dry for Valley Creek. The WD-40 would be a great dropper fly. Mind you though that this method might not work great for fish holding in deep holes.

If you're going to fish some of the deeper holes the New Zealand indicator would work great. As already stated, just trim it short so it's not as visible to fish and lands softly. I generally fish size 16 and smaller flies even with an indicator, and just add a small split shot to help get the flies down. Your larger nymphs like the hare's ear and the ones in the Orvis selection would be decent in helping to get the WD-40 down if you're fishing a tandem rig. If not, you can always just add some split shot above the WD-40 to get it down. Plus, if you break off with one fly that sometimes hurts less than losing two!

Your outfit should work just fine for Valley Creek as well. I fish it with a 9 ft 4 wt all the time and that is the perfect size for me. As previously mentioned, the fish are spooky there, so you really do need to stalk them. Stay as far away from places that you plan to cast to, and if you must wade, approach carefully from downstream.

Valley Creek is a very popular stream to fish, so I'm sure you might run into a few other anglers out there. Everyone I've met there has been very friendly as well. As for where to park/fish, the best fishing seems to be above the Knox Quarters bridge. I usually park there, and fish up to the 76 overpass, and if I haven't had my fill, I'll drive up to Bradford Road and walk down to 76 and then fish back up and from there.

The stream is loaded with fish, so pretty any place that looks like it holds fish probably will. I generally target the riffles, runs, and pools. Sometimes the slower water will be holding fish if bugs are hatching, but they generally stay more hidden. When I was there last week the fish had definitely spread out from their wintering holes.

To start into a little bit about fly selection, Valley Creek has always been kind to me if I fish a size 18 or size 20 beadhead black zebra midge. Other flies that work well for me are size 16 black elk hair caddis, a size 16 walts worm, a black soft hackle, and olive caddis pupa. Those are some of my go to's, but many other flies work well there too.

I'll take a stab at answering your questions about stocking up on and organizing flies. First, it is really easy to end up with a TON of flies. To start, I'd probably figure out what streams you plan on fishing regularly, and pick up some flies for those spots. You don't need a ton to be successful. Some of the general flies (hares ear nymphs, pheasant tail nymphs, midges, elk hair caddis, parachute adams, etc.) will get you a long ways. If you do a little research on where you plan to fish you can tailor what you're buying or tying to that. Also keep in mind that you usually lose nymphs more than dries since you may snag on the bottom.

As for organizing the flies, a lot of that is personal preference. As for me, I organize by fly type, then color, and finally size. Whatever works for you is what you should do though! Most people organize at the simplest by dry flies, nymphs, and streamers. After that a lot becomes personal preference. I'm sure some other members here might have better advice on that than I do.

If you have any other questions about Valley Creek, please feel free to let me know! You can always shoot me a PM and I'd be happy to answer any and all questions you might have. Good luck on Saturday, and don't forget to have fun!

Posted on: 4/19 11:51


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

Joined:
4/18 22:57
From Philadelphia
Posts: 8
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Thanks folks. All of this is very helpful. Another question - should I cut off the welded loop on my fly line and use a nail knot to attach the leader or just use the handshake loop knot and call it a day? Word on the street is that the welded loop is for wimps and, more importantly, looks unnatural and will spook the fish.

Posted on: 4/19 23:40


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

Joined:
2016/12/8 16:56
From Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 40
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I'd leave the welded loop. I've always used them and never had a problem.

Posted on: 4/20 7:08


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

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2011/5/3 12:22
From Morgantown, PA
Posts: 1228
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The loop to loop connection for the leader may in part be for wimps avoiding tying a nail knot, but it works just as well as a nail knot and is a heck of a lot easier to tie and deal with. You also aren't continually trimming back the head of your fly line as you attach new leaders. I use loop style connections for all my leader to fly line connections.

No sense in worrying about the welded loop spooking fish more than a nail knot. I don't think there's a difference, but even if there was...If you're fishing in conditions where you need to worry about little things like that spooking them, in most cases you will have already spooked the fish before the line hits the water anyway. Either before you casted, or during your cast...regardless of your line to leader connection of choice.

Posted on: 4/20 8:02


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

Joined:
4/18 22:57
From Philadelphia
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Great, thanks. I'm not scared of the nail knot and actually rather enjoy knot tying...which is a weird thing to express...but if it doesn't make much of a difference why bother. And yeah, my garbage casting and sloshing around will spook the fish long before my knot selection.

Posted on: 4/20 10:35


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

Joined:
4/18 22:57
From Philadelphia
Posts: 8
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Oh - and is an early morning essential here? It seems like water temp is king and given that tomorrow's high it just about 60 and it's been pretty chilly, any time of day would likely be fine?

Posted on: 4/20 11:46


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

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Thank you for all the great posts in this thread.

Posted on: 4/20 12:34


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

Joined:
2016/12/8 16:56
From Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 40
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Quote:

bsullivan wrote:
Oh - and is an early morning essential here? It seems like water temp is king and given that tomorrow's high it just about 60 and it's been pretty chilly, any time of day would likely be fine?


Any time should be fine. Just keep in mind that as you get into the prime time of the day there will be more anglers out, and if you're fishing behind them they may have spooked some fish.

Posted on: 4/20 12:41


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

Joined:
4/18 22:57
From Philadelphia
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Understood. Thank you.

Posted on: 4/20 15:33


Re: Valley Creek and Strike Indicators

Joined:
4/18 22:57
From Philadelphia
Posts: 8
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Well that was a fairly demoralizing first go of it. Lost two flies (which the gents at TCO told me was actually pretty low for the Valley) and...accidentally, stupidly broke my rod, and just as I felt like I was hitting my stride. Did not come close to catching a fish but had fun putzing around. Thing I need - tons of casting practice and probably a one day school to properly teach me how to do this correctly, and to load up on flies and some other basic supplies. Gotta keep at it.

Posted on: 4/22 11:06



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