surfstryker

Beginner looking for small stream advice in PA

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Tenkara is also an option as it checks a lot of boxes.  I know my opinion might be in minority, but although I use a flyrod and reel in the salt, I would never buy one to fish streams here in the northeast. Larger and wider rivers I think an argument can be made, but for streams a Tenkara rod may be far more effective. The cost and learning curve is small too.

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Wow! You are so fortunate to be within walking distance of this creek. Congratulations.   I scanned just a few of the videos and I’m mega jealous.  You may find a beginner lesson on the creek more valuable than a casting lesson in a parking lot, gym or park.  There is a saying, “fish where the fish are”.   You want to able to read the water, learn to observe what is happing, how to approach rising fish, what works when there are no rising fish, how to release fish unharmed, how to string your fly rod without skipping any guides, what knot(s) to use for attaching tippet to leader, leader to fly line, and knots to use for attaching fly/flies to tippet.   There are great videos online on the knots. There are great videos on all the other stuff too but on stream instruction might get you from first grade to fifth grade in an afternoon.  Observing those that are having success really accelerates the learning too.  Some us curmudgeons don’t mind answering questions or helping out or offering a fly or two that might be working. You will be paying it forward in a few years.

Stay safe, wear eye protection and enjoy the experience.  Tight lines.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Great advise so far but let me be the first one to say it’s just fishing. Fly fishing is not hard, difficult, requiring of great intelligence or commitment of time, resources and education. No reason to bust the bank, no need to spend money on lessons and there’s no need to join a TU club. All of those things will surely help but are in no way needed. What’s the hurry, this hopefully will become a lifetime endeavor if you enjoy it.  After you get started you can take it to what ever level you want. I like to keep it enjoyable. 
 

i’m not the best fly castor and I’m pretty sure I look like a caveman with a fly rod but I’m able to catch fish. WW fish, stocked fish, native Brook trout, it’s all easy and difficult at times.  I have been fishing my entire life but I’m am totally self taught with the long stick. I started with an 89 dollar 5 wt cabelas combo rod and ten years later I still fish with it. It has not frustrated me nor did it make the learning curve any shorter or longer. 
 

I would recommend a 5 wt or a 4 wt. for small stream fishing. I would choose a 5 wt. watch some YouTube videos, walk down to the creek and start flinging it. You will learn plenty and you will quickly learn that the casting is the stupid simple part. It’s the drag free drift that take a bit more practice and learning where the fish are. You will catch fish even when starting out. Learn from your successes and failures. 
 

the hardest part is getting started. It’s easy to come up with reasons not to start. Reasons like, i don’t have an unlimited bank account, I need lessons, I don’t know how to cast, I don’t speak Latin, what’s a tippet? Just jump in, you will figure it out in short order with the resources available at your fingertips. Good luck and enjoy the process. 
 

if you care to the Main Line Fly Tiers, who meet in the Plymouth Meeting area, are a Philadelphia area fly fishing club that often hosts  how to fly fish lessons for short money. 

Edited by poopdeck

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I would say get an 8’6” to 9’0” 5wt as a 5wt is just a lot more versatile than a 4wt…you can throw indicator nymph rigs, streamers, handle more wind, etc.  a 4wt is definitely fun but starting out I say go max versatility especially since you’ll probably do more nymphing than anything else.  Lots of reasonably priced good rods in those configurations. I don’t have the 5wt myself but I’ve heard nothing but good things about redington classic trout rods and I’ve fished tfo rods and thought they were real nice especially for the price point. As for reels you don’t need a nice reel for trout…you can more than get away with a $20 line holder as long as it cranks and let’s line out when you want it…really more of a line holder. You’re much better served spending the dough on a nice line than a nice reel.  If you can find it, SA wavelength mpx is a real nice high quality all around line that you can probably find for under $50 as it’s an older model or get a high quality used current line…lots of folks sell them for 30-50% off retail.  As for flies, give me your address via pm and I’ll send you a bunch of flies that will cover just about anything…may take me a few days to get to it though.  And don’t buy tippet…if you have 4lb to 6lb mono that will be just fine…tippet is unnecessarily expensive and regular mono is more than adequate.  I do recommend getting a guide or lesson or buddy up with someone that can help you get started…the learning curve is very steep but lots of fun and very rewarding.  Enjoy!

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2 hours ago, JohnDe said:

Wow! You are so fortunate to be within walking distance of this creek. Congratulations.   I scanned just a few of the videos and I’m mega jealous.  You may find a beginner lesson on the creek more valuable than a casting lesson in a parking lot, gym or park.  There is a saying, “fish where the fish are”.   You want to able to read the water, learn to observe what is happing, how to approach rising fish, what works when there are no rising fish, how to release fish unharmed, how to string your fly rod without skipping any guides, what knot(s) to use for attaching tippet to leader, leader to fly line, and knots to use for attaching fly/flies to tippet.   There are great videos online on the knots. There are great videos on all the other stuff too but on stream instruction might get you from first grade to fifth grade in an afternoon.  Observing those that are having success really accelerates the learning too.  Some us curmudgeons don’t mind answering questions or helping out or offering a fly or two that might be working. You will be paying it forward in a few years.

Stay safe, wear eye protection and enjoy the experience.  Tight lines.

Thanks JohnDe! having a lesson on the creek would be ideal I think. Really appreciate your response. 
 

and yes, being right by this park is incredible. It’s beautiful. Super grateful to have it in the backyard. My wife and pup love it as well and our 3 month old is learning to love it also - when it’s warm enough :) 

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1 hour ago, poopdeck said:

Great advise so far but let me be the first one to say it’s just fishing. Fly fishing is not hard, difficult, requiring of great intelligence or commitment of time, resources and education. No reason to bust the bank, no need to spend money on lessons and there’s no need to join a TU club. All of those things will surely help but are in no way needed. What’s the hurry, this hopefully will become a lifetime endeavor if you enjoy it.  After you get started you can take it to what ever level you want. I like to keep it enjoyable. 
 

i’m not the best fly castor and I’m pretty sure I look like a caveman with a fly rod but I’m able to catch fish. WW fish, stocked fish, native Brook trout, it’s all easy and difficult at times.  I have been fishing my entire life but I’m am totally self taught with the long stick. I started with an 89 dollar 5 wt cabelas combo rod and ten years later I still fish with it. It has not frustrated me nor did it make the learning curve any shorter or longer. 
 

I would recommend a 5 wt or a 4 wt. for small stream fishing. I would choose a 5 wt. watch some YouTube videos, walk down to the creek and start flinging it. You will learn plenty and you will quickly learn that the casting is the stupid simple part. It’s the drag free drift that take a bit more practice and learning where the fish are. You will catch fish even when starting out. Learn from your successes and failures. 
 

the hardest part is getting started. It’s easy to come up with reasons not to start. Reasons like, i don’t have an unlimited bank account, I need lessons, I don’t know how to cast, I don’t speak Latin, what’s a tippet? Just jump in, you will figure it out in short order with the resources available at your fingertips. Good luck and enjoy the process. 
 

if you care to the Main Line Fly Tiers, who meet in the Plymouth Meeting area, are a Philadelphia area fly fishing club that often hosts  how to fly fish lessons for short money. 


this is super helpful! Thanks poopdeck. Have always been intimidated by fly fishing but finally a good time to give it a shot and excited to learn. 

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1 hour ago, ryc72 said:

I would say get an 8’6” to 9’0” 5wt as a 5wt is just a lot more versatile than a 4wt…you can throw indicator nymph rigs, streamers, handle more wind, etc.  a 4wt is definitely fun but starting out I say go max versatility especially since you’ll probably do more nymphing than anything else.  Lots of reasonably priced good rods in those configurations. I don’t have the 5wt myself but I’ve heard nothing but good things about redington classic trout rods and I’ve fished tfo rods and thought they were real nice especially for the price point. As for reels you don’t need a nice reel for trout…you can more than get away with a $20 line holder as long as it cranks and let’s line out when you want it…really more of a line holder. You’re much better served spending the dough on a nice line than a nice reel.  If you can find it, SA wavelength mpx is a real nice high quality all around line that you can probably find for under $50 as it’s an older model or get a high quality used current line…lots of folks sell them for 30-50% off retail.  As for flies, give me your address via pm and I’ll send you a bunch of flies that will cover just about anything…may take me a few days to get to it though.  And don’t buy tippet…if you have 4lb to 6lb mono that will be just fine…tippet is unnecessarily expensive and regular mono is more than adequate.  I do recommend getting a guide or lesson or buddy up with someone that can help you get started…the learning curve is very steep but lots of fun and very rewarding.  Enjoy!

I’ve seen those Redington rods recommended in several spots. I will check them out for sure. Thanks for the recommendations and Really appreciate you offering to send me flies!! Incredibly kind of you. Will send you a pm in a bit. 

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10 hours ago, surfstryker said:

 

Yep! I am a few hundred yards from the Ridley Creek Park entrance off Bishop Hollow Road. Thanks for the advice on setup! Definitely want to check out some of the other creeks/streams in the area once I get my bearings. 

Honestly the none fly only section of Ridley fishes better in my opinion. 
 

Valley creek is probably my favorite in that area. 

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3 hours ago, poopdeck said:

Great advise so far but let me be the first one to say it’s just fishing. Fly fishing is not hard, difficult, requiring of great intelligence or commitment of time, resources and education. No reason to bust the bank, no need to spend money on lessons and there’s no need to join a TU club. All of those things will surely help but are in no way needed. What’s the hurry, this hopefully will become a lifetime endeavor if you enjoy it.  After you get started you can take it to what ever level you want. I like to keep it enjoyable.

The best money you can spend is to go out with a good guide -- you'll learn more in one day on the water with a good guide than you will in an entire season fishing alone. And if you're new to the game a guide will provide gear so that you can get a sense of what you might like without spending a pile on gear that may not suit you. You can even ask the guide to bring a couple of rigs for you to try on the water, which will tell you a lot more than wiggling the rods in a store.

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Guide. No thanks. Why does everybody search for the fastest and most expensive way. It’s not a race, it’s not a test, it’s not a contest, it’s fishing. Slow down and enjoy it for what it is. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

One outing with your local guide will be the best $300 bucks you can spend , use the guide’s outfit , flies , waders ect . It will SAVE your money and time save time searching the internet 
 

Make a list of questions on an index card and put it your shirt pocket, as you are walking the stream then you can ask to clear your head .

 

After that your on your own ,YOU ARE READY  one guided lesson it’s the best way I found out to start this wonderful adventure. Keep things simple  Tight lines    

Edited by Hook I

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36 mins ago, Hook I said:

One outing with your local guide will be the best $300 bucks you can spend , use the guide’s outfit , flies , waders ect . It will SAVE your money and time save time searching the internet 
 

Make a list of questions on an index card and put it your shirt pocket, as you are walking the stream then you can ask to clear your head .

 

After that your on your own ,YOU ARE READY  one guided lesson it’s the best way I found out to start this wonderful adventure. Keep things simple  Tight lines    

I'm not sure you are going to find a guide that does SE PA waters.

Cumberland Valley, Poconos, or further upstate.  Maybe the Little Lehigh.

Most of our streams warm up, so the trout season is short.

 

 

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Just now, Steve_in_PA said:

I'm not sure you are going to find a guide that does SE PA waters.

Cumberland Valley, Poconos, or further upstate.  Maybe the Little Lehigh.

Most of our streams warm up, so the trout season is short.

 

 

You would know the water better than I 


I’m just following the OP question “as a beginner” , that’s my advice 

 

thanks for sharing 

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9 hours ago, surfstryker said:

I’ve seen those Redington rods recommended in several spots. I will check them out for sure. Thanks for the recommendations and Really appreciate you offering to send me flies!! Incredibly kind of you. Will send you a pm in a bit. 

I find the lower cost Redingtons to have a soft action.

Many beginners prefer a bit faster action when starting out.

I have one and hate the thing.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

7 mins ago, Hook I said:

You would know the water better than I 


I’m just following the OP question “as a beginner” , that’s my advice 

 

thanks for sharing 

Some great guides in the Cumberland Valley of PA.

Along with great spring creeks.

Basically along I-81 below Carlisle.

I may even get out there this summer and book a guide, simply because those spring creeks are challenging.

 

 

 

Edited by Steve_in_PA

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