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The Tulpehocken Creek (Page 1 of 3)

Tulpehocken Creek is an outstanding tailwater fishery located just outside of Reading, Pennsylvania. The dam creating Blue Marsh Lake was erected by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1978 is managed as a flood control project and also is used to regulate salinity in the Delaware River Estuary in summer months with unusually low water. The bottom release dam also happens to discharge cool and fertile water from depths of up to 50 feet which keeps the Tulpehocken Creek cool enough for trout to survive. In fact, the trout in Tulpehocken Creek thrive in the almost 4 miles of water below the dam, with heavy brown and rainbow trout averaging between 12-14 inches. The Tulpehocken Creek (the "Tully") is also influenced by two tributaries which help cool the lower stretches of the stream during the hottest summer months. Plum Creek enters the Tully just below Rebers Bridge providing cooling waters and, for small stream enthusiasts, an interesting diversion to the Tully during certain times of the year or when the Tully is not fishable due to high water. Cacoosing Creek provides an even greater boost of cooling water to the Tully beside the Paper Mill at the junction of Tulpehocken Road and Paper Mill Road. The Cacoosing adds a good volume of 55 to 60 degree water to the Tully and also can provide a fishing alternative if the Tully is running high. Tulpehocken Creek is float stocked with 6,000 fingerling brown and 6,000 rainbow trout every fall. These fingerlings grow quickly with trout averaging 8 to 10 inches by the spring. Tully holdover brown and rainbow trout average 13 to 16 inches with a few over 18 inches.

The Tulpehocken Creek is larger than most southeastern Pennsylvania streams with sections of the stream exceeding 120 feet wide. Wading on the Tully is generally pleasurable compared to most streams of this size. As always, care should be exercised in unfamiliar water or during periods of high water created by heavy discharges from Blue Marsh dam. It’s important to check the flow rate from the dam before venturing to the stream. The flow information is updated daily as a part of the stream conditions page of our web site or simply call us at (610) 678-1899. Keep in mind that levels can change quickly and without warning. Please pay attention to conditions on stream to avoid getting caught in a dangerous wading situation.

Most popular outfits for the Tully are 4 or 5 weight rods from 8 to 9 feet in length. In the summer months when Trico activity is at its peak a more delicate 3 weight comes into favor. Long leaders and light tippets are almost always the rule. Leaders of 10 to 14 feet are commonly used tapered to 6x, 7x, and even 8x during the summer when micro aquatic life is the standard fare. Some local regulars fish leaders tapered to 8x, even with nymphs?! Climax FlouroCarbon tippet material also adds additional advantage when fishing over the more difficult holdover trout.

Caddis are the staple in the diet of the Tully inhabitants. A wide variety of Caddis species will attract even the largest brown and rainbow trout to the surface from May through October. Blue Winged Olives, Sulphurs, Light Cahills, Yellow Drakes, Cream Drakes, Caenis and Tricos are the major mayfly attractions on the stream with Sulphurs and Tricos providing the most consistent activity. Some stoneflies are present on the Tully and can present suprisingly good subsurface fishing during March and April. Midges are always present on the stream and even offer dry fly fishing on sunny days throughout the winter. Terrestrials are also consistent producers during the summer and fall. The complete hatch chart for Tulpehocken Creek is available at this site and in our shop.

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