On Saturday I had a short window of time to fish so I decided to stay close to home. I used the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission’s iPhone app to look at their list of the best-stocked trout fishing waters in the southeastern part of the state. I found a small creek located in York County called the East Branch Codorus Creek. I’d heard of this creek’s parent body of water, the Codorus Creek located just below Codorus State Park, but I was not aware that there were other branches. I did some research on Google Maps and was able to determine an access point at the start of the state stocked portion of the creek. This access point was located in the Spring Valley County Park off of Potosi Road. As I was searching Google I found that Spring Valley Park was previously known as Rehmeyer Hollow. This was the site of the infamous Hex Murder from the late 1920’s. After reading the back story it kind of creeped me out to think about fishing here alone. The “Hex House,” which was the site of the cult murder of Nelson Rehmeyer, still stands today and if you decide to fly fish the East Branch Codorus Creek, you’ll drive right by it. You can read more about the history of the murder here.
When I arrived at Spring Valley County Park on Saturday morning, I followed Potosi Road to a large parking lot at the intersection of Blymire Hollow and Sunlight Drive Roads. When I pulled in the only other vehicles in the lot were large trucks with horse trailers attached to them. I would come to find out that this park is a very popular area for horseback riding. The air temperatures were already close to 75° as I was gearing up. I had decided to bring my 9’-5wt Scott G2 thinking that the stream would have sufficient room to work the rod length. Unfortunately, after walking over to the creek for my first look, I realized that the East Branch Codorus Creek is not a very wide body of water. The creek also has a good overhead tree canopy as well as a lot of vegetation on the banks. I took the water temperature while I looked at the creek and my first reading came in at 66°, not a bad temperature for trout in early July.
I set up my fly rod with a 9’-5X leader and 5X tippet tied to a #18 Hare’s Ear pattern with a Gold Bead Head Red Squirmy Wormy pattern dropped off the back. I started working my way downstream from the parking lot. In areas the stream was very narrow and shallow. There were several times within the first 100 yards that I considered turning around, walking back to my truck, not wanting to waste my time fishing water that wouldn’t produce. Fortunately for me, I gave the next 50 yards a chance and around the bend I found a long riffle with some water that averaged a 1.5-foot depth. I finally hooked up with my first east Branch Codorus Creek trout in this stretch. It was a small fish and appeared to possibly be wild. I’ve read online that this section of the creek does support wild brown trout, so it is a possibility.
After a quick release I continued by walk downstream. Eventually I came upon a classic trout spot where the creek got deep as it cut under a large tree that provided shade and a hiding spot for fish. Within ten minutes I was able to land three trout out of this spot. The first two were brown trout that took the Squirmy Wormy pattern. Both may have been wild brown trout. I also caught a small rainbow trout. All of these fish had very subtle takes that were difficult to detect.
I walked a lot of water that did not appear hold many leftover spring trout. This entire Section 2 of East Branch Codorus Creek stocked water is about 2 miles long. When I got about a mile downstream I found a spot that held deep water for such a small stream. There was a beautiful riffle and run that spilled into a deep pocket and it said, “cast to me.” I worked my nymph rig through this water and on my second drift I hooked into a good sized rainbow trout.
After a great fight on the Scott I was able to land this fish and shortly thereafter landed another that was similar in size. Both measured in the 12-14” range. It was a lot of fun to catch fish like that in the middle of the summer.
I spent the rest of the morning walking the creek along Line Road until I had reached the bridge at Park Road. I didn’t run into many more trout. The trout were primarily concentrated in any available deep water. I caught more than my fair share of Bluntnose Minnows who wanted to eat my Squirmy Wormy, which was more than half their body size. I also saw quite a few water snakes hanging from tree branches, which was enough to give any one with a snake phobia a nightmare. As it got close to lunch time it was getting close to 90 degrees and it was simply too hot to be out fishing even under a tree canopy. I made the long hike back Line Road to the lot where I parked. It was nice to get out, even if for a half day. I’d like to begin wade fishing for smallmouth on the local rivers shortly but every time I make plans, another couple of days of thunderstorms and heavy rain push river levels and clarity to a place that makes it impossible. It was fun exploring the East Brach Codorus Creek and it really was a bit creepy walking all that water by myself knowing all the urban legends about Rehemyer Hollow. Visit and wet a line at your own risk!