TU Logo Paint Branch River

Potomac-Patuxent Chapter Trout Unlimited


The next Monthly PPTU Meeting is Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 7:00 PM.
Join us for An Evening with Joe Bruce (see Meetings for further details).

Trout Unlimited has listed the Savage River in Western Maryland as one of 10 Special Places. PPTU's own Nick Weber is featured in a video interview about the stream and it's role in the local ecology. Click on the link to go to the TU page to read about the stream and see the video.

Until recently, the U.S. Geological Survey gauging station below Brighton Dam on the Patuxent did not have a river water temperature sensor and the USGS was unable to add one because of funding restrictions. Recognizing the value of such information for this upcoming fishery, members of PPCTU approached the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and asked if we could assist in the provision of this service. The Trout Unlimited Mid-Atlantic Council (MAC) agreed to share the cost of the addition. Please see DNR Letter for the successful result of this effort.

The Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay (Alaska) watershed is still alive and gaining ground. Please visit the following sites for further information:
TU: Pebble Mine Bristol Bay Watershed Southwest Alaska
NRDC: StopPebble
Alaska Conservation Foundation

Check the Library section for DVD's, and yes a few videocassettes, available for rental at the Chapter meetings!

An excellent video of a stream restoration can be seen at Stream Restoration. It shows what can be done to improve a stream without disrupting the surrounding environment. By all means check it out.

The Annual Newsletter for 2014 is posted in the Annual Newsletter section!

The OUTING REPORT for the Western Maryland - Savage River trip is posted in the Outings section!

One on one stream side fly fishing instruction is available to PPTU members.

Go to the Mentor Program page for details.


A facebook account has been created for PPTU. To view it, go to Facebook and login with your facebook account. If you don't have an account, you may create one using the link on that Facebook page.


We are seeking volunteers for several positions within the chapter.

Outings Coordinator- Currently Dennis Covert

As with any volunteer organization we are only as vibrant as our membership. Yes, there is some work involved, but the rewards of working with a great bunch of people while serving the community where you live by far outweighs the work.

In the past I’ve heard folks say, “I don’t volunteer because I don’t really know how to do any of these things”. Cast your reservations aside, we will help you!

We have roughly 450 members in the Potomac Patuxent Chapter of TU and about 30 of the same very dedicated people year after year put the show on the road. We need more support.

Take a look at the list above. If you have an interest you can contact me at a meeting or at home, or one of the board members, or, one of the current chairs listed by the activity above.

Dennis Covert
Outings, PPTU


We've gone green! We now have an on line Liability Release Form. To sign up for a specific outing, simply complete the form. When you click on the Submit button, the Outings Chair is notified of your intent to attend that outing and you will receive a copy of your completed Liability Release via email. No paperwork is required. You can complete this form from any device that has internet access including smart phones and tablets.

The 2013 Casting for Recovery 2 Fly 4 Hope Fishing Challenge, Rose River Farm, Syria Virginia October 27, 2013

Anglers, Organizers, Monitors, Some Heroic Survivors

The turnout for the Casting For Recovery 2 Fly 4 Hope event held at the Rose River Farm in Syria, VA made it very apparent a great deal of hard work and dedication went into its planning and execution. It also proved the Casting for Recovery program is a great cause and supported by many good and generous people.

Judging from the numbers of smiling faces I saw that day, I would have to declare the event a roaring success. Many thanks go to Kiki Galvin, Mollie Simpkins, Teresa Rodriguez, Pati Nicholson, Carl Smolka, Alan Burrows and so many more good people who donated time, energy and resources to make the day the great event it was. Thanks to you all!

Pam and I arrived at the Rose River Farm at 8:00 AM and registered at the check in desk under the white canvas tent erected to hold the tables later used for the BBQ, the bucket raffles, and the silent auction. The air temperature was 34 degrees.

A few minutes of socializing with old friends, hearing the rules explained to us by Kiki, and getting the crucial information about which beats we had drawn took us to the magic hour of 9:30 AM when the fishing contest officially started. We had until 12:00 PM to catch as many trout as we could, measuring only three fish for the whole day. 2 points were awarded for each trout caught, and the total inches of the three fish chosen to be measured were added to the score as well. In addition, we were each limited to two flies one of which had to display some pink, and if we still had all of our flies at the end of the afternoon session, we would be awarded an additional 10 points. Only rainbow and brown trout were allowed to be measured, giving greater care to quickly releasing the more fragile brook trout. Only barbless hooks or hooks with crimped down barbs were allowed.

Carl Smolka and Jim Greco (as Michelin Man)

Victor, our contest monitor, Carl Smolka, and I, dressed like I was going steelhead fishing in Pulaski at the end of November, walked the ten feet or so to our first beat of the day. It was the number 4 beat which was right in front of the tent and gazebo housing the tables used by the officials. Our first view of this pretty stream showed us a riffle, run, riffle, run type structure with shallow glides between deeper runs. The water was really low and gin clear. The bottom was made of softball to cannon ball sized round rocks that were pretty slippery. At the upstream end of our beat there were a couple of huge boulders that sheltered a very deep hole holding some of the biggest fish on the stream. Unfortunately, Carl soon learned that these hogs had a case of lock jaw, and couldn't be enticed to take either of his two flies, a pink honey bug or the cased caddis pupa. He fished the upper section of the 75 yards long beat while I took the lower section. We both attribute the early lock jaw to the cold temperature, however, within the first hour as the air temperature gradually climbed, the activity in the stream improved.

I think Carl may have hooked a great fish but lost it soon after. Both of us landed a couple of very nice brookies, all of which were around 14 to 16 inches and beautifully colored. Before we swapped ends, I also landed and measured what turned out to be a fish that tied for the largest of the day, a rainbow of 17 1/2 inches. Shortly after that it was apparent the fish we had in front of us had seen enough of our flies, so Carl and I swapped positions and tried some more gentle persuasion. The water was so clear, I took off my strike indicator and high stick sight fished my Pink San Juan worm. This method resulted in two heart thumping strikes from 20 inch plus fish but sadly resulted in very quick long distance releases. I have to believe if we had managed to land those three fish, sigh -- oh well, that's why it's called fishing.

By the end of the first session we had a pretty good score, but still had two teams in front of us. At lunch, Carl and I talked just a little about team strategy, and decided we were on the right track by alternating positions to show the fish all of our available flies. We had a most enjoyable lunch then headed for our second beat of the day, # 9. The last beat was much farther downstream and it was another beautiful spot. However, due to the low water, the fish were again concentrated in two spots, leaving most of the water barren. Again Carl and I split up, with him taking the downstream end of the beat and me on the upper end.

First fish measured, 17 1/2 inch rainbow tied for biggest of the day

I had best results with the pink SJ worm, although the Czech caddis nymph produced a couple of fish, too. I worked a shallow run using small strike indicator only about 14 inches from the fly and later just took it off reverting back to the sight fishing high stick method. I pulled a few nice fish from that run and worked it until the fish knew the style hook I was using. Shortly thereafter, Carl and I traded spots. He had hooked and landed a few nice fish, but by now the remaining fish knew his flies by name, too.

Each of us fished hard for the remainder of the time we had, landing two more measurable fish and several fish we did not measure. All in all it was a great day to be on a stream and the company was excellent. I will say the most frustrating part of this contest is the limit of two flies. By the time we quit, I was ready to bribe the monitor into looking the other way so I could break the lock jaw by showing those fish a few more choice flies. All Carl did was laugh.

Much to my surprise, when we reached the scoring gazebo, we learned that we had placed second, and tied for the largest fish. It was a great day, wonderful company, and a very deserving cause. It just doesn't get any better. Thanks go to all who made it happen while my admiration and thoughts go out to those special folks who are fighting the fight.

Jim Greco

P.S. There are a couple of observations I would like to add to Jim's excellent narrative on this event to help those who might follow in our footsteps. The Rose River is not so much a river, but a stream that is, at best, 10-20 yards wide in the two beats we fished. The conditions of the stream bottom allowed us to change position without kicking up much silt so the fish settled down pretty quickly after any of our shuffling or stumbling through the water. My more productive fly in terms of the number of hook ups was the #16 cased caddis nymph fished below a strike indicator but it was also the fly that resulted in the most LDRs. Monday morning quarterback analysis suggests the way I tied this fly resulted in too small of a hook gap. The limit of only using two flies presents the opportunity to get creative: changing the distance between strike indicator and fly, discarding the strike indicator, high sticking, fishing nymphs as wets or streamers. Jim and I also both had a few strikes on our strike indicators. I believe our strategy of using four different flies was a good one -- the only variable is to make sure you pick the right four. I echo Jim's sentiments that it was heartwarming to see the number of people who had volunteered their time and energy to make this a successful fund raising event for breast cancer survivors -- a very worthy cause.

Carl Smolka

I had the opportunity to be a "monitor" for the event and, in fact, monitored the winning team. I thought I would memorialize this so that our competitors next year would be armed with the information.

Kurt Boatman and Ellen Killough had fished the Rose before and were very familiar with the river. Also Kurt (and Ellen?) were the last years winners as well. Kurt know where the fish were likely to be in each of the two beats we fished. The team's flies were 1) pink San Juan Worm 2) Pink Clown fly (egg pattern), 3)pheasant tail nymph and 4)a size 10 Wooly Bugger with a pink bead head. It was clear that these were a team decision and not two separate pairs of flies. Kurt mentioned to me that the egg pattern had "bailed them out" last year.

The team took opposite ends of each beat and covered every part of the water with all three nymphs. Good water as well as marginal water. In fact they ended up measuring a fish that Ellen caught in a section of the beat that neither Kurt nor I would have given a look. If a fisher had to wade into fish to retrieve a fly, they rearranged themselves to continue to cover water in another part of the beat until the fish had recovered in the disturbed area. Toward the end of each session (morning and afternoon) they stripped the wooly bugger through the entire beat with extra casts to known locations.

While they measured 3 good fish (all 16+"), I believe they won because they caught a lot of fish (15). There was no let down or slow down.

Alan Burrows


Patuxant ElectroShocking Below Brighton Dam

DNR-fisheries, PPTU, and others from WSSC and Council of Governments met at 9 AM Sept 27th at Brighton Dam. We started just below the pipeline crossing below the dam and made 2 passes with the shocking equipment. We then moved down to Haviland Mill bridge and did 2 passes starting right below the bridge and working upstream with the same crew. We finished about 1:15 PM. All trout captured were measured for length and weight.

WSSC had turned off the turbines in the dam, and the flow was down to ~20-21 cfs (had been ~80 cfs for past month or so). This reduction in flow also resulted in a lower temperature of the water, from 68-70 down to 66-68. Water clarity was off a bit...maybe 12-15" of good visibility. Both sections sampled were the same ones that have been sampled for the past decade or so. Each is about 200 yards long.

I saw no hatching insects. I did see a bunch of small midges stuck in one spider web under the bridge.

Here are the gross results of the effort:

 Young of Year
 Young of Year

Largest trout was a brown at the dam section: 13", 12 oz. The origin of the Young of Year (YOY) was either the May TIC releases or the DNR release of fingerlings in mid-June. TIC released only a few hundred rainbows. DNR released 5000 rainbow fingerlings and 1500 browns with about equal number at the dam and bridge. These YOY were very impressive in their sizes, with some approaching 9+ inches already. Body condition was excellent for the trout below the dam and the trout at the bridge were in good condition. The adult and YOY trout were all in good color.

To refresh folks minds, PPTU stocked DNR-provided adult trout in Feb & March this year; mostly rainbows. As can be seen from the above numbers, adult rainbows did not show up very much in our sampling today.

Also found in the survey were 2 YOY walleye, the largest was about 12-13". There were hundreds of white suckers, fallfish, yellow perch, with smaller numbers of such species as white perch, red horse suckers, carp, largemouth bass, sunfish, and a wide variety of small 'bait fish'. Some of the white suckers were likely in the 2-lb size range! When they splashed in front of you or bumped your leg, you knew they were nice sized fish!

Last year if I remember rightly, we had ONE trout captured in these surveyed sections....so this is the very best showing we have ever had. Controlling the water temps has worked well this summer. Not perfect, but fairly well! If some may remember, we had some work on the dam in July that resulted in water of 82 deg being released for about 6-8 hours. Some of us figured that the trout largely succumbed to those high temps, as the temp shot from ~68 to 82 in less than 45 minutes and then plummeted back to about 65 when it was finished! Clearly many trout made it through that brief hot spell!

In sum, we found enough trout in the Patuxent below Brighton Dam to make fishing there the rest of the fall and into the winter reasonably rewarding....at least for anyone working a stream this close to the cities! DNR does not have any more trout for possible stocking in this reach this fall. ...Some might miraculously appear, but do not hold your breath!

Below are a few pictures of the trout and a short video clip of the proceedings.

Jay Sheppard

A 9" YOY rainbow stocked in May or June...very fat! ...might need to go on a diet!! (note clear undamaged fins, not clouded, as well as good coloration of all fins and body--signs of a wild or fingerling-stocked trout).

The biggest trout--brown--of the day: 13", 13 Oz. Stocked in February or March of this year (note clouded fins; pectorals and dorsal are also deformed: all signs of an adult stocked trout.)

Surveying right below Haviland Mill Bridge. The blue pontoon craft behind them crew holds the generator, holding tank.

Brighton Dam Shocking by Jay Sheppard from John Benoit on Vimeo.

Felt Soles Banned

Felt Soles have been banned in Maryland waters as of March 22, 2011. Natural Resource Police intend to initially issue a warning and an information card to anyone wearing felt-soled boots or waders. Resource managers in North America and New Zealand suspected early on that the felt-soled waders and boots of traveling fly fishermen were the pathway for its spread. Subsequent field and laboratory research has confirmed that the felt used for waders is an ideal medium for collecting and transporting microscopic organisms. DNR scientists and anglers have found seasonal infestations of Didymo in the Gunpowder River and traces of the organism in the Savage River. Other diseases and injurious species such as Whirling Disease, which is fatal to trout, may be carried on felt soles. Felt has been banned from New Zealand streams since 2008. Alaska and Vermont have moved to prohibit felt soles. For more information on this subject, please visit the Maryland DNR website. A number of companies now offer resoling services. This is often less expensive than purchasing new boots or waders. A list of companies that offer resoling services can be found at www.simmsfishing.com/site/streamtread.html.


Photo - Tim Daley, PA DEP

What is Didymo?
Didymosphenia geminata, also known as ‘rock snot’ or ‘didymo’, is a microscopic alga known as a diatom that’s invading our rivers and streams. It can smother entire stream beds with mats as thick as eight inches and can ruin just about any river or creek (see Penn Fish and Boat). Once in a stream, there is no known way to remove it. All that can be done is to try to prevent its spread. The spores will stick to anything (boots, waders, fishing line, boats, etc.) that goes into the infected water and in a damp environment they can live for days. The only thing to do is clean and disinfect everything. The following is from EPA but please also check Penn Fish and Boat and MD DNR for more detailed information. Please note that you have to be very careful with chlorine bleach; even in tiny amounts, it is toxic to fish. Be sure to use it sufficiently far from the stream so that there is no chance of any getting into the stream and be sure to rinse well anything on which it is used.

Before leaving a river’s edge, look for clumps of algae and sediment, and remove them. Leave them at the site.

Soak all gear for at least one minute in a 2% (by volume) solution of household bleach, or a 5% (by volume) solution of dishwashing detergent or salt. All surfaces must be in contact with the cleaning solution for a full minute. Water-absorbent equipment (lifejackets, waders) should be soaked thoroughly to ensure complete contact.

If cleaning is not practical, after the item is dry to the touch, leave it to dry for at least another 48 hours before using in another freshwater system.


What is Whirling Disease?
Myxobolus cerebralis (Mc) is a parasite that infiltrates the head and spinal cartilage of fingerling trout where it multiplies rapidly, putting pressure on the organ of equilibrium. This causes the fish to swim erratically (whirl), and have difficulty feeding and avoiding predators, in severe cases, die. In severe infections, the disease can cause high rates of mortality in young-of-the-year fish. When an infected fish dies, millions of tiny indestructible Mc spores (each about the size of a red blood cell) are released to the water where they can survive in this "dormant" form for up to 30 years.

Therein lies the gravity of the whirling disease problem. M. cerebralis is virtually indestructible -- the spore can withstand freezing and desiccation, and can survive in a stream for 20 to 30 years. Whirling disease is most infective to rainbow and cutthroat trout, but can infect all salmonid species, including brook trout.

Is there anything anglers and boaters can do to help prevent further spread?
Anglers, boaters, and others can make a difference in reducing the chances of spreading whirling disease. Distribution of the parasite is expanding rapidly in some areas, so you should assume its presence if you don't know otherwise. Recommended precautions that will help prevent not only the spread of whirling disease, but also other disease-causing organisms and aquatic pests include:
... Never transport live fish from one water body to another. (This is illegal in many states.)
... Dispose of fish entrails and skeletal parts properly. Never discard fish parts in or near streams or rivers. Do not discard fish parts in a kitchen disposal. Whirling disease myxospores can survive most wastewater treatment systems. Instead, discard in dry waste that would go to a landfill.
... Contact the Department of Natural Resources at 800-688-3467 if you observe signs of whirling disease in fish or observe illegal stocking.
... Obtain certified disease free fish for any private stock projects.
... Rinse all mud and debris from equipment and wading gear, and drain water from boats before leaving an infected drainage. This is good practice for preventing transfer of other aquatic hitchhikers as well.
... Although the above precautions will remove most spores from your gear, you may want to consider the following if fishing in heavily infected waters: Rinse, then thoroughly dry your boots, waders and other fishing equipment. This is generally sufficient to kill the TAM stage of the parasite. For disinfection options if your equipment does not have time to dry thoroughly see http://whirlingdisease.montana.edu/.

Conservation Activities

PPTU is a conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.  As such, we see it as an obligation, and an honor, to be active in this mission.  If we are to succeed as a TU chapter, we need all of us working together!  We need your suggestions and ideas on what we should be doing, how we cold improve on what we are already doing, and how we can make this organization more meaningful to you.  Let us know what kinds of projects you think PPTU should be sinking its human and financial resources into, and what kinds of projects you would like to get involved in.  How can we be more involved in coldwater conservation activities that would merit your interest and involvement?  Any and all ideas or suggestions are welcome, and very much appreciated!  Your opinions are instrumental in helping to formulate what we are going to do as a chapter.  Please, take a few moments to help the chapter by sending your suggestions via e-mail to mail@pptu.org.

The first page of the latest Chapter Publication, "The Conservationist" for October, is available by using the Chapter Publication Link.

Search WWW Search www.pptu.org
© Potomac-Patuxent Chapter of Trout Unlimited 1999-2014
P.O. Box 2865 Wheaton, MD 20915

This document last modified 10/21/14