By Dave Piske
In the September newsletter I mentioned that Jim Keil would be alerting chapter members about conservation issues that threaten harm to trout and salmon fisheries on a national scale, and that he would do so through the PPCTU list server. The first such issue that he brought to the attention of list server subscribers was that of pro-posed rules banning the construction of new roads in what are now road-less areas of U. S. Forest Service lands. Comments from the public were to be submitted to the Forest Service by September 10. I have no idea how many of our chapter members sent their comments to the Forest Service, but I do know that publication of the issue on the list server generated a large volume of comments among our members. It was a spirited, but civil debate, with comments on both sides of the issue. It was gratify-ing to see the issue addressed by so many of our chapter members.
It certainly stimulated some critical thinking by list server readers about the building of new Forest Service roads and the resultant impacts on the environment and on local economies. The debate also demonstrated the value of this one of the several applications of the list server that your Board of Directors had in mind when they decided to establish the list server well over a year ago.
If you have access to the Internet but have not subscribed to the PPCTU list server, I urge you to do so. It's free and won't result in a lot of spam mail flowing your way. Even if you choose to be only an observer instead of a debater, it will be educational -- and sometimes a bit amusing. If you are a member of this chapter, you can subscribe by sending an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. It doesn't matter what you say in your message.
Rest assured, there will be no shortage of conservation issues to be addressed in future months. Among those already in full view, or on the horizon, are Congressional actions on the Energy Bill that threaten all tailwater fisheries at Federally operated hydro-electric dams, FERC re-licensing of individual hydro-electric dams, protection measures for Snake River salmon, and appropriations of funds for continuation of streamflow guaging stations. No doubt other issues will also arise as time goes on.
At its August meeting your Board of Directors approved an overall
program plan for the 2001-2002 meeting season. It contains a variety of programs
that should be of strong interest to the membership. Briefly, after the Oc-tober
meeting it features the following topics: November 28, Selecting a Fly Rod (just
in time for your Holiday wish list);
January 16, Fly Tying Demonstration (tricks of PPTU's expert tiers)
February 20, Favorite Trout fisheries (so you can plan your 2002 destinations)
March 20, Identifying Trout Foods (what are those bugs I see hatching?)
April 17, Annual Raffle & TU Fisheries Conserva-tion Programs
May 15, Maryland Trout Fisheries (where to get 'em close to home)
Congratulations go to Jon Barnes, Program Chair, and his committee of Jim Greene, Val Walters and Robert Simp-son for developing the program recommendations.
by Jay Sheppard
Another summer is almost over. Flows were slightly below normal for most of the summer (through early Au-gust) and well below average for most of September. I found more than a few trout on several fishing trips. The annual fall DNR surveys of the stream should help us shed light on this. If you are interested in helping in the annual trout population surveys of this stream (or the Middle Patuxent and the Gunpowder), please contact me immediately if you were not at the September meeting. This is always a great opportunity to see where the trout are (or are not). This is a weekday pursuit, with chest waders required to help on the shocking crew; polarized sun glasses are a real asset, too. Hip boots will still allow you to assist in carrying equipment and trout. Dates and times have not been determined. Anyone catching rain-bows in the Patuxent this fall is asked to give me a call as to their approximate location and condition.
Hunting goes through mid?winter, so be careful and stay alert. The firearm season for deer is still a ways off, but squirrel hunting starts Oct. 6, and dove and archery sea-son for deer will both be continuing as this is mailed. Suggest a bright?colored hat on Saturdays, in particular. Sunday hunting is banned in Maryland, but I have heard many firearms back in the woods on Sundays.
We will also need some help placing signs up along the stream this winter. I maintain a large Email and phone list of volunteers, if you have not been on my list in the past and want to get on it to help, please contact me (EM: email@example.com; 301-725-5559). I use this list any time we need help doing some work on the Patuxent.
MEMBER'S RENEWALS THROUGH CHAPTER
Last year National TU announced that it will accept renewals of memberships sent through the chapter. In return, the chapter receives a rebate of $5 for each renewal processed. We hope every member will bring their membership renewal notices to the chapter meetings. The chapter will take it from there. We will accept cash, check (payable to TROUT UNLIMITED), or plastic for these renewals. If you forget your renewal notice, we only need to have your membership card so we can obtain your member number. Help support the chapter and bring your next renewal to the monthly meeting.
MEMBER'S ASSESSMENT NOW PAYABLE
The annual assessment (see back) is now payable. Check your label-if the "PP-" date is "0901" (or there is no "PP-" and date), you can send your $15 now, and you will not have to worry about paying at the September meeting. Some members paid twice this year, so they are paid for the coming year and show "PP-0902." Make checks payable to "POTOMAC-PATUXENT CHAPTER - TU" and mail to our chapter mail box. The assessment covers only the newsletter and related administrative expenses; all donations above expenses at raffles, etc., go to the resource and not to support our members with free newsletters, etc. Final mailing for those having "PP-0900" on their label will be the November issue. There will be NO separate mailings to remind members of this obligation. Please take action today! You will not want to miss our January and later 2002 issues and its announcements. Thank you.
TACKLE & TACTICS TIPS
I would ask that if any of you have some questions, please send them to me, and we'll try to answer them for the rest of our members. I did receive a question from a reader of the Sept. issue.
Neal Murray wrote: "Since I'm new to stream fly fishing, I'm not sure where to put the weight to get my fly down to the bottom of the stream. I have the moldable brass putty that I put on the leader, it's just that I'm not sure how far up the leader from the fly to put it. Won't it spook the fish if it is too close to the fly? Thanks."
The putty should not spook the fish directly, but it might alter the action of the nymph, etc., by restricting the amount of "freedom" it has to respond to the currents it passes through. Too close and little "freedom". . . too far and it will have no significant affect on the depth of the fly. Generally (and it does vary), I place my weights about 8-12" above the fly for a nymph, 18-24" for an at-tractor streamer. Smaller weights can be placed closer than heavier weights. Weighted flies and streamers need less weight on the leader. Faster water demand heavier weight than slow water. Again, these are all GENERALITIES. Exceptions apply in all sorts of situa-tions. Monofilament has basically neutral bouyancy: it does not readily sink. Weights (in the fly or as leader add-ons) are to counteract both the buoyancy of the leader as well as the drag forces of the material as the fly tries to sink. Larger diameter mono has more resistence to being pulled down in the water than smaller diameter. Fish are rarely alarmed at any material (mono, weights, sinking fly line, dull colored flies) that are below the wa-ter surface, even if it touches them.
Last month I provided several tips regarding strike indica-tors. Last spring, our immediate past president, Jim Kiel, told us of a fine way to add and remove a strike indicator after you had attached a fly. The indicator had to have a hole through the middle. Find the point where you wish to attach the indicator and double over the leader at the ex-act point. Force the doubled mono up through the hole of the indicator and then insert a small section of a rubber band into the mono loop. Pull the mono back into the hole to snug up the piece of rubber band. This will hold the mono inside the indicator. It is very easy to remove or move.
One of my favorite trout rods is a 4-weight graphite. I cannot imagine ever wanting to cast more than about 40 feet of line to a sipping trout (plus the 10-12' leader and rod's length). Therefore, I take a double taper line and cut it exactly in half. I store one half in a zip-lock bag in the freezer to keep it as supple as possible until I need it. Each half is usually 42-45' long and is all I attach to my backing. The latter is the standard 18-lb test Dacron. The half fly line allows me to store up to about 40 yards of backing on the reel. I have only used a tiny bit of the backing for fighting large fish, but I have used about half of the backing to allow me to circle around a deep pool and recover a fly I lodged on the other side. As anyone who has fished with me will attest, I try to recover almost every fly that I have miscast. My attitude is that any fly is potentially "THE" fly that I must have to catch large numbers of trout that trip; further, it could be my last copy of that pattern. I do not see fly shops along the trout streams I often fish, and I do not try to bring my entire fly tying kit with me (I do not own a 1 ton truck!). This atti-tude is another reason I strongly suggest chest waders to any trout fisher: I save 100-150 flies each year with my chest waders. They pay for themselves on saving flies alone in a very short time.
New Fishing Store Opens
Bass Pro has opens a store October 3 in the new Arundel Mills Shopping center between BWI airport and Ft. Meade. It is reported to be one of the very largest fishing and outdoor stores in the region. The very large fly fish-ing department will carry a wide range of name brands of tackle and fly tying materials. This department will be managed by Larry Coburn, one of our long time PPTU members and owner of the former Laurel Fishing and Hunting shop.
Directions to the Bass Pro Store are as fol-lows:From
Rt. 29 at Rt. 100 go east about 5 miles to exit 10A, follow down exit ramp to
1st light and make a right. Go to stop sign and make another right, then go
to first or second entrance on left in parking lot.
From Rt. 32 at BW Parkway go north. Follow BW Parkway about 4 miles to Arundel Mills Mall exit. Go 3 miles to mall. Go to second light and make a left, then go to stop sign and make another right. Follow around until you see Bass Pro on left and then turn in at first or second entrance on left into parking lot.
The hours are:Monday thru Saturday 9:00 AM to 10:00 PMSun: 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Phone number is: 410-689-2500
Paint Branch Report
By David Dunmire,
Paint Branch Chair
Community Tree Planting
Planned for Nov 3
PPTU is joining with number of groups for a community
tree planting on November 3 in the Paint Branch. We will have about 350 trees
to plant, so we'll need lots of volun-teers. Other participants include the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission,
the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), and the Eyes of Paint
Branch. Fortunately COG is going to have all of the holes in the ground bored
in advance, so the hard work will al-ready done.
The site is on relatively new parkland, on the ridge be-tween the Good Hope and Gum Springs sub-watersheds. This planting is part of a multi-year effort to reforest a large area of this parkland in increments. Bring work gloves and a shovel if possible. If there is sufficient interest, we'll lead a stream walk through the primary spawning tributaries.
Directions to planting site: Take Good Hope Road to Twig Road, then Cavendish Drive to Gladbeck Drive. Follow the gravel road at the end of Gladbeck Drive to the plant-ing site. Contact David Dunmire at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-989-0331 to register. Great for public service hours. Groups welcome.
The Great Caddisfly Mystery
By Dave Piske
It was dark in Westernport that Thursday night after Labor Day. Jay and I had finished our elegant dinner at Westernport's most famous emporium of gastronomic treats, the one with the yellow arches. We quickly en-tered Jay's van for the trip to our campsite. Jay started the engine, and then before moving the van he exclaimed, "There's a caddis fly!" "Where?" I asked. He pointed to a very large insect on the dashboard directly in front of him. Then he reached for the insect, grasped it gently at the back edge of the wings and put it where I could see it, illuminated by the parking lot lighting.
I reached into a pocket of my fishing vest and hauled out a clear plastic specimen box that I carry for just such oc-casions. I took off the lid and Jay deposited the bug into the box so we could examine it more closely. It was the most beautiful, and surely one of the largest specimens, of caddis that I had ever seen. I said, "I sure would like to be on a stream with a bunch of those coming off ", and Jay wholeheartedly agreed. The caddis had bright cinna-mon wings, a fat and juicy-looking dark brown body, long yellow legs and two dark brown antennae pointed straight ahead and a bit longer than its body. I later measured its length from head to trailing edge of the wings at 20 mm (13/16 of an inch). The wings were marked with two dis-tinctive dark brown spots about three-quarters of the way back towards their trailing edges.
Then we got to speculating where the caddis had come from. The North Branch flows through Westernport, but is a good distance from the restaurant. In the parking lot, we had the van doors open for only the few seconds it took to get out when we arrived and get in when we were ready to leave. We had fished the lower Savage at the iron bridge until it was too dark to see what we were do-ing. There, the doors to the van had been open for quite a while as we changed out of our waders and into garb formal enough to be admitted to Mickey D's. My guess is that the caddis entered the van while we were at the iron bridge.
After we returned home I looked to my favorite refer-ences on caddisflies, Gary LaFontaine's "Caddisflies" and "Caddis Super Hatches" by Carl Richards and Bob Braendle, to identify the species we had captured. The keys all lead me to conclude that it was a Pycnopsyche guttifer, more commonly known as the Great Brown Au-tumn Sedge. Reading those references further, I learned that the adults emerge, mate and lay eggs in early fall, just in time for the newly hatched larvae to begin their life cy-cle of feeding on submerged leaves as the trees drop their leaves into the stream. The pupae emerge and the adults fly mostly at night, but there is both late evening and early morning spillover activity. Thus, the angler need not stumble around in the dark, a very unsafe practice on the lower Savage. But fishing in the evening until dark or at the break of dawn is likely to produce tight lines. LaFon-taine suggests three fly patterns for taking trout feeding on the Great Brown Autumn Sedge. As a dry fly, use a size 12 or 14 bucktail caddis (one of Jay's favorite patterns on the Savage) twitched or skittered across the surface in the near-dark. Under the surface, imitate the emerging pupae with a size 6 or 8 ginger deep sparkle pupa stutter-drifted along a deep bank. Or, under the sur-face at dawn, try a size 10 or 12 ginger diving caddis.
The Great Brown Autumn Sedge will probably be hatch-ing
on the lower Savage until the leaves drop from the trees around mid-October.
I don't know if I'll be back there by then to tempt the trout. But if any of
our readers do go and are successful with the Great Brown Autumn Sedge imitations,
I'd sure like to read about it on the PPCTU list server
Don't forget to visit out web page At www.pptu.org Help add to our fishing reports, hatch
information database and join in with our listserver Also if you are in the market for the new breathable
waders check out the link to an excellent review of eleven different
Don't forget to visit out web page
Help add to our fishing reports, hatch information database and join in with our listserver
Also if you are in the market for the new breathable waders check out the link to an excellent review of eleven different brands .
Editor: Kent Bishop
5421 Talon Ct., Clarksville, Md. 21029
MEMBERSHIPS: The Potomac-Patuxent Chapter of Trout Unlimited has two membership categories: Regular/Family ($15/year assessment) and Student (free). The Chapter operates on a September-to-September basis. Assessment is totally separate from dues paid to Trout Unlimited National. Send correspondence or assessment payable to POTOMAC-PATUXENT TROUT UNLIMITED at the return address listed below. Your Chapter (and National TU) expiration date is indicated on the mailing label as PP-0901 or NTU-0901. First-time visitors receive two issues of this publication free.
THE CONSERVATIONIST is a publication of the Potomac-Patuxent Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Contribution in the form of fishing news, tying tips, new book reviews, articles, letters and even gossip should be mailed or faxed to the Editor. Items received by the 15th of the month will be published in the next issue.