Two overturned semi tractor trailers two miles apart on the flat section of hwy 15 between Frederick and Thurmont testified to the strength of the wind the day before. Both rigs were lying at 45 degree angles just off the shoulder, and their whale like massiveness had me, Will Amland, and Larry Vawter speculating on what it must be like to ride one of those things to the ground.
Sitting in the McDonalds in Thurmont sipping a hot coffee, I watched the stars and stripes undulating on the large flag across the road as I overheard the lady at the next table say the wind had already kicked up to over 20 mph. On the way up I told Larry and Will It might just be us three, but within minutes the boys began to assemble. First Lou Reichel sauntered in, followed by new member Ali Reza Ullah, then Bob Dietz and Carl Smolka. We utilized the dry parking lot to suit up then headed up to the creek. In view of the snowy conditions we decided it may be best to fish the upper section and parked in the large lot a quarter mile below the Joe brooks memorial. The wind was calmer below the ridge line and the snow had a hard crust that made the walking in a little easier.
Big Hunting Creek in winter is a beautiful place. From the road it's a dark ribbon winding through a white carpet veiled in the browns and greens of thick forest. Up close it’s clear and cold, riffles sparkling in sunlight broken by pocket water and dark pools that form at the base of snow covered boulders. It was getting a little warmer but still no bugs, and looking deep into the pools I could see no fish. The seven of us had spread out as best we could but in the limited space we had to leap frog around each other to move to new water. At one point Lou and I fished into each other at a bend in the creek, and as I looked up to ask him if he had had any luck I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. A large day coon was up high on his legs racing down hill to his den tree, no doubt surprised in his foraging by our rude intrusion.
Walking slowly up stream I started fishing the shoulders of pools created by the embedded posts put there by the Park Service to stop erosion. A small brown attacked #18 Charlie’s nymph fished tight up in the corner. What he lacked in size he made up in vigor putting a good bend in my three weight all the way to the net. An hour later Larry and Ali caught up to me and Will, and after a quick parley we decided we had pounded this water enough and decided to get the vehicles and move down to the lower parking lot and fish that section. Trekking up the snow bank to the vehicles we found Bob already there, reporting a small brown on a Spanish needle.
It was early, only a little past one, but somebody brought up the subject of lunch, and without much discussion, just some yeahs, and okays, we all began to disassemble rods and peel off waders. After locating the rest of the crew that was still fishing we headed for the Cozy Inn in Thurmont.
It was a nice little outing. The creek is a little socked in by snow in some places but plenty of fishable water for a few anglers. Within the next couple of weeks warmer weather should melt some of that snow and bring on the larger brown stones and some really good fishing with them.
Note: There has been a change in date and destination for the March "One Fly" Outing. March 20th instead of the 27th, and the Gunpowder instead of Beaver Creek. We will meet at Masemore Parking lot at 11:30 am, disperse and fish till 3:30 pm meeting back at Masemore at 4:00 pm to record catches. If there is an interest we will stop at a local Inn for drinks and food afterwards.