Getting there a little early Larry Vawter and I walked down to the creek get a look at the water from the upper parking lot off Country Store Lane. The sweet smell of wood smoke in the cold air that was still something less than 30 degrees made it feel more like a deer hunt than fishing outing. We intersected the creek where a spring boils up under a tree and watched a fat 16 inch rainbow holding in the center space among its tangle of roots while small fry darted away when ever it came close. Walking back up to the parking lot we got there just as Gene Cyprych and his friend Tim James pulled in. Waiting for the rest to arrive we stood around in the parking lot comparing cress bug patterns while dragging out our rods and duffels of gear. A little before 9:00, Patrick Masler rolled in followed by Bob Deitz completing the group.
Stringing up our rods, cold leaders stubbornly retained their coils as we tied on tippets and flies. Being only 6 we all decided to walk in from the upper section. As we made our way along the creek I could see Gene up ahead of us land a small rainbow out of the run just ahead of the catch and release wire. The hatchery flooded earlier this year and there are hundreds if not thousands of 2-8 inch rainbows throughout the catch and release area. An apparent boon to the many kingfishers we could hear and see rustling up their breakfast as we spread out along the bank.
I think everybody said they started out with a subsurface fly of some sort, but by mid morning and no luck with larger fish we began to key in on the many rises now being made by smaller rainbows in most of the runs and pools. Yeah, they were small, but it was dry fly fishing in November and many a 5-8 incher was brought to hand. By early afternoon temps had warmed up to about 43 degrees according to my thermometer and it was decided by the four of us left to head down and check out the lower section.
We walked up stream from the access point to the old spring house where some beavers have dammed up a medium sized pond and fished back down. Hoping for some bigger fish we tried a variety of flies, dry and wet. Bob hooked a ten incher just above the pond that ultimately managed to avoid final capture. To my knowledge it was the best fish hooked by at least two inches.
Fishing down stream of the pond the creek begins to take on a new look. The wide shallow runs choked by elodea give way to slower darker water with some downed trees laying in it. This place is a casting nightmare! If the trees and brush tight to the bank weren’t grabbing my fly the canopy overhead was. I had just decided to quit from the frustration of fly loss when Patrick noticed some large fish moving up stream. Looking intently through the dark water I could just make out a small group of large trout slowly moving along the bottom to my front. Not being able to resist I replaced my latest lost fly with a white cone head woolybooger managing a few casts in their vicinity between the snags on weeds and brush. Two gave chase then both snubbed it just as I thought the deal was sealed.
By this time it was around 4pm and we had all had about enough. Walking back to the parking lot we were greeted by a nice little dog belonging to one of the land owners who we came upon shortly. We talked about our day and he told us of future stream renovation plans for the lower section that will take place as the project moves down stream. It sounds like a continuation of the reconstruction work that has occurred in the upper section. Great, improved casting opportunities!
It was really a nice day to be out, crisp fall weather with plenty of color still left on the trees. We had pools of rising fish albeit a little small. On the ride back home, Maryland was really showing off; to our west a fading blue sky gave way to brightening shades of pink that intensified into a fire orange as the sun set over the western ridge line, while to our northeast a full moon rose against a lavender sky over the burnt orange canopy covering the Catoctins above Frederick.