PPTUer’s Patrick Masler, Michael Abramowitz, Jay Sheppard, George Vincent, and Ken Bowyer along with a guest and first time fly fisher Tim Bowers met in the mountains of Western Maryland for the October 7th, 8th, and 9th outing. As I drove west on Friday morning, rain was already spattering on the windshield, gaining intensity at Hagerstown that made it difficult to see the road. As the weather forecast for the entire weekend was rain with flash flooding, I was glad that I had followed Jay’s advice about reserving the pavilion at Big Run State Park. This really saved the trip. What would have undoubtedly been a wet muddy mess became reasonably comfortable camping spot under the pavilion. We pitched our dome tents under roof, set up our kitchens, and built a fire in the hearth keeping ourselves and gear relatively dry. The nightly rains were reduced to a minor inconvenience.
At only 50 cfs the Savage looked a little bony, but decked out in the early autumn colors of yellowing-green, red, and orange she was as beautiful as ever. The overcast skies and misty weather intensified the colors. I helped Tim rig up, gave him a quick lesson in nymphing, and then turned him loose. He promptly caught his first trout, a 13 inch brown, on a chartreuse San Juan worm, followed with another brown and then a good brookie. Hoping he would splash some beginners luck on me, I stayed close by. The tactic paid off with a couple browns of my own.
After a quick chat with Ken and George on the road while we broke down our rods and stripped off waders we headed to the park to set up camp. Soon Michael and Jay joined us. They started the day on the North Branch without any luck, and then finished up quite well on the Savage. After supper we shopped ideas around the fire, most of us deciding to hit the North Branch first thing in the morning.
Meeting in the parking lot at Barnum, Michael, Tim, Patrick, and I hiked the path to the upper end of the upper fly section, while Ken and George hit the lower end. After a couple of fishless hours, Ken hiked up to tell us of a local guy catching big browns on egg patterns below us. After Ken released his third rainbow in about 10 minutes, most of were digging out our boxes looking for glow bugs. I think we all caught a rainbow or two but the big browns remained true to the locals.
Back at camp that night we cooked, made coffee, and gathered around the fire to swap stories and compare notes about how many different flocks of wild turkeys we had seen. There must have been at least three different sightings just on the drive over to Barnum that morning.
Dawn broke with coyotes howling from one ridge to another. After breakfast we headed down to the river. From all reports, the Savage was good to all, giving up both brookies and browns, the best fish reported was a 17" brown landed by Jay, a 15" brown by Michael, and a 16" brown that came my way not long after I had my first Maryland bear sighting. I looked up from my nymphing after hearing some rock clatter and he was just there, about 40 yards in front of me crossing the river, then ambled up the side of the mountain and gone…….Whew, what a beautiful animal!
Michael, Patrick and Tim left a day early; Monday morning had Jay and me breaking camp while listening to a barred owl. Jay had chatted with this owl the night before, and it was probably wondering where he was this morning. Declaring the outing a success we headed back to the river. I fished till about noon getting a few more brookies and a brown, George and Ken said they ventured up to check out the Casselman and caught a few small fish. Jay planned to meet Matt Baun and stay till dark.
All in all in spite of the weather it was a fine outing. Fish were caught, stories were told, and no one perished from fire or flood. Can’t beat that