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Western Maryland Campout Oct 6 - 9, 2017

Where: Big Run State Park, Monroe Pavilion

Streams: Lower Savage River, Upper Savage and Runs, North Branch of Potomac (NBP)


The Crew

Participants: Jay Sheppard, Lou Reichel, Greg Sholly, Todd Parks, Randy Dwyer, Shawn Ackley, Tom Brosnan, Ken Bowyer, Mike Abramowitz

Pleased to report that Western Maryland still has beautiful mountains and the trees are changing colors at least 2 weeks before our low land areas. The steel Ark near Frostburg is still not complete and does not look like it will ever float. The flows on the upper Savage and Runs were very low. Flows on Savage and NBP were I thought just right. The air temperatures were a little on the warm side, low 80's., for I was looking forward to cool, brisk temperatures. Savage River is a pocket water stream and does take care to wade and fish. I heard 3 people fell in trying to wade and balance thru the rocks. Lou's Orvis wading boots fell apart (sole separated from boot) plus found a new hole in waders and had soaking wet socks and pant legs. A new tradition was started with Jay's French toast for breakfast and the usual chili and pulled pork for dinner. I was disappointed that there were no ghost stories around the campfire. Jay was able with bird calls to coax a screech owl to the campsite. We did have heavy rain starting on Sunday night, but appeared to be ending on Monday afternoon. Some left on Sunday for work on Monday. For those remaining, on Sunday night the magic blue pill, Aleve, was passed out to fix our sore bodies. By Monday, a rainy morning, the remaining people were weak and had sore bodies and left for home, but only the strong and determined, like Jay and Mike, continued to fish. Overall I had a good time and will go again next year.


Fireplace at Monroe Pavilion

Some Western Maryland Fall Colors

Savage River Pocket Water

I would like to thank Jay for breakfast of old fashion French toast (secrete grandmother's recipe) with New York maple syrup, Todd for great pulled pork on Sat dinner, and Bob and Priscilla O'Donnell for Sunday night chili and Shawn for eggs for breakfast. And great campfire stories from all, but would like some ghost stories next time.

On Friday most people fished either the upper and lower Savage. Ken caught nice 6" brookie down stream from the lower suspension bridge on a daddy long leg (crane fly). Mike caught 4 browns in the PHD pool. Ken found some brookies near the Westernport road, plus a brookie between the 2 suspension bridges. Jay fished the 7x pool and reported lots of rises but managed to get one. Lou tried the One-Fly Contest Winning hot spot pheasant tail but did not get any hits. But got many hits and managed two browns on #18 Adams parachute on lower Savage off one of the pull offs. By late afternoon the tents were put up in the Monroe Pavilion and a few outside. Greg started a great camp fire in the fireplace and was rewarded as the starter of all the camp fires. The Park Police, fully loaded with ammo, stopped by to check on us. He stood there, I didn't hear any speaking, and then he left. For some reason PPTU fisherman seem to bring out the authorities, it has happen last two times.


Jay's Brown from 7x Pool

7x Pool

Todd's Brookie

PhD Pool

Ken showing his rock climbing skills to fetch fly in tree

Lou's 14" Brown

On Saturday morning I was aiming for a good 5:30 am breakfast, but settled on Jay's old fashion French toast by 7:30am. It was great!. On Saturday some fished the upper Runs into Savage and report low water and the brookies were very skittish. Ken did well with a #16 winged black ant and simple 3-hackle at the PHD pool. Shawn fished the pocket water, and heard he fell multi times, above the PHD pool and caught some nice browns on small, dark caddis size 16-18. Tom and Lou fished the upper NBP and landed some rainbows. As per an earlier report by Joe K, the upper trail has been improved, widened, and gravel laid. In the past it felt like it took at least 30 min to get to the upper section, now it seemed like 10-15 min. Jay landed a large 14" brown in the 7x pool with small suspended midge pupa. The evening ended with great pulled pork from Todd and campfire stories. Shawn showed his well arranged fly boxes that made us jealous.

By Sunday some people had to leave early and of course missed out on the best day of fishing. The day was a little overcast and light sprinkle of rain. Tom at the mouth of Crabtree into the Reservoir caught 4 rainbows in the 14-15" range using #16 BWO, #18 Renegade. Jay said this was great BWO hatch weather. Ken did good again with black winged ant, #18/20 BWO parachutes at upper PHD pool and pocket water below pool. Lou managed 3 browns in the PHD pool with anything small and dark, #18 black caddish, small BWO, suspended midge, #20 Adams parachute. He managed a nice 14" brown on #18 Griffins Gnat. Ken went up to the Savage damn and caught few brookies. Ken also fished the pocket water below the PHD pool and caught brookie and brown. Jay headed back to 7x pool with utter determination. Again a Park Ranger checked on us at the Pavilion. At least he talked, checked that our papers were in order, and he left with a smile. That evening was great chili night for supper. We tried to stay up to 10 pm and went to sleep by 9:30pm. As mention we had heavy rain Sunday night.


Mouth of Crabtree Creek

Tom's 14" Rainbow

A Brookie Run (Poplar Lick? Big Run?)

Monday morning was rainy and many of us left for home. The strong and determined Jay and Mike remained to continue fishing. I hope they did well.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the October 2018 outing. We have reserved the Monroe Pavilion for the Columbus Day weekend again next year, checking in Friday, October 5th and checking out Monday October 8th. Hopefully, we will have more conducive water conditions in the Savage River tributaries next year.

Thanks to all that attended. I had a good time. That concludes the outing until next year. Tight lines.

Lou Reichel


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This document last modified 10/24/17