Potomac-Patuxent Chapter Trout Unlimited
It was advertised as “come when you want, stay as long as you want, and do what you want” and that was pretty much the way it went. Adam and Cliff Rice, Tim Bowers, Will and Zack Amland, Lou Reichel and Patrick Massler all got there on Friday, a day ahead of me. The weather on Saturday was gorgeous if maybe not a tad warm and a little too breezy; the sky as blue and clear as it gets, the aroma of early autumn full in the air. I noticed the hillsides and meadows on the drive out were as dry as I’ve ever seen them; and wondered if camp fires were still allowed. Getting to Savage State park I found Tim and Will’s camp along with the remnants of the previous night’s fire answering that question, and set up my tent with a heavy mast of acorns crunching underfoot.
Later that afternoon, on my way to the 7 X Pool, I ran into Tim. He told me Patrick had been there and camped the night before but had to head back and would talk to me later. Emailing me later, Patrick reported that on Friday afternoon he had caught a half dozen browns and rainbows on CDC & Elk Hair Caddis & # 18 Ants on the Savage behind and upstream of the fly shop. He netted 3 more browns on the North Branch the next morning and another brown that afternoon above the Steel Bridge after breaking camp to head home. To top off a nice 10 fish trip he had his first Maryland bear sighting. Just a few miles above Westernport on route 36 he had to slam on the breaks as a bear burst out in the road in front of the car, paused momentarily, then bounded over the guard rail and disappeared while Pat fumbled to get his camera phone out; alas too late for a picture.
As it turned out lady luck shone on those who left early or stayed late. Fishing the Savage on Saturday, Cliff and Adam each took a pair of browns on an assortment of flies including an Orange Stimulator, Pheasant tail Nymph, and Green Inch Worms. Cliff said he was taken completely off guard while fishing just below the broken concrete dam at the first suspension bridge when a huge brown grabbed his Inch Worm and put a mighty bend in his rod before throwing the hook. Adam said throughout the day they spooked good fish of 16 inches or more hanging in the deeper holes. Adam said they had multiple rises to top water offerings that the fish seemed to just slap instead of take, an experience shared by others in the group.
On Sunday they hit the Yough taking ten more fish between them, Cliff got 4 Browns, scoring a double on a Caddis and Crystal Midge Pupa rig; Adam landed 6 Rainbows and a Brown on a stimulator and Pheasant Tail. But it was staying till Monday and fishing the North Branch through rain that really paid off, where Adam landed the largest fish of the outing, a 22 inch Rainbow on Green Beadhead Caddis sparkle pupa.
The rest of us caught fewer fish but had just as much fun. Lou concentrated on the Savage all three days - stalking pocket water with a short leader and 6X tippet, landing 8 browns on an Elk hair caddis - the largest at 14 inches. Saturday evening all seven of us gathered around our camp site and I heated up a big pot of deer chili spiced up with hot green jalapenos. Later we hung around the fire spinning tales present and past, Lou regaled me on the perils of ingesting nitrates while I sucked down half a bag of burnt marshmallows - ash and all. I’ve since decided the 100 mile rule is extended to negate any ill consequences of nitrates as well as cholesterol and empty calories.
The rest of us caught fish - just not as many. I remember Will saying he got a nice brown up on the North Branch on a Yellow Humpy, and Tim caught a few on Inch Worms, CDC Caddis, and Elk Hair caddis on the Savage. My best fish were two on the PhD Pool and one off the 7X flat, all three on tiny dries. There was a sporadic hatch of what I think were tiny Blue Quills that came off both days bringing some fish up with them. The largest and toughest to fool, a 15 inch Brown on the PhD Pool, rose to the fly several times over the course of an hour for close inspection only to leave the fly bobbing around on the surface in the wake of its refusal. I had shown it everything I had in my small fly box, and having run out of options, clipped the tail and wings off a #26 BWO Dun to basically turn it into a Grey Midge and added three feet of 8X to my tippet to lengthen the leader out to about 16 feet. I was just telling Lou, who was watching from the bridge, about the acid building up in my stomach with every refusal when the fish rose, followed the fly for a long, long ways, almost turned away twice, then (as I held my breath) gave a little shimmy and sucked it in. He tore up the pool and almost ran into the fast water and under the bridge, but after three good runs came to net.
It was a fun outing and a good number of fish were caught, including the great 22 inch rainbow Adam landed. The water level was a little lower than usual but that actually created some great pocket water.
© Potomac-Patuxent Chapter of Trout Unlimited 1999-2017
P.O. Box 2865 Wheaton, MD 20915
This document last modified 10/19/10