Mother’s Day Caddis on Casselman River

Where:  Casselman River, Near Grantsville, Garret County, MD
When:  April 22-23, 2023, Saturday and Sunday. 
Participants:  Ron Kerrick, Bob O’Donnell, Grace O’Donnell (daughter) and Lou Reichel.

The weather ranged from hot (80’s) to cold and wet (30’s).  The overall water conditions on the Casselman were low water, but not too bad.

I left early on Friday to fish some on Town Creek, which is on the way to Casselman, and stocked 2-3 weeks ago.  The water was low, but lots of caddis in the air, plus lots of turkey hunters.  After 2 hours, no fish, so I left for the Casselman.  A turkey hunter told me that he heard, that someone told his friend, that someone put otter in Town Creek that have eaten all the fish.  Has anybody else heard of this?

Arriving at the Casselman about noonish, I met Ron there and we had lunch.  Looking at the Casselman, the water level was low, but not bad, maybe even just right.  Only a few fishermen at a few pull-offs.  We fished at the northern most section, the Farmers Lane.  No other fisherman.  I even went up to the PA line, but not really sure where it is. No signs. I did catch one nice rainbow up there.

The Casselman River water level was on the low side and clear.  Lots of caddis flying in the air above the water ranging from large tan caddis to the smaller Grannon black bodied caddis. I think I saw a mayfly, but I don’t know the type of mayfly. It was on the large size and light color.  I don’t think it was a sulfur mayfly, and way too early for light Cahills.  Maybe a female Hendrickson?   One other fisherman told me that Blue Quill were hatching, but are they not dark and small? 

Using one of my special hand tied caddis pupa, I was able to catch rainbows ranging from 12 inches to 20 inches.  I gave one of my flies to Ron and he started catching some nice trout.

The trout would rise in cycles, so for long stretches of time the caddis were floating or bouncing on the water without any takes. Then the trout would start rising at something for a good 15 minutes, and then calm back down. Only a few times I saw a floating caddis get eaten.  We all tried many different caddis pupa and dry flies.  I was lucky with a LaFontaine pupa with a rainbow that jumped 4-5 times.  But those rising trout were picky for something.

Ron was able to catch a large brook trout, must have been close to 12 inches, on a Frenchie. I did not know that brook trout were in the Casselman.

It was nice to see Bob teaching his daughter, Grace, on how to fly fish. Just like a father, tying on the flies.  A future member to PPTU.

Also noticed a lot of caddis casings on rocks in the water. They were large, 1-2 inches long, built from sticks, tree bark and maybe pine needles. Bob squeezed one and a long green larva came out. Just like a nice green San Juan Worm.

We had our grilled brats and beans for lunch on Saturday and at the Casselman Hotel the breakfast and dinner buffets.

We eventually fished different sections of the Casselman, but mainly the Farmers Lane and from I68 to behind Penns Alp. Trout were caught in all sections.  By Sunday we (I) were getting very stiff. We all fished to noonish and left for home.

Overall, a very good trip.

Next outing is to Spring Creek, State College/Bellafonte, Pa, on May 19-21. Hopefully, for the Sulfur hatch. More details to follow.

Lou Reichel.
Outings Coordinator
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