Western Maryland Outing Oct 21 - 23, 2016

Fall Colors at I-68 Rest Area - notice also the dark clouds

Not so brilliant fall colors on the hill side along Savage River Road

Tom's Brookie

Bald Eagle spotted by Tom along with some brilliant fall colors

A BWO checking out Shawn's imitation

One of Shawn's Brookies

Another of Shawn's Brookies

Participants: Ken Bowyer, Mike Abramowitz, Frank Bowles, Caleb Bowles, Shawn Ackley, Tom Brosnan, and Steve Fletcher

Driving out to western Maryland Friday morning, I stopped at the rest area on I-68 and noticed the nice fall colors along with the dark clouds to the west. The forecast for the weekend was not encouraging with colder weather, rain, and windy conditions moving in. After stopping in Westernport to get a Subway sandwich for 2 days worth of lunch, I arrived at the Monroe Pavilion at about 1 PM observing only a few sprinkles along the way. After eating lunch and setting up my tent, I started suiting up to fish Big Run when Frank Bowles, his son Caleb, and Steve Fletcher arrived towing Frank's travel trailer.

I fished Big Run for about 1.5 hours, producing 1 strike with an orange stimulator, but mostly spooking a bunch of brookies including a couple in the 9-10" range. Frank had much more success hooking several with a 9' Tenkara rod and a parachute sulphur pattern. I also fished a short section of Crabtree Creek for about a half hour and the PhD pool on the lower Savage for about an hour. The orange stimulator and a smaller orange elk hair caddis produced nothing but a size 20 BWO comparadun produced a brookie that I wasn't able to land and some strikes and lookies at the PhD pool. When I returned to the campsite, Steve had a fire going in the fireplace. Tom Brosnan and Mike Abramowitz arrived later in the afternoon. Mike had fished the Casselman on Thursday under low water conditions and didn't report any success but he did see some wild turkeys on the way to the campground. Tom Brosnan, who joined PPTU earlier this year, fished the upper Savage prior to dinner without any strikes. Weather wise, we lucked out with mostly sprinkles during our time fishing. I think the temperature reached the mid 50s for a very short time.

I was going to start a charcoal fire in the grill when Frank mentioned he had the propane BBQ grill on the trailer. Thanks Frank. This made grilling hamburgers, steaks, and sausages much simpler. We were finishing dinner when Shawn Ackley arrived just in time to grill his steak before Frank put the propane grill away. The winds and rain increased during the night with the temperature dropping to 37. In the morning, the DNR employee checking the restroom reported some snow flurries at the shop at about 7 AM.

After breakfast Saturday morning, I think everybody headed for the lower Savage. There's a pool upstream from the Savage River Outfitters just around the bend off Savage River Road that I haven't fished in several years. There used to be a pull off at the bend but the new property owner eliminated that pull off with a huge rock placed appropriately to block it. I think it's too dangerous to hike down Savage River Road from the parking area at the Alleghany Bridge (lower suspension bridge) but I thought I could hike down the trail on the west side of the river. The trail disappeared about 1/3 mile below the bridge. I needed a machete to cut through thick rhododendrons if I wanted to continue so instead fished pocket water from there upstream almost to the Garrett Bridge (upper suspension bridge) producing a few strikes with the simple 3 hackle and henryville special flies. The size 20 BWO comparadun, a parachute sulphur, and the orange stimulator produced nothing. During that time, few bugs were observed and it sprinkled some with a brief mixture of sleet on a coupe of occasions. After lunch, I decided to head up to the upper Savage near the confluence with Poplar Lick. However, the PhD pool lacked any fishermen so I fished it for about an hour landing a small brown trout and losing another fish both on the henryville special.

Poplar Lick near the confluence with the Savage has a small "pond" created by a beaver dam. I've always found brookies there but only saw one dink rise that didn't respond to my casts. Down on the Savage below the confluence, I've usually had success but was only able to produce a couple of strikes. After about an hour there, I headed upstream around the bend on Savage River Road past the Poplar Lick parking lot. I noticed Shawn Ackley's truck in the parking lot as I drove past and parked at the pull off a short distance from the parking lot. I fished there for about another hour landing a small brookie and losing another bigger brookie in the 9-10" range both on the henryville special.

I returned to the campground around 5 PM. I think the high temperature for the day was about 45. Steve and Frank had the fire going and Caleb was sleeping. They didn't have much success on the lower Savage. Mike and Tom had fished several places on the lower Savage without any luck. Mike Evans at Savage River Outfitters reported that fishing had shut down with the cold weather that moved in Friday. Shawn Ackley caught several brookies on Poplar Lick and also saw some wild turkeys. The highlight of the trip again this year was Steve Fletchers chili Saturday evening. Thank you Steve. We missed Lou Reichel (injured back) who normally organizes the camping activities for us and we hope he's back on the stream soon.

Sunday morning, most left without planning to fish because of the cold weather. Tom decided to fish some tribs and the lower Savage and managed to catch a brookie on one of the tribs. He also spotted a bald eagle before heading home. When I left the campground at 10:30, the temperature had already warmed to 50 degrees. I fished the upper Savage above Poplar lick for about 2.5 hours catching two more brookies but unable to land either of them. I stopped in Frostburg for lunch before heading home. Considering the weather conditions, the rain and Chuck Woods "falling leaf hatch" didn't hinder the fishing that much.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the October 2017 outing. We have reserved the Monroe Pavilion for the Columbus Day weekend next year, checking in Friday, October 6th and checking out Monday October 9th. Hopefully, we will have more conducive weather next year.

Ken Bowyer

Shawn_PHD_pool from Steve Fletcher on Vimeo.

Shawn fishing the PhD pool while munchin' on a Snicker's bar! Missed a strike just as the video starts!