October Outing 2018 - Savage River Campout

When:  October 5, 6, 7, 8, 2018

Where:  Big Run State Park, Savage River

Participants:  Alan Burrows, Ken Bowyers, Lee Canby, Greg Sholly, Todd Parks, Mike Abramowitz, Richard Holden, Clinton and Mary Patrick, Lou Reichel, Art Friedlander

Beginning of the week the flows on the Savage River were still close to 1000 cfs and the North Branch in the 2000 cfs range.  For awhile we were not sure if we would cancel the outing due to high flows.  But by mid week the flows were trending down at least on the Savage River at greater than 250 cfs.  So the outing was a Go.  On Friday the flow on the Savage River was 220 cfs, a little strong, but by Monday down to 116 cfs.  There was no rain on this trip, very unusual from past trips, and the weather was hot and humid for me.  Noticed people did not get close to the campfire at night.  Overall I had a great time, good food, good talks, and I hope all had a good time also.  As Jay mentioned there were no mosquitoes.  Few inserts.  Only saw few October caddis in the Pavilion at night.

The fishing on the lower Savage was tough.  Very few trout were being caught.  The report from the Savage River Fly Shop was that the guide caught 30 trout the other day on an inch worm!  He must of caught them all.  So, many people fished the upper Savage and the tribes for brookies.  The brookies were more active.I arrived on Friday late morning.  I usually start at the PHD pool.  The pool was somewhat high, fishable, and off color, a dark green.  I used the mop fly since our 1-Fly Contest winner, Sean, has been doing so well with it.  Nothing.  Went down stream and upstream about 200 ft.  Tough fishing in the pocket water.  Still nothing.  Then checked out the Savage River Fly shop for suggestions.  Getting close to 5:00 pm and decided to head to the campsite.  I decided to look at the confluence of the Big Run and Savage close to Monroe Pavilion.  There I found a bear track.  At the campsite I learned that Jay and Art fished at the 7x pool and had caught a few trout but noted it was tough fishing.  I think Jay caught a trout on a dry fly.  Ken and Alan fished Big Run and Ken caught a 3" brookie while Alan caught a 4 incher.

During camp setup at the Monroe Pavilion, Ken found out he brought his tent, but no tent poles.  So he slept in his SUV.  Jay also slept in his van, but by plan.  Todd setup his tent and remembered he left his air mattress at home.  He setup his tent outside on the ground instead of the stone floor of the Pavilion.  Some stayed in Keyser, Comfort Inn at Grantsville and at the New Germany State Park camp ground.   We grilled our steaks et al that night, told fish stories and by 9:00 pm all turned in.  I woke up from the crashing sound of a tin plate hitting the Pavilion stone floor.  I knew it was from the bear that I found the bear track from.  I braved a look outside the tent and to protect everyone, I had to go to the bathroom, and found out it was from a black and white cat, probably a lost house cat.  Nobody else ventured outside their tents.

Saturday morning Jay cooked his French toast with maple syrup.  Afterwards everyone went fishing, the flows coming down on Savage River from Friday.  I tried for the first time Monroe Run.  Small stream, a brook trout with almost every cast, 3-6 inches using small elk hair caddis, simple 3-hackle, small humpy.  It was fun.  Art and Alan fished Crabtree and both caught brookies on dry flies.  Mike and Richard fished Popular Lick and Richard caught a nice brookie on a small black caddis.  Alan fished the Savage River pocket water upstream of the PHD pool, which I did the day before, with a mop fly and caught some brown trout, where I was unsuccessful on Friday.  Ken, Jay and I fished the upper Savage just above Popular Lick.  Ken caught a nice 7-8” brookie on partridge and orange soft hackle.  I was using the mop fly and found a huge brown trout.  It would hit the mop fly multiple times, coming to the surface attacking the mop fly, but I could not hook the trout.  I even offset the hook as per discussions around the campfire the night before.  Of course I had to get Ken to see the trout.  It looked like a 20-22” trout to my eyes, but was told it may be 12”.  On Saturday evening we had Carolina pulled pork by Todd and pumpkin pie.  People starting to feed that cat.  It will never leave.

I don’t want to report names, KB and AB, both drove off with their fly rods on top of the car.  Luckily no damage.  KB noticed the rod fall off car, backed up car to retrieve, looked on ground and couldn’t find his rod.  Found it under the car.  He ran over it but missed it with the car tires. 

On Sunday some people had to leave for “work” on Monday!  The morning smelled of bacon, eggs and coffee.  Ken attempted the lower Savage at the lower steel bridge using infamous mop fly, buggers, wet flies and dry flies.  Nothing.  I did see Jay’s van there in afternoon and didn’t hear of any catches. I later found out he tried everything in his fly box with no luck.  Todd had a good time on Popular Lick with brookies on a klinckhammer.  Ken left the lower Savage and returned to Crabtree catching some brookies.  Of course I had to go back for that 12-22” brown trout on upper Savage with a mop fly.  No luck.  That evening was planned for Bob O’s chili.  However he got sick before the trip and couldn’t cook chili.  We had grilled hot dogs, left over potato salad, macaroni salad, cole sole and pie.  Clinton and Mary cooked a taco soup.  We were all full.  Around the campfire Richard told of courageous and terrifying stories as a fighter pilot.  However, next year I need more ghost stories around an October campfire. 

Monday most people were tired and worn out.  Tents were taken down and most left without fishing the Savage.  I saw cat paws all over my van’s front window.  Jay and Mike went to the Casselman since it was recently stocked.  Flows were good.  Think I saw Mike midway down the river.  I saw Jay there setting up at the steel bridge, tying on a mop fly.  After a few casts I saw a hookup.  A large flash in the water and it was gone.  I wished him luck and left for home.

The best fishing were the brookie streams.  There are many theories why there was poor fishing in the lower Savage after all the high water.  We will have to go back in the spring.

Hope all had a good time.  See you next year.  Thanks for all sending their pictures.

PS –pictures following report.

Lou Reichel

Outings Coordinator