October 2020 Western Maryland Campout and Fishing

When: October 9, 10, 11, 12, 2020. Friday – Monday
Where: Big Run State Park, Savage River, Garret County, Maryland

Participants: Ron Briggs, Rachel Dagovite, Tom Brosnan, Craig Vander Kolk, Jay Sheppard, Peter Banwell, Randy Dwyer, Ken Bowyer, Bob O’Donnell, Ron Kerrick, Shawn Ackley, Greg Sholly, Lee Canby, Clint and Mary Patrick.

We had a good number of people. Maybe the largest group to date! I was a little concerned if we could get all tents under pavilion, but 3 bought their campers and couple put tents outside of pavilion. All was good.

It was good to see some new members. Savage River and North Branch (NB) are tough waters, but you need to fish them, explore them, for your next trip. Listen to all the fish stories on where and how to fish them. Fall into the stream at least once to be one with the stream. A few of the new members were fishing better than the seasoned fly fishing persons.

The weather was great on Friday and Saturday. I would say at least 50-60% of trees were in Fall colors. The lower Savage and North Branch flows were good. We did not fish the upper Savage and tribs due to low water and protection of the brook trout. Friday night and Saturday morning were chilly. Great Fall weather. By Sunday the weather report predicted heavy rains, at least 3 inches, for late Sunday thru Monday. Sunday morning was damp and misty. So many people decided to fish some Sunday and head home. The brave people with campers were staying thru Monday. I haven’t heard from them since or their reports yet. Did it ever rain?

Lots of us started on the PHD pool. Lots of insects, looked like BWO, some type of larger mayfly, and caddis. Large brown trout would come up to surface, look at your BWO fly, touch it with their nose, but then refuse. I saw one open its white mouth but decided at last moment not to strike. I finally got a 10-12 inch trout with #16 BWO klinkhammer, at very end of drift and end of the PhD pool. Bob says it was outside the PhD pool so it was not a smart trout. Ken caught a nice brookie just above the pool. Craig caught a brown trout from the PHD pool, as I was looking down from the bridge, in a short time with a BWO Waterwisp fly by Jim Greene. Shawn was using his euronymphing techniques on sections of the lower Savage River never fished before. Seemed to catch some trout with an ant. However it seems euronymphing is dangerous to your health causing sore arms and shoulders.

In the evenings we all met at the campsite around the campfire. One morning we were treated with Jays French toast with bacon from Shawn. It was great! One evening we were treated with Craig’s gumbo with exotic meats like alligator and crayfish. It was great! One evening we heard the chilling howl of the coyotes. I was hoping for Jay to call his owl, but he didn’t. With regret there were no ghost stories, but Jay gave us a true tale on the history of the Savage River and how it got its name. You will have to come next year to learn how. Also in the evenings there were loads of October caddis flying into the lights. Maybe turn off some lights next time.

On Saturday many went to the North Branch (NB). Lou heard of this 22 inch rainbow the both Ken and Bob missed from this small pool. So I found it, I didn’t get the 22 inch rainbow, but I caught at least 10 rainbow with a #16 Simple 3 Hackle fly found in “Maryland Trout Fishing, The Catch and Release Streams”. They start off at 11-12 inches and ended at 5 inches. They got smaller as they got caught. Some went to the lower section but were unable to catch anything like Joe Kunsman. Craig found a great spot on the upper NB and caught couple of browns and a 22-24 inch rainbow with a slate drake and October caddis. Bob O must of found the same site on Sunday for he caught a 22-24 inch rainbow with a (slate drake?) emerger, on a 3 wt, 10 ft rod, with rod breaking bends. It was a battle. Similar to The Old Man and the Sea.

Well that’s about it. I’m sure I missed some fishing stories. I hope all had a good time and learning experience. Pictures are attached. Unable to title them because I don’t know how. I am sorry I didn't get large group picture.

Next year, we also plan in late May to early June to go out again for the 17 year cicada hatch and staying at the pavilion. Stay tuned for details. Of course we will still have the October outing in Western Maryland.

See You next year.

Lou Reichel
Outings Coordinator
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