- Last Updated: 26 February 2020 26 February 2020
Maryland Trout Stocking
2020 Spring STOCKINGS
PPTU members and friends have stocked the Middle Patuxent Delayed harvest section again. It was stocked back in early December with a mix of browns and rainbows. On February 20 another 450 rainbows were added. These trout were float stocked downstream in the middle of the delayed harvest section. Float stocking spreads the trout out over more than a mile of stream. There will be one more float stocking the end of March with a similar number and distribution.
Also on February 20 our intrepid crews float stocked the Patuxent River tailwater below Brighton Dam. This is a Flies Only, No-Kill regulated section. DNR provided us with 800 rainbows which were scattered from the upper end of the flies-only area down to past Havilland Mill Road. On February 15, several of us cleared the trails along the river from Havilland Mill upstream. We still have not fixed the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) problem for the dam’s hydropower operation. Consequently, we expect that sometime in June the DO will simply get too low for trout. So enjoy the fishery while it lasts.
The upper Patuxent River special regulation area (lures & flies only and no-kill) will be stocked the end of March with approximately 650 rainbows. The river was heavily stocked with a mix of brown and rainbow trout in early December; a large number of these fish were camera-sized trout up to 20”. Reports were received this winter of nice fish being caught in the deeper pools. I expect some of these nice fish will move out into the runs and pocket water before the end of March.
In early December we got a call from the Maryland DNR Fisheries: A trout rearing facility west of Hagerstown was running out of spring water to keep it going. All trout had to be pulled out and stocked. These were all trout we were expecting next February and March, not December! So we were asked if we could muster the volunteers to manage stocking 450 into the Middle Patuxent and 1550 trout into the upper, main Patuxent River? The DNR wanted the trout moved within 10 days. Normally, we get several weeks to coordinate major stockings. We said we would try to find the 20 or 25 volunteers and see if we could float stock these two streams we all like to fish.
We eventually found the necessary man (and woman) power. On December 6 we stocked the Middle Patuxent delayed harvest section with moderate flows and four volunteers. On December 11 we float stocked about 6 miles of the upper Patuxent special trout management area. As soon as the truck arrived at the Middle Patuxent and handed us our first bucket, we knew we might have a problem!! We were expecting 9” brown trout, but instead most of the trout were in the 14–17” range with some at large as 20”! A few of those BIG trout could barely fit into our float boxes!! Since our four float boxes could not hold all of them, the truck went around from Eden Brook and dumped the remainder into the Middle Patuxent at Old Columbia Pike. Our boxes made it safely downstream about 2 miles sprinkling trout here and there in the larger pools.
This unexpected largess gave us a few extra days to gather as many volunteers as we could to move the 1550 trout the following Wednesday. We expected to only need 13 boxes but mustered 20 volunteers to pull 17 boxes over most of the water between rt 94 (Annapolis Rock) and Howard Chapel The only hiccup was the weather: an inch of snow greeted us that morning on the grass and forest floor with air temps slightly above freezing. The only mishaps were that three of us went for unplanned swims: One of our crew three times, another once, and yours truly went in twice. We were working so hard that we had no real issues with hypothermia. If we had been quietly fishing, we would have been forced to our cars immediately.
Below is a short video of the PPTU Bucket Brigade to give you an idea of the size of the fish.
In sum, go fishing this winter on these streams. At least give it a try—if we get some breaks in the weather. In the Patuxent River State Park, I would wear a hunter orange cap or something unless fishing on a Sunday: still hunting season. Dress warm, tell friends where you will be, and enjoy a winter day on the stream!
I wish to thank the following PPTU members and friends for helping on such short notice in these stockings: Sean Beck, Mike Bovitch, Ron Briggs, Alan Burrows, Lee Canby, Geoff Carton, Bob Erskine, Mike Frey**, Gregg Gochnour, Noel Gollehon, Jon Griffiths, Mark Jacobs, Bob Kaiser, John MacLean, Jeff Miller, George Opryszko, Bill Roberts, Joe Robinson, Peter Schuler, Bryan Sirotkin, Dale Thatcher, Maurice Waldorf, and Bob Zukowski. (** worked both stockings)
For up-to-date stocking information throughout the state, go to the Maryland DNR website.
Photos from 2019 Stockings
Photos from 2018 Spring Stockings
A Video and Photos from Previous Years
In the spring of 2015, Ron Brooks made this excellent video of PPCTU Stocking Below Brighton Dam.
Thanks Ron for your efforts!
Joe Kunsman provided the following photos and footnotes of their crew stocking below Brighton Dam. Thanks Joe.