Thursday, August 13, 2009

Morning at Loch Raven

Sunrise on Loch Raven Reservoir, northern Baltimore
Well, it's been over 3 months since I had a good fishing day, and well over a month since I have wetted a line. My new job lined me up with a long day of local meetings that somehow didn't start until 10am, and I decided to hit Loch Raven Reservoir, one of "the Northeast's best spots for trophy bass." As I've written before, Loch Raven is only 15 minutes from home, and offers a huge diversity of habitats, species, and fishing options, so it ain't such a bad place. I had read on the Maryland DNR fishing report that bass were holding very deep under grass beds, so I figured I might be SOL from the shoreline. I've had every possible type of fishing day on Loch Raven. I've been totally skunked (although not in a few years), I've caught tons of great fish, and everything inbetween. A "typical" day is when I work really hard and catch a few quality fish. This was one of those days.
I fished several rocky cliffs between 2 - 8' deep with a variety of lures. The small sunfish were happy to oblige me, but that got old quickly...and the sun was starting to rise. I upgraded to my two new favorite lures - the Rapala X-Rap Subwalk Glass Ghost, and the Yozuri Pin Minnow. Both rest near the surface, both have the lateral action of a traditional stickbait, and both will a limited extent.
I got a few MONSTROUS hits on the surface from larger fish (none larger than 2lbs), and several hookups with "keeper" bluegills on the Pin Minnow (all the fish were released). I started getting some action along a cliff, under a tree branch about 40 yards out, and kept working the spot until I landed this feller:

It may not look that big, but this was a pretty substantial bluegill!

Rapala X-Rap Glass Ghost (not the subwalk variety I use)

One of the morning's more bizarre problems occurred when I was fishing a small stony beach in a spring-fed cove. Every time I landed a fish, removed the hook, and tossed it back in, this juvenile brown water snake would pop out of his hiding place, and try to strike the fleeing fish!
I tried (with my foot - how smart is that?) to get him to relocate, but he wouldn't, and ultimately I had to change fishing spots, rather than risk being bitten, or having a released fish get chomped by this little 24" snake.

The scenery was great all morning, and the long walk back through the woods was full of birds. I think this guy is a brown creeper, although he could also have been a wren. Great mental health morning, and the hookup with that nice bluegill has helped me re-set my sights on catching high quality fish when I'm on freshwater.

No Video Content For You

Over 12 years ago, I started this blog. There were very few conservation or outdoor blogs at the time, few websites with fast-breaking con...