Monday, September 19, 2011

High Water Trout in Northern Maryland

Chesapeake Bay - not looking so good
It has been almost a month since our first hurricane of the year, and only a week since our last tropical storm. Each time I cross the Chesapeake Bay, I am simply astonished by the sewage, the sediment, and the debris that continue to float down it from Pennsylvania and New York.  It is impossible to imagine how any living being can exist in that environment.  Toilet seats. Tires. 80 foot long trees. An endless flotilla of garbage that the Bay neither wants or needs.

But since our hot and humid weather pattern has broken, I decided to go fishing.  The conditions I've already described seem to be present on every major river, and so, as I've done so many times in the last few years, I picked a headwater stream in an area with lots of forest, and without sewers, farms, or much notable erosion.

Here's the reach of headwater stream I chose to wade - just a few miles away from the mud-thickened Susquehanna River - and safely outside its drainage:
Clear enough to fish for trout? I think so!
High water - very high - but cool and fairly clear. As has been the case the prior two times I fished here, I did not see another angler the entire time I was on the water.  I started with a weighted inline spinner in white and silver.   Fish rose and fell. Rose and fell.  I don't consider myself an expert trout angler, but I understand structure and how fish hunt.  It was weird to abandon the spots I knew in this reach and focus on "thinking like a trout."  Finally, I caught two fallfish, before losing the lure to a gigantic fallfish or rainbow trout in an 8' deep pool.  Sigh, 2 pound line.  I stayed with white inline spinners and worked above and below two great riffles that used to be granite boulders in the floodplain.   After about 40 minutes....victory!

My biggest brown trout of the year!

Chub were chasing my lures all around the river bed, and eventually one chub had a bad run of luck.
Reminiscent of my years in western North Carolina, I had to keep my lure off the bottom to avoid the River Chubs
The damage on the upper floodplain was pretty extreme, including a go-kart stuck 20' up in a tree, and a car that was crushed by the flow of the river.....and everything carried by it. Based on that fact, I guess it shouldn't have been a huge surprise that this guy suddenly showed up in a boulder pool below a big riffle....

The Joe's Flies "Glo-Trout." Can't say enough about that inline spinner!
I ended up catching 4 fallfish, 5 river chub, 2 brown trout, and a smallmouth bass in less than two hours.  It was a fast, well-planned and single-minded visit to the river, and I was proud of myself for not getting distracted with everything else going on in my life....or not going fishing at all. The flow is still about triple what I'm used to fishing there, so I look forward to getting back on it in "less life threatening" conditions.  I'm sure there will be some surprises, as there's very little cobble left in this reach -  mostly boulders and bedrock.  But I continue to come here and fish, and the fish continue to oblige.  I'd be foolish to ask for anything more.


tugboatdude said...

That's what I'm talking about!Glad you got out there,caught some fish and looks like a nice stream to do it in.

Kirk Mantay said...

Next time you're up, we'll hit it. A good alternative to freezing in the duck blind!

And to think, I found this place by accident.

J and M Flies said...

Hey glad to see you are catching some trout. I haven't been able to fish thanks to all the damn rain. Hoping to get out soon for either some trout or last minute smallies on the fly.

Anonymous said...

Your choice of streams sure was a beautiful one. Very nice setting. Glad the fish cooperated too! Happy hook ups!

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