The Savage River:
The river was fishing slow this week in Western Maryland. Levels were down between 50-75 CFS and warming to 56-59 degrees midday at the uppermost bridge access. Hatches were coming off great, but the fish were only rising to midges size #22-26 in the flat pools. Pounding the pocket water was surprisingly ineffective despite an abundance of size twelve March Browns, Sulphurs and Cahills in the early afternoon. Caddis, Blue Wing Olives, Craneflies and smaller mayflies were hatching midday in small numbers. Gypsy Moth Caterpillars were everywhere on the river, and two trout rose to ones I saw fall into the water. My caterpillar fly just wasn’t up to code, though I will soon be busy at the vise. A heavily hackled, long shanked size ten Griffith’s Gnat looks pretty close.
The overall consensus from other anglers and guides was the fishing was tough, despite impressive hatches and decent flow. One thing I noticed was the fish were only rising to dries when I skated them close to rocks during emergence time. One brook trout struck my client’s fly so close to a rock that it appeared to snag a piece of the rock, which was actually the trout’s head. A higher flow may pull the trout from their hiding places and make them more willing to rise to the untouched naturals. Flat water fish were picky, refusing size #24-26 black, gray and tan midge patterns. Look for more active fish in coming weeks when the water temperature warms and the hatch ends in an intense spinner fall at dark.
The North Branch of the Potomac:
The river was low 225-275 CFS , warming to 65 degrees midday at Barnum and fishing excellent with large fish rising to dries in pocket water areas. These levels offered easy wading to cross the river and helped concentrate fish into the better runs. Stimulators and caddis in sizes 10-16 were good searching patterns. Dropper nymphs like copper johns, green weenies, pheasant tail nymphs and San Juan worms all work well.
These rivers have extremely slick bottoms so studded or Sticky Rubber soles are a good idea.
Wading staffs can be a good idea for the North Branch or even the Savage river in higher flows. A big net is a good idea for the North Branch as you may hang a monster trout that may not be able to fit into conventional sized nets. Seriously.
A few notes on Whirling Disease:
Anglers should bring a small bottle of bleach to disinfect boots, waders and nets to prevent the spread of whirling disease from the North Branch, Yough or Bear Creek. Dilute the bleach (98% water/2% bleach), soak the gear ten minutes and then rinse numerous times to remove all traces of bleach, which can be very harmful to fish and insects. This bleach solution should be disposed of properly away from watersheds. Anglers should consider fishing the North Branch LAST on a multi day or weekend trip to further prevent any transfer of the spores. Anglers should start practicing this cleaning process when traveling from any fishery to another. Testing has yet to reveal the extent of the spread of whirling disease in Maryland and neighboring states. When leaving any river and assume it is infected and that your gear will need to be cleaned before fishing another stream. Prevention is the ONLY method in stopping this disease from preying on our trout populations.
Backwater Angler Overnighter
Whirling Disease Talk is Open to the Public
On June 19th, the following was added to this post:
I just spoke to Susan Rivers from DNR Fisheries, a 10% cleaning solution is comprised of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water. Theaux