19 Feb

I (BayE) planned this trip Saturday, with the help of M.L.B, on where we were going to fish Monday (Presidents Day). We decided on The Savage River, but some unfortunate happenings forced M.L.B. to bow out gracefully on the trip. While our other Bent Rod Media member Raul is living it up in Nicaragua catching god knows what, how big, or how many. While we are stuck here in the frozen North East. Fortunately, nothing warms the soul better than a day on the stream. Especially when exploring a new stream full of “experienced” wild trout. Now, I’ve physically been to this stream before but I’ve actually never fished it. I bought my yearly license the night before after researching and reading about how well Maryland manages their trout streams (Wv NEEDS A LESSON).

I couldn’t sleep the night before. Which is my usual before a fishing trip. I would almost rather leave the night before and sleep in my truck on the stream side, which I have done in the past. My wife hates when I do that, so I don’t do it often. I spent the night watching ESPN and tying flies for the trip.  Eventually around 2a.m. I fell asleep. The wife’s alarm for work went off around 5am and she woke me up before she left at 15 till 6 and I was out the door fast. A quick stop at Speedway for fuel and breakfast, tucked in the side views (I think it helps save gas) and I was on my way. I watched half of the movie Grandmas Boy, listened to Old Crow Medicine Show and Johnny Cash on the way. The good old Garmin got me there a lot faster than I have in the past coming off the interstate and through some back roads. The snow had picked up a little as I crossed over into Maryland.  The temps really didn’t change much all day though. It was 26 when I left in the morning and 31 when I headed back home. My first fly presentation was casted around 8:30.am. after gearing up and gearing down to answer natures call. This area has a lot of things to look at as you can see from the photos. I messed around taking pictures for a few minutes before stepping into the water.  The fishing started out fast and after about 7 casts into the first big pool I had a nice sized brown come up slowly and then slam my strike indicator. Initially, I thought it was because of the bright color of the indicator. I realized later in the last pool, after tying on a black caddis, there were a few trout looking up for a meal. After the first, then second strike indicator attacks, I’d move up about 30 yards which put me out of the first big hole (which I figure gets a lot of pressure). At this point, I removed my indicator and began the old school high sticking, which I love to do, but wears my arm out. I’ve become addicted to the ease of the strike indicator. So much so, I’ve tried using it on small streams from time to time, like this trip. Eventually I fall back to the old school high sticking method, in order to “Feel” the strike and better gauge my depth. On my 2nd or 3rd cast into this second pool, after removing the strike indicator, a nice sized male brown absolutely hammered my size 18 bead headed chartreuse caddis fly (Hand Tied). After a quick battle, photo, video

and release. I headed up another 30 or 40 yards and repeated the previous trout encounter twice,  also catching the attention of a fellow fly fisherman. We exchanged the typical what are you using, how much, how long, where you from, bla bla bla…..nice guy, which is typical of a fly fishermen. After chatting for a few with the other fly fisherman, I headed up stream about 100 yards to give him a wide berth (even though he jumped me previously and plopped right in above me). I casted into a tight shallow channel along the bank. My caddis did the job again as it caught the attention of a small native brook trout. Absolutely beautiful fish, as they always are.  I ended up picking up 2 brooks out of this hole, then headed towards the next big pool. This hole has a name that I cannot think of, but it’s probably better not to give everything away. Make you work for it a little if you want to chase tails at this spot. Anyway, I set myself up on the left side of the bank about 3 feet in the water, where the run gets tighter. I’m facing fast water 40 feet ahead that dumps into a wide slow pool and them comes back together just above the point of where I’m standing. I ready my cast and as soon as I’m half way into my roll cast, I get completely tangled in a tree branch. The first thing I usually do before casting is look up and behind me to search for potential headaches. Eventually, I got untangled by cutting my line. Despite the foul up, I remembered a previous hole of this size where I started. Having already had 2 browns come up and hammer my dropper, I decided to tie on a small size 18 Black caddis and dropped off and size 18 hares ear with a soft hackle. Prior to this next catch, I had landed 3 wild browns and 2 native brook trout that were all hugging pretty close to the bottom since the water temps were hovering around 38-40. On the 3rd cast, I tossed the dry/dropper rig up about 30 yards into the faster water and mended out to catch the slack water and BAM!

Another nice 13-14 inch wild Salmo trutta absolutely hammered the caddis. Although he missed the fly completely, I did manage to set a quick hook and ended up nailing him on the outside corner of his mouth. I ended up catching another while letting the dry/dropper sit in the pooling water for about 30 seconds. She did a slow rise and take on the dry, which would end up being my last fish of the day and it was only noon. My next stop was down the road to the Savage River Fly Shop and Outfitters. Mike is a great guy and guide. He knows the local rivers like the back of his hand. Make sure you stop in and spend some money and say hi. After talking with Mike for about a half hour (1st time I ever met Mike), I headed to check out some water on my way home. After finding the spot  I sat down on the pictured bridge and made some ramon noodles on my little burner and pot. I thought to myself, It’s cold there’s no hatch,but instinct tells me that somewhere in there bottled up next to the bank, is a hungry trout. The water looks to good there has to be holdovers in there. Despite the fact that Maryland Fisheries won’t stock for another month, I headed back into the water with a big old streamer and started hitting the banks. I never landed a fish but I did have something follow. I think it was a small mouth though. Overall, it was a good day on the stream. I got to meet some new people. Not just Mike from the fly shop but a Guy (?name) and a young boy (?name 11 yrs old I think). The older guy was from Martinsburg, WV and he was part of a local fly fishing group that partners up with young kids to teach and take them fly fishing. I thought that was great. And if either of you that I just mentioned are reading this. Make sure you read the card I left on your car, which I guess if you are reading this you at least read some of it. The rest of my day consisted of driving the hour and 20 minutes home,talking on the phone to everyone who wanted but couldn’t go fishing with me.
Smooth Lines and
Tight Loops
“We do it with a Fly Rod”

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