The North Branch of the Potomac River: Would You Like Your Monster Trout With or Without Effluent? (I Personally Like Mine, With)

3 Jun
Hello

Hello

I am exhausted…my truck is full of soon to be mildewing gear… my flies are everywhere except where they should be…and I have a pretty big smile on my face as I write this.  I have returned from another Bent Rod road trip with only a slight case of the crabs.  The crew has decided we are going to start producing a monthly or bi-monthly video series for the web called Southern Tailwater Assault (Think A-Team meets The Snorks), where we will be traveling to all of our finest tailwaters in the South and producing a video short conveying our awesomeness on these waters.  We decided to make the first installment as far North as I care to go these days, the North Branch of the Potomac River on the border of West (BY GOD) Virginia and Maryland.

North Branch Maryland Style

North Branch Maryland Style

I have no idea how I keep getting talked into going to these Timbuktu like outposts for trout.  First Missouri, then Maryland…you have got to be shitting me right?  Well I shit you not you freaks, Maryland has trout and they must be putting something in the water up there (besides pulp mill effluent, but we’ll get to that later) because there are some T-Rex like monsters that live in those waters and we even got to shake hands with some of them.

We floated two different sections of the North Branch, as it is called by locals, the upper section is a more scenic float with very little if any development on the banks and the road just far enough away that you are actually able to forget it’s there sometimes.  The lower section is characterized by the pulp mill in town.  The Pulp Mill plays a central role in the Lifetime movie that is the North Branch.  I am by no means an expert on the history of this fishery but from what I gathered, the river up until recently (the seventies?) was a filthy ditch that was more likely to produce staff infections then trophy trout.  Maryland and West Virgina then moved to clean up the river and convert it into a trout fishery. The Pulp Mill still pipes something of an orange soda color into the river through underground piping midway down the lower section.  This apparently does not bother the stocked trout so who am I to complain.  However, it was one of the weirdest sites I have ever seen on a trout river to this day, and that includes a guy rowing a boat constructed of styrofoam, a lawn chair, and ducktape. I digress.  The upper section seems to have less numbers but larger fish on average.  All the pigs we hooked came out of the top section.  If the water is pumping I would definitely suggest the top section for overall mood, ambiance and hawgs.

Goes to show, natural bueaty can poke out it's head in the most unlikliest places, like Maryland

Goes to show, natural beauty can poke it's head out in the most unlikeliest places, like Maryland

The lower section fishes better on lower water and there are a ton of cookie cutter 12-14″ rainbows in there.  The fish seemed to like streamers in a casper the ghost white and basic attractor nymphs like pheasant tails.  Fish also attacked crawfish patterns in the lower section because the nutrients in there produce huge crawdads.  The trout have taken notice of this fact.  I had one jump out of some pocket water and eat the damn thing like a dry fly.

The highlights of the trip included,

  • Meeting Otto High.  With a name like High you gotta be a good dude.  Otto lives up in WV and emailed us to see if we wanted to float up there some time.  We indeed wanted to float up there so Otto hopped on board bringing a raft, a deadly long distance set, and other various party favors to the table (mostly PBR and pepperoni rolls, which also shows how good a dude Otto is).  Otto you are more than welcome to fish with us any time buddy and no we did not roll tape on your, we’ll call it husky, ass for more then ten minutes.

    Otto the friendly bear...think Yogi not that bear from The Great Outdoors

    Otto the friendly bear...think Yogi not that bear from The Great Outdoors

  • Fishing with Mitch for the first time.  Mitch hooks and loses large fish like no one I have ever met.  I mean seriously, six trophy sized fish hooked…six trophy sized fish lost…in one day.  Your pain provided us all with entertainment all through Saturday and well into the ride home on Sunday.  Mitch was also on steroids all weekend.  He was using them either to get Hulk Hogan like huge or to get over a severe sinus infection, I can’t remember which.  Either way I am pretty sure his testicles are shrinking as I write this.

    I swear i went through all the pictures and this was the only one we had of Mitch.  Next time if he lands a big fish maybe we'll take a picture with his lovely face in it.

    I swear I went through all the pictures and this was the only one we had of Mitch. Next time if he lands a big fish maybe we'll take a picture with his lovely face in it.

  • Ryan, well where do I begin? First there always has to be a douche with a rod hotter then everyone else’s.  Well this trip the honor falls to Ryan.  He stuck a nice bow the first day and then two 22″+ browns within  ten minutes of each other out of the same hole on the second day.  Truly sickening stuff.  One of them took a white hair ball leach and the other took a pheasant tail.  No one deserves that kind of luck.  I am pretty sure a piano is going to fall on his dog any day now, which sucks because I like his dog.  I hope you are happy Ryan.
    First article of evidence suggesting a relationship between Ryan and the devil

    First article of evidence suggesting a relationship between Ryan and the devil

    The opposite of a short-fat

    The opposite of a short-fat

    Anothe view of Mr. Long and Skinny

    Another view of Mr. Long and Skinny

    He's got a head like sputnik.

    He's got a head like Sputnik.

    This one looks like it made one too many trips to the chinese buffet

    This one looks like it made one too many trips to the chinese buffet

    Seriously, if I lived there I would be making sure my small dog went nowhere near this guy

    Seriously, if I lived there I would be making sure my small dog went nowhere near this guy

  • Ryan wearing a body glove life vest to run a class II rapid.  It was very scary and Ryan felt the need to revert back to the 1987 Jet Ski Nationals sponsored by Hawaiian Tropic.  I told him he should have at least done it au natural.  At least that way it would have been kind of cool.  But he chose the Body Glove and now he must live with it for eternity.

    Fits like a glove

    Fits like a glove

  • Murphy learning to row.  Learning to row is never a pretty site.  Murphy did not disappoint. The upper section has some pretty technical rock gardens that even good rowers need to pay attention to.  Murphy is not a good rower.  Murphy spent most of the first two days cussing as he burrito’d another rock.  I say most of the first two days because he did show epic signs of improvement between the hours of 2:00 and 3:00 on Saturday.  Keep on rowin’ little buddy you’ll get it sooner or later.

    Muphy is a good lookin' fella with that chinstrap beard...don't you think?

    Muphy is a good lookin' fella...don't you think?

Video will be out soon. Next month we head to Georgia.  Keep it sleazy San Diego,

Yours truly happier than any man should be allowed to be

Yours truly, happier than any man should be allowed to be

– Nymph-o

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6 Responses to “The North Branch of the Potomac River: Would You Like Your Monster Trout With or Without Effluent? (I Personally Like Mine, With)”

  1. bentrodmedia February 2, 2010 at 5:33 PM #

    I love this post…..best of them all!!

    Wookie

  2. icetrout February 14, 2010 at 10:39 AM #

    Hope ya’ll had fun while you were there,the Maryland DNR(DO Nothing Rangers) have put the Kabash on the North Branch.MdDNR has screwed up the best Wet Dream in Maryland!!!No more Hogs unless you like Rainbow Mutant Frankenfish from the CWI.lol-not 😦

    • bentrodmedia February 14, 2010 at 11:06 AM #

      We had a blast….was our first trip down the upper and lower sections on a float. Fishing was good and we’ll be back down the river a few times this year. SOrry to hear the Maryland DNR has come down with the same disease as WV’s DNR…….especailly since both help support this river. Maybe when they get the Savage Dam under control they will switch their focus over to the NBP.

      Wookie

      • icetrout March 23, 2013 at 9:33 PM #

        Wonder if Maryland DNR is planing to restore the NBP to Doc Bob Bockmans original vision? Na,their to worried about their pay & pensions for that! So much for hoggs & grandslams… 😦

  3. Ben, Will and Nick March 23, 2013 at 12:23 AM #

    Hey, could whoever wrote this please let Otto High know that Ben, Will and Nick are fishing at the end of the earth and hoping that he will reach out and contact us soon. Come back and visit MT Otto.

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