Every year we head North to the Maryland , West Virginia line to fish the North Branch Potomac tail water. Last year was a banner trip, lots of fish, and numerous fish landed over 20 inches. This year was another story,well at least the first part of the trip.
After working all day on thursday, I loaded the truck, and hit the road. One Redbull and a 5 Hour Energy shot and I was hopping. It was the longest 7 hours of my life, my body was tired, but my eyes were wide open from all the energy supplements. I wheeled into the Savage River State Forest and set up camp around 6 in the morning. Murph, Mitch and Jeff (aka Shawn) wheeled in shortly after I did.
I had a quick pepperoni roll breakfast along with a redbull and I was set. We launched the boats , run shuttle, etc and were fishing by 9:30.
Evidently WV had just stocked the put and take section above the Catch and Release section, cause the hoards had converged on that section of river. It was a sight!
On to the fishing, or lack of good fishing. It was a killer day weather wise, 80 plus degrees, sunny, bluebird skies, but the fish were hunkered down. I managed a few fish, but the one that stuck out in my mind was the Cutthroat I landed after lunch.
Murphy seemed to have the hot fly for the day, because he was catching three fish to my one. Mitch was sick and slept through most of the float. Jeff kept changing flies until Murphy graciously gave him one of the special flies he used to rake fish. I reverted to the streamer game and had many follows and missed strikes, but none seemed to want to commit. So needless to say, Friday wasn’t a banner day. But we were on the water and that is what counts.
Saturday we fished the section Below Westernport where the dirty water discharge from the paper plant stains the river. Our amigo Otto had joined us for the remainder of the weekend. Jeff left earlier that Morning and Murphy left for Florida the night before (might I add Murphy is a giant D-bag for bailing on the rest of the weekend). According to some this section of river holds the biggest fish. But man its an ugly float for the most part. A difference of daylight and dark when you compare it to the upper section we floated Friday. Anyways, the fishing was steady, and a lot better than Friday. Most fish were cookie cutters, a few 14 inchers, and one lost 16+, and a few bass in the mix. We found the flashier the fly the better.
We floated for about 8 hours, wading and exploring some side channels along the way. After the float Mitch decided to call it a day early and head home. Otto and I returned to camp for some dinner and beer. Shortly after we get back Otto found some fresh Morrell’s that had taken up residence under a tree near our tents. We threw together some fired potatoes and deer back strap for dinner, drank some beer and watch the fire. Shortly after polishing off some beer a MD DNR officer showed up. He was checking see if we had paid the camping fees and to inform us that Maryland had just passed a law starting in 2010 regarding the possession of Alcohol on State lands. Well this was new to us, and since we were from out-of-town and the law just went into effect. he let us off with a warning. I will say he was a rely nice guy, and he filled us in on some really good fishing spots.
Sunday we awoke to cloudy skies and fog. It had rained during the night. We packed up camp ate some pop tarts and headed back to float the Barnum section, and get some redemption on the fish that had eluded us on Friday”s float. After dropping a truck at the takeout, we arrived at the put in just as the rain started back. There was a dense fog blanketing the river as well. We launched and worked our way down to the C and R section. It seemed like a great fishing day. Cool temps, a light rain, and a little fog cover. As soon as we anchored I nailed two fish and lost two more. This continued for the next several holes. The fish were definitely eager to eat. At one point I watched a nice bow come up and eat on the surface and return to the depths. One cast later he ate my nymph and gave up a hell of a fight. Otto was nailing an equal amount of fish as well. he was drifting a crawdad pattern along rock ledges and was cleaning house. My only question at this point was ” Where the hell were these fish on Friday”, it seemed like a totally different river.
As it neared lunch time we pulled the boat off at a killer wading spot to fish and eat. We decided to wade out and fish for a few. After a few casts I hear Otto holler big fish, so I made a mad dash for the boat to retrieve the net and stumble down to him. Sure enough it was a big fish, and she had no plans of giving up. After slipping and sliding to get down river and sneak up on this slab I was able to net her. We snapped a few pics and Otto released her unharmed.
The rest of the day we floated drank some beer, and slapped streamers. Knowing I had a 7 hour drive back, we decided to call it a day at 4:30.