WHATS UP WITH THE SAVAGE RIVER?

STEEVO "CHUCKIN'" THE SAVAGE

With all of this winter stuff finally happening here in the east, I found it time to tie flies and do a little investigating. With a little time spent on organizing gear and fly inventory under my belt, I figure i would get tying and get answers. There were some things that went down a couple years ago now, which if you fish western Maryland, you are well aware. Now on the other hand, you may be wondering what I am talking about?

Savage River Reservoir….VERY EMPTY!

For those of you who don’t know, here is the skinny.There is the Savage River Reservoir, that is a very deep and narrow, that feeds the section of river that is a “wild trout” stream. The water for the “wild trout” section is released from the bottom of this reservoir. The water released from the bottom is controlled by gates. Well everyone knows that everything ages with time and starts to break down. This breakdown of these gates caused them to be pretty much non-functional, they were fully opened or closed.The engineers in-charge of the repairs decided it best to wait for old man winter. The intentions here were to keep the river temps as normal as possible for the trout, while the gate repairs were being done. Everything went great until mother nature decided to have a huge snow melt off, with a ton of rain. This caused a huge rush of silt filled water to pass through the lower Savage. Some claimed it looked more like a mud slide. Then there was the questions of the impact of the “mud flow”. Did all of the trout die, and what about the future impact of this extreme experience? The storys and rumors started, which some were straight B.S., and then there was the somewhat educated views. This is where the investigation began…

Savage Brown Trout...August 2011

                                                                                                                                                                               What was the impact to the stream? I mean we all have been catching fish, but is there an official study done to show the impact? What about the bug life of the stream? The hatches were a little slow the first year after, but they have been picking up. Then there were the huge number of freakin rainbows. Although there were always a  few rainbows, there has been a bunch being caught on BCI fieldtrips. Well here are your answers straight from western MD “Fish GUY”. The study done on the water found that there was a 20% reduction in the adult Brown and Brook trout populations. This was found to be due to the silted water and stressed spawning situations the year of the gate change. The silt also had a big impact on the insects of the stream, suffocated them out. But they are making a come-back and the silt has positive impacts for the spawning in the years to come. As far as the Rainbows, they were stocked in the upper Savage and the reservoir, and unintentionally came through the dam and dam overflow during high water events, during the gate change. So no, they weren’t stocked in the lower Savage. So even with the negative mishaps, stream outlook is very positive for the years to come. Any questions? Stay involved in your fishery, after all they are a public service department. Keep on Chuckin!

-Ryan

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