Labor Day weekend is a time where many people are enjoying there last summer vacation before all the hustle and shuffle of the next season begins. Kids are going back to school, sports are starting to pick back up, the weather is changing, last chance for a weekend of boating, and much more. Garrett County, Maryland is a busy place over Labor Day weekend especially the Deep Creek Area and it attracts these crowds and vacationers. On Saturday I was able to mingle in with the crowds to do a little Western Maryland recon work for B.C.I fall trip.
The waters are tremendously low throughout western MD. The Savage is flowing at 38 c.f.s while all the brook trout streams are at a trickle compared to their average flow. The North Branch was at 150 c.f.s except for Sunday and Monday when they opened the gates to 1000 c.f.s for a white water release. It is now back down to 150 c.f.s If you want to see the Yough at its lowest level of the year than now is the time to check it out. With the waters being so low, I noticed a lot of the fishing pressure to be at the two major tail races of Garrett County, the North Branch and the Savage River. It began raining very lightly Friday night and into Saturday until 1:00 p.m with the occasional heavy down pours. I got onto the Savage once the rain stopped to be greeted with sunshine. I took along a greenhorn “James” that had never casted a fly rod to give him a crash course on how to fly fish. The Savage can be a tough river to teach the basics with hopes to catch a fish. We fished a certain stretch that I have not fished in a long time but I knew it was an open area for back casting and enough current to fish a streamer, dry, and nymph.
Once I went over the few basics I threw him to the infamous Savage. While he was getting a feel for the rod and casting technique I was able to hook up with a beautiful brook trout that you see above and below. I took him on a size 20 midge.
I fished the midge for a short time and missed two browns before James hooked into a nice brown trout. One thing that I failed to go over with him in full detail was how to set the hook and fight the fish with line control. The brown took a size 16 Elk Hair Caddis and gave him a good fight for a few seconds, before he lost it due to slack line. It was my fault that I did not go over that with him but he was still excited. We fished for another half hour and I was able to hook into a rainbow with the same midge pattern.
All the fish caught were on dries and the fish were hitting the bugs hard and not sipping. I believe the rain from that night and morning stained the water just lightly to make the fish more active. Once the rain stopped the fishing pressure increased with a fisherman everywhere you looked, the PHD Hole, 7x flats, the falls, the bend, the lower bridge, the fly shop, and everywhere in between. The sun and clouds began to turn into gray skies once again and we decided to head over to the Yough.
We got to the Yough and saw how low it was but still it was a good area to do some more instruction with James. We fished for a short time catching a few bass. Fish were sipping midges but were small fish most likely fingerlings or small bass and bluegill. I did come across a 20 plus inch brown dead. I could not see any visible causes of its mortality but with such warm water conditions it could have been caught and released improperly. I hope all that reads this remembers that if you do catch fish in warm water conditions please try to release fish as fast as possible with no or minimum handling.
In a nut shell the waters of Western Maryland are very low and if you do decide to fish this area in the near future stick to the tail waters. Even though they may be lower than average the water is still cold and the fish are active. B.C.I will be on these home waters soon and look for more blogs about our fall trip in the weeks to come.
I got to give a shout out to my good friend Travis and his wife Ashley. They just welcomed their healthy baby boy, Wyatt into this great world this past weekend. My words to Wyatt, you are the next bug chucking generation, remember two things, big flies and tight lines. My words to everyone else, their will always be a next generation so by teaching them what we know and how to protect our waters will benefit them and others to come. Travis and I grew up chucking bugs together and I look forward to the years to come to watch Travis teach Wyatt how to fly fish and eventually, show him what it’s like to be a BUG CHUCKER!