Orvis Days, Care For Kids and a big Thank You!

On October 8th, I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at the Orvis Store in Bethesda, MD during their “Orvis Days” event. I was flattered to have a great crowd of folks turn out to hear me talk about the Big Gunpowder Falls and show off some of my photography with a presentation following the seasons on the river.

Also presenting during the event was Trent Jones, who schooled us on fishing in DC on the Tidal Potomac River, all while we were entertained for most of the day by jazz guitarist Bart Stringham. Joe from the shop brouth in Sandwiches from PotBelly and other snacks and refreshments. Except for being on the water, what else could a fly-fisher want?

I couldn’t have asked for a better reception and I’m grateful for all the kind feedback I’ve received. Thank you to everyone who turned out and to Orvis for having me at the shop!

If you missed you missed the Orvis Days promotions last weekend there’s a chance to save at the store coming up the week of October 21st through Oct. 30th with a Care For Kids Card from the folks at the Children’s National Medical Center. The cards are $50 and get you 20% discounts on regularly priced merchandise. It’s perfect if you’ve had your eye on new boots and waders or a new rod for under the tree not to mention the long list of first class merchants who’re participating! I’ll even be working at the store Sunday the 23rd if you want to come and say hello.

Wet or dry…

Wet or Dry?

Wet or dry...have it your way

Nothing is new about fishing wet flies but I thought I’d share my go-to wet/dry sulphur pattern. Fishing the Gunpowder Falls anglers are treated to some great hatches of sulphurs and caddis. I think there are more caddis in the river but feel free to debate it with me. In any case, I fish this fly both dry and wet. I even fish a combo of it with just the wings dried off by a powdered fly drying agent. There’s nothing fancy about it except maybe the snowshoe-hares foot wing. The more fish you catch the worse it looks and the better it seems to work. I don’t leave the house without a full compartment of this fly if I’m taking other people along. As the season goes by I tie it smaller and smaller and even with a dun colored wing. I credit an old friend for turning me onto the snowshoe hare years ago and I put it in everything.

Wet flies are one of those things you just can’t get in your local fly shop (unless you have a great local shop…if so get in there and buy some flies and other stuff from them and keep them open) and when I hear people say “It’s not worth tying my own flies” I think of this one. They’re  becoming a lost art. There are dozens of patterns that you just can’t pick up everywhere. Many tiers are picky about little details and swear by minor adjustments of old patterns. I’m definitely one of those folks; for me it’s the little tweaks that give flies the “life” that some store bought flies are lacking. Spending a few hours at the vise refining and learning can pay off on the stream. There’s nothing more rewarding than learning to tie your own flies and hitting the water and CATHCHING FISH with something you made!

Get out there while it’s still spring! And get on some of those sulphurs. Maybe call your favorite local fishing guide (hint, hint!) and ask about some fly tying lessons. It’s a sure-fire cure for cabin feaver when winter comes around again.

The Weather’s Here…

I didn’t think Spring would ever hit Maryland’s streams. While the great heat-island of DC has been green and flowering for weeks, it seems that the banks of the local streams have been slow to catch on. Last week’s trips to The Big Gunpowder gave me a chance to see the skunk cabbage really filling in and May apples in bloom. 

I got to take out an old friend that I’d met in VA a few years back when I lived down in the mountains there. We used to fish for smallmouths on the New River and chase brookies on tiny creeks in moonshine and ginseng country. We used to get into all sorts of trouble with locals and one particular warden that had it in for us because we used fly rods and had fancy waders. He’d moved to DC and had dug out an old Sage RPL 5wt and has been chomping at the bit. We’d met up after he’d been released from a conference in Baltimore. After getting him into some fresh wading boots he was in the water before I had all of my crap together. 

After a few false casts into the trees he was into fish. It felt pretty great to see someone hook into fish after saying “I don’t know if I remember how to cast!” ten minutes earlier. We caught quite a hatch of sulphurs, hendricksons and then caddis before calling it a night in favor of some greasy grub on the road home.  It was a great day of fishing. 

A Mouthful

The Big April Mayflies are a meal for the trout on the Big Gunpowder Falls. I was lucky enough to get out last Wednesday when the weather was in the 80’s and the sun was shining; I have no excuse for not posting a report sooner.  

The official report: PERFECT!  

The water temps are jumping up with every rainstorm and the bugs are active. This has the trout feeling pretty bold. While my fish were great in number I didn’t hook into any submarines. They’re still in there however and after running into Theaux from the Backwater Angler up in Monkton, he and his pal had proof on their camera phone at the end of the night and bragging rights. See the short story here. Swing by his shop and pick up a few flies and fresh leaders and keep his lights on if you’re headed up this way. 


Monday looks like a repeat of last week’s situation – storms followed by warm weather – and with a little luck the gas prices will stay low.  Here’s a couple pics, below, from my outing. I’m off to hit the bench to crank out a dozen fresh flies.  

I was pretty happy when I saw $4.23 high-test!
Nice Brown

An average fish for the day. I could catch these for days.


Jsut look at that bottom!

High but clear.


The Bats are out. The warmer weather can't be far behind.

The bats are out. The warmer weather can't be far behind.