It rained, it snowed, we fished

This morning I thought I’d be over dressed for fishing. I started my day south of the Big Gunpowder in 50+ weather and ended at 34 degrees with rain and snow flakes. I know we just have to hang in there for a couple more weeks and we’ll be fishing in t-shirts. – Micah

…on new flies

I tried hard to show off that fly but the fish were a little too hungry!

 Armed with a new fly pattern, I set out to get a picture of it hanging from the corner of a fish’s mouth. I was sure it would work but who really knows when it comes to new flies. There were plenty of fish willing to hook themselves but nearly every one was hooked in a manner that wouldn’t allow for a photo of the fly. One large fish even broke off, stealing the fly I was trying to get shots of. It was laughable. How could I be angry that the fish were taking my fly? Years ago someone told me “you can fish, or take pictures, but it’s hard to do both.” That same person told me the old photographer’s joke “…if you want to take better pictures, get better looking friends.”

  Of course, there were only 4 flies tied and that’s never enough if it’s the one that’s working. With 2 in the trees or on the bottom, and 1 in a fish, the rest of the afternoon was spent casting with less boldness. You can bet a dozen or two will get turned out at the vise this week. As for the photos, I may just have to settle for a picture of it in the vise.

 Let’s go fishing! 

Micah & The Knee Deep Team

Scenes From the Banks

The banks of the Big Gunpowder look a little different after the high water.

After Hurricane Sandy and the nearly 3,000cfs spike in flows, the banks of the Big gunpowder look a little different. While the high water changes the look of a river and can be hard on its aquatic life, these too-frequent epic-high-water events are a good chance to study the life of the river. Those of us who spend a lot of time on the water are familiar with its banks and the contours of its runs. There’s nothing like walking and wading your favorite stretches and discovering new runs and log-jams if you’ve been bitten hard by the fishing bug.

Some insect sampling revealed lots of caddis and mayflies holding tight to the rocks and a few midges. One thing we discovered is a lot of olive mayflies. We’ve always fished dark brown and olive Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ears and treating yourself to an olive hare’s mask would be $5 well spent if you tie your own. The midges that were netted were more cream and green than any of the red or black varieties. Super tiny and active in a sampling bin, they were hard to photograph. We shot a few through some stacked lenses and will think skinnier and longer in the future. A size 16 curved hook with tan thread will be in the box this winter.

We netted a few midges and quite a few snails!

Headed out this week? Think deep and set the hook every time your strike indicator stalls even for a moment.

Keep your boots clean,

The Knee Deep Team

Patuxent River Monday

 …photos are at the bottom!

I took a ride around the north end of DC to Mongomery/Howard County to fish the Patuxent River. With the whole day to myself, I took the scenic route. This brought me past the Brighton Dam area, which I hadn’t fished since last season, so I decided to pull in and check it out. To my surprise, a stocking truck pulled up and a few volunteers helped toss buckets of fish into the river. It was nice to see fish going in there as it’s a great chunk of catch and release water for the new angler to cut their teeth on. It’s worth checking out after work on a weekday; just don’t stay too late and get locked in by the park staff!

A short run in the truck took me upriver to the Howard’s Chapel Rd crossing and I fished upstream almost to Hipsley Mill Rd. The early spring was giving the rose bushes a head start – I can’t wait to see how my waders hold up on the cold Gunpowder after this run – and the terrestrials too. I didn’t see many of the river’s crayfish but there were Japanese beetles and enough caddis to get me to prospect with an Elk Hair Caddis. I turned over a few rocks and found big mayflies, caddis and scuds in the riffles. I got a chance to watch from a high carved bank as two fish picked their lunch from the current below me and fed on the surface as well as sub-surface while I enjoyed a cigar from our pals over at W. Curtis Draper Tobacconists. Most of my hits and misses came on tan buggers and crayfish patterns despite the fish watch for smaller forage.

If you’re looking to explore this stream that’s right in our backyards, travel light with a few attractor patterns and streamers. If you’ve got some small hand pruners, save yourself some stress and a few scrapes, by tossing them in your wader pouch. Bring a camera to catch the birds and flowers that are popping up a couple weeks behind the city. Cast to the under-cut banks and downfalls and you’ll find lots of fish. Take your time and observe. You’ll be surprised what you discover. I left a few flies in the trees for you!  – Micah