2.5 Feet High and Rising

 

While the water is high and may get higher today, there are sunny skies in the future forecast. Here at Knee Deep Headquarters, we’ve got a day off the water tying Pheasant Tail nymphs and spinners for when things return to normal.

The prior week was filled with great fishing on The Big Gunpowder Falls. Sulfur emergers, wets, and dry + dropper combinations proved deadly right up until the latest front rolled through, when things slowed down.

If you’re headed out this week, be sure to check the river gauges before you head out. At close to 300 CFS the water is mighty fast. Fishing heavy streamers in the eddies is a great way to stay on the banks and hook up with some big fish. Don’t let stained water scare you away. If you can cast around the rapidly growing vegetation on the banks, you’ll find fish holding on the edges.  By late this week, things should calm down.

Tight Lines,

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March Comes In Like A Stonefly

Wrapping up the weekend here at Knee Deep Headquarters, I’m reflecting on a busy few weeks. The Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster, PA was a great time and a god chance to catch up with old friends and make a lot of new ones. Putting faces with lots of names and shaking hands with folks you’ve only traded emails with makes the world a little smaller. As a newbie on the show circuit I was impressed with my fellow fly tiers who really made me feel welcome and supported. I couldn’t have done the show without my go-to instructor, and brother, Mark. One of these days he’ll give up on the 9 to 5 life and fish full time, I know it.

After that, I had a few days to recover and unpack, then I tagged along with my wife to London. While she was working hard, I made sure to eat everything in sight and stop in a lot of pubs along the way while touring the city. I didn’t get out of the city to explore fishing options but I sure feel like I can check off the major sights. I kept the staff of the hotel laughing as I asked for directions every morning. While I can appreciate a nice hotel, the concierge “dudes” were joking with me that I was like Crocodile Dundee. Big Ben, the Tower of London, the Prime Meridian…I saw it all. It was more tiring than a day on the water.

Sometimes Micah gets to fish!

Speaking of the water, I was out on Friday and things are warming up. The air temps are starting to turn around and the water temps can’t be far behind. The wind was cranking and, at a few points, casting had to be paused while the gusts made their way down the river. I was lucky enough to have a friend along who actually snapped a rare picture of me with a fish. I love showing people around my local haunts and Friday was full of good joking around and relaxing. We had a few minutes when the sun burned through the clouds and the wind paused long enough for the stoneflies to take off from the grass and make a large cloud over the river before being blow away again. If you’re headed out in the next week pack heavy streamers and stick them close to the banks. 4x fluorocarbon and a loop knot will get you deep and help you pull the fish out of the undercut banks that the winter’s high flows have carved out.

The April schedule is filling up fast. If you’ve been putting off booking an outing for spring,don’t wait. Time is flying by. If this week’s weather forecast is true we should see Spring really showing it’s colors around the Gunpowder. Give us a call or e-mail and we’ll help you use up those fresh 2012 sick days!

 

Unexpected December Action

High water and crazy temperatures have made for interesting fishing this winter. I had one free morning before I was back to the grind and into holiday travel. So, despite a weather forecast of clear skies, I headed to the river anyhow.

I made it onto the water just at daybreak with no help from my coffee maker’s malfunctioning timer. The prediction of clear skies had me hoping to get some casts in before the sun hit the water. Things were slow and after only a few strikes on tandem nymph rigs I moved to a slower open section of river.

While the  irresponsibly high water is carving out under-cut banks –  that will surely be high and dry once the City of Baltimore tightens the vales this summer – it’s creating a temporary haven for reclusive brown trout seeking a refuge from the fast water. Employing 3” long heavy wooly-buggers I was able to create some activity by dropping them as close to the banks as possible. The skies stayed overcast and, while targeting any difference in flow rate along the banks, I had eager 12″ trout slashing at my flies while enjoying a deserted river.

Sometimes you have to head out even when the weather-guessers are telling you to stay home; they get it wrong more often than you think! Keep an eye on the USGS gauges if you’re headed out and don’t forget to get a new license before you hit the water and pick up some flies and fresh tippet.

Here’s a collection of shots from the last 2011 outing. Happy new year!

Cold, High and A Little Fishy

December Fog

 

After all the Thanksgiving turkey, the family has cast off again and things quiet down, it’s nice to escape the house and get a line wet. This fall’s conditions have been erratic and fishing has been different every day. Today I hit the water just after 7:00am and was greeted by 26 degree air temps and water near 50 degrees creating a quiet fog on the water. The scene was quite different than July and August’s foggy days on the water when the air and water temperatures were reversed!

Focusing on seams in the high stained water produced fish this week and a mix of nymphs and streamers was the ticket. Fishing a tandem rig with lots of weight will get your flies to the bottom fast and with one fly higher allow you to cover the water column. If you’re not bouncing the bottom every few casts, you may not be getting deep enough.

Winter fishing brings its own special challenges like cold hands and iced up guides on your rod. If your guides freeze up while casting, dip your rod below the surface for a few seconds and the warmer temperature water will take care of the ice. Don’t try to pop the ice chunks out with your fingers. That’s a surefire way to break your rod. Good wool gloves will keep your hands warm and wearing lots of layers will ensure your core stays warm and there’s plenty of warm blood pumping to your finger-tips. If your gloves get wet you can slap them against your waders or jacket to shake the water out. Even wet, wool will continue to keep you warmer than no gloves at all.

Not sure how to outfit yourself to make the most of winter’s short days? Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing a call, we fill you in on how to layer up and keep warm.

Let It Snow!

Many anglers only think of dry-fly fishing during the Spring hatches though there are caddis and mayflies hatching even into late fall. The shot above was takes Tuesday, Nov 2nd. No that’s not snow, those are mayflies happily soaking up sunshine around 1:00 in the afternoon! There were tricos and blue-winged-olives mixed in one big swarm over this fast riffle.

While the flows are a little high for easy dry-fly fishing, they will surely drop. In the meantime those same high flows are making for some great streamer fishing. Flows around 200cfs still allow for easy wading and for the trout to move around finding lies and undercut banks where low water wouldn’t normally permit them to swim. Be sure to pack a few lead-eyed buggers in tan, white and brown and don’t forget to include your dry-fly box and a selection of nymphs for dredging the deeper runs. A Non-slip-loop knot will increase the action of your streamers and is worth practicing at home before you hit the water.

All of this sound like code to you? Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing a call and book a day on the water for November! We’ll help you sort out that box full of flies and get you on fish while learning a few new tricks.

 

Cooler Air and Warmer Water

With the water dropping all over the East Coast the fishing is heating up. A few trips in the last week have been a great chance to check out Mother Nature’s handy work. Seeing the piles of trees 10 feet high are a reminder of just how powerful water is. There’s lots of new structure in streams like the Gunpowder and the river bottom has new contours to explore. I found a few gravel bars in the last few days that were still settling and shifting. Nothing keeps you on your toes like quicksand!

 The fishing has been great and trout are hungry and aggressive with warm water temps getting them feeding. Big streamers are the ticket to lots of strikes. Fishing with 4x tippet makes casting heavy flies a breeze and the high, off-color, water helps hide the thicker line.

I shrunk a few photos down and put them in a slideshow below. 

Nothing says fall like getting out those waders that you’ve been going without all summer. Give us a call today and talk about scheduling an outing for fall!

 

Welcome To Knee Deep Fly Fishing

Sharing the joy of fly fishing and the region’s streams with others is a passion of Knee Deep guides. Whether you’re an expert angler or a first-time fisherman, the Knee Deep experience is tailored to your specific interests and experience.  Our offerings range from in-home casting and fly tying instruction to multi-day on-water escapes.  And, of course, we can design custom packages for corporate events and special occasions, including bachelor outings, anniversaries, and girls day out.

March comes back with cold and snow?

As is fitting with most of my outings this Spring, the good days seem to happen when I’m busy with indoor activities and the cold days land on my days marked “FISH!” on the daytimer. I was not discouraged and after some fun stops in the AM I was on my way to the water with my dog Shay. Once we’d settled in and remembered what it was like to be outdoors we got into a good groove.    

"My new 'scent' "

   

While there were some tiny bugs here and there and I even saw one small fish bust the surface, I was throwing weight at the log jams. This little guy took a few tries to hook but he came out of his hiding place 3 times before chewing up my fly.
 

March Brown Jr.

   

The fishing got better as the sun fell and the eagles stopped flying around above me and a few fly changes later I had a good formula going. It was great to get out and unwind for a while. I eventually had to throw in the towel in favor of dry socks food and a good brushing for the dog…not before a few better fish were duped by some more creative streamer fishing.   

March Brown ...that's better!

   

I spent half an hour or so picking grass out of my dog’s coat and packing up my laundry and wet leaky (fairly new) waders and then headed down towards Baltimore for some dinner. A while back the guys over at Backwater Angler clued me into Andy Nelson’s BBQ and it was just what the dog and I needed after a day eating squashed sandwiches. As always it was great and hit the spot after working hard chasing after trout with a stick!    

BBQ Dinner

   

All-in-all it was a great day and with over 150 hard-won miles put on my new transmission I made it home safe and sound. That “satisfied but tired” feeling that only comes after a day on the water was good to feel again after a long winter and I’d almost forgotten about those 2 fish days spent with frozen guides and hands. I’m looking forward to the warmer days ahead.