We’ve waited long enough!
It’s about time!
The early black stoneflies are the first real chance we get to fish dry flies in Maryland. Trout are looking up and skittering stones across the surface of the water is a great way to cover a lot of water and catch fish!
We’re booking up for April but still have a couple days left on the calendar for the month. If you’ve not had success in the spring on Maryland’s streams in the early spring, give Knee Deep Fly Fishing a call and let us guide you. We’ll help you make the most of your time on the water.
Ok, it’s only Wednesday but we’re planning ahead. The forecast looks great for Friday and Saturday. With highs close to 60 degrees, there should be some great stonefly action.
What’s that mean for fishing? Dry little black stoneflies and nymphs will be a safe bet but the warm water will be getting bugs of all types stirring. They’ll be moving around in search of the perfect place to take off for their upcoming emergences. Employing wet flies and small streamers (think small wooly buggers and Pax Specials) will bring spring strikes out of the slack water and seams. Don’t forget to wing a wet fly through shallow riffles before crossing the streams and slashing through! I’ve spooked a dozen or more fish out of what seemed like 8” of water while heading to “the good water”. It’s a lesson that’s hard to learn.
In short: fish it all! Don’t be afraid to switch flies often and switch that tippet out when you need to float or sink faster. Can’t escape till Sunday when the forecast looks wet? Grab that rain jacket and hit it anyway. The fish should be active.
Keep your boots in the water!
Micah and the Knee Deep Team
A fat rainbow from the Patuxent River last week
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
I met Peter Johnsen at Tie Fest last weekend. He’s working on a film project that sounds pretty cool. His “Great Salmon Tour” is setting out to “document the diversity of salmon and explore the deep cultural and personal connections we humans have to these fish.” That sounds good to me. I happen to have a deep cultural connection to fish
Check out the clip on his Kickstarter page. It looks promising. Maybe skip the mocafrapachino this afternoon and send that $4 his way. He’s already off to a good start. If it goes well, maybe there’ll be a brook trout film in the future.
Keep your tip on the water,
For anglers, this is the time of the winter when cabin fever starts to take hold. Maybe it’s when we’re in the car in the mornings and we notice we now need sunglasses again rather than headlights. For the hardcore trout bums, perhaps they notice the dog is waiting for them to get up and get moving. Whatever it is, we know spring is coming. We just have to hold on!
If you didn’t make it to Somerset, NJ for The Fly Fishing Show, you’ve got another chance to get your fix. The crew is on their way to Lancaster, PA for the weekend of March 2nd/3rd. I’ll be there tying and telling even bigger fish stories (it’s been a long winter) and hope to see some of you there.
The next weekend, March 9th, is Lefty Kreh’s “Tie Fest” closer to home in Grasonville, MD with the gang from CCA Maryland. This one is going to be pretty cool. It’s the region’s best tiers and guides getting together to share what’s coming out the jaws of their vises. There’s even a bar so you can buy them a beer and try to get them to let go of a few secrets. I’ll be tying there too so be sure and stop in for an hour or two just to say hello.
Looking forward to these two events should help to ease the pain of winter. Last year the stoneflies were climbing out of the water by the second week of March so there’s an end in sight!
From the Cumberland Times-News:
Looks like Sandy did a number on one of Maryland’s trout hatcheries.
Warm weather this week has water temps hitting 43 on the Gunpowder Falls river gauges and the weekend looks great. We’re crossing our fingers for 45! Here at Knee Deep we are big fans of Foote’s forecast for Maryland. It’s spot on for the Baltimore/DC area. While they are calling for a warm weekend – maybe some stonefly action – there’s a cold blast out to the West that’ll bring winter right back to us. Thanks to the folks at Gentner Consutling for turning us on to that Foote’s!
So what’s that mean for the fishing? It means you’ll need to get back to dredging nymphs with a hat and gloves. Not your cup of tea? Don’t have a hat and gloves? Get yourself to one of the upcoming expos put on by the folks at The Fly Fishing Show!
As a youth, I made a trip every season to the Somerset, NJ show with my father and brothers. It was a great chance to catch up with old friends in the isles and meeting the folks rewriting the book on fly fishing was inspiring. I’d go home with bags of hackles and threads with a refreshed enthusiasm for tying flies and rod building and spend the following weeks of winter in the basement with my family tying flies and building up for the warm weather to come. I recall a few icy trips to the Ken Lockwood Gorge with newly built rods in hand and Korkers on our feet just to get close to the water’s edge. I also recall snapping at least one on a frozen maiden voyage!
As a young fly-tier, The Fly Fishing Show was a chance for me to spend a weekend asking every question under the sun and shake the tying tables of guys like Bob Clouser and Bob Popovics; heroes to a kid who grew up fishing the surf. I’d run into the gang from my local TU chapter and ask the advice of my older fishing and tying friends about which necks to buy and dig through mountains of materials just looking for the perfect new thing that would catch me more fish. It was a great opportunity for a kid like me and the trip to Somerset became a pilgrimage for my family.
This year will be a great chance to catch up with friends at Somerset, NJ (Jan 25-27th) and at Lancaster, PA (Mar 2-3rd). Yours truly will by tying flies at both shows and can’t wait. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of old familiar faces at both shows. With any luck they’ll put me next to someone like NJ ‘s Matt Grobert and my table will get some overflow traffic.
Get out there this weekend if you can and get planning now for the Fly Fishing shows coming to the area. Don’t miss the chance to fill your winter with fly fishing!
Keep your tip on the water,
Here at Knee Deep Headquarters, we’re happy to report that Sandy missed us by a hair. Sadly our pals up in NJ and NYC got the worst of it. Rain came and went, and by Friday, flows on The Big Gunpowder were down to fishable levels. At 260 CFS, wading was still tough but the water was clear and the fish were aggressive. The photo below is of a popular pool and the evidence is in the undergrowth as to how high the water came up.
The shame here is these leaves are food for the insects the trout need to survive. The Gunpowder is an interesting study in water management. The river took a hit last fall in the form of hurricane floods and somehow bounced back. We can, at a minimum, be grateful for a Didymo flush.
Leaves in the undregrowth are proof the water rose well over the banks.
The week ahead looks like a great one for fishing if you can get out. We’ll be crossing our fingers with reports of a Nor-Easter coming through. The flows are still dropping and fish are eagerly chasing big streamers when the sun is out; see the photo below of the fat fish that took a monster bugger! Nymphing through the tail-outs and around log jams should continue to produce. Last week a mixed bag of nymphs proved effective – from caddis to stoneflies and zebra-midges – and getting down into the flow fast seemed to be the key to success.
Looking to get out? Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing a call and we’ll show you how to keep up with the changing seasons!
We’ll take fat-tailed fish like this one any day!
Don’t forget to check out the flows before you hit the water this weekend. Conditions should be great for chucking big streamers.
We hope we see you on the water!
The Knee Deep Team
With the heat setting in, standing in the mid 50’s water on the Big Gunpowder Falls has been a GREAT way to beat the heat. Just recovering from a hot week on the road, Thursday was a great day of fishing before the air temps hit 100. I spent the day sharing some of my favorite parts of the Gunpowder with a great fellow angler and we had success with summer patterns like the classic Elk Hair Caddis and my “fast caddis” fished as a dropper and in tandem wet-fly rigs.
Great cold water brown from The Big Gunpowder
Weekdays are a treat on The Big Gunpowder Falls as the crowds are sparse. I was amazed how few anglers were on the water yesterday. The weather forecast may have scared a few folks off but the temps on the water were comfortable. With neoprene booties in my wading boots, I was comfortable going without my waders. An occasional trip into deep water for a snagged fly was refreshing!
If you’re headed out in the heat this weekend/coming week, be sure and pack some water as well as some kind of “sports drink” and travel light. Check your boxes for a few light colored Elk Hair Caddis, bright green larvae for subsurface as well as some trusty PT nymphs and midges. Friends are reporting Tricos but I haven’t been lucky enough to see them. I spotted a few bright green hoppers on the banks and am excited to fish hopper patterns again; nothing else produces such a big splash. It’s going to be hot for a while but the fish don’t seem to mind! Give us a call and we’ll help get you out there.