Streams, rivers worth the wade


The time is ideal for wet wade fishing of area streams for smallmouth bass and native trout. In fact, I have a number of such trips marked on my calendar throughout the next month. Local hot spots include Big Pipe Creek, the Monocacy River, Piney Creek, plus the mid and upper portions of the Potomac River, as well as the south and north branches of the Patapsco River.

When I am lucky enough to fish a weekday, my longtime favorite has been various wadable areas of the Potomac from Brunswich upstream to Hancock. In fact, experienced Potomac smallmouth anglers are eagerly awaiting the famed white miller hatch to begin on this mid and upper portion of the river. Being on the Potomac with a flyrod set to battle smallmouth bass during one of these hatches is one of angling's most enjoyable moments.

The popular wading areas of the Potomac tend to get a little too crowded for my taste during weekends, but the fishing opportunity isn't diminished by the crunch. The river is loaded with shallow areas popular with wading anglers and an excellent source to locate them are the maps in Fishing in Maryland Annual, available at most news stands and tackle shops. My favorite spot is between the Lander boat ramp and the Route 17 bridge at Brunswick. Another great spot is the stretch from RTC Sandy Hook to just above Goodharts Lock.

Unlike the Potomac, most local streams and rivers are virtually deserted seven days a week. I've never quite figured out why these wonderful fishing holes are so often ignored. Gary Johnson and I learned about the surprises these overlooked streams and rivers hold when we fished Baltimore County's Western Run and it's feeder streams nearly 25 years ago.

Upon moving to Carroll County nearly twenty years ago, I discovered dozens of virtually unfished streams throughout the area. You will be equally amazed this summer when you finally break down and fish that stream you drive over twice on weekdays and three times on weekends.

You don't need a lot of fancy equipment for this kind of fishing. The fashion standard is an old pair of shorts, older sneakers, something to carry a half-dozen lures or flies, a wading stick and always a life vest.

Most of the bass you will catch will be in the area of 12 to 15 inches or less, but plan on catching a lot of them.

Carry small lures resembling crayfish and minnows. When flyrodding I like to cast muddler minnows, crayfish, and a bumble bee pattern. This past week upper Potomac anglers did very well on smallmouths when using live hellgrammites, shiners and crayfish, or their imitations.

Morgan Run trout anglers are favoring terrestrials, especially inchworms, as well as No.18 caddis flys. Owens Creek, a favorite trout spot of mine in nearby Frederick County, is also right for terrestrial fly patterns and I understand that the #14 size beetle patterns have been especially hot this past week.

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