Monday, December 15, 2008

December Fly Fishing in Maryland

For those checking in often, sorry that I have not posted updates for the last month.  Even us fishing guides get consumed with life on occasion, and I have been in the process of renovating a 150 year old farm house into my home.  It has consumed nearly all of my free time outside of fishing.  Feel free to shoot mean a call or e-mail anytime you want to talk fishing.

Of course, we have been fishing many trips over the course of the fall on the Chesapeake Bay and Gunpowder River.  I have beeen making efforts all this month to get in some striper fishing in the ocean, hoping for some more of the great success we had last year.  The weather, however has not been helping our cause. I am sitting in Ocean City , MD now in 30 kt winds and torrential rain which is managing to wipe out several more fishing days here on the Maryland coast.

The  rain has been good for the fishing and water flows on the Gunpowder River.  With Prettyboy Reservoir full, we can figure on good constant water flows on the Gunpowder. This always makes for more consistent fishing.  Favorite winter techniques are nymphing with dropper rigs and small nymphs, as well as keeping an eye out for any of our winter hatches.  Midges, blackfies, and winter stoneflies can all be found hatching on the river in the next few months.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Awesome Fly Fishing on the Gunpowder River

We have been graced with good water flows and a full reservoir for the last few months on the Gunpowder. Adding to this we have had the best Trico mayfly hatch the river has ever seen which lasted through August has continued through September. The hatch is present throughout the river and fish can be found rising to the tiny mayflies in the early morning hours nearly every day. The fishing is challenging, but skilled and patient anglers can really catch some fish if they put the time and effort in.

Tricos are small, black or grey bodied mayflies and are easily recognized as they swarm in large bunches above the stream and fly with an erratic motion. The wings look like tiny mirrors on the water surface as flies who have just hatched float downstream struggling to escape into the air. Of course, the trout take full advantage of the easy meal. The tough part is imitating such a small bug and landing a fish on the necessary 7 or 8 x tippets.

Many fish can be fooled on dry flies. I like patterns in size 20 to 22 with black or gray sparsely tied bodies and light grey hackles or cdc for a wing. I do well on a simple reversed hackle pattern with black dubbing and and a light dun hackle. I also like simple cluster patterns like a griffith’s gnat. Midge pupa patterns in black or grey also work well during the hatch if fished under a short indicator.

Remember folks, we’re fishing on the Gunpowder, not every trout is a 18 to 20″ fish. The Gunpowder is unique on the east coast for it’s large numbers of stream-bred brown trout. The average trout you will catch on the stream is 8 to 12″. There are , however, many more 15+ ” trout in the river than most realize. Good anglers learn that catching larger fish comes with altering techniques, being persistent, and targeting big fish lies consistently. I landed a 21″ brown this Spring, my best in a few years, while fishing nothing more than a pair of bead head pheasant tails. We had a fish on one trip this week which would have went 20+, but broke him off. Anyway, don’t be discouraged if you don’t hang a big fish every trip out. We are lucky to have such an exceptional tailwater fishery to fish year round.

The fishing should only get better as fall arrives and the browns take on their brilliant spawning colors. I hope to see you out fishing on the stream soon. Jeff

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 20 Fishing Update, Ocean City Fly Fishing, Gunpowder Trout Fishing

Heres the skinny from the coast. We’ve been fishing our usual haunts in the bays and inshore waters around Ocean City this month. Fishing has been pretty typical of summer fishing in Maryland's coastal waters. Fish species like summer flounder and hardheads are in the bays in good numbers, stripers are a regular catch near the bridges and jetties and in the inlets. Snapper bluefish can be seen chasing bait on strong tides and we’ve even seen a few sea trout in the mix the last few weeks.

Fly fisherman have a good shot at all of these fish species when fishing the coastal bays. Clean water and good tides help your chances of course, and when you pair these with the low light and traffic around dusk and dawn your chances at catching fish are pretty good.

Most of the stripers we have caught in recent weeks have been in the 20 to 26 inch range. We have been fishing our staple deep sinking lines with a variety of flies. We have seen some decent flounder, like the 19 incher below that fell for a clouser minnow fished in 9 feet of water.

We look forward to fall as we start catching some of the stripers migrating south from their summer home on the New England Coast. We had great striper fishing last fall with the best of the fishing being in November and early December.

Gunpowder River Summer Trout Fishing

When not fishing the coastal bays I spend much of my summer guiding trips for trout on the Gunpowder River. The Gunpowder has gotten some great press recently, listed as one of the top tailwater trout streams in the nation in several fly fishing periodicals. Though a little bias, I couldn’t agree more. Very few other streams in the mid-Atlantic area offer the unique fishing for streambred trout that the Gunpowder offers.

Summer on the Gunpowder makes for some great fishing. We have great caddis hatches inthe mornings along many stretches of the stream, and fish are eager to take a well presented dry. This past week on several trips we have landed many good fish on various caddis patterns fished in the riffles. Tiny Trico mayflies have also become a summer staple on the river, and fisherman will often find trout sipping them from the surface in the long glassy glides along the stream.

If you fall short fishing caddis and tricos, give some big buggy terrestrials a try. A foam beetle or hopper fished near the bank is often a sure bet . Don’t be afraid to cast into some of the ”deep rough” as I call it an tuck your fly right up against a fallen tree or logpile. You can bet there is a trout nearby on the Gunpowder.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ocean City Fishing Update July 16

We have been doing lots of flounder fishing lately in the bays and inshore waters around Ocean City, MD.  Flounder are always a crowd pleaser and lots of folks like to get out fishing for them while on vacation in the area.  We target flounder in with using variety of fishing techniques throughout the summer.  One of the  most popular ways to fish for them is drift fishing with a fishfinder style rig and live bait. This incorporates a weight on a slide above a barrel swivel with about 18 inches of 30 lb leader. We use a variety of live baits from minnows to spot, bunker, mullet  and others.   The bait of choice varies by the time of year.

This week we have been doing alot of old school flounder fishing.  That is drifting with minnows during good periods of tide  in clean water.  The fishing been quite good, though legal fish are tough to catch consistently in good numbers with the new size limits set at 17 1/2 inches.

Ben and Joe Ault caught these nice flounder this morning while fishing in Sinepuxent Bay with bunker and minnows.  The trick to the flounder fishing of late has been to find the cleanest water possible.  The best bite seems to be on the start of the outgoing tide, but we have been catching fish on both tides.

Will probablly be doing more of the same for the next week or so on the boat. I’ll keep you posted.

Gunpowder River Quick Update

I did fish several trips over the past weekend on the Gunpowder River.   Stream flows are good, around 75cfs and stream temps are cold, in the high 50’s.  There was a pretty steady morning caddis hatch on Friday, and fish in the riffles fell easily for a size 16 x-caddis in olive.  Fish were also moving great for a variety of terrestrial patterns fished near the banks and around logs and structure.  One of the best patterns we fished was a foam hopper in olive and tan , and a foam beetle worked good too in black with green legs. 

Here’s a shot of a local guide’s well stocked terrestrial box. Good Fishing!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ocean City Bay and Inshore Fishing Update

This week we have seen some great fishing in the Assawoman and Sinepuxent Bays.  Clean water and great weather conditions have sparked the flounder bite in the bays.  The flounder fishing has been great in many locations using a variety of techniques.  There has been a decent striper bite on the jetties also, especially in the late evenings and early mornings on good tides.  Live bait has been a good bet when targeting the stripers, but lures and flies have taken fish too in recent trips.  The wreck fishing continues to be pretty good with some nice tautog and sea bass showing up regularly.

I hope to get some more photos posted soon and keep you up to date on the fishing.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ocean City Bay and Inshore Fishing Update

The summer season is in now in full swing on the Maryland coast and we have been busy fishing in the coastal bays and inshore waters  out of Ocean City , MD.  The wind has had a way of blowing an awful lot all Spring and has continued blowing on into the early summer pretty regularly.  We have had to take full advantage of the days we get when we have had good water conditions and manageable winds.  Off colorwater has been an issuein the coastal bays all week , making the flounder fishing tough to say the least.  Though we had some good success last week cacthing some nice flounders, this week we spent most of the time fishing on near shore wrecks and reef sites for tautog and sea bass.

The tautog bite has been great, and we caught some good ones this week up to 10 lbs, and the fishing was steady. We used sand fleas and crabs for bait, fished onconventional rods rigged with 50 lb braid.  The fishing was good Tuesday and Thursday, and I hope we will see some more good fishing this week.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ocean City Bay and Inshore Fishing Update

It’s that time of year again, and I have made my annual migration to Ocean City, MD for a summer of fishing trips on the Maryland coast.  Each year we fish for a variety of species along in the coastal bays and inshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  Some of our common target species are stripers , bluefish, sea trout, flounder, tautog, and sea bass among others.

We began fishing over the weekend with hopes to catch some stripers, blues, and shad on the fly.  These fish are common fly rod targets in the back bays  each spring. But, as is fishing, the weather put a damper on those plans as we were dealt 20 to 30 kt winds which have continued blowing all week.   We adapted our techiniques an went fishing for flounder in the South Bay for flounder where we the water remained clear and fishable despite the wind.  We managed to land some nice flounder fishing jigs and fishfinder rigs along channel edges.  The flounder fishing has continued to be pretty good all week.

The weather is set to improve as the week moves on into the holiday weekend as should he fishing conditions.  The tautog bite has been great on the near shore wrecks and I hope to take advantage of this on some of the next few trips.  Cleaner water and less wind will offer some fly rod fishing also.  I’ll keep you posted.

Gunpowder River Fly Fishing Update

Finally, we have some good water flows in the Gunpowder due to spillover at the Prettyboy Reservoir Dam.  And imagine that, the trout fishing has been awesome.  We have seen good hatches of caddis for the last week along the river.  The fish have been anxious to take the bugs, most of which are olive bodied in a size 16.  They work on the dead drift or on the skitter.  Here are a few shots of some fish we took on Friday while fishing caddis near the dam.

Sulfurs have started hatching also and offered even more good dry fly fishing.  Look for both the sulfurs and caddis in and near the riffles throughout the stream.  Pick up some of our favorite local fly patterns at the Backwater Angler fly shop in Monkton, MD.

Get out there and fish!  Now is the time. Leave work and worry behind for the day.  I fished the my last 2 trips on the Gunpowder above Falls Rd. during the week her in May.  We caught fish steady both days and never saw another angler.  Thats nuts!  Stream flows are at 120 as of today, perfect for fishing.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Susquehanna Flats Fishing Update

The catch and release fishing season on the Susquehanna Flats comes to a close today.  The week long season extension was well worth it as we saw some really good fishing early in the week.  We had a good fly rod bite over the weekend catching some teenage size fish on the east end of flats.  Gray/white and Chartreuse /white half and halfs worked good fished on sinking lines in 7 to 10 feet of water. We caught a good number of teenage size fish to 26 inches with an occasional big fish bite.

A great topwater bite turned on Monday on top of the flats, and we had some of the best fishing of the season early in the week.  We caught some beautiful stripers fishing fly rod poppers and big plugs on the spinning rods.  We landed numerous fish in the 20 to 30 lb range and several over 30 our best weighing in at 34 lbs. Of course there are always those that got away,  and I watched a few truly huge fish manage to shake the hook this week.

The Susquehanna Flats is an unpredicatable fishery by nature, one day you burn them,  the next you struggle for a bite.  Water conditions and varying early Spring weather always makes the fishing an adventure.  For those of you who have caught it at it’s best the reward of a 30lb+ striper exploding on a topwater fly or lure in 3 feet of water is a reward worth fishing for.

Thanks to everyone who gave it a shot this Spring.  Look forward to seeing you again next year.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Susquehanna Flats Fishing Update April 27

Great topwater fishing, but tough fly rod bite!
Once again this week we have had unpredictable fishing on the flats, go figure.  Any days we have had heavy wind, the fishing has been poor. I find this mostly because most of the fish we are catching are really shallow, and the skinny water tends to dirty quickly during a blow. Except for an occasional morning or evening we have not had good fishing in areas other than the shallow flats.

It has been really tough catching fish on the fly this year on the flats. I have never caught so few fish on the fly in a season .  The overall numbers of fish which showed up were down, especially the schoolie sized fish, so this did not help with the fly fishing. Also, with the amounts of grass present in the skinny water areas we are fishing it is tough to present anything but a popper or  some other sort of surface fly.  For some reason the fish will just not take the fly poppers like they will the larger spinning rod poppers. Even when trying bait and switch techniques and every pattern in the box, we have come up short.  Thanks to those of you who came out and cast until your arms fell off trying.

The good news is that there has been an awesome topwater bite many days in the last week or so on light tackle. Large poppers have drawn some awesome strikes in 2-4 feet of water.  Most of the fish we are catching are large, many over 20 lbs.  We have had many days with multiple topwater strikes and on our best day landed over a dozen fish.  I am hoping this topwater bite will hold up until the scheduled season end date of May 3.  Here are a some shots from the week.

I have two of evening trips later this week still open for those of you who still might want to give the fishing on the flats a shot.  Just let me know.   We will likely be fishing with light spinning tackle and poppers.
Gunpowder River Notes

The fishing on the Gupowder had been good despite still low flows. One of my regular sports gave me a calll yesterday and reported catching 8 good browns from 10 to 13 inches on an evening outing earlier this week above Falls Rd.  The fish were taking Hendrickson duns and midges.  Water levels are still in the mid thirty cfs range, and recent rains should continue to help with water levels in Prettyboy.  One thing is for sure, we are shaping up for a good late Spring and summer with a full reservoir on hand.  Let’s just hope the city manages the water well.

Check out my friends at Backwater Angler in their new location on York Rd. in Hereford at the intersection of  York and Monkton Rds. opening May 1.  Stop in to shop for any of your fly-fishing needs, stream reports and friendly advice.  Backwater Angler has served our local fly fishing community for 7 years as the regions “go to”  fly shop for Gunpowder River fishing.

2008 Morel Hunt

As you may know my next favorite thing to fishing is mushroom hunting!  This Spring has been awesome.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Susquehanna Flats Update

We have been fishing steady on the flats the last week with varied success. This past weekend brought some good fishing for those who put forth the effort.  The larger fish being caught on lures and flies are being taken in mostly shallow water.  Early morning and late evening have been good for fishing these areas in 3 to 6 feet of water. Many fish are falling for large surface plugs and some taking other lures and flies. Though spotty, if you are in the right spot you can definately move some fish.

We had some schoolie size fish show up and they offered fast paced fly fishing action for a few days.  We had some fish good fish on the fly up to about 12 lbs.   We fished mostly staple patterns like half and halfs and decievers.  This week has been tougher since the early week north winds, and I am hoping for some good action in the next few days.

Water conditions are excellent.  We have good temperature and clarity, and really just need a good push of fish to make for some good fishing.  I will keep you posted as we go.  Trying to put together a video update to give you a look at some of the fishing.  Good weather forecast for the next few days.  Hopefully good fishing too.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Susquehanna Flats Fishing Update

We started fishing on the Susquehanna Flats this week.  Despite being open since March 1, the fishing is just now getting under way due to turbid water and cool water temps. Each year we deal with the same condition issues on the flats so you get pretty used to the unpredictable nature of the fishery. This week surface water temps hung in the mid 40’s to just over 50 degrees in a few spots yesterday afternoon.  The water clarity ranged from one foot of visibility to an easy 2 feet in other areas.

The fishing was spotty to say the least.  As typical the folks who choose to fish with cut or live baits are managing to catch some fish.  The bait fishing was pretty consistent  from all reports I recieved and from what I saw this week.  Catching them on lures and flies, however, was another story.  I had to cover lots of water to catch some fish.  Most of our success was in shallow water, from 3 to 8 feet.  We caught all of our fish this week on lures, large lures.  The biggest swimming plugs we could throw brought the most success.  All of the fish we landed were large, 34 inches+.  We landed one Friday close to 35 lbs.  Bites were few and far between.  Hopefully this is just the beggining of some good fishing to come.

This nice 20 lber fell for a 7″Bomber  swimming plug in chrome/blue.
 We have yet to land one on a fly yet this week, but I’m sure it’s only a day away.  Water conditions are improving daily, and with a little luck we’ll have some awesome fishing this coming week. 

Gunpowder River Quick Update

I have guided several trips on the Gunpowder River in the past week or two.  Though water flows are still low, the fishing in areas has been great.  We saw some awesome midge fishing on the upper river last week and were able to land good numbers of fish on each outing while fishing a variety of midge patterns.  Dark midge patterns in gray and black fished dry on a 7x leader worked well on risers, as did pupae patterns fished short under an indicator.  A bead head zebra midge in a 22 gray worked great.
I ‘ll keep you posted.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Susquehanna Flats 2008 - Booking now so don’t wait!

We’ll it’s that time of year again. I’m looking ahead to the Spring catch and release striper season on the Susquehanna Flats. Always an adventure, this Spring season is surely one of the best bets anywhere to catch a trophy striper on the fly rod. The season start date is March 1, and as always I’ll get fishing as soon as the conditions permit me to go take a freezing boat ride to see if there are any fish around.

Typically things get rolling by late March if the weather Gods look out for us. I have a gut feeling though, that this year we might just get some early fishing in. The weather has just been so mild. We’ll have to wait and see. The proposed end date is in early May, though we might get to fish right on through May this year, have to see what the law ends up saying.

Anyway, as always I fill up my book quickly for this popular season. If you would like to come out and give it a shot give me a call or e-mail to reserve a date.

Last year we landed one of the biggest fish we have seen on board my boat in recent years, a 52 inch slob who likely topped 50 lbs, and there are bigger ones out there.

Season Quick Facts:
  • Open Dates March 1 to May 10 (approx.)
  • Docked and leaving from Havre De Grace, MD City Yacht Basin (30 minutes North of Baltimore) 
  • Catch and Release Striper Fishing on Flies and Light Tackle
  • Trips are 6-7 Hours, Morning and Evening $500 for the boat up to 4 anglers 
  • All gear provided if needed, as is friendly fly fishing and casting instruction
  • Advice is free.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

January Fly-Fishing on the Savage River

Last week’s unseasonal temps made for some unusual January fishing opportunities. I ventured out to western Maryland one morning to the Savage River to fish on a day with near 70 degree temps. Western Maryland seldom sees temps like this through the winter months. Though water temps were chilly in the low 40s the sun and warm air woke some trout up just enough. I started fishing nymphs in the fly fishing only stretch of the Trophy Trout Area. In the first half hour or so I managed 2 nice brookies and about a 10 inch brown. I fished a pair of black bead head pheasant tails in a size 18. Not long after I dropped a really nice brown on the same rig. Here’s a couple that I caught.

The fishing was spotty, but I managed several more trout through the day, mostly brook trout.  I took a couple of fish on small dries as I saw some risers where the sun was hitting the water and a few midges were present.  Altogether a great way to spend a Winter day.  I got a good report from an angler who fished the upper Savage and also managed to catch some nice brook trout.   Flows were about 140-150 and wading, as always on the Savage, a real trick.  Keep an eye on the weather and you will be surprised at some of the great winter trout fishing when the temps are 50 and above for a few days with a high sun.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Gunpowder River Update , Winter Fly Tying

Happy 2008!

Gunpowder River January Fly-Fishing

The Gunpowder River typically offers some great winter fly-fishing opportunities. This new year has been a little tough, however, due mostly to really low water lows. The river is currently running at a mere 20 cfs, near our minimum flow. The trout are holding in the deepest pools and tightest spots and are a bit spooky.

If you go, plan to fish stretches of stream with deeper lies, and fish slow and deep. Of course, fishing can change in an instant so it’s always worth a shot. With any luck, and a bunch of rain or snow, we’ll see some rising water flows towards late winter and have some improved fishing and conditions.
Typical winter hatches include stoneflies and blackflies, so keep an eye out for them in coming weeks on warmer sunny days.

Winter Fly Tying Videos

This season on the update I will include some short video clips which highlight some of our favorite local fly patterns. I hope you enjoy the clips, and I plan to continue posting videos throughout the year as we get fishing. Check back often for a first hand look at the fishing. The video posts willl be some of my first efforts, so bear with me as I learn the ropes.

This week’s featured video clip showcases one of my favorite winter nymphs to fish on the Gunpowder, the red butt.

For those of you who would like to learn how to tie flies, check in with our local fly shop Backwater Angler for their winter Fly Tying Class schedule. Expert tyers will instruct you in the techniques necessary to tie some of the most popular flies and saltwater fly patterns. They also have a full selection of fly tying tools and materials.

Hope everyone had a great New Year! Thanks for checking in. Feel free to comment below on any post or with any questions. Hope to see you out fishing soon.