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Johnsfolly

Going Native in Maryland

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I have been reviewing opportunities for possibly catching some native brook trout in Maryland. I have been skunked the last three outings, one in Maryland and two in Missouri. I settled on trying to fish Poplar Lick Run in Garrett CO. This creek feeds into the Savage river. The Savage and it's tributaries are known for having wild and Native brook trout. The one problem is that I would have to cross almost the entire state of Maryland to get there a trip over 4 to 4 1/2 hour trip. With my past luck I was a bit concerned. Also the temperatures in the mountains was going to be in the low twenties. Didn't know if I would have enough warm clothes with me. Decided to give it a shot. Left the hotel at 5:15 am.

I checked out New Germany state park, which is the source of Poplar Lick. I was surprised about two things, the snow on the ground as well as a pay phone booth!

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The stream was a bit smaller than I had anticipated. I decided to head down towards its confluence with the Savage river.

As I was heading to that creek, I was running the length of the Big Run creek. It looked to hold some promise if I could fins some pockets or pools with a little water depth that could hold a few trout. It was 22 deg at my first stop. This stream has a fairly high gradient and is surrounded by rhododendrons. This will be a recurring theme through out the day. I now remember why I hate them :angry:!

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The first spot that I tried did not have great water depth. Fortunately there were some plunge pools below the culverts where the creek crossed the road. The third cast into this pool with a 1/64 oz olive marabou jig with a black head got bit.

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This was my first native brook trout and the first fish that I have caught for my 201/2019 season. It came unbuttoned as I was trying to net the fish. So as BilletHead always says - if there is no photo it doesn't count :unsure:! So now I needed to catch another one to get a photo. I didn't try to catch another fish in Big Run creek and headed to Poplar Lick. Poplar Lick was a little smaller stream in sections than Big Run. I weaved my way through more rhododendrons, hemlocks, and other brush all day. I tried to be as stealthy as possible due to the small stream and how spooky brook trout can be.

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Kept looking for deeper pockets and a little slower water to be able to fish my baits effectively. I fished for several hours. I missed a few fish on my way upstream. I only had one that seemed to be partially hooked on a 1/32 oz olive and orange Zig Jig, but I think that it was only holding the tail of the jig. I fished a pistol pete in that same hole a couple of hours later as I headed down stream. Unfortunately I had a fish follow the bait through the entire hole and down in the fast riffles where It lost interest. I did not catch any fish in Poplar Lick run.

I tried to microfish a tributary of the Savage River. I saw several darters and minnows and was sure that most if not all would be new species for me. I fished them for about 45 minutes and did not get a hook up. I was getting worried that I would not have photo verified catch for the day :huh:.

I tried a few baits in the Savage river itself and lost a countdown, nearly broke my hand and ankle while traversing logjams, etc. It was getting to be a really tough and discouraging day.

I went back to Big Run creek and made a couple of casts in a larger plunge pool near the confluence with the Savage. I got bit on what would be my last cast. This time I landed and released this native brook trout. Not as well colored as the first one, but I got the photo. Take that BH :P!

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Holy Toledo!  8 hours of driving, 22 degrees, snow and ice, having to bushwhack over and through logjams, brush and slippery rocks - I am glad you landed one for the photo!  I think you should blow that photo up, frame it, and hang it over the fireplace.

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7 minutes ago, Quillback said:

Holy Toledo!  8 hours of driving, 22 degrees, snow and ice, having to bushwhack over and through logjams, brush and slippery rocks - I am glad you landed one for the photo!  I think you should blow that photo up, frame it, and hang it over the fireplace.

I wish i had a photo of the first one.

This year has been the coldest initial temps trout fishing that I remember. In the teens fishing at Jigfest. Then in the teens/twenties twice down at Bennett's for c&r season (including my trip with BH and Ham). And yesterday in low twenties. It was.a balmy 38 by 4 pm yesterday :). I guess that's why its winter fishing.

I will have to get BH to show me how to fish a hopper in these tiny streams and overhanging branches. They might tear up some dry flies.

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2 hours ago, JestersHK said:

Dang buddy those are 2 well earned fish my friend.  Looks amazing out there though.  That stuff you can keep. Lol.  Nice job getting it done.  I still need a Brook too.

I now have a couple of different trout spots in MD to satisfy your need to catch a trout in different states ;)! I looked at Delaware and they have only a handful of inland trout stocked streams. Sea trout or weakfish is the state fish of Delaware. Just saying.

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          Excellent report buddy,

      See how when the going gets tough the tough get going? And a native in it's native range, the satisfaction and this one really counts :) . A photo for proof? That puts it over the top! Still think it's a bummer you are moving but now you have new opportunities to pursue. 

  BilletHead

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23 minutes ago, BilletHead said:

          Excellent report buddy,

      See how when the going gets tough the tough get going? And a native in it's native range, the satisfaction and this one really counts :) . A photo for proof? That puts it over the top! Still think it's a bummer you are moving but now you have new opportunities to pursue. 

  BilletHead

Thanks buddy. I thought about "going" several times but just tied on something else or got around the next bend to make a cast. Or in many cases checked that I didn't break any gear or myself as I extracted my leg out of the deadfall brush and logs. 

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Sounds like a great time to me.  Those small streams, aka "brooks" are why they are called brook trout. I used to stand at the head of an over grown run and let the water carry (no cast)  a nymph down/across and cause it to rise to the top occasionally by checking the line flow and gentle raise of the rod,  brookies in New England would smash them just as the fly hit the surface.

Thank you for the excellent report, and fwiw some of my my greatest fish were camera shy. 

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50 minutes ago, tjm said:

Sounds like a great time to me.  Those small streams, aka "brooks" are why they are called brook trout. I used to stand at the head of an over grown run and let the water carry (no cast)  a nymph down/across and cause it to rise to the top occasionally by checking the line flow and gentle raise of the rod,  brookies in New England would smash them just as the fly hit the surface.

Thank you for the excellent report, and fwiw some of my my greatest fish were camera shy. 

I did a similar technique to catch brookies in Wyoming. Out there they are invasives. It seems that if you don't spook them they are have pretty aggressive takes.

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