Headed out to N Branch
My big time first post - I read up on the shad reports from Fletchers and have done so for the last 2 years. It's great to hear what's happening out there. Big thanks to Salmo et al.
I'm going out to the N Branch (and maybe the Savage) this weekend to get some early spring trout action in. Anybody got recommendations on fishing the N Branch this time of year?
I usually fish it mid summer when the nice rainbows and browns are taking terrestrials. Currently the river's flowing around 200 cfs and I've heard reports of BWOs and Stones. I also may try the huge streamers for huge trout method a bit as well. I also hear the brookie streams above the savage may be good now too.
N. Br. Potomac River – Whitewater releases had not been set by the USCOE at the date of this publication, please call 304-355-2346 for up to date water release information. For additional release info go to North Branch Potomac River and Savage River Releases, 410-962-7687. West Virginia stocks approximately 4000 trout in the Barnum area during February/early March.
I copied this from the trout stocking schedule. You may want to check to make sure there is no white water release. I was caught with my pants down once on the MD shore when we parked on the WV shore. A ranger came down to tell us the water was coming up and if it wasn't for him, I would have been fish food. We started wading back right after we heard and got swept down a good distance. The water didn't rise all at once but it was fast enough to scare the daylights out of me. It was right around this time of year too.
There is a lot of trout stocking currently going on at the Barnum section so you may also want to try the put and take water. But if it's natural trout you want, head to the savage. There will be better hatches on the savage but it's still early. I think mostly caddis and maybe some BWO. I'm not all that familiar with that section as it's difficult technical fishing.
If it were me I'd try the Casselemen right now. It's a different water shed and therefore has different bugs. The hatches there are out of this world this time of year in the evening. Some species of bright green mayfly and more caddis than you can shake a stick at. Make sure you fish till dark for the best action coming just before darkness. Forget about the early morning action because you'd need to wake up at 3am to get there in time. Sleep in and concentrate on the evening rise. When nothing is hatching red san juan worms, greenie weenies and caddis larva are all excellent choices.
Weekends can be a mad house but there are fish behind ever rock even in shin deep water. Go for a walk to avoid the crowds.
I may be tied to the N Branch for Saturday, because of the group I'm going with. They may not be able to do their float though because of the rain and the spillover from the Savage that's causing a big flow downstream in Luke and Westernport.
I've always wanted to try the Casselman, that may be a good Sunday adventure. Is there a good fly shop nearby where I can pick up some of these strange green mayflies you speak of? If there are really swarms of caddis coming off this early, that sounds like a blast. Thanks for the suggestion.
It still might be a little early for the better caddis hatches but if it's a nice day, I'm sure you'll have more than a few right now. As for fly shops, I'm not sure. There's Savage River Outfitters but not sure what else. This Mayfly is probably pretty common, about a size 16 or 14 and all green or Chartreuse. They may hatch later in April though.
For the North Branch, I'd try olive whooly buggers in sizes 8-2 with bead heads, sometimes fished on a sink tip in the long slow pools or even some added weight but not always necessary. If it stays 200, than that's perfect. Over 700 cfs gets tricky.