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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looks like the Potomac at Fletchers won't be fishable for a while.:mad: The river is high now with more rain scattered throughout the 10-day forecast. I need a Shad fix, soon. I've never fished Deer Creek. Does it normally stay high/muddy for more than a few days after a normal rain event? Is the current Suskie situation fouling the creek, or does the creek flow keep the mud from the Suskie out of the creek? I've heard about shoulder-to-shoulder crowds there. Is that true even on weekdays?

Thanks for any answers to this laundry list of questions.

P.S. - What about the Pax? That's closer to me and I caught my first Hickory about five years ago fishing off of Central Ave., but haven't tried since. Is the shad run there worth fishing and is the timing more or less the same as the Potomac/Deer Creek?
 

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Deer creek generally clears in a day or so- faster than the river does. The water from the river doesn't flow into or foul the creek.
It does get crowded- there are a limited number of spots on the creek itself. Many of the people there are fly fisherman, but everybody is pretty polite and expects it to be crowded. When they are running, I don't get involved in the crowds at the mouth of the creek, there are plenty of fish to be had fishing the smaller spots up and down the river.
Mike
 

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You can catch shad in the creek during all conditions, you just have to adapt to them. High Muddy water I switch to a bigger fly. Yes, fly. there are mostly fly fisherman in the creek during shad season. Spin at the mouth and on the river. Very crowded on the weekends since the opened the catch and release, weekdays are MUCH better.

Hate to say this, but you're a little early for the shad in Deer Creek.
 

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If you go to the railroad bridge at deer creek and either park there, or go on the small road at the RR bridge and follow that to the water station and park, then, head upstream from there, you will be fine. I have actually found pools full of shad above the H2O station that were void of fishermen. You can keep following that stream upcurrent and find shad for about 1/2 mile - 3/4 miles. Everyone there likes to fish within sight of the cars. The best fishing is upstream of that. On weekdays that are cloudy and rainy will offer fishing all day long. If you want to go on a day after work, the best fishing is the last 1-2 hours of daylight.

good luck
 

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All the advice is good, but don't expect to catch shad in the creek itself and especially well upstream until the water warms up a lot more than it is now. They wii show up in the river and at the mouth of the creek within the next few days to a week, but there won't be many in the creek until later in the season (when the shad bushes bloom). It is good fishing anywhere you can reach the water from below the old mill up to the mouth of Deer Creek. Actually the fish seem to hug the Harford County shore line up through there. My theory is that they are following the Deer Creek plume that gets forced over against the shore by the river flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all of the helpful advice!
 

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Goose - The mouth of Deer Creek can easily get beyond crowded on nice weekends, guys standing 3 deep, ... real mess there at times. When its like that I drive right on by. It'll be even worse if the Susky is unfishable but Deer Creek is clear... that forces everyone to the mouth of Deer Creek. For a couple of years I tended the fish ladder at Wilson's Dam on Deer Creek. This 4'-5' dam is located about 1/2 miles upstream of Rt161.

I checked my records. On April 1, 2000, there was a major pulse of herring & hickories in Deer Creek. They were in the creek heavy all the way up to Wilson's Dam. The water was clear. Hickories were so thick there that we couldn't see through the schools. We walked way downstream of the dam and Rt161 and each pool was equally as loaded. So heavy runs can happen there quite early. Between pulses though, the creek can look fishless, you'd think its over for the spring... but then, in a few days, another pulse will start. Theres lots of quality hickories pools to be found well upstream of the City water pumping station located ~1/2 miles upriver Stafford Bridge... easy to walk upstream from the pumping station.

April 6, 2001, Deer Creek at the pump station held more hickories than I thought possible. The whole creek was virtually shimmering with hickories.

All-in-all though, the middle two weeks in April seems to be the HOT part of the hickory run for the Susky, Deer Creek, lower Big Gunpowder, and Potomac @ Fletchers. Warm & cold spells have a significant impact and can advance or retard the runs in mysterious ways. Its not too far off.
 

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The rail trail from the mill to the mouth of Deer Creek has been cleared over the winter for better accesses to the river. Many folks fish the mouth of the creek when in fact most places from the ramp at Lapidum to the perch hole ½ mile north of the creek can be just as productive. In past years I usually catch my first shad the last week of March below Conowingo Dam and April 1st at Stafford Bridge with the long stick. The bad news, there were 3 floods open this morning, the good news, they were closed later in the day and the water quality is getting better every day.
Wayne B.
 

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I was e-mail a chart from a fellow Tidalfisher that showed Conowingo Dam started to lift shad last year on April 7. Got to be getting close to the shad run.
Lance
 
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