Re: Upper Patuxent
It's been a couple years since I've fished it. The holdover rate has much more to do with poaching than water temps and food. If you see the signs of bait dunkers skip over the area completely. Cleared out spots on the bank and fire rings, worm cups, bobbers in the trees,etc. Although with many hot summers in a row it could have had some effect. The hot dry summers is the reason I haven't fished it. Many of the Md. streams for several years were not getting the fall stockings. Not sure why. Never got a straight answer.
I use mostly... Patuxent Specials there. Tan,brown, olive and black buggers with beadheads or barbell eyes were consistantly the most productive patterns for me. Ticking them on the bottom. As Bigjim said there are a lot of crayfish and the fish like them.Muddlers,sculpins, and clousers work well also.
The uppermost section (Rt27 downstream) is small water. I've actually caught wild bows about 4"-5" long as well as browns there. But have fished this the least because it was the least enticing.
Edit to add; I've caught the smallies down low also but never LMB.
All of the other access points I've done equally well. Look for the log jams and undercuts/roots for the bigger browns. The fastest water will hold bows.If you catch one bow in a riffle with a down across presentation probe the entire riffle from a couple angles. I have had some 20 fish days there but it isn't the norm. The fish both wild and stocked are more often quite selective. I have done well with dries and nymphs but I see this as more of a streamer stream.I would carry some 16-18 BWO or Adams and some 16-18 Elk hair caddis and matching nymphs just in case.
I've never had an encounter like Bigjim mentioned there. I've spent quite a lot of time there also. That could really end bad for them with most guys I know, including me. I seldom ever see anybody else there, even on weekends.