I've never fished the Patuxent River State Park before. I'd like to drive up early on Sunday. What's it like late September? I think they stock on October, but with a semi-mild summer I assume there are some holdovers from spring and some wild fish.
Anyone fish the upper part of the river this time of year?
I've fished the area above MD RT 97 many times. Haven't been there in several years however.
There used to be holdovers, but you have to work to get to them. The paths used to be minimal, and the deeper holes are not always easy to get to.
My approach was chest waders, a full day & lots of patience.
I would work my way up stream as far as I felt I could go & still get back to the parking lot before dark on any given day.
There used to be a lot of crayfish in that section of stream & an abundance of hoppers & crickets, as well as other terrestrials. I have a stonefly nymph on my blog, that I tie mostly for stream SM bass. It's worked well for me in there in a size 6. I think it may be taken as a small crayfish or even a cricket.
Have also done well in there with a leech pattern, specifically a Clouser style tied on a # 6 with full black ostrich herl & a bit of flash, like copper or bronze. I've used them in there with bead chain eyes, or very small brass barbells since it's not usually too deep to require heavier.
Just below MD RT 97 is a section of Tridelphia reservoir so there can be multiple species in the stream above there. I once caught a brown trout, a rainbow, a SM bass & a LM bass in there in the same day. A Slam of sorts.
BTW, I was approached by a couple of young guys in there once who were not looking for fishing info! My truck was the only vehicle in the parking lot, so I guess they thought I might be an easy target. Didn't happen that way, and they left empty handed. Just be careful in there!
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.
Tfrank, good call on the Patuxent Specials! I use them as well, and they're a fine fly for most of MD's streams. Good SM fly too!
That one encounter was many years ago, and the only time I've even been approached in such a manner. I've fished in other spots, even when bait fishing in places that had bad reputations for attracting undesirable characters & never had any problems, even fishing at night.
I used to fish up on the Potomac near Shepherdstown WV, and it was supposed to be a place that had a lot of vehicle break in's, but again I never had any issues there.
My guess is that one incident was simply being in the wrong place & wrong time, and those guys were taking advantage of the opportunity. Might not ever happen again there, but it doesn't hurt to be aware of the possibility.
Nothing really happened, they approached me, it was 3 young punks & they made some comments about my gear being expensive. They were not there to fish. I believe they intended to try to jump me & rob me, but I'm a big guy & I bluffed them by having my hand down inside my waders as if holding something. I told them it would end very badly if they pursued this further. They didn't appear to be armed, so they backed off & left. I guess they thought I was armed. At least that's what I wanted them to think.
I waited awhile to be sure they left & I went out to my truck. An NRP officer stopped to check me & I told him of the incident. He said he would put out the word to other officers to watch for this type of thing, but I don't know if it ever happened again there.
These types of things do happen, and often enough to be concerned about it. I mentioned it because it might happen again & to someone who is alone, possibly unarmed & out numbered. Those types count on that!
I'm glad you brought that up. I know for me, I tend to get focused on fishing and at times can become completely unaware of somebody approaching me. On the upper and middle Patuxent it can really give the sense of being away from it all.
I kind of assumed you are a big guy by your name. If it was "Tinyjim" we would know you're a monster.
I am a long haired,tattooed,bearded biker kind of guy. I'm not a big guy but fairly stout in build. I've been told I can be intimidating. So I guess I may miss some of that. But I can definitely see how some of the guys I see on trout streams around here could get taken pretty easily. And certainly worth staying alert.
On the Patuxent Specials... I have tied them fairly large, up to about 3"-3.5", and done quite well on many species. They fish well in the tide water also. The little changes I have made is small barbell eyes up at the hook eye so it rides point up. The other thing I have done is after the tail is tied on I tie in two hen hackles (normally ginger,but have used barred buff or whatever is laying loose) so they are splayed out. Looking from the top it would be shaped about like the center of a peace symbol except with the tail shorter than the "claws". I can make them swim just like a real crayfish. That little extra action from the "claws" and the front weight seems to get a few more takes. From the pics of your flies you've posted you are a much better tier than I am. You could probably do a much nicer looking one than I can.
Tfrank, you & I would get along very well I think!
The flies I fish with are not always nice looking! The fish don't care however!
Thanks for the compliment!
I'm usually aware of what's going on around me, but it's easy to forget where you are on some of those streams & not be aware when others approach. I know of many places along the Patuxent that a person could yell for help all day & no one would likely hear them. Best to be vigilant in paying attention to who's around!
Interesting mod! I use some Bonefish style flies as crayfish & I like to add splayed hackle sides or tails, usually natural cree or dyed grizzly. I like the barred look & the fish seem to approve too. I can see where ginger would do well.
Jay's recipe calls for Fox Squirrel taken from the side of the tail, but I actually like that topside hair better & I like it a bit longer than he recommends. It has more barring & IMO, still works well. I also don't remove all of the underfur most of the time. IMO, it makes them look more "buggy". But, like you I tend to tie them larger anyway. I believe Jay ties them mostly in size 10 or 8, which is a good size for MD streams, but again I've had better luck with size 6 or 4, but that might be because I fish for bass more than for trout.
I agree with you about the small barbells, or even bead chain. I also prefer to have the hooks ride point up to minimize snagging the bottom.
When I get the opportunity to fish for trout, I don't get too concerned about hatches, as I don't keep up with the what & when. Unless it's winter, I primarily stick to terrestrials or subsurface. I feel the Patuxent watershed is a good place for those types of flies.
My Internet went out yesterday so I'll try this on the phone. I had thought about using some modified bonefish patterns for crayfish. The fish keep eating them Pax. Specials so I never got around to it.
My tying ain't bad,it's just a pita on some stuff because I'm missing half of my left thumb. I just call the crooked dries "cripples". Some of my saltwater stuff I won't put much effort in because them bluefish just demolish them when they're around.
On that section of the Patuxent its mostly surrounded by farms. So yeah, I agree an many areas you could yell all day without being heard by a person.
Hopefully GP will chime in and let us know how it went. I've been wanting to get up there but went to the tail water instead a few times. Just wanted to see how it is. The areas I went there showed lots of signs of bait dunking.