Saturday, December 25, 2010

winter practice

Even though it might be snowing, go ahead and break out those fly rods for a quick 20 minute practice session.

Pick one or two things you want to work on, for example practice making smooth pick ups into your initial backcast, or work on making wide loops and then see if you can tighten them up.

Have fun

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Deep Creek

Up doing winter clean up at Dacha Dreams. We have a foot of snow in the yard and its about 18 degrees. Renters in next week.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Nice couple days on the Yough. Low 30s and clear. Streamers brought up a couple of browns.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tides Oct 25-31 Key Bridge D.C.

Tides for Key Bridge, D.C. starting with October 25, 2010.
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
/Low Time Feet Sunset Visible

M 25 Low 5:08 AM 0.3 7:28 AM Set 10:07 AM 96
25 High 10:32 AM 2.9 6:16 PM Rise 7:45 PM
25 Low 4:47 PM 0.3
25 High 10:32 PM 3.3

Tu 26 Low 5:49 AM 0.3 7:29 AM Set 11:06 AM 92
26 High 11:09 AM 2.8 6:15 PM Rise 8:37 PM
26 Low 5:27 PM 0.3
26 High 11:12 PM 3.3

W 27 Low 6:33 AM 0.4 7:30 AM Set 12:00 PM 85
27 High 11:50 AM 2.8 6:14 PM Rise 9:37 PM
27 Low 6:13 PM 0.3
27 High 11:57 PM 3.3

Th 28 Low 7:20 AM 0.4 7:31 AM Set 12:48 PM 77
28 High 12:37 PM 2.8 6:13 PM Rise 10:42 PM
28 Low 7:06 PM 0.4

F 29 High 12:50 AM 3.2 7:32 AM Set 1:31 PM 67
29 Low 8:13 AM 0.4 6:11 PM Rise 11:51 PM
29 High 1:32 PM 2.8
29 Low 8:06 PM 0.4

Sa 30 High 1:49 AM 3.1 7:33 AM Set 2:08 PM 57
30 Low 9:09 AM 0.4 6:10 PM
30 High 2:35 PM 2.8
30 Low 9:14 PM 0.4

Su 31 High 2:56 AM 3.1 7:35 AM Rise 1:01 AM 46
31 Low 10:07 AM 0.3 6:09 PM Set 2:41 PM
31 High 3:41 PM 2.9
31 Low 10:25 PM 0.3

For information on regulations for fishing in Potomac River contact: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tides October 18-24 for Key Bridge

Tides for Key Bridge, D.C. starting with October 18, 2010.
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
/Low Time Feet Sunset Visible

M 18 High 5:51 AM 2.9 7:21 AM Set 3:10 AM 77
18 Low 12:21 PM 0.5 6:26 PM Rise 4:08 PM
18 High 6:19 PM 3.0

Tu 19 Low 12:44 AM 0.5 7:22 AM Set 4:07 AM 84
19 High 6:41 AM 2.9 6:24 PM Rise 4:31 PM
19 Low 1:05 PM 0.4
19 High 7:05 PM 3.1

W 20 Low 1:34 AM 0.4 7:23 AM Set 5:04 AM 90
20 High 7:26 AM 3.0 6:23 PM Rise 4:55 PM
20 Low 1:46 PM 0.3
20 High 7:46 PM 3.1

Th 21 Low 2:21 AM 0.3 7:24 AM Set 6:02 AM 95
21 High 8:07 AM 3.0 6:22 PM Rise 5:21 PM
21 Low 2:24 PM 0.3
21 High 8:23 PM 3.2

F 22 Low 3:05 AM 0.3 7:25 AM Set 7:01 AM 98
22 High 8:46 AM 2.9 6:20 PM Rise 5:49 PM
22 Low 3:00 PM 0.3
22 High 8:56 PM 3.3

Sa 23 Low 3:47 AM 0.3 7:26 AM Set 8:03 AM 99
23 High 9:23 AM 2.9 6:19 PM Rise 6:22 PM
23 Low 3:35 PM 0.3
23 High 9:27 PM 3.3

Su 24 Low 4:28 AM 0.3 7:27 AM Set 9:05 AM 99
24 High 9:57 AM 2.9 6:18 PM Rise 7:00 PM
24 Low 4:10 PM 0.3
24 High 9:57 PM 3.3

WARNING: The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Tide High and Low, Inc. does not warrant, for any use or purpose, the accuracy nor completeness of these charts. User hereby agrees to hold harmless The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Tide High and Low, Inc., their officers, directors, employees and agents, from any and all liability for any damages whatsoever, and regardless of cause, to person or property, including third persons, arising from the use of this service. The prudent mariner will never rely on any single aid for navigation.

© 2001-2010 Maryland DNR and Tide High and Low, Inc. (

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maryland Trout Stocking

DNR To Begin Stocking Trout for Fall Fishing Season
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will stock approximately 20,000 trout into freshwaters across the State in October. This total includes 19,400 rainbow trout weighing an average of one pound each and 600 brown trout averaging two pounds each.

“Streams and rivers across the state are currently very low and the dry weather pattern that we have been experiencing is expected to remain unchanged for the next week or more,” said Charlie Gougeon, manager of field operations for Inland Fisheries. “Our regional managers will continue to assess each stocking location for adequate flow and will focus stocking efforts on the larger rivers, ponds and lakes where stocking conditions are most favorable.”

Anglers should be patient, as a sudden change in weather pattern that brings some rain can often improve the fishing conditions overnight.

Although stocking dates and locations are dependent on water flow and temperature, suitable conditions can generally be found in many areas beginning the second week of October and stocking is usually completed by the end of the month. In most years, cool water temperatures in the fall allow trout stocking to occur in Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Areas and locations such as the North Branch Potomac, Bear Creek, Town Creek, Blairs Valley Lake, Antietam Creek, Beaver Creek, Cunningham Falls Lake, Rainbow Lake, Greenbrier Lake, Morgan Run, Patapsco River, Big Gunpowder Falls, Great Seneca Creek, Wheatley Lake, Lake Artemesia, Greenbelt Lake, Big Elk Creek, Deer Creek and Tuckahoe.

Beware of invasive species! DNR reminds anglers to clean their gear between streams or outings to prevent moving around unwanted invaders like didymo and whirling disease. Anglers can wash their gear with dish soap, a 5% salt solution or one of the convenient wader wash stations at some locations.

DNR’s trout stocking information telephone line, 1-800-688-3467, will be updated weekly beginning October 1 so that anglers may find out if their favorite area has been stocked. Stocked areas will also be posted online at once stocking is complete.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gravelly Point tides Oct. 11 -16th

Tides for Washington National Airport starting with October 11, 2010.
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
/Low Time Feet Sunset Visible

M 11 Low 6:09 AM 0.1 7:14 AM Rise 11:45 AM 12
11 High 11:33 AM 3.3 6:36 PM Set 9:14 PM
11 Low 6:03 PM 0.2
11 High 11:48 PM 3.7

Tu 12 Low 7:01 AM 0.2 7:15 AM Rise 12:42 PM 21
12 High 12:26 PM 3.1 6:34 PM Set 10:12 PM
12 Low 6:53 PM 0.3

W 13 High 12:41 AM 3.5 7:16 AM Rise 1:32 PM 30
13 Low 7:54 AM 0.4 6:33 PM Set 11:12 PM
13 High 1:22 PM 3.0
13 Low 7:47 PM 0.4

Th 14 High 1:39 AM 3.3 7:17 AM Rise 2:13 PM 40
14 Low 8:47 AM 0.5 6:31 PM
14 High 2:21 PM 2.9
14 Low 8:45 PM 0.5

F 15 High 2:42 AM 3.1 7:18 AM Set 12:13 AM 50
15 Low 9:42 AM 0.5 6:30 PM Rise 2:47 PM
15 High 3:22 PM 2.9
15 Low 9:44 PM 0.5

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

back online

After a major computer dump and tons of travel and I am finally getting back online and will be updating things as we move into the fall. Get out your two handed rods, stripers are going to soon be moving into the Potomac.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two handed rods

Dan and I got together a bunch of the folks from Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders for an informal two-handed casting session. It was a great morning on the river.

Friday, July 9, 2010

DNR Asks Anglers to Catch and Kill Snakehead Fish

DNR Asks Anglers To Catch And Kill Snakehead Fish
Annapolis, MD (May 19, 2010) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers that they are required by regulation to kill Northern Snakehead fish, if caught and kept. Snakehead fish, an invasive species, have started to thrive in the Potomac River and its tributaries.

“We want you to catch and kill snakeheads,” says DNR Inland Fisheries Director Don Cosden. “This is not a species that we want in our waters.”

Maryland fishing regulations allow the taking of snakeheads, so long as the fish is:
• immediately killed and its head removed
• gutted
• both gill arches are removed, or
• the fish is filleted.

Otherwise, the capture and possession of snakeheads is not subject to any season, creel limit or size limit.

Maryland does not require the reporting of snakehead catches. DNR asks that anglers report any snakeheads caught outside of Potomac tidal waters by contacting Don Cosden at or call (410) 260-8287. This will help DNR track the expansion of the species.

Anglers in Virginia waters who catch a snakehead must immediately kill the fish and subsequently report the catch. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fish hot line is (804) 367-2925.

Federal law prohibits the import of live snakeheads in to the U.S. or across state lines without a permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Deep Creek Lake makes the list of top summer lake towns

Summer Lake Towns 2010

Nature hikes, canoe trips, pancake breakfasts—just another perfect summer day in one of America's best lake towns.

By Beth Collins, Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | Subscribe to the magazine

Lake Chelan, in Washington State. Don't leave without taking a ferry up the lake—the fjord-like gorges make for stunning scenery, with the slopes of the North Cascades dropping dramatically into the deep-blue water (Courtesy Maurice King/Flickr)
Chelan, Wash., on Lake Chelan Photo 1 of 3
Everywhere you look in Chelan, some ruddy-cheeked soul is kayaking, swimming, fishing, or windsurfing on the 50-mile-long glacier-fed lake (kayak rental,, from $40). The Stillwater Inn, a butter-yellow 1906 house just a block from the beach, makes an ideal home base, thanks in part to the fortifying breakfasts of fresh-baked goods and fruit served each day (509/682-3500,, from $135). Two miles down the road, in downtown, the one-screen Ruby Theatre has been entertaining families since 1914, and these days it doubles as a community meeting place that hosts benefit concerts, dance recitals, and school plays (509/682-5016,, $8). Don't leave without taking a ferry up the lake—the fjord-like gorges make for stunning scenery, with the slopes of the North Cascades dropping dramatically into the deep-blue water. Most ferries make a stop in Stehekin, population 95, where the local organic garden sells fresh vegetables, goat cheese, and yogurt for an off-the-beaten-path afternoon picnic. (, round trip from $39).
Grand Marais, Minn., on Lake Superior Photo 1 of 3
Lake Superior begins at the edge of town, and the Boundary Waters—a series of connecting lakes that offer 1,500 miles of canoe routes—is just 25 miles southwest. Fishing for prime trout and salmon has improved in recent years owing to a massive restocking program. Before you set out for a day of activities on the lake (try Bear Track Outfitting Co., 800/795-8068,, rentals from $35), fuel up at World's Best Donuts. The name sounds like hyperbole until you taste the confections: The simple cake doughnut, with a dense, chewy inside and a golden, just-crisp-enough outside, is a thing of beauty (, from 70¢). For dinner, head to the Angry Trout Cafe at sunset and ask for a table outside. The combination of simply prepared, freshly caught fish, a light evening breeze, and sunlight reflecting off the lake is enough to make you consider investing in a summer cabin (218/387-1265,, entrĂ©es from $10). East Bay Suites has rooms with lake views, kitchenettes, and balconies (21 Wisconsin St., 800/414-2807,, from $129).

Dive into our lake-town slideshow for more reasons to hit the road.
• Launch the slide show
Dillon, Colo., on Lake Dillon Photo 1 of 3
Lake adventures in this Summit County town—within 15 miles of ski-season hotspots Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain—start at the Dillon Marina, with weekend sailing regattas, boat rentals, and meet-ups for guided Saturday-morning hikes and kid-friendly wildflower walks (boat/kayak rental from $105, nature hikes free). Find locals at the Tiki Bar, an island-inspired lakeside watering hole where the signature drink, the rum runner, is so popular (and so potent) that the owners instituted a two-rum-runner limit per person (151 Marina Dr., 970/262-6309). From the marina, head two blocks to downtown for the Friday farmers market, where more than 90 vendors sell fresh produce and folk-rock musicians entertain the crowd (Buffalo St., June 11–Sept. 24, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.). For some good old-fashioned fun, spend an afternoon at 18-lane Lakeside Bowl, the only bowling alley in the county (970/468-6257, $3.50 per game). The rooms at the Best Western Ptarmigan Lodge are nothing to write home about, but the lakeside location just a block from the marina is hard to beat. Rooms with decks and lake views are available (, from $85).
Forest Grove, Ore., near Hagg Lake Photo 1 of 2
Just 25 miles west of Portland, Forest Grove is quintessential Oregon: laid-back and outdoorsy with a healthy dose of quirk. The historic downtown is lined with old-fashioned ironwork street lamps, sophisticated wine bars, and boutique gift shops. Institutions like Joe's Ice Cream & Deli will take you back to an America you thought was long gone—get the black-licorice ice cream, a townie favorite (2001 Main St., 503/357-3077). The 1,100-acre Hagg Lake is an easy nine miles away and sits at the base of Oregon's coastal mountain range, surrounded by picnic areas, two boat launches, and 15 miles of hiking trails. Serious fishermen appreciate that the lake is well-stocked with rainbow trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and yellow perch, and waterskiing and kayaking opportunities are easy to find, too (503/927-5489, $10 per hour/$40 per day). The area's most unique lodging option comes from the McMenamin brothers, famous in the Northwest for converting old buildings into hotels and bars. In 2000, they restored a late 20th-century Masonic home and opened McMenamins Grand Lodge, a 77-room hotel. On rainy days, hang out at the lodge and watch a second-run movie at the Compass Room Theater with a burger and fries; there's also a heated outdoor saltwater soaking pool for post-waterskiing recuperation (, king with private bath $115).

Rangeley, Maine, on Rangeley Lakes Photo 1 of 3
Maine is home to more undeveloped land than any other state in the country, so keep an eye peeled for herons, eagles, and, of course, moose—maybe while sailing Rangeley Lake on a guided boat tour led by Sam-O-Set Four Seasons and Dockside Sports Center. The company can also set you up with anything from a basic canoe to a 20-foot speedboat (207/864-5137,, tours $25 per person, canoe rental from $25, speedboat from $200). Back in town, browse the quilt and antiques shops downtown, like Threads Galore, a quilter's paradise with close to 1,000 bolts of fabric, plus classes where you can meet locals (27 Pleasant St.,, classes from $20). Then head south about five miles to Edelheid Road, where you'll find the Maine Mountain Maple plantation. Take a tour of the sugar shack, where locally tapped sticky sap is made into sugary syrup, and one free taste later, you'll never buy the generic stuff again (50 Edelheid Rd., Rest your head at North Country Inn Bed & Breakfast. It's a bit like visiting your favorite great-aunt—if she served you quiche or pancakes topped with fresh fruit every morning (, from $99).
Leland, Mich., on Lake Michigan and Lake Leelanau Photo 1 of 3
Leland rests on a peninsula between Lake Michigan and petite Lake Leelanau. Families who've been spending the summer here for generations often arrive by boat and never set foot in a car during their stay. The town's roots as a fishing village aren't hard to spot—the main attraction here is Fishtown, a cluster of old shanties converted into shops and restaurants, now a lakeside historic district. Locals love the pretzel-bread sandwiches at the Village Cheese Shanty (199 E. River Rd.,, and kids never let parents walk by the Dam Candy Store without stopping for an ice cream cone or chocolate-covered cherries (197 W. River Rd.). The 107-year-old Riverside Inn and Restaurant, one block from downtown, has a homey feel but is classy enough to offer an extensive international wine list and dining on the deck with views of the Leland River (302 River St., theriverside231/256-9971, 231/256-9971, 231/256-9971,, from $100). If you do bring a car, make time to explore the wineries of northern Michigan. The pinot noir from Chateau Fontaine, just three miles outside Leland, has a vibrant berry flavor—it's the perfect summer wine (2290 S. French Rd., 231/256-0000,
Truckee, Calif., on Donner Lake Photo 1 of 2
This year, skip Lake Tahoe and head 16 miles south to Donner Lake's warmer water temperatures and small-town atmosphere. Originally an Old West town (you can still visit the original 1875 jailhouse), Truckee is a great base for exploring the lake's many outdoor activities—lately, stand-up paddleboarding is the sport of choice (Truckee Sports Exchange, 530/582-4510,, boards $60 per day, kayaks $40 per day). Truckee also has a growing local art scene—a slew of new galleries has opened recently, including Riverside Studios, which sells pottery, jewelry, and clothing made by a collective of area artists (10374 Donner Pass Rd., 530/587-3789,, and Carmel Gallery, home to Olof and Elizabeth Carmel's impressionistic prints and photographs (9940 Donner Pass Rd., 888/482-4632, Whatever your plans, carb up first with the All Day Addiction, a concoction of hash browns, avocado, Canadian bacon, and two eggs, at 1940s-style diner Jax at the Tracks (10144 W. River St., 530/550-7450,, Addiction $10). Later, you can relive your adventures over a Base Camp Golden Ale at Fifty Fifty Brewing Co., where all the beers are brewed in-house (530/587-2337,, beers from $4.50), and watch the sun set over the water from the redwood deck at Loch Leven Lodge (, rooms from $120).

Oakland, Md., on Deep Creek Lake Photo 1 of 2
At the southern end of Deep Creek Lake, Oakland is home to Lakeside Creamery, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor dishing out 90 flavors to flocks of visitors. The peach ice cream, made from fresh local fruit and milk sourced from area dairy farms, is a perennial summer favorite. Right next door, Copper Kettle Popcorn sells the standard sweet-salty version and regional specialties like popcorn sprinkled with Old Bay, plus homemade fudge and chocolate-dipped pretzels (both shops at 20282 Garrett Hwy., 301/387-5655, ice cream from $2, popcorn from $5). You can get to both by car, but it's more fun to arrive by water and pull up to the boat slips. Deep Creek Marina rents everything from canoes to powerboats, plus kid-friendly toys like water trampolines (301/387-0732, trampoline rentals from $150). If it's swimming you're after, try the mile of shoreline at Deep Creek Lake State Park. Naturalists often lead free nature hikes and evening campfire talks centered around the area's black bear population (Discovery Center, 301/387-7067). Rest your head at the Lodges at Sunset Village, tucked deep in the woods about eight miles from Oakland. The cabins sleep four to 10 people and have working fireplaces, rustic knotty-pine furniture, and kitchenettes (, two-bedroom cabins from $185).
Want more lake towns? See the 2009 or 2008 edition of this list.
Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
Comments (2)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fish kill update

Hundreds of dead fish reported in Potomac River
High temperatures likely cause of dead catfish this month

by Cody Calamaio | Staff Writer

Hundreds of fish carcasses found in the Potomac River since June 13 might have been a macabre sight, but researchers say the mortalities are not the result of toxic water conditions; it is likely the high temperatures.

The several hundred Channel Catfish found dead between the Harpers Ferry, W.Va., area of the Shenandoah River and Great Falls on the Potomac River likely succumbed to a bacterial disease brought on by a rapid increase in water temperature, low oxygen levels and natural environmental stresses at end of their spawning season, said Chris Luckett, natural resources planner with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

"These sorts of things do happen. It doesn't mean the end is near." Luckett said. "But it is big enough to be worth looking into."

The Potomac River saw water temperatures rise rapidly from 70 degrees to higher than 80 degrees last week, said John Mullican, large river specialist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Fish can usually survive temperatures in the 80s later in the summer after their spawning season ends.

While other water bodies in the state see more than 70 fish kills per year, incidents are rare in the non-tidal Potomac watershed, encompassing rivers and tributaries upstream of Great Falls, Luckett said.

More than 50 percent of fish kills statewide occur when the water gets warmer between May and July, he said.

Since 2000 there have been 1,265 fish kills reported in Maryland, 15 of which were in Montgomery County, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment. The largest fish kill in the non-tidal Potomac watershed was 11,072 mortalities in a tributary of Catoctin Creek caused by a manure spill in 2008.

Although water temperature and stress likely are the cause of the recent fish kill, researchers also are looking into other factors.

Living catfish examined Thursday near Harpers Ferry showed some erosion on their gills, but few had significant lesions, said Vicki Blazer, fish pathologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

"What does seam to be occurring is that many of the gills were eroded and didn't look good," Blazer said. "That suggests there something going on in the water that is affecting the gills."

Blazer examined living fish from the river using electrofishing methods to temporarily stun the fish and bring them to the surface. Blazer has been examining fish in the Potomac for years and is leading a study on intersex smallmouth bass.

"In general it is just poor water quality that's causing a lot of these problems," said Ed Merrifield, president of Potomac Riverkeeper Inc., an environmental organization which aims to stop water pollution. "If you don't care abut anything else you can care about your drinking water and the cost it takes to remove algae from the water."

The Potomac River has seen an increase in algae blooms during the past few years, Merrifield said. Excess nutrients from things such as fertilizer lead to the blooms which cause fish mortalities by sucking oxygen out of the water. Decaying algae smells bad and is difficult and costly to remove from drinking water, he said.

"For those who don't spend time on the water, the smell is terrible. It shows that we're damaging our valuable resource," Merrifield said. "We need to make some changes if we don't expect to see these things in the future."

The recent fish kill is relatively small, and appears to have abated as of Thursday, Mullican said. He said less than 500 fish died since the kill began in mid-June, based off his observations and numbers reported by kayakers and other river visitors.

There have been 64 reported fish kills in the non-tidal Potomac or its tributaries since 2000, many of which have numbered in the thousands, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment.

"Just like people, fish occasionally get sick," Mullican said.

The best way for researchers to determine the cause of a fish kill is to get to the area immediately, Luckett said. After 24 hours, it is harder to reconstruct what happened as the fish begin to decompose.

Fish kills can be reported to the Maryland Department of the Environment using its 24-hour hotline, 877-224-7229.

If people find dead fish in the river, they shouldn't touch them, Mullican said. He said people should take note of what type of fish they found, how many there were, and what part of the rive they were in, and call the hotline as soon as possible.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Help Stop the Spread of Unwanted Species in the Deep Creek Watershed

1. Report sightings to Friends of Deep Creek Lake: or call 301-873-1519.

2. Reduce nutrient runoff on your property. Report other pollution entering tributaries and the lake.

3. Check your boat to be sure you are not bringing in or distributing any unwanted species in the lake.

Here are a list of species to look out for.


Virile Crayfish:

A red-shelled crayfish. Much larger and more aggressive than native species. They will reduce diversity and abundance of native aquatic plants, insect larvae, mussels, snails, frogs, turtles, and native crayfish. They will become the dominant crayfish.
If seen: Remove and destroy (or steam and eat).

Eurasian Watermilfoil:

This plant has slender stems and feathery leaves. It forms a dense canopy that shades out native aquatic plants, reduces fish habitat, and reduces recreational use. Reproducing by fragmentation, it is easily spread by boats, trailers, or bait buckets.

If seen: Pull whole plant with roots from lake bottom. Bag and destroy.


This plant has oval floating leaves. Growth is caused by high nutrient levels and runoff from pastures, lawns, and septic systems. Massive beds support algal blooms, stunt beneficial submerged aquatic vegetation, create dead zones, nasty odor and causes fish kills.

If seen: Pull or rake plants before blooming in mid to late July. Remove dead plants from beaches in late summer.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

fishkill reporting

State asks for timely reporting after Potomac River fish kill | View Clip 06/22/2010 Baltimore Sun - Online

As temperatures soar, state officials are asking the public to report fish kills as quickly as possible to help pinpoint the source of the problem.

Just last week, anglers and kayakers on the Potomac River reported seeing dead fish floating on the Potomac River near Great Falls.

A Fairfax County, Va., park worker sounded an Internet alarm on June 19, saying that over the past several weeks, he had noticed many dead floating fish, primarily channel and bullhead catfish, but also some smallmouth bass in the 12-inch to 17-inch range.

At about the same time, kayakers notified the Maryland Department of Natural Resources about the kill.

Warmer temperatures can stress fish or promote conditions that lead to massive kills. Last year at this time, anglers reported 600 dead bass along with 247 catfish and other species over a six-mile stretch of the river in Charles County.

DNR biologist John Mullican said staff from the Maryland Department of the Environment checked the river from Great Falls to Point of Rocks and saw a few carcasses in the lower sections. The fish, mostly channel catfish and carp, had died several days earlier, which made it impossible for biologists to determine the cause of death, Mullican said.

Mullican said the best chance of getting to the root of the problem is for experts to observe the behavior of fish and collect samples while the kill is in progress.

The quickest way to reach the experts is to first call the MDE Fish Kill Hotline at 877-224-7229, and then contact the DNR Inland Fisheries office at 301-898-5443. The MDE has personnel on call at all times to respond to hotline reports.


Monday, June 21, 2010

A conversation with Capt. Chris Chavis

Capt. Chris Chavis owns Finstalker charters. He has been guiding fly and light tackle anglers for more than 15 years in the waters in and around Charleston, South Carolina.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of fishing with him while staying down at Kiawah Island and we recently caught up on this wonderful fishery.

Chris, tell me about the fishing opportunities in the Charleston area. Walk us through the seasons in the Lowcountry.

Fall and winter in the Lowcountry can be an exciting and very productive time of year for both fly and conventional anglers.

As the water begins to cool it triggers most fish into the feeding mode. It’s time to fatten up for the long winter. Typically starting in the mid to late October, anglers can expect hot action on Redfish and Sea Trout, with the occasional flounder.

How do you fish it?

Conventional anglers can approach these fish with both live and artificial baits. Floating shrimp, mullet, or mud minnows around oyster bars with Equalizer floats produce many strikes.

Artificial baits used for these redfish and sea trout include a number of both hard and soft plastics. I use Zara Spook Jr's, 1/4 oz. grub heads with a variety of colors of Gulp Shrimp and Gulp jerk shads fished on flutter hooks mostly, but have caught these fish on bass baits such as Buzz Baits and Spinner Baits.

What about on the fly?

Fly anglers can choose a variety of patterns to target these fish. Clousers, decievers, shrimp, and crab patterns are the typical flies, but I have caught these fish on a combination of other flies including bonefish patterns.

Air temperatures vary from day to day in the fall and winter, so dress in layers.

What about chasing big fish?

Targeting big fish in the fall is best done in the surf with conventional tackle, once the fall cooling starts this begins the offshore movement of the larger Redfish topping 50 pounds.

Surf anglers can fish a combination of baits in the surf such as live and cut mullet, cracked blue crab, and menhaden on fishfinder rigs equipped with 3-4 oz. pyramid sinker and a 6/0 octopus circle hook.

Now tell about the spring and summer?

Spring can be a little tough in the beginning, as the schools of baitfish begin to make their presence. After the long winter, these fish begin to change their feeding habits and will feed heavily under the full moon, creating tough times during the daylight hours around those days.

You can expect to target these fish more with live bait presentations and less of the artificials. As summer gets closer, the fishing only gets better, although the year round Redfish, Sea Trout, and Flounder fishery is still going on, most anglers look forward to the arrival of the migrating species such as Tarpon, Spanish Mackerel, Ladyfish, Cobia, King Mackerel, Jacks, Sharks, and the return of those giant Redfish as they come back inshore from the winter spawn.

All of these migrating species can be taken on live, cut, or artificial baits.

Anglers can expect warm conditions; temperatures typically reach 80 degrees in the spring and can approach 100 degrees in the summer, so dress appropriately. Afternoon rainstorms can also be expected, so plan your trip early to avoid the heat and possibility of getting wet.

During the dog days of summer, Tarpon are a regularly targeted in the inlets and around the beaches. Fishing conventional methods with live or dead bait can produce some big fish topping the 100 pound mark.

What about off-shore?

Depending on your choice of bottom fishing or trolling:

For the angler choosing to bottom fish he can expect to target Snapper, Grouper, Sea Bass, Triggerfish, and Sheepshead; and can expect this year round. Certain seasonal restrictions apply to Groupers and Snappers.

For the angler choosing to troll, he can expect Dolphin (mahi-mahi), Tuna, Wahoo, and a combination of Billfish including Blue Marlin, White Marlin, and Sailfish. This fishery is typically hot from April Through the end of October.

What is your favorite time of year to fly fish?

My favorite time to fish the Charleston is usually the fall and winter, the water typically clears and the fish school up on the flats, allowing you to have shots on schools of redfish up to 200+ fish. Also the sea trout fishing during the fall is outstanding, some days produce from 50-100 fish.

If you are just getting into salt water fly fishing, or transitioning for freshwater to saltwater, how do recommend an angler approach this?

When an angler decides to transition into saltwater fly fishing, I recommend practicing his/her cast with heavier rods than normal, preferably a 9 weight. This will allow them to get used to the heavier and stiffer action of rods usually encountered in the salt environment.

After acquiring the heavier rod, get a few lessons on double hauling, a necessity in saltwater fly fishing. The double haul will increase line speed which will increase distance of each cast.

Once the double haul is mastered, practice on accuracy of each cast. Try laying a child’s swim ring 50, 60, and 70 feet away and practice laying the cast close to the ring. If you have a target to shoot for, you will be surprised at how fast your accuracy will increase.

I know you are very good at working with anglers when they are on your boat, what advice do you try to give them about being prepared on the water?

Preparation for your trip on the water should include several things. The most important thing I have on myself on all trips is a good pair of polarized sun glasses, if you can't see your target in the water; you are wasting your time

A few other things you want to make sure you have are sunscreen, hat, and clothing to match the time of year. It’s better to have too much and not need it than not enough when you do, and plenty of water to drink.

What are some of the mistakes you most often see?

Some mistakes often made by anglers begin with tailing loops on their presentation. This can be corrected by generating more line speed.

Another issue is line-management. Most people lose touch with their line on their final cast. Rather than just letting the fly line go on your final cast, you should allow the line to slide through a hole made by touching your thumb to your index finger, this allows you to quickly begin your strip, and puts you in touch with your fly quicker.

Line control is also a factor, once you are stripping your fly back in, make sure your line is not wrapped around your leg, a cleat, or some other obstruction. Controlling your line will make that next cast flawless and not come up short when you see that tailing redfish.

Chris, thanks again for taking the time to talk with us and we’ll look forward to seeing you on the water. Chris can be reached at or at 843-509-9772.

river time

Spent most of the weekend in or along the river. The Potomac is in pretty good shape. Worked with my TH rod above Fletcher and landed several cats on a Clouser. Also gave a couple of single handed lessons.

Find some time and get out there.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Dear MAC Members,

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is considering providing a permit to the Maryland Energy Resources LLC, Indiana, Pa to discharge of an average of 500,000 gallons per day of mine drainage and variable volumes of storm water from the proposed mine. The site is located along Durst Road southwest of Grantsville to the north branch of the Casselman River. This could also effect the Y

Written comments will be accepted until Wednesday, May 26. They can be sent to the Maryland Department of the Environment, Water Management Administration, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230-1708, Attn: Michael Richardson. For more information, persons may call 800-633-6101.

More information is available on the "Citizens Against the Proposed Casselman Basin Mine Facebook page:

Because we only have 2 days to send comments, Mr. Richardson's email address is and his phone number is 410-537-3654.

PLEASE, PLEASE take a few minutes today or tomorrow to stop this travesty!!

John Brognard
VP Conservation
Mid-Atlantic Council - Fesreation of Fly Fishers

Sunday, May 16, 2010

snakehead handling and the law


Snakehead Handling and the Law

05/12/2010  |   Posted by DCOSDEN
Tags: Recreational
  In recent years spring brings a flood of calls and emails from anglers who have caught a snakehead fish in the tidal Potomac River or its tributaries. This year there appears to be some confusion as to what anglers can do legally and what they should do with snakeheads when they catch one.
Maryland DNR Fisheries Service created a regulation in 2009 which allows for the taking of snakehead fish from Maryland waters by any legal bait so long as the snakehead is killed by one of the following methods upon capture. Under (Statewide General Regulations) of the Code of Maryland regulations,
“An individual may capture and possess a snakehead fish using any legal method if the head of the snakehead fish is immediately removed, the body is gutted, the gill arches are removed from both sides of the fish, or the fish is filleted upon capture.”
The regulation states further,
“The capture and possession of snakehead fish is not subject to any season, creel limit, or size limit.”
The bottom line is that we are encouraging anglers to keep and eat snakeheads which are caught in Maryland waters but the fish must be killed upon capture. We do not require that snakeheads be reported. However in order to track expansion of their range we are asking that snakeheads caught outside of the tidal waters of the Potomac and its tributaries be reported to Don Cosden at or (410) 260-8287.
We asked our neighbors who share jurisdiction of the Potomac and adjacent waters about their policies and here are the replies.
Federal law prohibits the import of live fish into the U. S. or across state borders without a permit from the USFWS.
District of Columbia – the fish must be dead with the head removed
Virginia - anglers who legally catch a northern snakehead on hook-and-line may keep the fish to mount or eat providing they immediately kill the fish and notify VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fish (best way is hotline 804-367-2925).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A conversation with Mary Groves

Joining us this week to talk about the Potomac River is Mary Groves from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Mary, tell me a little about your background?

I am the Southern Region Inland Fisheries Manager for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR). Our purpose is to monitor and manage freshwater fish populations in Anne Arundel, Prince Georges, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties. This also includes tidal freshwater such as the areas in the Potomac and Patuxent that still have a tidal fluctuation but the water is fresh or semi-fresh (0-5 ppt salinity).

These areas hold predominantly freshwater species like largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, various sunfish, various catfish and even an occasional trout. In very dry years, blue crab, spot and croaker may also be found. This is because the salt wedge can be driven way upstream during high tide due to the lack of freshwater supplied by rainfall.

Describe the Potomac? What makes it unique?

The Potomac River below Washington DC is unique because of the diversity and abundance of fish that live here. Add to that the miles and miles of fishable tributaries, the beautiful wildlife and the historical wealth of the surrounding area and you can’t go wrong spending a day on the Potomac.

What should anglers know about fishing this river that runs through the capital?

There are several important things that you need to know when fishing the tidal Potomac.

First, there is no reciprocal license agreement between Maryland and Washington DC. You need a fishing license for each area if you plan to fish around Washington DC and are not familiar with the river. There are no markers telling you when you’ve crossed into Maryland or Washington.

The second is you need to be able to identify the fish you keep, or at least have some fish ID guide handy. This is because there are some fish that you are not allowed to keep at all such as shad, stripers (limited season) and herring (Maryland).

How are various fish populations doing including the shad, stripers and of course the snakeheads?

A moratorium is still in effect for both hickory and American shad meaning that it is illegal to possess either species regardless of where you fish. Federal and State agencies have been working for years to restore the shad population in the Potomac and annually stock hatchery raised fish in order to supplement current populations.

A limited fishing season is still in effect for striped bass and can change from year to year so it’s important to check on current regulations if you plan to fish for stripers.

Northern Snakehead continue to expand their range in the tidal freshwater portion of the Potomac River. They can be found in most of the tributaries between Great Falls and Colonial Beach and much of the mainstem between those two points. Over the last two years we’ve received numerous phone calls from people reporting the occurrence of snakeheads in the headwaters of many of the tributaries. As a result, we are currently surveying the upper reaches of some of our streams to determine the extent and usage of these areas by snakeheads.

What are some of the emerging environmental issues that should concern anyone who cares about the Potomac?

There are more than a few environmental issues that involve negative impacts on water quality and living resources in the Potomac River.

One problem that Maryland DNR is really trying hard to focus awareness on is the continued introduction of non-native species (both plant and animal) into our waterways and streams.

The northern snakehead situation highlights the problem these introductions can produce. Rusty crayfish, didymo, whirling disease and zebra mussels are just some of the other invasives that Maryland is currently dealing with.

Undesirable aquarium and pond plants like water hyacinth and water chestnut are also invasives that are commonly released by pond enthusiasts and can spread quickly in our waterways.

Anglers should become familiar with some of the non-native species listed on both the Maryland and Virginia Resource websites and report any sightings to the proper agency. If you are not sure of the identification of the plant or fish that you come across during your outing we can often identify the species from a good digital photograph.

How can someone who is new to fishing learn about the river?

One of the most important steps you need to take when you start fishing the Potomac is invest in a navigational chart (preferably waterproof). There are plenty of shallow areas, submerged obstructions and off-limits areas that are marked on these charts.

All too often we’ve come across someone who was not familiar with the Potomac and they’ve run aground because they thought they had plenty of water under their hull. You should be mindful of the tides too since they can often make a difference on where you want to fish.

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are an easy way to access navigational charts and tide tables as well. We’ve been using a small, portable hand-held unit on our boat for years and I wouldn’t take to the water without one.

In addition to a navigational chart, there are various fishing maps that have been produced by individuals and fishing clubs in the area. A quick search on the internet will yield a variety of maps that would be useful.

Booking a trip with a local guide is always a great way to be introduced to the river and anglers can always call our office if they would like some information on fishing for specific species.

What are some of the basics? What do you need to understand about flows, temperatures and tides?

A lot of the rules that apply to inland fishing (flow and temperature) also applies to the tidal Potomac. Most fish will go deep when it’s too cold or too hot. Shallow water fishing is usually great in the spring and fall, especially in the evening.

Catfish often like to collect in deeper water at the mouth of creeks, but they can also be caught in the shallows when they feed in the evenings. Many fish like to feed on a moving tide, it just takes a while to pattern various species.

Since the Potomac is an ever-changing river, anglers need to be flexible and willing to try different techniques, areas and baits/lures.

We’ve seen people fly fishing the Potomac for bluegill, bass, striped bass, carp, shad (catch and release only) and a few adventurous folks have voiced their interest in trying their hand at fly fishing for northern snakehead.

Are there safety issues?

While the tidal Potomac can (and does) flood occasionally, the bigger problem during heavy rains is the turbidity of the water. Silt and sediment that is carried from the mountains and piedmont areas is carried downriver and collects in the relatively calmer tidal portion of the river. This turbidity takes a while to clear.

Often logs and other debris are carried along with the muddy water and can float just below the surface creating a real danger to anyone in a watercraft. It’s always a good idea to keep boat speeds down when these conditions occur.

During warmer months, severe thunderstorms can pop up unexpectantly on the river so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the sky and check the weather before heading out for a fishing trip. Also, be mindful of boat wakes if you’re in a smaller craft such as a canoe or kayak.

Optimist or pessimist about the future health of the Potomac?

The Potomac is a wonderful river that provides a variety of angling opportunities from fly fishing to bow fishing. The future of the river depends on a heightened awareness by both the public and government officials on the vulnerability of the river to stormwater run off, erosion, point and non-point pollution, and the expansion of impervious surfaces.

Solutions to these problems aren’t always easy or clear-cut so it’s important for anyone who is interested in the health of the river to become involved in local conservation groups who work to improve water quality, habitat and access to the Potomac.

Mary thanks again for taking the time to talk with us.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Boating Safety

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) urges boaters to be SAFE while enjoying Maryland’s waterways.

Last year, Maryland had 16 fatal accidents, resulting in 17 deaths, up from a 5-year average of 12 fatal accidents. NRP reports that 16 of the 17 victims were not wearing life vests and stresses that wearing a life jacket could be the single most important factor in preventing boating deaths. Alcohol and drugs were a contributing factor in 7 of the fatal boating accidents.

“Boaters should use good judgment, avoid alcohol consumption and take safety precautions before departing,” said NRP Colonel George Johnson.

Boaters can help ensure their safety and the safety of others enjoying Maryland’s waterways by remembering the acronym “SAFE”:

• S – Survey or examine your vessel’s hull, engine and navigational equipment for serviceability. Ensure the hull is sound and free of cracks, holes and defects. Survey your vessel’s engine performance. Take it to a certified mechanic to ensure the engine is operating properly. Survey and examine all navigational lights, communication, radar, GPS and other electronic equipment to ensure that they are functioning properly.
• A – Anticipate the needs of the trip prior to leaving the dock. Ensure fuel, clothing, and medical needs are met during the trip. Plan for unexpected events like foul weather or sudden storms.
• F – File a float plan with a friend or relative. Tell someone where you going, how long you plan to stay, and when to expect you back. This is vital information for rescuers searching for lost or overdue boaters.
• E – Equipment. Ensure that all safety equipment is in good condition and sufficient quantity for the people on board the vessel. Basic equipment includes correct size and quantity of life jackets, fire extinguishers, visual distress signals (flares etc), and sound producing device such as a whistle or horn.

NRP responded to 299 boating accidents last year, 202 of which resulted in injuries that required treatment more than first aid and/or had damages to the vessels in excess of $ 2,000. Also, NRP responded to an additional 355 boating assist and search or rescue calls last year. NRP responds to an average 2400 boating incidents a year.
For more information on safe boating in Maryland, visit the DNR website:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

shad facts

Excellent shad opportunities for probably another week on the Potomac for boat boat and shore anglers.

MD DNR shad info

Hickory shad - Alosa mediocris
-18-20", noticeably smaller than American shad -key identifying feature: lower jaw juts out further than the upper jaw
-Coloration is silvery but tends to be more amber. Spots on shoulder are duskier and more obscure.
-Peak spawning time is mid-April through early June, with temperatures ranging from 54-72 degrees Fahrenheit. Peak spawning temperature is 59-66 Fahrenheit.

American Shad - Alosa sapidissima
-20-24", noticeably larger than hickory shad -lower jaw does not extend further than upper jaw
-Coloration tends to be silvery. Spots on shoulder are more noticeable but usually only one large one is observed.
-Peak spawning time is mid-April through early June, with temperatures ranging from 55-68 degrees F. Peak spawning temperature is 64 degrees F.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maryland Stream Wading Program dates

Volunteers are invited to join the DNR Stream Wading program over the next two few weekends. Waders sample the various tributaries which feed into Deep Creek Lake for presence of macro-invertebrates. Samples are sent to the DNR Lab in Annapolis for analysis by their scientists. The kinds and quantities of "bugs" found are an indicator of stream health.

Waders are going on out the following weekends: April 24 and 25 and, if necessary May 1 and 2. Boots and waders will be supplied if needed and some jobs don't require getting wet. Learn about the Deep Creek Lake watershed and discover amazing differences from one stream to the next.

To participate, email

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Virginia Fly Fishing Show

Great weekend at the Virginia Fly Fishing Show for our new organization the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders. We were thrilled to have Phil Greenlee, the president of the Federation of Fly Fishers, attend the show and spend time at our tent. Here TPFR presdient Dan Davala presents a check to event organizer Beau Beasley.

During the two days show the club gave single and two handed fly rod casting lessons, and taught a bunch of kids how to tie flies.

Friday, April 16, 2010

TU Stream clean up

Arlington, Va.-On Saturday, April 17, volunteers around the country will join together to clean local streams and rivers on Trout Unlimited's (TU) National Stream Clean-up Day.

TU chapters and volunteers are working together on the ground, cleaning trash from the rivers, planting trees and making other improvements to make their local waters cleaner and healthier for the fish and wildlife that live there. TU is sponsoring another national clean-up day on June 26.

"This is a tangible way for us to give back to the places where we all fish and recreate," said Bryan Moore, Vice President of Volunteer Operations and Watersheds. "As TU volunteers join together to clean up America's rivers and streams today, this national effort is a testament to the volunteers who carry out Trout Unlimited's dedication to coldwater conservation."

Prizes will be awarded to the TU chapters who bring the most volunteers to the clean-up event, for the most trash collected from a stream and for the chapter that brings the most community partners to project.

TU has over 140,000 members and more than 400 chapters around the country. Its national headquarters are in Arlington, Va.

Trout Unlimited is North America's leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2010 rates

Casting lessons: $35 an hour

Casting school: 3 hours @ $90 per person, up to four.

Guided trips in Western MD or on the Gunpowder:

Half Day Guided Trip:——– 4 hours @ $175 for one, $225 for two.
Full Day Guided Trip:———6 hours @ $250 for one, $300 for two.

Contact me for availability of Dacha Dreams - our three-bedroom cabin at Deep Creek Lake, or you can check out availability at listing #73425


The Gunpowder was excellent today. Lot of rising fish.
Fished a pretty long leader - 12 feet and small BW olives, light hendricksons, midges.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

rod recommendation

For anyone shopping for new rod, I would recommend you take a look at the Cabela’s LST.

I recently got a 7 weight and it has become my new practice rod.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Help Plant Red Spruce in the Savage River Forest

The Savage River Watershed Association (SRWA) is looking for adult volunteers to help plant 1,000 red spruce trees this spring on April 15th & April 16th from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, and April 18th & 19th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Red spruce will be planted along high quality streams in the Savage River State Forest in an attempt to maintain conifer cover. By shading streams evergreen trees such as hemlock, pine and spruce help keep water temperatures low, a critical factor for native brook trout survival.

Unfortunately native hemlocks, Tsuga canadensis, are being killed by an exotic invasive insect called the Hemlock woolly adelgid. It is hoped that these native red spruce seedlings will ultimately fill in gaps where hemlock trees are lost.

For more details or to volunteer, email the Savage River Watershed Association at or call Ron Boyer, SRWA red spruce planting coordinator, at 301-895-3686.

Shad update

Fishing has been good all week from below chain bridge up past Fletchers Boat House. Small clousers and shad darts, matched to a sinking line, have worked for a number of anglers.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Go fish

The shad are here, and the Potomac is looking better each day.

One of the challenging things that some casters encounter every year as they head out shad fishing is using a sinking fly line and a heavier fly than they may have used in their trout fishing.

Remember some of the basics with a weighted heavy fly line - The line is designed to sink, you can’t just pull it off the surface like you usually do with a floating line.

So if you have fed out 20 feet of running line into the river after the previous cast, you will have to retrieve it up to the shooting head before you can pick it up to make that next cast.

In most cases in order to make a good cast you will also need to lift that line up in the water column. Use your roll cast to straighten out sinking lines on the surface.

With that line up on the surface do a water haul - the line tension on the water will really help you load or bend the rod as you pick up to make the back cast.

When casting sinking lines, the mass/air resistance ration of the line is different from that of floating lines. So there is more mass in a small space, which is why the line sinks. A typical narrow-loop cast will often cause the line to loop to become so narrow that it tangles or hits itself.

The solution is to open the casting arc and create a slightly wider loop. Remember get a slightly wider loop, not a gigantic loop, and slow down your back cast.

Before you get in the row boat at Fletchers, take a few minutes on the grass and practice your oval,or Belgian cast. Remember that one? Basically the caster is making a horizontal back cast, curving up during the power snap to the vertical plane and then making the forward cast.

Why does this help you? The constant pressure and the curved motion of the oval cast allows the fly and the line to make a more gradual transition from the back cast to the forward cast.

Finally, really, really try not to do multiple false casts, you are just setting yourself up for a problem. Pick up, make a smooth back cast, make the forward cast and let it go ... and catch fish.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A conversation with George Cooper

George Cooper is the former President and CEO the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. He spent 7 years at TRCP altogether – three as the President and prior to that he was managing TRCP’s communications and policy work. Having played a lead role in getting TRCP off the ground and flying, this past month, George moved on to a new position as Senior Vice President at the DC government affairs and communications firm CFW. George will continue to focus on natural resource and sportsmen’s issues at CFW. Today, we wanted to talk with him about his thoughts on some the key issues facing the conservation community.

Before we start, give us a little background on your past and how you ended up running TRCP?

I came to TRCP having been with CNN for 10 years. At CNN I held a number of jobs, mostly in the DC bureau covering politics. Having been a producer for several talk shows and on a couple of different beats, I found myself itching to get off the sidelines and into the game. I looked for opportunities to do advocacy work in DC around a set of issues I personally cared most about. I found myself focused on conservation issues and I started looking for work that would allow me to apply whatever communications skills I’d accumulated at CNN to mission work that I believed in personally.

I was very lucky to strike upon TRCP just as the organization was getting started and looking for a communications director. I absolutely loved the work right from the get-go and believed very strongly in the vision the founders of TRCP had laid out. As we built the organization from the ground up, I found myself getting more and more into the actual policy work and not just the communications support of that work. Eventually I became Vice President, managing our communications and policy work and from there it was into the CEO chair managing all of the organization’s operations.

Tell me about your relationship with the late Jim Range? What did he mean to the organization?

Well Jim and I were very close. I guess I have a hard time describing our relationship – he was the most important and influential mentor I’ve ever had in my life. When I left CNN and came on with TRCP, this was a big change and major pivot point in my life. Jim and I connected at several different levels right from the start and he took me under his wing. His was one of the very best wings I could have found in Washington when it came to being a fledgling in the natural resource conservation world. He took me down an accelerated course of learning that was both sophisticated in terms of the craft of policy making and legislating as well simple in terms of playing the various political games that one must play in DC to succeed. Jim did not speak in elegant terms but in any given meeting he made the best points and said the smartest things, all in a manner that would surely stick with you.

Jim was a brilliant strategist and extremely influential player in this town – I’ve met lots of folks who would meet the same description but the difference with Jim is that he also was extraordinarily passionate and utterly sincere in his convictions. Coupling that sort of heart to the brains the man had made for a formidable opponent or ally and it made him a great teacher. I became a much, much happier person when I started focusing on advocacy work affecting natural resource conservation and the future of hunting and fishing and Jim made that possible and brought me in to the conservation world in a manner I’ll forever be grateful for.

So he meant a lot to me – he meant a lot to TRCP as well. Jim was the heart and soul of TRCP. He was far more hands-on than you would typically find with a non-profit board chairman but to get us rolling with the kind of momentum we gained in a remarkably short period of time, we needed someone with his passion, knowledge and network keeping a hand on the rudder on a daily basis in the early years.

As we moved along we were able to move further away from day-to-day business with Jim and focus on big picture issues pertaining to TRCP’s future and on our policy work. Jim not only carried out his board chairmanship duties with great vigor and tirelessness, he was very much involved in our actual policy work. He was a key player in most of TRCP’s policy initiatives and would keep the working groups made up of TRCP’s partner organizations pointing down trails that would give us the best chance of reaching our desired outcomes.

In the early years, Jim meant everything to TRCP. We absolutely would not have come as far as we did as quickly as we did in terms of bringing about better federal natural resource policy making decisions in Washington focused on sportsmen’s interests had it not been for Jim.

In the later years of his seven year chairmanship, Jim took us to being a mature organization that could get past infancy and adolescence in part by moving us away from relying too heavily on him and a handful of other leaders.

By the time we lost Jim in January of 2009, TRCP was a well-established player with a proven track record worthy of support. TRCP was in many ways the culmination of Jim’s incredible conservation career and an army of us out in this conservation world intend to keep it going strong in part to honor his vision and his memory.

What was it like to watch that organization grow?

At times it was jolting. We found ourselves on a growth trajectory at times that was almost overwhelming. We would have periods of moderate growth where we could move somewhat deliberately to plot staffing and structure out in a very methodical fashion. At other times, issues jumped up, or opportunities or funding that demanded quick moves and growth. Grappling with those sorts of gyrations was extremely challenging. As a general matter I was very proud to watch how the organization grew but there were also times when I wished we could control things in a manner that would give us more moderate and predictable growth, but that’s not the nature of the beast!

I do think the organization is now at a point where we’re looking toward growth that will be easier to handle given the cumulative experience of the staff and board. I think it kind of had to be a wild ride in the early years if we were going to shake things up like we wanted to, but you don’t want to keep going like that perpetually. The organization is now settling into a groove and pace that will be more sustainable and predictable.

What is it like for the conservation community in Washington?

Well I think things have changed a lot since I first came on the scene about seven years ago. For one thing, you have a much more active and steady dialogue between the so-called green groups that operate in this town and groups from the conservation/sporting community. I think both camps have seen benefits from finding common ground on some specific issues, acknowledging that are many issues we simply will not agree on.

I guess to me the most important change we’ve seen which is playing out now in the conservation community in Washington is something I’d like to think TRCP contributed directly to – the sportsmen-conservation community has become much more influential in Washington in recent years carrying a weight more in line with the size of the constituency we represent – about 40 million people. That’s as it should be. The nation’s hunters and anglers have a unique and intimate connection to our natural resources that set us apart from other user groups or special interests.

Harnessing that credibility and doing a better job of communicating from the grassroots and grasstops has helped us redefine our community. Both political parties see the need to deal with us and the benefits that can come from bringing us into policy making discussions on the front end.

People in Washington have also gotten a better sense in recent years of what can happen when they don’t engage with us. We’ve redefined ourselves as a constituency that not only must be dealt with but that will come to the negotiating table with substantive, science-based solutions that are more workable and centrist than what policymakers might typically get form interest groups that are more preservationist, or at the other end exploitive than we are in the conservation community.

From your perspective, what are some of the key conservation issues that are out there?

Well there are a bunch coming at us simultaneously but I’ll tick off my current top three in no particular order:

1. Climate Change – not looking real likely that a bill will get out of the Senate this year but we must continue to operate under the assumption that something could move. It will look pretty different than the House bill passed last year but putting all of that aside, we must keep a very tight focus on getting funding into a senate bill that would dedicate adequate resources to dealing with fish and wildlife impacts from climate change. A good chunk of this adaptive management money was in the House bill – we have to make sure it is in a Senate bill and that it survives reconciliation should we get that far. It is the single best shot we’ll have at getting the long-needed fish and wildlife management funding state and federal agencies have needed for many years to come and it just so happens it will directed at the greatest threat before us when it comes to the fish and game we sportsmen care most about and the habitat on which they depend.

2. Marine Fisheries – we have three waves coming at us right now that will or are already changing the rules for saltwater recreational fishing. The White House Council on Environmental Quality is poised to move forward with an Executive Order that will point toward new ocean resource management defined by “marine spatial planning.” If this new system very clearly differentiates recreational and public interests from commercial and industrial interests we could head in a positive direction, but this a big “if” right now. We also have closures of entire fisheries being made tied to deadlines included in the last update of the Magnuson-Stevens Act in 2006. These closures should not be happening without more timely and accurate fishery and economic data but they are – the stakes are particularly high in this wave (red snapper South Atlantic closure being best example to date) with jobs and livelihoods at stake along with fishing access. This issue demands major action this year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency NOAA) and/or Congress. The third wave is the new system of catch shares being implemented by NOAA. If this new system does not use better data and look at how mixed use fisheries are allocated than it could have very negative and lasting consequences for recreational fishing. I’ll give you one thought that runs through all of this: we have a federal agency in NOAA that has never managed our federal waters with even remotely adequate attention to the specific interests of recreational fishing. The focus at NOAA, which is housed in the Commerce Department, has always been commercial fishing. We need NOAA to make a major shift toward gathering and using the kind of data they’ve gathered for years on commercial fishing for recreational fishing and then use that data in a timely, in-season manner. If you like to fish in the ocean, you need to make it a point this year of getting engaged on this stuff through groups including the Coastal Conservation Association and the American Sportfishing Asssociation.

3. Ag Policy – we’re already starting to have hearings on the Hill for the next Farm Bill and now is the time for the sportsmen-conservation community to get together and figure out what our priorities are going to be. The administration this year has made some very welcome moves on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) which is truly our holy grail when it comes to the various programs captured in the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill. However, those moves do not remove the overriding threat to this program which has been in steady decline every since corn prices in particular when up and stayed up starting back in 2005 or so. I believe we are a point where we must reinvent CRP which is the single most important private lands conservation program in this country. If we are to stop the slide in acreage enrolled we need to fundamentally alter how CRP is structured and give farmers and ranchers new incentives for conserving habitat on their land. We must move toward having multiple opportunities in a given CRP contract for incentives and the next most obvious incentive to add is carbon based climate change credits. If we do not save CRP now it is in danger of going the way of the old Soil Bank program. With emerging carbon markets, this administration’s interest in climate change, and interest in Congress in providing incentives to farmers and ranchers that will provide a greater public good, let’s put ideas on the table now that take advantage of this interest.

What are some of the challenges facing the conservation community?

The single biggest problem I see for the sportsmen-conservation community here in Washington is just lack of resources and representation. We are constantly going up against competing interests that have much more funding and staff than the groups in our community have.

We have the opportunity to provide input through some important federal advisory groups and the current administration is re-launching an advisory group on hunting and wildlife management that will give us a potentially valuable interface with USDA and DOI, but generally speaking we don’t register a voice in this town that is commensurate with the size of our constituency.

We’ve gotten louder in recent years and more strategically effective but we have a long way to go before we are engaging in policy making to our full potential. We need more funding and we need more players here in DC on a daily basis. With that in mind, it becomes even more critical for groups in the hunting and fishing community to be working together and that is where TRCP comes in. Generally speaking we have some strong advocates and professionals here in Washington and a good physical presence with groups including Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, TRCP, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, ASA and a few others but it is not enough.

We’ve made excellent progress in recent years in redefining our community and in increasing our profile but to win the day to day battles that are fought in the bureaucratic and political trenches here in DC, we need more soldiers. Did I carry the military thing a bit far? Hard to resist…

Break some of that down for me a little bit more. Let talk about stakeholders – the everyday people who enjoy the outdoors? Do you think the conservation community is doing enough to connect, to engage that audience?

As someone who has mostly focused on inside-the-beltway policy making and communications I don’t have the best personal feel for that but I learned a lot about this from some very good people I worked with at TRCP who managed our field operations. I would say there is one thing the community could be doing better to connect with stakeholders – take the time to more effectively convey to them what is going on in DC that will effect their hunting and fishing and what they can do about it and THEN (we forget this step a lot) follow up with them to know about outcomes and the effect their voices did or didn’t have. And don’t make it all happy talk – if lawmakers heard from us and it didn’t work let’s be frank and open about why it didn’t work.

I don’t want to make this sound like it’s easy – it’s not. Communicating to the average person about some Byzantine process in Washington that may affect their outdoor pursuit in some sort of technical sounding way is challenging. But we have to do better on that. We have to make sure people know that the decisions made here on a daily basis will effect the kind of outdoor experiences we will have and future generations will have and that if they are not involved, we’ll only have ourselves to blame. Then we need to make it easy for them to weigh in and be heard and feel like they are not just making noise, but taking part in something inspiring and strategically sophisticated.

What about the anglers and hunters and anyone who is using these resources. What should they be doing?

Joining groups TU, CCA, DU and TRCP and committing to reading about what these groups are wrestling with on their behalf or trying to create. Having gotten educated to the point of feeling conversant on a given issue, then individuals must set aside some time each year to make a few calls, write a few letters and emails, send in a letter-to-the-editor and show up for things like forums with Congressmen in their district. We must keep up a steady drumbeat and that only comes with people committed to adding their voice. People in this town pay attention to what their constituents say – they really do.

Now in the new job, do you think you will have more time to go bird hunting?

We’ll see – most folks I talked to assumed I was hunting all the time when I was CEO of TRCP but the fact is I gradually watched my days afield decline as I took that job on. That wasn’t just because of the heavy workload that comes with that kind of job but because my wife Caroline and I have two little ones at home. I do think that if I want to continue to do my part in Washington to speak up for sportsmen’s interests that it is critically important that I am out doing the kind of hunting and fishing (particularly upland bird hunting) necessary to give my words credibility and weight. That’s what I’ve told my new partners and they seem to be buying it.

I’ll never forget the beautiful spring day I spent with Jim Range down around Fletcher’s Cove fishing for smallmouth. The shad had come and gone. Jim poked his head in my office and said “come on boy, we’re going fishing.” I protested that I had some pressing work to get done and he said “that work is going to be there every day. This other stuff ain’t.” That “other stuff” was the opportunity to be outside with or without a rod or shotgun in hand.
Part of what made Jim one of the greatest champions our community will ever have in this town was the fact that he refueled constantly with incredible outdoor experiences. We should all remember to fuel up like that whenever we can.

Thanks George and best of luck.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A conversation with Theaux Le Gardeur

Theaux Le Gardeur owns Backwater Angler, just down the road from the Gunpowder River. If you have never fished the Gunpowder, carve out some this year. It is truly a beautiful place.

Theaux, where was home originally? And how did you end up in Monkton, Maryland?

I grew up in St. Tammany Parish and Orleans Parish, Louisiana. I used to spend summers in Western North Carolina fishing. I lived in St. Petersburg, FL, Mobile, AL and on Dauphin Island, AL where I studied Marine Biology and taught fly casting and tied flies for six shops along the Gulf Coast.

After school, I moved to Western North Carolina where I worked in a retail shop and guided for a few years. Then I signed on with Winston Rod Company as their Eastern Sales representative and covered 28 states for them for a few years. I also worked a short stint for Powell Rod Co, Islander Reels, and Umpqua Feather Merchants.

2010 will be the 9th year I've had the shop!

Tell me about the river, what makes the Gunpowder so special?

The tail water character of the Gunpowder creates great coldwater habitat for trout. Gunpowder State Park provides a buffer from development along the upper stretches of the river.

We've had over the past eight years up to 5,036 (trout) per mile in the upper stretch 1,100 per mile in the middle and closer to 850 per mile in the lower river.

I know you get out and check on the river almost every day - do you have a favorite time of year?

March and April are my favorite months along the river-everything is waking up during that time of year.

Some advice, how should anglers approach the Gunpowder?

One's best approach to the river would be taking some time to stop in the shop for up to date info and a few locally tied flies-conditions and hatches change rather quickly so it's tough for anglers to guess what might work-sharing stories with folks that are closely tied to the resource also creates a better overall fishing experience.

What are some of the mistakes you most often see?

Mistakes typically are related to length of leader-way too short, size of tippet-way too heavy and wading on top of fish- instead of wading along the edges.

In terms on leaders and tippet, what do you usually recommend?

Long leaders in the 9ft to 12 ft range in 5,6 and 7x work a little better than the short heavy stuff.

From spring through early fall, what are some of the flies and sizes that someone should always have?

Caddis dries and emergers, various mayflies including a pile of sulphurs and lots of terrestrials.

Do you have a favorite way to fly fish?

I like to fish tiny dries and small traditional steamers.

I know that you’ve worked real hard on Backwater Angler over the years, what have you tried to create?

I haven't created the shop --the customers have. Ideally, I'd like people to view the shop as a friendly, great gear-filled place that is service oriented.

If you could fish only one dry and one nymph, what would you go with?

One dry- bivisible, one nymph- breadcrust .

Theaux, thanks again and we will see you out there.

Grip check

In her book “Fly Casting Techniques,” Joan Wulff writes:

“A good grip can enhance a cast; a poor grip can kill it. Your hand is the connecting link in the power sequence that starts in your muscles, is magnified by the rod’s action and is transferred, in the form of energy, to the fly line. The link must be secure.”

Take a second, the next time you are practicing and check your hand position before you make that cast. Is the rod where you want it to be in your hand? Did you start with your thumb “behind the cork,” and has it now shifted just a bit to one side or the other?

Most instructors generally teach people to use a thumb-on-top grip, but whichever grip you use – thumb on top, forefinger on top, or a thumb and forefinger extended grip, the key here is to be consistent on each cast.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that some anglers impact their cast because their grip will shift or move around from cast to cast, or sometimes even while false casting.

Can it hurt your cast? Yes. But with a little attention to detail, this is a casting problem that you can easily prevent.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Put the slack where it counts

George Harvey in “Techniques of Trout Fishing and Fly Tying”

“My experience has taught me that you can have all the “S” curves you can cast in the line but if the leader is straight you will have drag almost immediately. The slack must be in the leader.”

February snows, March melt hampers trout stocking

Michael A. Sawyers Cumberland Times-News

Cumberland — CUMBERLAND — Although the snows of February and the rain and melt of March have hampered trout stocking in West Virginia, the streams and rivers of the Potomac Highlands have been the least affected.

“East of the Alleghenies we are actually in pretty good shape,” said Mike Shingleton who directs trout stocking for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “We missed a couple of stockings in the South Branch (of the Potomac) when the snows were bad, but we’ll make those up by adding fish to upcoming stocking runs.”

Shingleton said Tuesday that other parts of West Virginia have had more stocking delays.

“In fact, I was just talking with a manager in the southern part of the state this morning and he still couldn’t get to a stream in Raleigh County because of the high snows.

“We may not get into waters like Cranberry or Williams until the middle of April. Some of our people made a run up there and the snow is too high to drive through on the unplowed Forest Service roads.”

The Blackwater River near Davis has yet to be stocked, according to Shingleton.

“I ran up there recently and the Camp 70 road that leaves Davis and goes along the river had a snow pile of five feet across it. The only tracks were cross country ski tracks. It’s not melting very fast up there.”

Shingleton, stationed in Elkins, said he has never seen such high river flows based solely on snow melt in some streams. He said all missed stocking will be made up.

“If a water was to get 600 pounds of trout, we may not have the space in a truck to double it, but we can put 900 pounds during the next two trips to make it up,” he said.

Shingleton said rivers and streams in the Potomac Highland counties are mostly along main roads. “We could get the trucks to them even during the snows. The hard part was lugging 30 or 40 pounds of trout in a net on foot over the plowed snow to the river.”

Rivers are still high. The U.S. Geological Survey stream gauge at Franklin measured a peak flow in the South Branch of 5,000 cubic feet per second Saturday. Since then, the flow had declined steadily and was at 729 cfs Tuesday morning, still substantially higher than the usual flow of 250 cfs for this time of year.

Shingleton said that trout stocked in high water easily find holding areas near the bottom or along the sides of streams where rocks and other obstacles break up the flow.

Maryland trout stocking has been affected as well.

Tuesday morning, Wills Creek at Cumberland was still flowing at more than 2,000 cfs. The normal flow for this time of year is about 500 cfs.

There is currently a fishing closure in effect on some streams such as Wills and Evitts creeks in Allegany County and Bear Creek in Garrett County. The closure is a time for stocking, with angling resuming at 5:30 a.m. March 27.

Most trout coming from Maryland hatcheries are approximately 1 year old and average slightly over one-half pound. Additionally 4 percent of the trout are larger fish called holdovers that are raised at Albert Powell Hatchery in Washington County.

The majority of the holdover trout are 2 to 3 years old and weigh up to two pounds.

Statewide, about 325,000 trout will be stocked this spring.

Maryland Fisheries Biologist Al Klotz said high water kept the agency from stocking the North Branch of the Potomac River near Kitzmiller.

“And we just couldn’t get a truck down to Barnum (W.Va.) to stock the North Branch there,” he said.

“Another problem is that the lakes that would be stocked now are still frozen,” Klotz said. “We were going to stock Broadford Lake this week, but there isn’t any place to put the fish in the water.”

Not to worry, according to Klotz. All the fish that were scheduled to be stocked will be, just later.

“We’ll either put more trout in the stock truck or make extra trips from Albert Powell,” he said.

Both biologists agree on one thing, that being that the bad weather that kept fish from being stocked also kept people from fishing. Thus, with weather improving, the anglers and the trout will be getting to the rivers at the same time.

Things are improving, according to Klotz.

“I was down on the North Branch at Barnum this morning,” Klotz said Tuesday. “The West Virginia DNR brought in a nice load of trout and stocked them.”

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The River near Georgtown

Water levels are still very high and cloudy, but not as much debris as in the last couple of days. Lots of gulls out this morning. Nobody will probably be on the river until at least Friday.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Back cast loop

So when was the last time you looked at the loop in your back cast? Any idea if it is the same size as the loop of your forward cast?

Or is that forward loop nice and narrow and that back loop, a little-bit wider, or maybe a whole lot wider.

This is real casting challenge for a lot of us. I know a caster that will get nice even loops and then, space out a bit, and maybe start using a bit more force or power than necessary as he picks up the back cast. Before long he will have an 20-inch front loop that and a 40-inch loop in the back. Not good.

So why do some casters blow out their back cast this way? Well in this case, the caster was just applying too much power, too early, and overpowering the back cast.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Potomac water levels in Georgetown

Some high water photos along the Georgetown waterfront about mid day. You see tons of debris in the water, entire trees are floating downstream.

The Canoe Club and Jack's Kayak under Key Bridge looks like they got hit pretty hard. The boardwalk is flooded and closed. And down at Thompsons Boat house, we pulled launches yesterday and they were reinforcing the docks.

In short, the river is a mess.

A conversation with PJ Daley

PJ Daley is the head guide and manager of the Orvis store at the Wisp Resort up in Western Maryland.

PJ, tell me about how you came to run the Orvis shop at Wisp?

I actually fell into the position. At the time, I had just moved back to Garrett County and was looking for permanent work. As luck would have it, I have been friends with a few of the guys that are managers at Wisp for a long time. They knew that I'd had a fly rod in my hands since I was five or six years old, so when Wisp decided they were going to start a fly fishing program, they recruited me for the position.

We both guide up in Garrett County, what do you think makes this area so special?

It's hard for me to nail down just one thing that makes the area so special. I think that first, you have to give credit to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for the way our trout fisheries are managed. There are opportunities for all types of angling, but they put a heavy emphasis on managing streams and rivers for very high quality fishing for both wild and holdover trout.

What this means is that on most of our best streams, catch and release, trophy, and delayed harvest regulations are in effect. There are also some areas that are open to fly fishing only. MD DNR also recognizes the need for put and take angling, so many streams are stocked regularly with trout so that people can catch a few for dinner.

One other thing that really stands out to me are two of what I consider to be world class tail water fisheries in the North Branch of the Potomac and the Savage River.

The lower Savage is managed under Trophy regulations and has fantastic hatches all summer long. The North Branch is known primarily for one thing - Big trout.

Do you have a favorite time of year to fish?

My favorite time of the year to fish is mid April through mid June. I have different rivers I like to fish at slightly different times in spring. I like the Yough and upper Savage in April for the caddis hatch and again in late May for the green drakes.

My favorite time though, would have to be mid-summer on the lower Savage fishing terrestrials, sulphurs, and yellow sallies to wild browns and brookies.

Break some of the water in this area down for me, how should an angler approach the Yough, the Savage, the North Branch of the Potomac, or the Castleman?

I fish the Yough mostly in mid April through about June 1st. It gets a tremendous caddis hatch (aka mother’s day caddis) mid April. You'll also see many of the major mayfly hatches you expect on trout water like quill gordons, hendricksons and march browns.

The action climaxes with the green drake hatch sometime in the last ten days or so of May. You can expect much of the same for the upper Savage and Casselman.

When there aren't any hatches present, your standard bead head nymphs and wooly buggers will produce. One note, I would definitely recommend not fishing the Casselman on a weekend. The easy access from the interstate brings in crowds.

On the lower Savage, come with a box of blue and red quills in April. I usually don't fish it to much until the April and May crowds have thinned out and the water levels have dropped and warmed up slightly in early June. This is when it gets fun. Caddis and pmd's start it off.

By July you're going to start seeing lots of yellow sallies, blue wing olives’, brown stoneflies, midges, and terrestrials. Unless you are a diehard nympher, there is no need to throw anything but a parachute adams, yellow sally, or black ant. The fish in the lower Savage are gluttens for a dry.

Fishing the river correctly and getting a dead drift is another thing altogether and is where a good guide is invaluable. Presentation is everything here. I love guiding on the lower Savage mid-summer.

The North Branch is more of a nymphers paradise than the lower Savage. It's not blessed with the great hatches that a lot of our other waters have, but I still fish a lot of dries because that's what I like to fish best.

There is the upper North Branch which falls under delayed harvest reg's and the lower North Branch which has both catch and release as well as put and take reg's. Sporadic hatches of midges, caddis, stoneflies, and various mayflies will still keep the dry fly guys busy, but the biggest fish usually fall to nymphs. I run lots of float trips on it because of the very difficult wading.

Unless you are an extremely agile wader, a wading staff is a must on the Yough, lower Savage and lower North Branch.

What are some of the must have flies for this area?

Parachute adams in various sizes, stimulators, elk hair caddis, yellow sally (lower Savage), wooly buggers, and assortment of b.h. nymphs. Don't forget black ants and beetles mid-summer.

Are there some smaller streams you also like to fish?

We are fortunate to have great brook trout fishing in the area. Bear creek, Big Run, Poplar Lick, and Monroe Run are all good, and with the exception of Bear creek, they are catch and release for brook trout, artificial only regs.

For Bear Creek I always wait until the put and take anglers have long gone. Usually by late May you will have it all to yourself. There are quite a few other streams in the county that offer tremendous brook trout angling and a few that even have wild rainbow and brown trout populations. You'll have to do a little map homework and exploration to find these. Where would all the fun be if I told you everything?

You have guided for years, what are some of the ways you think anglers can improve their success on the water?

I don't tie up until I get to the stream. I take a seat on a rock, and try to figure out what's happening before I start casting. Master the art of fishing pocket water. This goes hand in hand with what I call K.I.S.S., or keep it short stupid.

On our more technical streams like the lower Savage which has a very steep gradient, unless you're fishing a pool, there aren't a whole lot of situations where you need to lay out long casts. Get close to where the fish are and keep your line off the water by high sticking. This way you can control your fly and achieve a dead drift. You'll be amazed at how quickly you start catching fish on the lower Savage if you can do this. I can tell people this all day long in the shop, but until they have me take them out and see it for themselves, they don't usually have great results.

Relax! Most people miss fish because they set the hook to aggressively. Relax and pick the rod tip up almost lazily. Just lift and stay firmly connected to the fish.

BUY A HOOK SHARPENER!!!!! C'mon guys. You've spent hundreds on your fly fishing gear. Buy a $10 hook sharpener.

If you are just pricking fish and not getting solid hookups, your hook is dull. Check it on your thumbnail. If it doesn't stick with very light pressure, it's not sharp enough.

People that fish with me will vouch that I am anal about hook sharpness. If your fly touches a rock, check it. It takes a couple of seconds and might cost you the fish of a lifetime.

When you get a day off from either the shop or the river, where do you like to fish?

I either take a float trip on the North Branch or wade the lower Savage. If you ever have any questions you can email me at . I also have a fly fishing report for the North Branch and Savage rivers on the Orvis website, and a report as well as pictures on the Casselman, Savage, Yough, and North Branch on .

Thanks PJ, see you on the river.