Trout club hears of Potomac's newly bountiful North Branch

Carroll Outdoors

February 23, 1997|By Lonny Weaver | Lonny Weaver,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

"I have stocked 10-pound trout out of this hatchery and, in fact, the state records for cut-throat and brown trout were caught just a bit downstream from the site shown on this slide."

Mike Dean, a Department of Natural Resources project manager, was showing the pictures at last Thursday's gathering of the Patapsco Valley Trout Unlimited chapter.

Dean is in charge of the increasingly famous North Branch of the Potomac River. A few years ago, this part of the Potomac, which stretches from Jennings Randolph Lake in Garrett County to the Cumberland vicinity, was essentially sterile -- lifeless.

Today, through a lot of cooperative public and private effort, plus the unceasing devotion of people such as Dean, the North Branch has been transformed to one of the East Coast's finest trout waters.

Twenty Trout Unlimited members attended the meeting. According to Mike Boyle, the chapter has "about 30 active members and a good number of interested individuals who drop by meetings and activities on a regular basis." The chapter meets monthly at the Hashawha Environmental Center.

Dean explained, via his slide show, the workings of the highly successful hatchery work being done under his direction at Jennings Randolph Lake and how this section of the river was brought back to life.

Chapter president Ross Christman, in introducing Dean, warned the gathering that "Mike is going to show you slides of trout taken on hook and line that are so heavy they may collapse the projector".

Dean delivered:

"This is a 2 1/2 -year-old rainbow that you can see is pushing 23 inches."

And then: "This is a typical brown trout from the [hatchery] that's measuring 20 inches and is pushing 3 pounds "

Dean believes that one of the finest trout fisheries around is located in the area of Barnum, W. Va.

"This area has been closed for some time, but it's ready to be opened, and believe me, it is loaded with huge, trophy-sized trout. This is also big water -- you will love fishing this area," he said.

Dean also recommends that fly-rodders "forget hatches on most of the North Branch. Just tie on a big woolly bugger, and hang on!"

The put-and-take areas of the North Branch main-stem are from the Jennings Randolph Lake, upstream about six miles to the lower boundary of the Potomac State Forest. Then, from the uppermost boundary of Potomac State Forest at Wallman upstream for about 8 1/2 miles to the bridge at Old Wilson Road.

Next, from a red post about 100 yards above the upstream concrete abutments at Barnum, downstream to a red post below a pool know as Blue Hole, about one-third of a mile upstream of Bench Mark 1110 on the Westernport USGS Quadrangle, and from Piney Swamp Run downstream.

Be aware that some of the best spots are reachable only by long hike-ins.

Also, many parts of the river are difficult to navigate, even with a canoe. Dean noted that many of the frequent anglers have turned to rubber raft-type craft.

Next month's meeting, on March 13, will feature Joe Bruce, from the Fisherman's Edge, who will give a presentation on smallmouth fishing the Upper Potomac. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and the public is invited.

Also, the chapter will present a free fly-tying clinic at the Bear Branch Nature Center on John Owings Road, Westminster, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 1. Details: Mike Boyle (876-1494) or Ross Christman (442-5747).

Early bird tournament

Piney Run Park's 15th annual Early Bird Fishing Tournament is set for March 29. This popular tournament is sponsored by the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association and features up to $20,000 in prize money. One lucky angler may walk away with the $10,000 grand prize for catching a specially tagged crappie.

Thousands of dollars in prize money is available for both shore and boat anglers. Piney Run Lake covers some 300 acres and offers exceptional fishing throughout the year.

Because of the incredible popularity of the tournament with local anglers, space is limited, so early registration is suggested. The cost is $30 for shoreline fishing and $35 for boat anglers. To get an entry form, call (301) 942-7205. Proceeds support MRPA and Piney Run Park.

Trout stocking nears

DNR will stock nearly 400,000 brown and rainbow trout throughout the state's lakes and streams this spring. On put-and-take streams, anglers may keep up to five trout daily, instead of the general statewide limit of two a day.

Carroll's County's put-and-take areas are Beaver Run, in the Finksburg area; Piney Run, Westminster Pond, the Farm Museum Pond, Taneytown Rod and Gun Club Pond, Piney Run Reservoir and the Patapsco River from Route 32 at Sykesville downstream to its confluence with the North Branch of the Patapsco River.

Stocking will begin March 9 at Beaver Run, Piney Run and Patapsco, and the areas will be closed through March 29.

The Farm Pond and Westminster Pond will be closed for stocking March 23-29.

Piney Run reservoir and the Taneytown Rod and Gun Club ponds are not closed during stocking periods.

Pub Date: 2/23/97

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