PPTU’s traditional Memorial weekend Outing was held from May 27– 30 in Western Maryland. This outing concentrated on Garrett County’s big four trout rivers; the Savage, North Branch of the Potomac, Youghiogheny (Yock), and the Casselman. Joining me at the Casselman Inn at Grantsville were Club members Ken Bowyer, George Vincent, Pete Masler and Patrick Masler.
Area stream conditions were mixed. The North Branch was running heavy at a 1000 cfs, good for whitewater rafters but tough on flyfishers, and the Yoch was reported to be running high and muddy. The good news was the upper and lower Savage, along with the Casselman, was in good shape and fishing well.
The weather was typical for Western Maryland at this time of year. Friday evening at Grantsville was comfortable with just a slight chill in the air, by mid morning Saturday the temperature had dropped till you could see your breath accompanied by a cold rain that later gave way to periods of sunshine interspersed with occasional showers. Sunday and Monday were generally warmer and drier.
Insect activity on the Casselman included tan caddis ranging in sizes from #18-#14 especially in the afternoon and evenings, along with a variety of mayflies including mahoganies, some sulphers, and blue winged olives in sizes #18-#20, along with some very sparse sightings of the eastern green drake.
The Casselman was well stocked with some very large fish in the better pools and runs. Trout taken in the 10-15" range were common. I didn’t hear of any monster fish being landed, however Patrick reported losing a very nice brown right at the net. My best was a very fat 16" inch brown.
A brief squall Saturday evening had catkins blowing off nearby trees and sluicing in the surface of the water. As they poured into the pool I was fishing, I suddenly became aware of insects writhing in the surface film. I couldn’t tell if they were emergers or bugs that been on the catkins before being blown in. Whichever, trout began to rise among the catkins taking these bugs. It didn’t last long but was pretty exciting while it lasted.
Catching up with George and Ken Saturday evening at the hotel, they said they got to Grantsville Friday afternoon and decided to try Laurel Hill creek at Confluence PA. That’s when Ken discovered he had left his waders at home! Fortunately, George knew about Woodlands World, a small “Bass Pro Shop” not far from the stream on US 40 where he was able to re-supply. Thus, properly attired their adventure continued.
George and Ken fished the Savage and Monroe Run Saturday, reporting them to be fishing well. George hooked and landed a brown and a brook trout, Ken lost a nice fish in some submerged tree roots. Sunday and Monday had Ken and George fishing the Casselman with the rest of the party. They reported finding good hatches of sulphers and tan caddis from the bridge to the PA line and caught several nice fish in the 10-15" range.
Overall, even though the North Branch and the Yock weren’t fishing well, the Savage and the Casselman made the trip a success. Unrelated to fishing, but an interesting point along the river—Stanton’s Mill is under new ownership. Currently the mill is producing flours and corn meal ground using electric power. However, the new owner has been busy restoring the original millrace and restoring the mill to operate with water power. When we were there, the millrace dredging was complete and a period water wheel had been found. It should be water powered by now.