Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont, Maryland, March 15, 2014
It had been a long, tough winter and I just wanted to get out before the next snowstorm blew in. The weather guy said it was going to be in the low 60s so I quickly tossed some gear into the fishmobile and headed up to Big Hunting Creek for a quick trout fix.

As I picked my way around boulders and fallen trees, I found patches of ice and snow still hanging around but most of the white stuff had melted away. The creek was running at a normal level, maybe a touch low if you want to be picky about it but for this time of the year it was just about right.

The sun began to peek out between the trees and small caddis were flitting about. There was sporadic surface feeding, but the fish were being very picky about what they were eating. It was all midge action--stuff in size 20 and below. Throw something in size 16 or 18 and it was either outright ignored or you would see a quick flash off the bottom as the fish swam to the surface then another white belly flash as it turned and quickly swam back down without touching the fly. I used a selection of stuff specific to fishing Big Hunting Creek-- a wide selection of black and tan CDC midges, black, brown and grey caddis with and without a CDC wing, small Griffith’s Gnats and Baltz Paranymphs.

I pretty much had the place to myself all morning but by noon the Simms and Orvis hatch appeared and the creek became very crowded. But by this time I had enough. I needed to go home and prep my snow removal gear for the coming storm.

EQUIPMENT: I used a 6 foot 5-weight Cortland Diamondglass fiberglass rod with weight-forward floating line, but not much of the line was out of the tip of the rod. I used a 12 foot leader tapered down to 3-feet of 6X tippet. Size 20 to 32 flies and very gentle presentations.

DIRECTIONS: From Virginia head north on Route 15 towards Gettysburg. You'll see signs saying your in the Catoctin Mountain National Park. Take the left exit in Thurmont to Route 77 west then onto Foxville Road into the park. You will see the creek on your right then after you pass the ranger station it will appear on your left. Park and fish.