Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont, Maryland, June 6, 2014
No rain. No flooding. Some free time and lots of sunshine. Time to fish Big Hunting Creek.

I arrived a little past 8am and quickly made my way to the creek. The water was flowing a bit fast but it was about what you'd expect at this time of the year. There was a lot of evidence of the recent storm scattered all over the banks and across the trails. In some places there were piles of deadwood and debris that formed miniature walls that you had to either scramble over or try to find another less dangerous path.

However pretty soon I was fishing and a few casts later I had my first fish--a brown. I moved quickly, picking out the likely spots and firing a few casts before moving on. The fish were in a biting mood so you either got one on the first or second try or there was nothing there.

I tried a lot of bugs but the one they liked, the one I wound up using for most of the day, was a size 18
Baltz ParaNymph. In one plunge pool I caught over a dozen fish, starting at the head of the pool and working my way back to the riffles below.

I continued to walk and fish. I stopped if the fish were biting but didn't waste any time flailing the water if nobody was interested in biting. One of the important, at least to me, tactics when you're moving and fishing is to NOT step into the water unless absolutely necessary and only if you have already thoroughly fished the water close to the bank. Some anglers will ignore the close-in water and wade out to fish the deeper spots but the softer water also holds fish. You would be surprised how many fish are there even though it's relatively shallow and the bottom looks barren. Trout are masters of camouflage and it's possible that you are walking past a lot of fish.

I finally called it a day on Big Hunting Creek after I fished through the
Frank Smoot Pool. It was a long walk back uphill to the car, but with the sort of fishing I had today it was worth it. But I still had some time left so I decided to head over to fish at Beaver Creek for a couple of hours.

EQUIPMENT: I used a 8.5 foot 3-weight 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 and used a size 18 Baltz ParaNymph for most of the day.

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.