Thurmont, Maryland, February 27, 2009
The rain was slowly turning into a drizzle but at least the temperature was cooperating a bit. It was a toasty 62 degrees, pretty warm for this time of year. However the day was not going so well. I had absolutely no luck on Little Hunting Creek in the morning so I decided to hit Owens Creek before heading home.

Big Hunting Creek one mountain top to the south, Owens Creek is a fishery born out of a compromise. Hatchery fish are stocked over wild natives. It's one of the most popular put-and-take fishing areas in Frederick County but the headwaters of the creek from inside the Catoctin Mountain National Park downstream to Raven Rock Road is managed as a catch and release native brook and wild brown trout fishery. But from Raven Rock Road down to the Roddy Road covered bridge, the fishery is managed as both put-and-take AND catch and release. Although Maryland could have designated the creek as a delayed harvest body of water (stocked in the Spring for catch and release then catch and keep before summer) the popularity of the Spring catch and keep season was just too great. Stocking takes place from the bridge on Foxville/Deerfield Road downstream to the covered bridge on Roddy Road. The only section not stocked is a sliver of posted private property along Eylerd Valley Flint Road, which is posted.
I drove up the road into the mountains, stopping at several parking spots along the way to check out the water. At one of the larger pull offs I decided to do some serious scouting so I geared up and headed down the trail. Peeking over the edge of a cliff I was able to look down into a very large, very clear and deep pool. And that's when I saw them. There were five very large trout finning below the surface, lined up on either side of the stream of water that was pouring into the pool. Two rainbows were up front with three brookies towards the back of the pool. The fish would sit near the bottom then every so often lift off and sip something off the top or take something in the water column. I stood there and watched them for awhile before deciding on a plan.

The rain was a real pain. I would get about 15 to 20 minutes of clear weather to present a fly then the rain would sweep in and huge drops would dimple the surface of the water, making any surface midge presentation impossible. I tried going subsurface for awhile and had a few follows. The water was so clear I could see the trout come off the bottom and track the fly then turn and swim back down. Whatever they were eating, I either didn't have the right pattern or the fly was too big (smallest I had was size 28). I must have spent the better part of two hours here. The trout would just make fishing interesting by following the fly or coming up and slurping something off the surface now and then, making me search for an insect that might be floating in the film.

It was almost time to hit the road for home so I took off down the trail for a quick look around. There were deep ravines and more deep pools. I saw a few fish, though they weren't as large as the ones holding in that large pool. As more rain swept down into the valley in I tossed my stuff into the trunk and headed for home.
EQUIPMENT: I used a 3-weight rod and floating line. I used midges from size 20-28 on 7X tippet and tiny nymphs from size 18-24 on 6X fluorocarbon.

DIRECTIONS: From Virginia take Route 15 north to Thurmont then exit onto Route 550 Sabillasville Road. This road follows Owens Creek. Look for posted trout fishing signs.