It’s early March in Maryland, and that means I’ve got a few different fisheries I can take advantage of within a two hour drive. It’s also worth stating my boat is in the shop, so I am looking at a shot to catch fish by kayak or wading.
Option #1 – Yellow and White Perch Spawn
The tidal rivers of the Chesapeake Bay do, or will shortly, have Yellow and White Perch in them. These fish travel far up river to fresh, shallow water to spawn in large schools, and can be targeted with typical “perchy” equipment – 5wt fly lines with sinking tips and small clouser minnows. Recent rains may have made these waters extremely turbid, but a few days without rain, and coming sunny days should kick this fishery into gear. This is primarily a canoe/kayak fishery, but there are places where you can wade or bank fish, although they get crowded.
Option #2 – Appalachian Trout
Shenandoah National Park’s native Brook Trout should be becoming more active with the warming temperatures, and the beauty of this park is well worth the drive. Bead-Head Prince Nymphs fished Czech-style should produce fish through the Rapidan River’s deeper pools.
Option #3 – Casselman River Stocked Rainbows
The Casselman River in Grantsville, MD sees heavy stocking in the spring, and the first big load of Rainbows (2700 according to Maryland DNR) have been put into the river. In addition, some of these ‘bows are trophy sized (up to 20″ fish)! The catch and release section of this river should be cold now, but with moderate water flows, and being relatively shallow, it should warm rapidly with each warm, sunny day. Nonetheless, I’d still nymph this body of water with a Hare’s Ear or Prince Nymph on a floating line.
I’m leaning toward the Casselman because of the “big fish” factor, but will be watching the water levels in the river for the remainder of the week.