After the recent bad weather and lack of fishing on my part, I snuck out of work early this past Tuesday to fish Rocky Gorge Reservoir in Montgomery County. My goal was to throw big streamers for pike and musky in the shallow portions of the reservoir, where water temperatures should be climbing into the 60’s. I was also taking my new Sage Motive 6wt with me on it’s maiden trip, and interested in seeing how it would throw big streamers for these fish.
With the Washington DC region going through a severe drought, the reservoir was more of a muddy creek. I walked a mile downstream along the reservoir bed, stepping over the cracked, muddy bottom, eyeing the remaining water (actually the Patuxent River), looking for shapes, structure…anything that was worth a cast. The river was shallow (2′ or so in most places), and the bottom nothing but silt.
Along the way, I ran into this big girl, who was working his way back to the river, likely having just laid eggs at the edge of the woods. She was covered in what looked to be leeches, and huge, maybe 20 pounds.
Around the first tight river bend, I finally came across a slightly deeper hole, and a dozen nice sized sunfish feeding at the edge of the current. I fished my streamer around them, hoping that a larger fish might be lurking around the fallen timber and boulders, but without any interest.
About 50 yards from those sunfish, I finally found a really choice piece of structure – a tree stump, wrapped around the edge of a boulder, and completely submerged. The water here was deeper, maybe 4-‘5’. I cast my streamer out into the middle of the river, and swung it make into the back eddy of the boulder. The fly drifted, pulsating, until it was hovering by the stump. I let it hang in that spot for a good 10 seconds, before I fed some line out, and let the fly drop back into the muddy water. A large bass (5+ lb by the look of him), shot out from under the stump and hit the fly. I set the hook…and missed him. Fired up, I cast back out, and brought the fly in at a different angle, and felt another good bump. Again I set the hook…and again missed him.
After that, I walked a bit farther downstream, but was unable to find any deep holes or structure that might hold fish. With the sun setting, I walked back to my car on Browns Bridge Road, and headed back to DC.
If you want to fish this area, wear old shoes you don’t mind getting muddy, and make sure you buy a water use permit from Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission here. It’s $6 a day. While I was out, I only saw two other people: One, an army soldier with a cat fishing rod who left after seeing the low water, and a couple with their dog playing in the mud. If I go back to Rocky Gorge this year, I will likely walk the shorelines on the PG County side, where there is deeper water.