Town Creek in Old Town, Maryland, is a secluded trout and bass stream that is perfect for the fly angler who is not interested in dealing with the crowds on the put-and-take streams. Earlier this month, the Maryland fisheries stocked over 4,000 trout in Town Creek. Currently, anglers can only use artificial lures or flies as Town Creek is regulated as a delayed harvest fishery. All trout must be immediately returned to the water. After June 15, anglers can fish with no bait or tackle restrictions and keep five trout per day.
The trip to Town Creek takes approximately two hours from Frederick. Town Creek is stocked in two separate sections. The upper stocked section is accessed from Wagner Road and the lower stocked section can be accessed from Maniford Road. Both locations are remote and require navigating miles of winding roads through very scenic countryside.
Earlier this month, shortly after the first trout stocking on Town Creek, I made the trip to Allegany County with my fishing companion, Mark Richardson. I met Mark at his home in Myersville at 7 a.m. We drove to Exit 56 on I-68 and followed Town Creek Road to Lower Town Creek Road and eventually to Wagner Road. There are two parking areas for anglers on this upper section. We stopped briefly at the uppermost parking location. There were at least six vehicles in the parking lot. We decided to drive down to the lower parking area on Wagner Road.
At the downstream angler pull-off, we were pleasantly surprised to find only one vehicle and a young man suiting up for a day on the stream. His name was Tucker Witt from Mount Savage. He noted the truck tracks angling toward the stream indicating the stocking truck may have visited recently, or at least we hoped.
Tucker headed to the creek, and we followed soon after. I had a 5-weight fly rod with a sink-tip line and plenty of nymphs and wooly-buggers. I was anticipating a springtime flow of higher water, but I was a bit surprised to see low, crystal clear water. Before we attempted to cross the creek, from the high bank we saw large numbers of trout stacked in the sunlit run. Tucker was downstream so we positioned in the run above. The stream had plenty of stocked fish. What more could we ask for?
Fishing, but not catching
I wasn’t in a hurry, we had the run to ourselves and the day looked promising. I positioned myself below Mark, and before even I made one cast, Mark had a fish on. I stopped to take a photo of Mark when Tucker approached with a big fish in his net. He had landed one of the most beautiful golden rainbows I have ever seen. He asked if I would take his photo and, of course, I was happy to oblige.
Tucker returned to the run below. Mark was drifting a rubber-leg nymph below a float. It was an effective rig as he landed two more fish before long. I wasn’t having luck in the lower end of the run so I started moving downstream toward Tucker. He seemed to be landing a fish whenever I looked in his direction. I manage to hooked one fish but quickly lost it.
I was thinking about moving below Tucker when two spin anglers made their appearance on the stream. They moved into the nice hole just below Tucker and stayed put for more than an hour, landing lots of fish. I worked the water downstream with no luck. A short time later, Mark joined me, claiming that more spin anglers surrounded him in the run he was fishing. I wasn’t getting any hits or seeing fish, and I believe that the stocked fish had not moved downstream to this point.
Eventually, the spin anglers left the hole above me, and I worked my way back upstream. That is when I started seeing the fish taking dry flies on the surface. A stonefly hatch was building, and the trout were keying on that food source. That told me there were plenty of fish in this run. Unfortunately, I neglected to bring my dry flies. I started working the hole with a very small, brightly colored egg fly that produced a few hits. I noticed more than once a trout chased my fly when I retrieved it quickly to make a new cast.
A change in luck
I switched to a bright marabou streamer, orange and yellow. I flipped the fly into the current just to see the action when a trout shot up and grabbed it right under my rod tip! That was the beginning of my change in luck. Mark joined me in the run. He switched to a streamer and caught three fish in three casts.
Looking upstream, Tucker had left, probably landing his quota for the day. He told Mark that he had landed over 30 fish on a black ant from that one hole. I fished my way up, landing three fish before I reached the first hole where we started. Here, the action picked up as I watched fish chasing the bright streamer with every cast. The pulsating marabou was more than they could stand.
What started out as a slow day for me turned out to be quite a memorable trip with many fish caught on streamer flies. My only regret was not bringing my dry flies to take advantage of the stonefly hatch. The fish were going crazy on the surface for the stoneflies that were dropping on the water. If we had dry flies, our day would have been even better. Lesson learned!
After taking a break for lunch, we decided to explore more of Town Creek before heading homeward. We drove to the lower stocked section off Maniford Road. We fished a bit, but there were no signs of rising fish despite the heavy stonefly hatch still in progress. We concluded that this section was not yet stocked. The following week I believe this section was stocked.
The Potomac Valley Fly Fishers club schedules an outing to Town Creek in April every year when the fishing pressure is less. The put-and-take streams attract the spin anglers. The next time I drive to Town Creek, I will be sure to be better prepared with nymphs, streamers and dry flies.