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Trout Fishing in Maryland

Brook trout are native, but many imports are stocked in our streams
     My first trout was long ago, but I remember it like yesterday. The early morning mist was still clearing off the small stream. The sun had just begun to make its presence felt as I fished a five-weight, seven-foot fly rod about 20 feet off to one side of the creek to avoid spooking fish.
     Rise-rings had been appearing periodically in the center of the creek off a fallen tree about 25 yards above me. I held my breath that the trout would continue feeding as I eased into the water until I was thigh-deep in my waders.
      I continued cautiously upstream until I was sure to make the distance of the cast. A trout always faces into the current as it feeds on insects carried along, so the fish was unaware of my presence as it made another rise.
     I finally made my cast, holding my breath as the line laid out. The fly dimpled the surface as it drifted on the current, approaching the feeding trout. A second later, the water bulged under my offering. I lifted the rod tip and came tight, and the rainbow-hued fish surged upstream.
      Loose line peeled through my fingers until it was all but gone. By then the trout had turned, starting back toward me and the downed tree. Stripping line madly, I tried to maintain some tension. The fight was over in minutes, but I was shaking by the time I held my very first rainbow trout, about 12 inches.
     Carefully removing the hook, I lowered the fish back into the water. It sprinted away into the depths and the security of the submerged tree, probably the trout’s permanent home. I wished it good luck.
 
The Trout We Catch 
      Few fish have a more ardent following than the trout. This is a freshwater fish whose many species world-wide are of such fine eating quality, elegant appearance and vigorous action that they have been pursued by anglers at least since we began recording history over 2,000 years ago.
      A trout’s diet is 90 percent insect. With most of those bugs averaging only about a half-inch in length, an entire class of fly fishing tackle has been developed to cast virtually weightless imitations of feather and fur.
      Here in Maryland, the three main types are the brown, the rainbow and the brook trout. Regarded as the most beautiful of all the trout types and the only species native to Maryland, a self-propagating population of brook trout can still be found in the Jabez Branch of the Severn Run in Anne Arundel County as well as — sometimes — in well over a hundred of our streams and creeks.
     The brown trout, of European origin, has been successfully transplanted since colonial times. The rainbow trout was introduced from the Pacific Northwest. A golden trout subspecies (sometimes called a palomino) originally from California is also stocked in state waters.
       Maryland Department of Natural Resources stocks thousands of hatchery-raised brown, golden and rainbow trout in select creeks, lakes and rivers from mid-September through the end of October. Stocking dates, times and locations are chosen based on temperatures, water flow and weather conditions.
      Anglers can sign up to receive daily stocking updates or can call a recorded hotline (800-688-3467) updated every Friday.
 
Fish Finder
     The remnants of Hurricane Florence make angling inconsistent. The storm’s path to our north over the Susquehanna drainage means we are likely to get additional releases of trash- and timber-filled floodwaters from the Conowingo Dam. The infusion of oxygenated waters can also be a good thing, but you can count on it disrupting the bite. 
      Fishing immediately before a major storm is often touted as a sure way to get in on a ravenous bite, precipitated by the approaching weather. Having attempted to cash in on this phenomenon a number of times, I report that it just ain’t so. Of course, hope springs eternal for the ardent angler …