(Pictured above: Tom Starrs fishing with Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at MDTU's City Catch 2014.)
You know, I fish a lot, perhaps 75 to 100 days a year. I am told this is a lot of fishing. I think this is good. I hope to one day fish even more. My preferred variety of fishing consists of almost nothing other than fly fishing on trout streams. I do very little fishing other than that. In 30 years I have fished over 100 trout streams in Maryland alone. In addition I have also fished for trout in over 100 more rivers and streams throughout the United States. I love the pursuit of wild trout with a fly rod.
I have fished in some fabulous places such as the Rockies or the Pacific Northwest. Places with majestic scenery. Places with beautiful wild trout. However, I am always astounded by the wild trout fishing I experience close to home right here in Maryland. It never fails. I am again and again taken aback by the excellent wild trout fishing here in my home state. Whether this is on a brook trout stream in Western Maryland’s Savage River watershed or a small wild brown trout stream running through a farm in Baltimore County, I am often amazed at the quality of the fish and fishing.
Just a few weeks ago I was returning from a friend’s cabin in Garrett County after a weekend of turkey hunting and trout fishing. Before heading back east to my home in Carroll County I thought I would pay a quick visit to a little known limestone spring stream in Allegany County. This cold little stream runs in a narrow valley between two ridges near Flintstone. A limestone spring stream, it offers fantastic habitat and water quality to produce large trout. It contains a healthy population of wild browns and rainbows. I stopped at a little pool near a bridge and broke out my 4-weight armed with a size 8 black woolly bugger. On the first cast I was quickly into a nice fish that took off downstream. Minutes later, after turning the fish around, I was bringing a nice 18” wild rainbow to hand.
A week later I was winding down an uneventful morning turkey hunt in Maryland’s Green Ridge Forest. Before the journey crossing the mountains to come back east I thought I would hit that same little pool again. Again on the first cast I was into a nice fish. This time it was a 16” wild brown.
I thought, wow! I have never even seen another person fishing this stream (unless they came with me). Few people would ever think to stop and fish this wonderful piece of water.
This is the only reason that I have been involved with Trout Unlimited for many years. I cherish our home waters. I love being on them, I love catching their fish, I love taking others, those who share the same appreciation, to these little out of the way gems to show their potential and value. I want to tell others to seek these places out. There are many of them out there. Then do all you can to protect these special places so that they remain as they are. Get involved with Trout Unlimited! Get involved with the Maryland Chapter! We are looking after our home waters!