Morgan Run is one of the streams that Gelso and Coburn comment on in their Guide to Maryland Catch and Release Streams. In 2007, I visited the Bowers and London Bridge sections, but skipped over the Klee Mill access point. On an early January Saturday in 2008, I dropped the Basswife off at her sister’s home south of Baltimore and drove over to do a day of fishing recon.
I know that I am not a good winter fisherman, so I had no expectations beyond understanding that Morgan Run had been restocked in October. In the back of my mind, I had the lingering, almost desperate hope that maybe one of those dumb stockers would still be waiting for me.
The access point is well marked and provides ample parking. It clearly states that this is a catch and release stream; something I hope that folks pay attention to. When I pulled up around 0930, I was the first person to arrive. First decision, upstream or downstream. After doing the mental calculus, I decided that since this was mostly a recon, I would walk downstream for a mile to two and then work my way back up. With that, I started down the well marked trail, noting that the water levels still looked pretty low.
I had my garden shears with me this time and put them to use as I walked down the trail. There were still plenty of the big thorn bushes that leaned into the trail. Snip, snap… I put them in their place and continued south. With every passing step, I felt that I was getting farther and farther from civilization even though I knew there were homes right over the top of the steep ridge on the north bank. It was a pleasant feeling of being remote.
I stopped about 2 miles in and turned around to begin fishing. There was a nice bend in the run where the water squished through some tight rocks, so I rigged up some nymphs and started to float them downstream; struggling to achieve the nirvana of a drag free drift. Nothing here. In fact, to eliminate any suspense, nothing on the entire trip. Winter would yet again deal me the cruel blow causing visions of skunks to dance across my brain.
But, the water looked nice. Each bend held a deeper pool where I am sure plenty of nice trout huddled near the bottom just trying to survive the winter. The run would narrow up a bit between bends yet the water remained pretty shallow. Crystal clear does not do justice to how sparkling the water looked. You could almost see each grain of sand on the bottom – but not a trout in sight in the flat areas. Not surprising as the dumb guys that hang out in that terrain probably become bird food pretty dang quick.
At the sharp bend, there is an interesting rock formation where the creek throws itself against a large rock cliff. There are rocks before and after, especially downstream where the water pushes down a small, gentle gradient. Perfect nymph country. It’s a shame that I did not have the perfect nymph or perfect technique to coax anyone out to play.
Accepting defeat and looking at the watch, I packed it in and headed back to the truck with the intention of taking a quick run upstream from the lot to see that section.
There was another car in the parking lot when I returned and I could see some fly line zinging back and forth upstream. Rather than disturb him, I decided to leave the recon of the upstream side for another day. Looking at the map, I would bet it is the better section since the water appears to be compressed in a steeper canyon type section. Another trip, another time and I’ll report.
Bottom Line: I continue to be a fan of Morgan Run. I think people pay attention to the catch and release regulation here. There was no trash, no bait containers and not even any footprints. However, this is not a pressure free zone. It’s well known and close to several major metro areas. But, pick the right day and you can have the creek to yourself.
The downstream section is easy walking. I did not need my wading staff. There is a well marked, beaten down trail that follows the stream. As you can see from the pictures, the banks are gentle and are pretty easy to get in and out of.
Getting There: From 26 heading west from Eldersburg, turn north on 97. Follow it to Bartholow Road. Turn right onto Bartholow and then left on Klee Mill Road.
Google Local Coordinates: 39.465752,-76.970472
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented on the Maryland DNR website and in the Guide to Maryland Trout Fishing
Upstream at the point where I turned around
General view up the stream. This is the pattern. Riffles, shallow, and if there is a gradient, some nice deep runs.
The straight sections were shallow.
Always a tree at each bend with some deep water underneath
Another shallow area
Small gradient where the water picks up some speed.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore