When I attended the National Capital Angling show, I made a point of checking in with the TU chapters that had booths. I asked a simple question – “where do you like to fish in your area?” The unanimous answer from the Patuxent chapter was – “Morgan Run”. After visiting this stream and fishing different sections of it, I can understand why. This report is on the section upstream from the London Bridge parking area.
After pulling up to the small parking area just south of the bridge, I walked over to the center of the bridge and looked up and downstream. The upstream part looked more trouty to me – having the hint of sheer rocks, trees in the river and a strong narrow flow – so I geared up and started walking. As I usually do, I walked for at least a quarter mile to get away from the road and my perception of pressure. On this stretch of Morgan, that walk will take you back and forth across the stream as the terrain gets close and makes it impassable without significant effort. Not a problem, there are plenty of shallow areas where you can cross without an issue. In fact, just follow the faint trail and it will wind you back and forth at the optimum locations.
I was pleased to discover that Morgan Run did not share the dense pricker bushes that grow out of control on the Patuxent. It was reasonably easy to beat through the brush and access to the stream was not a challenge. You could walk up the bank or walk up the middle.
The river itself appears to be ideal for trout. On the late April day I was here, the water temp was 50 degrees. But the key thing is that there are plenty of trout holding areas. It seems like there were very few stretches that were unbroken by a rock or other structure that would hold fish and provide a target. As a new fly guy, I get confused when confronted with a broad stretch of flat water. If there is no dry fly action going on, I know I have to use streamers… and my casting skills limit my reach with those as opposed to nymphs that you just flick out and manage a drift as far down stream as you can tolerate.
On this day, I ended up using everything. I was unlucky on nymphs but did catch a few trout on the Patuxent special and one on a black gnat pattern.
All in all, I really enjoyed this section. While there was one other truck in the small parking area on my return, I did not see anyone else working the mile of stream that I covered. Compared to some of the other nasty looking water in Maryland (like parts of Seneca Creek), this place was a trout Eden – I did not catch a single bluegill here! While it is easy to find and is not physically demanding to fish, a little bit of walking will separate you from the crowd and increase the likelihood of a remote experience. Finally, the scenery contributed to a good time – it looks like it should have trout.
One aspect that contributed to the good time was that this is a pure catch and release area – artificials only – no bait, no scents. Maryland stocked the C&R stretch with 2,500 trout this year. Hopefully, many of them are still there waiting to give you a thrill.
Bottom Line: I’ll go back.
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. Take your next right onto Cherry Tree lane and a left on London Bridge Road. Follow London Bridge to the stream and park on the right at the bridge (coming from the south).
Looking back to London Bridge (downstream). The parking area is to the right.
Wide banks make access pretty easy to most of this section
In late April, there was plenty of water and, on the day I was there, a little bit of silt in the stream from recent rains.
Morgan has plenty of nice holes and runs broken by boulders that were just made for nymphing.
Morgan has rocky sections in this stretch that remind you of the North Branch – – without the tough crawl on slippery rocks and boulders.
There are trees that have been specifically placed to intercept and keep your fly.
I caught all my trout using the Patuxent special as you can see on this underwater shot taken using my Olympus Stylus 720SW
Additional look at the terrain and the stream
There are some steep areas as you can see here on the right that force you to cross the stream
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore