After fishing the Paint Branch for wild browns, I was looking for something bigger and more stupid. On my way back to my wife’s sister’s house, I detoured off route 29 to hit the upper end of the Middle Patuxent.
There is a three or four car parking lot where Old Columbia Raod crosses the Middle Patuxent. Just downstream from the lot, on the southern bank,there is a high cliff with the deep channel at its base. That was my target for the late afternoon.
The best way to walk directly to this spot is to walk at the edge of the field on the north side of the stream. Otherwise, you can follow the path leading directly from the lot and cross the river when the path takes a sharp pitch upward to run along the high ridgeline that marks the southern perimeter of the river. From that point downstream approximately 30 yards, deep water provides good holding positions for the stocked trout that are dumped in at the road crossing. Many times, the Potomac Patuxent Trout Unlimited Chapter float stocks the river to ensure equitable distribution of the fish between Old Columbia Road and Murray Hill Road far downstream. I don’t know if they did that this fall. Regardless, the deep water beneath cliffs has to be good spot.
Since it is so close to the parking lot, it is heavily pressured, but I gave it a shot anyway. Since I only had my Tenkara rod as result of my visit to the Paint Branch, I was ill-prepared to fish it properly. My 11 foot Tenkara does not have the reach to effectively fish deep water. Heck, it was a nice day, the sun was out, and I had another hour to kill before I had to be back of the house.
I initially started with dries since that would be most effective given the short reach of the Tenkara against the width of the river. No joy there. I added additional tippet and switched to nymphs. I didn’t pick up anything at the base of the cliff and decided to wade back across the river where the cliff ended. I added even more tippet and worked the riffle where a series of rocks provide a break with deep water on the downstream side. I used a purple nymph pattern called White Lightning and struck gold.
No pictures, but there were a number of nice 12″ fish holding downstream of the riffle that provided the perfect end to a great day of winter fishing. They were even more fun to catch since the extra tippet I added to the Tenkara made the landing problematic.
Getting There: From US 29, take exit 15 onto Johns Hopkins Road heading east. Make an immediate turn north on Old Columbia Road and follow it to the river.
Google Local Coordinates: 39.050302,-76.978437
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
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Date Fished: 12/3/2011
Downstream to the cliffs from the south bank
Upstream towards Old Columbia
The end of the cliff section with the rock boundary in the distance
Upstream into the cliff section
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore