It was one of the first nice days in March, perfect for an after work fishing trip. I took advantage of the opportunity and blasted out of my Gaithersburg office late in the afternoon to drive over to the Black Rock access point on great Seneca Creek. Last year, I had finished the entire great Seneca Creek (I owe you to write ups of every section) and my favorite was the Black Rock downstream stretch. I figured that with a stocking recently completed, this section was the most likely one to have a decent amount of fish who might be willing to take a bite at a fly on a nice March afternoon.
I pulled into the parking lot next to the Blackrock Mill building, geared up, crossed the bridge and headed downstream. The Creek looked good. The water was running deep and cold; barely approaching 50°.
After walking about a quarter-mile, I saw an older guy fishing across the creek. I chatted with him to get a hint at what was working… or not. He commented that he was using bait and had not had any movement out of the pod of trout under his intense observation in the deep pool below his feet. “Rats”, I thought “must be a day requiring more skill than luck”. I was going to be at a disadvantage.
Continuing downstream for about a mile, I decided to start fishing back upstream at a likely looking spot. There was plenty of good looking water between this point and the parking lot. I tied on a nymph with a dropper and began to fish the pool that was in front of me. At this point, the creek was running strong, but was fairly narrow; approaching 10 feet in width and approximately 1 feet to 2 feet in depth. I started to work upstream floating the nymph rig through the deeper holes. Nothing. Not a chub, bluegill or trout to be had.
The farther up I fished, the better the creek became. It broadened out, stretching to 20 to 30 feet in places with deep 5 foot pools at the bends. I worked each of the deeper pools passionately. No luck. At about the half mile point from the entrance, I ran into a pair of spinfishermen working their way downstream. Except for a smallie captured at the bridge by the parking lot, they had had the same luck as I. Neither of them had caught a fish beyond that one.
Late in the day, as I was fishing a pool about a quarter mile down from the entrance I started to see a solitary trout rising. Excited, I tied on a generic attractor pattern and began to beat the water above where I had seen him break. I floated the attractor, he would rise, I would adjust on target and float by again. Nothing. Realizing that luck was not in my favor, I headed upstream. I made one last half-hearted effort in the pool under the bridge by the parking lot and then called it a day.
Great Seneca Creek is a good stretch of water. It runs for miles all the way down to the Potomac and has numerous access points carved out by the many roads that cut across its length. However, this is a creek that you need to fish early in the season. Once the water heats up, the only thing that survives here are a couple of bluegills. The trout die by the end of June; leaving nothing but empty water and the distant hope of the next stocking in the spring.
The creek is nice as far as an Eastern Maryland Creek goes. Unlike Severn Run, it actually has water, a good volume of water ,that runs consistently strong year-round; some of it spilling out of Clopper Lake. But it’s not a tailwater, so the water heats up in the summer and the trout die. For the first half mile downstream from the parking lot, the banks are carved high making you pick your access point. Later on, there are more places where it is easier to climb down into the water.
Bottom Line: Watch the stocking table and go within two weeks. If it is not stocked, don’t bother.
Getting There: From I270, get onto 124 South at Gaithersburg (Exit 11 if coming from the north; Exit 10 if coming from the south – take Clopper Road up to 124 and then turn left). Follow it to 28 and turn left. Stay on 28 until you see Black Rock Road. Turn right and follow it to the creek.
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented on the Maryland DNR site.
Looking downstream, 1 mile from the lot
The creek has plenty of deeper holes
Note the high banks. Easy casting in this wide stream
Good structure in the creek
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore