I couldn’t resist the good weather this last weekend and decided to visit the Paint Branch at the edge of the suburbs.Paint Branch is a wild trout stream, inhabited by brown trout, just outside the Beltway and split by the new Intercounty Connector. Both the DNR and the public service organization, Eyes of Paint Branch keep a watchful eye over the watershed.
Since we are at the end of the spawning season, I was careful not to enter the water. The stream allows this with medium high banks perched over each of the good spots. I was able to creep along the side of the stream and use my Tenkara rod very effectively. I saw plenty of fish and, uncharacteristically, a few of them even attacked my fly. I was unsuccessful in completing the deal, but a least I had some action.
Mostly, it was a nice hike in the woods on a brilliant sunny day. I wandered all the way up to the connector to put a good eye on over a mile of the stream. Everything still looks good. As I describe in my book, it is a low gradient stream with a bottom consisting of a mix of sand, small rocks and gravel. The trout huddle near structure. At this time of the year, none were in the shallow water near the riffles.
I was able to entice some strikes using a size 14 humpy as well as size 18 prince nymphs. I found the best way to fish was to walk slowly along the bank, observe the water below with extra attention on the deep pools. The water is crystal clear, so you can see all the way to the bottom. Since the brown trout blend in so well, you must be patient and look for the flicker of movement. I have to admit that since this was also a recon given my poor track record of success in December, when I could not see movement, I would flip a rock into the pool to see if any fish scattered. Granted, that blew that hole for me for the day, but at least I know where the fish are for my next visit.
I only saw one other person in the several hours I spent wandering through the woods. The formal trail network that leads to the Martin Luther King Jr Pond does not extend this far up – it ends on the south side of Fairland Road. However, there is a decent path that picks up on the east side of the stream, north of the road, that runs all the way up to the connector. The stream wanders away from the path, so you do have to dodge around pricker bushes to stay at the edge of the stream.
Getting There: From I-95, take exit 29B for MD 212W toward Calverton. Turn right onto Beltsville Road. Turn left onto Calverton Boulevard. Turn right onto Cherry Hill Road. Turn right onto US 29N. Turn left onto Fairland Road.
Google Local Coordinates: 39.077326,-76.976033
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the Guide to Maryland Trout Fishing.
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Date Fished: 12/3/2011
Plenty of water
Shallow runs separate the pools
Homes overlook most of the creek
Scenic in the heart of the suburbs
Look for the blowdowns – they all hide trout
Decent sized pools near the Intercounty Connector
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore