Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Hatches and Flies for the Potomac River, North Branch, Maryland
You would think this river wouldn't stand much of a chance at having any aquatic insects but
that is far from the truth. The populations that exist in the headwaters are different from those
found in the tailwater to some extent but both areas have more than you would expect from a
stream once know for its high acidic content. All in all, however, the populations of the few
species that exist here are still rather low.
Midges are the most consistent hatches that occur, especially in the tailwater section. You can
catch trout on imitations of the lavae, pupae and adults most any day of the year. Although
midge fishing isn't exactly popular with the locals, they are very effective on this river. We
recommend a good selection of midge imitations even if you are fishing during the summer.
A very important fly is the streamer. Imitations of sculpin, minnows, baitfish and small crawfish
work great at times, especially when the water is high and slightly stained. Make certain you
have a good selection of streamers.
There are some Blue-winged Olives, both in the headwaters and tailwater sections. These
hatch during the winter in the tailwater section starting in February. The hatch isn't very heavy
but it can last until June depending on the time and location. You will also find some hatching
in late September and October.
There are a few American March Browns in the river. They normally start hatching around the
middle of May. It is not very reliable but you may find them as late as July. There are also a few
Sulphurs beginning to hatch. We hope the population continues to grow. They start in May
and last for about six weeks.
A very overlooked fly that is plentiful on this river is the Cranefly. We have "Perfect Fly"
imitations of the larvae and adults. They have proven to catch trout at this location. Don't
forget about terrestrials. There are plenty of ants and beetles. You will also find some
grasshoppers in some areas. Imitations of them work at times. There are also plenty of inch
worms, or moth larvae, that fall of the tree limbs into the water. Be sure to have some
imitations of them with you if you are fishing during the summer. Terrestrial can be important
anytime from about the middle of June until the first of October.
We hope you check out our selection of "Perfect Fly" Midges and Streamer flies for this river.
We believe once you give any of our flies a try, you will stick with them anywhere you fly fish
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Potomac River, Maryland
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