Last year, two buddies and I decided on a whim to travel westward towards the edge of Maryland and the border of West Virginia to do some camping and trout fishing. It was early spring and unseasonably warm temperatures brought torrential rains which made a memorable trip. We vowed to make it an annual get together and patiently awaited the next excursion. The spring of 2013 came and went due to our inability to plan an agreed upon weekend. Summer began to push towards Fall before we finally made it in early September.
Pulling up to the river for the first time, the stars were still in the sky and a good September chill lingered in the air. We heard the river well before we saw it. A quick check of the USGS gauge and we realized that they had spiked the water considerably overnight which would make an already treacherous stretch of water quite the challenge. We rigged up to do some streamer fishing and descended upon the first run. It was higher than any of us thought it would actually be. The banks were completely flooded up to the trees and our first few casts on the edges produced some big stocker bows. It was a lot of fun.
As I was instructing my good friend, Patrick at the tailout of the run, the water level suddenly receded to normal levels with no warning. It dropped over a thousand cfs in less than a minute. In the back of mind, I thought about what would happen if I was in the middle of the river and the opposite scenario were to go down. I pushed that thought away and decided to go on a run back to the truck for some drinks. The remainder of the afternoon featured much more difficult fishing with only one more big trout coming to hand, but plenty of little guys to keep us on our toes.
From the highs of the morning, to the lows of the afternoon we fished, laughed, and hiked our way up and down a beautiful river. As the water levels receded, we changed tactics to nymphing and eventually ended the night throwing dry-dropper at destination number two. Each tactic produced and we experienced some good fishing. Some tailwaters produce unpredictable flows and it pays to be prepared for any and every water scenario. Being flexible often results in the best success. This was no different.