Home / Blogs / Chesapeake Tales: A Seven-part Fishing Adventure Series
February 2, 2023
The Chesapeake Bay watershed offers some of the most unique fishing opportunities in the world. From small mountain streams with native trout to vast open waters with mysterious giants, it’s safe to say that this underrated fishery should be at the top of every angler’s bucket list. In June of 2022, my brother and I teamed up with Fly Fishers International to create a seven-part video series highlighting the watershed’s different fisheries. Traveling in an old camper van, we spent seven days traveling over a thousand miles throughout the watershed. Our first stop led us to a familiar guest in the legendary waters of central Pennsylvania.
Our first stop found us at Penns Creek, where we had the opportunity to interview the CEO of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Kate Fritz. It is said that both trout and aquatic insects are excellent indicators of water quality, and if you’ve been to Penns Creek, I’m sure you’ve noticed a plethora of both. We observed thousands of the legendary green drake mayflies flowing upstream in what seemed like an insect highway, providing a juicy snack for various birds and ravenous brown trout. While we were all itching to stumble down the river bank and get our lines wet, we knew we had to prioritize Kate’s interview. After finding the perfect interview spot, we mic’d her up and hit record. Kate dove into the Alliance’s hands-on work restoring the watershed. Central Pennsylvania is the most critical piece concerning the conservation of the Bay, and through work with forestry, agriculture, green infrastructure, and stewardship and engagement, she discussed how the Alliance works on a daily basis to provide upstream solutions to downstream problems.
Eric Braker, Alliance Multimedia Associate, prepares to interview Alliance CEO, Kate Fritz.
The conversation then migrated to her connection with these environments, where she taught us what the watershed meant to her;
“The Chesapeake Bay, to me, means catching crawfish in West Virginia, it means fishing in lakes in Pennsylvania, it means wandering around the wetlands of Virginia, and it means this whole area, where I grew up. So when I think about the Chesapeake Bay and the future, I think about how critically important it is for my generation and for the next generation to protect and do everything that we can in our power to restore it today; to a future where it’s sustainable, it’s healthy, and we’re not afraid to access it.”
After a few fist bumps and cheers from various IPAs, we grabbed our rods and eagerly approached the stream. We learned that it is immensely difficult to entice those golden Penn’s Creek brown trout to take a bite of your fly when they have thousands of better options to choose from.
Alliance Communications Director, Adam Miller, searches his fly box for the ideal Green Drake imitation.
We also had the honor of interviewing champion fly fisherman, author, and Director of the Pennsylvania State Fly Fishing Program, George Daniel. After meeting George out on the stream, it was clear to us that we were witnessing a master at work. He had clearly put 10,000 hours into his craft. George surveyed the water and then casted towards a riffle so shallow and insignificant that we would’ve never stopped to fish it. He danced his dry fly across the rushing water, and sure enough, a beautiful Pennsylvania brown trout came shooting out of the shallows to devour it. After watching George pick apart the creek, we decided that it was time to step aside and record his interview. We came to the conclusion that the chair we had hiked in with was made for guests under the height of four-foot-eleven, so we settled with a standing interview. He started by paying homage to the mentors that inspired him to become the angler and teacher he is today, George Harvey and Joe Humphreys. He then highlighted what it is that keeps drawing him back to central Pennsylvania;
“Within a short drive, you can fish three or four class A trout streams, you’ve got unlimited blue line opportunities coming into that area, so the trout fishing here is some of the best on the East Coast.”
Champion fly fisherman, author, and Director of the Pennsylvania State Fly Fishing Program, George Daniel, sitting in our chair, before deciding to change interview settings.
My brother and I grew up in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and feel as if we were shaped by its environments. While we always knew how important it was to us, we also wondered exactly what it was that made it so special. From the quaint streams in central Pennsylvania, to the vast openness at the mouth of the bay, we found ourselves in awe at the variety of environments and species that share the Chesapeake Bay watershed. As the seventh day came to a close, and we prepared to pack up and head back into our day-to-day lives, we reflected on what we had learned during our journey. What makes this watershed so special is not just the landscapes, unique environments, or even the fisheries. Perhaps most of all, it is the unique people that all call this place home. Watch the full series and learn more about the campaign.
(Left to right) Shawn Kimbro, Andrew Reichardt, Andrew Braker, Eric Braker, Adam Miller, Kate Fritz, and Joe Evans after a day of filming and fishing at Penns Creek.