Fly Fishing Guide Profile: Harold Harsh of Spring Creek Outfitters in Maryland

Spring Creek Outfitters

Harold Harsh of Spring Creek Outfitters guides the remote mountainous waters of Western Maryland. Harsh recently sat down to take on some questions for the Venturing Angler:

1. Why do you guide where you do?

When I started 21 years ago, the North Branch of Potomac was just starting to become a fishery again after being dead for over 100 years! There were no guides or fly shops here, so I found my niche!

2. What is your favorite fish specie?

Trout. We have browns, rainbows, brookies and the only river system east of the Mississippi that has cutthroat trout! I dig bass as well.

3. What is your favorite thing about guiding?

Showing my clients the best of what Western Maryland has to offer to the fly fisherman. Over 1/2 of all the fishable trout water in MD lies less than a 1/2 hour from my door!

4. What is the most memorable trip you’ve guided and why?

They are all memorable in one way or the other, but fishing with John Maclean (son of Norman, A River Runs Through It) on the North Branch was one, fishing with Lefty for bass down lower on the North Branch, and fishing Governor/US Senator Joe Manchin are probably my top three!

Spring Creek Outfitters 1

5. What is the funniest thing you’ve experienced while guiding?

I had a client hook a big tiger musky, and when got near the boat and he saw the teeth on it he threw the rod down and tried to climb out of the boat away from it! Luckily I had the line and leader in my hands so we didn’t lose everything.

6. What makes your guide service great?

I was the first guide service in Western Maryland – been here for 21 years. I know my water and the fish in it, and I can put my clients on those fish. I love my job and can’t wait to get back on the water every day. I think I’m a good teacher and I’ve built some lasting friendships with a lot of my clients, and most I consider friends. And I love showing off the beauty of my office! I’m living the dream.

7. If you had only one day off all year, where would you fish and what fish would you target?

Here at home it would be the upper North Branch of Potomac, above the lake. It’s a wild place with little access and rattlesnakes, beautiful pocket water and deep pools. The bows are stocked, but get wild quick and the brookies are nice sized.

8. What are your favorite three flies?

Doug Swishers PMX in tan is my Hopper/Caddis/Stonefly pattern and the usual fly I use in my Hopper/Dropper. Next would be either my N.B. parachute or my Red Quill patterns and my last choice would be my Harolds Industrucable, killer nymph pattern that has caught trout all over the world.

9. What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?

My fly box with the above patterns in it!

10. Do you have any other passions?

Fine wine and great cigars and photography. They seem to go well with fishing too! Plus I love to travel, as long as there is someplace to fish when I get there!

To check out more from Harold Harsh and Spring Creek Outfitters, please click here.

Disclosure: Spring Creek Outfitters is in a professional relationship with the Fly Fishing Guide Directory, LLC and the Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.

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