Gunpowder Falls Fishing Report, Week of Jan 20, 2014

I hope you were able to get out over the long weekend, because conditions are about as bad as they get on the Gunpowder this week.  The recent storm and ensuing cold snap have rendered the river mostly unfishable.  Not only are water temps newly in the 36 degree range (and it’s my belief that trout are more put off by newly cold water than consistently cold water), the snow, ice and extremely cold air temps make fishing most parts of the Gunpowder downright dangerous.

This week is a good week to patch up your waders or sit down and tie some flies.

If you are looking for ideas on what to tie, I have 2 suggestions for you…  Over the weekend I had a great day on the river.  I was fishing a standard 2 nymph rig with a yarn indicator.  I wanted to eliminate adding split shot because I just wasn’t in the mood for tangles, so I tied on this as my point fly:

Gunpowder Flyfishing Nymph
Proof that flies don’t have to be pretty to catch fish.

It’s a clumsily tied (by me), heavily weighted size 14 tungsten bead head hare’s ear nymph. In one day, I caught more trout (5) on my point fly than I had for the rest of the winter combined.  My dropper, a size 20 zebra midge, continued to be productive as well, thus leading to an excellent day.

If you are looking for other ideas, check out Tightline Productions’ set of videos.  I like both the fly selection and the teaching style.  I’ve tied a bunch of these patterns this week.

Let me know in the comments section what you have been using for a point fly this winter, and how it’s worked out for you.

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Fly fishing and Wildlife (and a brief stream report)

With air temps in the single digits bringing water temps into the 37-39 degree range earlier this week, then torrential rains sending flows on the Gunpowder to roughly 650cfs (80 to 140cfs flows are ideal in my book) this was a tough week for fishing.  I was able to get out Friday, and found my go-to zebra midge still enticing to a couple trout.  The wooly bugger not so much.

The less than ideal weather has given me a chance to think back over the past year, and appreciate some of the things I truly love about fly fishing. A huge draw for me is the wildlife…

Gunpowder Falls Frog
Little Frog

Fly fishing in general puts you in a position to be closer to nature than you would be otherwise.  Despite being only 30 minutes from Baltimore, many sections of the Gunpowder really do give you the impression of being in the wilderness.  Frequent interactions with wildlife reinforce that impression.

Take this video for example.  I saw some bushes shaking, and I could only guess what was on the other end…

His handiwork is everywhere, and if you fish a certain section, you can almost be assured that he will discreetly swim past you fully submerged at some point.

Gunpowder beaver tree
He’s been busy…

Just this past year, in the various places I’ve fished I have seen eagles–both bald and golden, bison, a black bear,  a mink, a marmot, a wolf, red foxes and a grey fox, along with a bunch of beavers, otters and muskrats.  Here are some other shots seen fly fishing around the country…

Crawfish
Crawfish, Rock Creek, Montana
Salamander
Salamander, Shenandoah NP, Virginia
Yellowstone Bison
Bison crossing Soda Butte, Yellowstone NP
Marmot
Angry looking marmot, Grand Teton NP

Sorry for the digital zoom, but this guy is just awesome.  Stay warm this week, the best fishing will probably be towards the end of the week.

Underwater Photography Vol. 1

One of the great things about fly fishing for trout is the opportunity to get into truly wild places and experience natural beauty.  Clearly, this leads to the potential for some great photography.  Don’t look for any of that here…

In the last year I have started to attempt some underwater photography, mostly of fish I have caught.  I bought an Olympus TG-2 for this purpose, and I’ve been very happy with it.  Here in Underwater Photography Volume 1 I have posted some of my early results.

Green River (NC) rainbow with a San Juan worm
Green River (NC) rainbow with a San Juan worm

Some of my best photos have come before actually landing the trout.  Here’s another example of that:

Gunpowder Brown
Almost like a little shark…

Unfortunately, many of my action shots come back looking like the following:

Blurry underwater trout
Underwater action shot

Unlike above water photos, strong sunlight helps with underwater shots from what I can tell.  If it is bright enough and the trout is sufficiently still, you can get shots like this:

Yellowstone Brown Trout
A cooperative Gardiner River brown

The main alternative to the previously mentioned method is to photo the fish on or shortly after release.  Sometimes the trout will cooperate and take a few seconds to catch its breath after what it believed to be a life or death struggle.  This provides a good opportunity for an underwater photo.

Yellowstone Cutt
Yellowstone Cutthroat catching his breath

I’m still working on getting the TG-2’s settings down, so hopefully we will see some improvement in Volume 2.