Fishing Report, April 25 Savage River and Gunpowder


I feel like I’ve said this 100 times now, but if we don’t get too much rain today, the Gunpowder should be fishing well this weekend.  Right now, flows and temps are near ideal.  The Gunpowder has been very hit or miss this spring.  However, we are starting to see Hendricksons–the ones I’ve seen have been the darker, kind of mahogany colored variety.  If you are heading out, good luck.

Savage River (Tailwater)

Flyfishing Savage River Maryland
Trophy trout, anyone?

I just got back from a couple days on the Savage in Garrett County.  The Savage River has a reputation for being “on” or “off”.  Wednesday it was off.  Thursday it was on.

Here’s how I would describe the Savage Tailwater section:  lots of bugs, lots of trout, lots of rock snot.  If you thought the Gunpowder was full of didymo, you should see the Savage.  Nymphing and wading are both tough right now due to excessive algal growths.  Still, it is a beautiful river, with fish nearly everywhere you cast.

Fly fishing Lower Savage River Maryland
Lots of trout here…

Wednesday I fished from my campsite (DNR maintains rustic campsites right on the Savage as well as along several tributaries) to the dam.  Winds in the upper 20’s to 30mph made the fishing rather brutal.

Camping and flyfishing Savage River Maryland
$10 a night and 200ft from the river…

In the evening I fished a popular pool 200 feet from my site, at the beginning of the fly-only section.  The rising trout–some of them large–reminded me of the sippers at Masemore on the Gunpowder.  If they knew you were there, they wouldn’t stop eating. They just wouldn’t eat your fly.  In the midst of my futile, wind tossed attempts at precise casts, local guide Tom popped by, and recommended that I check out the upper the next day.  Lots of brookies up there, he said.

I did as Tom suggested, and didn’t return to the lower Savage until late afternoon Thursday.  When I did, I was treated to an impressive hatch.  Really, it was a set of hatches, as I counted 2 species of mayfly (blue quill and something bigger and cream colored), 2 species of caddis, 1 species of stonefly and midges all coming off at roughly the same time.  Trout rose correspondingly.

Savage River (Upper)

There is a put-and-take section of the Savage River above the reservoir, but I skipped that.  Let me just say this: if you love brook trout fishing as much as I do, don’t skip the upper section of the Savage, just above the stocked section. Everybody talks about the lower tailwater section.  It’s a pretty good tailwater, if you are comparing it to other Eastern tailwaters, and the hatches are what they are billed to be.  The upper, on the other hand, is incredible native brook trout fishing.

Blue quill flyfishing Savage River Maryland
Trout snack


The blue quill hatch would turn on and off with wind/sun conditions, but when it was on the little brookies would slash aggressively at the surface.  I netted 2 or 3 standard brookie-sized brookies and missed a couple more takes before a heart-poundingly large flash caught my eye at the head of the pool.  I carefully floated my blue quill comparadun about 18 inches above the fading rise.  There’s nothing exactly like a big brook trout’s splashy take.

Brook Trout Flyfishing Upper Savage River Maryland
He likes blue quills.

I hope to get back out to Garrett County in May.  If I do, I’ll definitely spend at least a day chasing brookies.





Gunpowder Fishing Report, 4/11/2014

Just when the fishing was getting good, early April’s deluge sent the Gunpowder to unfishably high levels and sent me elsewhere (such as Little Falls and Morgan Run). I checked this morning, and the Parkton USGS station was reading 208 cfs and 44 degrees.  Still a bit tough wading, but worth checking out.

The fishing was pretty good.

Early on, a black wooly bugger netted me this streambred brown:

Flyfishing for brown trout gunpowder falls
Gunpowder brown trout

The morning was actually pretty slow.  I kept getting annoyed by the hordes of tiny size 24 midges swarming around.  The answer was literally hitting me in the face.

Flyfishing midges Gunpowder falls
I fished the one on the left

The black midge fly is a size 20.  I don’t know what the little one is, but the trout were all over it.  I caught half a dozen trout on this pattern, from Masemore to the 4th boulder pool.  All of that area was fishing well enough once I ‘matched the hatch’.   By early afternoon, I saw sporadic rises as well, but I don’t think the rises were for midges…

I don’t know if this little midge will be hatching this weekend, but weather and water temps look like fishing is going to be decent to good regardless.   Be careful wading, because flows are still pretty high.  Good luck and have fun–this should be a good weekend!

Fishing Report April 1: Gunpowder and Little Falls

The Gunpowder is still HIGH as of 4/3 at 11:00AM.


Gunpowder Falls Stream Flow
Still high

Doesn’t look so bad, but it the river is running at 337cfs.  I think about 250cfs is the maximum for any kind of reasonable fishing.  75 to 150cfs is about ideal.

So Tuesday (on the recommendation of Theaux at Backwater Angler) I headed over to Little Falls near Dairy Road, which was in much better shape.

Flyfishing Little Falls Maryland
A run at Little Falls

The main attraction of Little Falls is supposed to be the stocked fish.  Opening day for many stocked streams, including Little Falls, was March 29, and it seems like the put and take fishermen did a pretty good job this year.

This section Little Falls is characterized by a series of runs and relatively deep holes.  Given the high water and off color conditions, streamer fishing seemed to be in order.  Surprisingly, my black wooly bugger had more success with the wild browns than with the stocked rainbows.

Brown Trout Flyfishing Little Falls Maryland
I could have got a better picture…

There was a fairly consistent hatch of brown stoneflies which were substantially larger than the little black stoneflies I saw recently at Morgan Run.

Stonefly flyfishing Little Falls Maryland

Unfortunately, as high and cloudy as the water was I didn’t see any rises and nymphing was not particularly effective with the patterns I was using.