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.





3 thoughts on “Fishing Report, April 25 Savage River and Gunpowder

  1. Tom March 16, 2015 / 2:25 pm

    Great report – heading down to check out the Savage this May for the first time. When you say the ‘Upper Section’ are you referring to the river above Savage Reservoir or the upper section of the river below the Reservoir?

    • jakibler March 16, 2015 / 3:02 pm

      Thanks–the better brook trout fishing I mention is in the Savage above the reservoir. You pass (or fish, if you prefer) a stocked section right above the reservoir and continue on Savage River Rd. until you stop seeing DNR signs. There are several other great brookie streams in that drainage that you pass as you drive around the reservoir.

      Good luck. That’s a great time to head up there.

  2. icetrout March 21, 2016 / 6:36 pm

    bear @ camp site 106 likes to scratch big tree @ night…. big bear …..

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