Gunpowder Falls

Fly fishing Gunpowder Falls is a unique experience.  The opportunity exists to fish for wild brown trout year round in a surprisingly remote setting, just over 30 minutes from Baltimore.

The river

The tailwater section of the Gunpowder pours out of Prettyboy Reservoir en route to the Loch Raven Reservoir roughly 19 miles downstream.

Prettyboy Dam Gunpowder
Water from deep in the reservoir stays a relatively constant temperature all year

The first 7.2 miles are classified by Maryland DNR as catch and release, artificial ‘lures’ only.  This section boasts excellent access as most of it lies in the Hereford Section of Gunpowder Falls State Park.  There are a variety of parking areas and public access spots along the river.

Falls Road Access and above

The uppermost river section above Falls Road evokes a mountain stream with a series of inviting boulder pools.

Gunpowder Falls Boulder Pool
A typical boulder pool above Falls Road

This beautiful section sees plenty of pressure, and is among the hardest to access by foot. A steep, rocky trail–more of a scramble over rocks at some points–presents a challenge for some anglers.  The rapids also attract plentiful kayakers in warmer months.  Still, the rugged charm of the area above and just below the Falls Road bridge make it one of the most popular spots.

Masemore Road Access to Falls Road

The well worn Lefty Kreh Fishing Trail leads gently along the south bank of the Gunpowder from Masemore Road to the boulder pools just below Falls Road.  This is perhaps the most fished section, and the compelling runs, riffles, pools and flats combined with the easy hike leave little doubt as to why.

Masemore Bridge
The Lefty Kreh Fishing Trail at Masemore Bridge

In addition to some great pools, the flats in this section deserve special mention.  Right below and above Masemore, just below the final boulder pool below Falls Road, and in several places in between lie flats that often will exhibit large numbers of rising fish.  Because of the stillness of the water, the general wariness of brown trout, and the number of flies these fish see, the flats offer a challenge for even experienced fly fishers.

Flat near Falls Road
A flat, looking downstream towards Masemore

Trout in these flats are often fished to, seldom caught.

Bunker Hill Road Access to Masemore

Trails aren’t as well defined here, and the place has a wilder feel, but there are hidden gems for those willing to search them out.  There is still some pressure here, but not nearly as much as upstream from Masemore.

Gunpowder Tailout
Tailout of a nice run below Masemore, early winter

Blue Mount Road Access to Bunker Hill

This section holds lower densities of trout, but also disproportionately lower densities of fly fishers.  There is still some great water throughout this section and plenty of wild trout.  It is often overlooked and can be a great place to get some secluded water when the upper sections are seeing peak times.

Bunker Hill Bridge access
Downstream from the washed out Bunker Hill Bridge, low water of summer

Below Blue Mount Road, the 4.2 miles to Corbett Road are open to bait fishing with a 2 trout per day limit.  Below Corbett to Loch Raven Reservoir is a stocked put and take section, where you can keep 5 fish a day.  Wild browns mingle with then give way to stockie rainbows there.