I just realized that it has been over 3 weeks since my last post… sorry about that. In many ways, it’s been like that movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray since then–conditions have been almost identical each day.
Flows have been the same, temperatures have stayed in the same range (about 47-53 degrees) every day. The really good news about this is that the sulphurs seem to LOVE this combination. Sulphurs have started coming off in earnest about 1PM (though sometimes a little earlier or later), and fish have been rising through about 4 or 5PM. Then they stop. Every day.
Good luck! Hopefully this weekend’s projected storms don’t disrupt our happy pattern.
Fishing on the Gunpowder went from great to terrible, then back to pretty darn good again. The city opened a lower reservoir outlet, simultaneously decreasing water temperatures and regulating flows. We are now in a pretty good spot, with inconsistent but frequently very nice sulphur hatches. Pheasant tails (and variants) and small midge or olive nymphs have been very productive when rises are not apparent.
Afternoons have been fishing best, and the whole river seems to be productive at this point.
This past week was probably the best week we have seen this year flyfishing the Gunpowder. Water temperatures peaking in the low 60’s have fish looking up, and they are seeing hatches of sulphurs (the size 16, pale yellow variety) and small tan caddis. I’ve had more success with sulphur emergers, but other reputable fishermen (if there is such a thing) have reported success with the duns.
I like fishing caddis imitations, and the Gunpowder’s browns have been responding well to caddis patterns fished in likely holding spots near riffles.
On a side note, I broke out the tenkara outfit for the second time this week, and had an absolute blast along with catching some pretty nice browns. Catching my first trout on a tenkara rod felt a lot like my first fish on a dry fly. That’s saying something.
We continue to seem to be right on the cusp of really good fishing. I have heard a couple reports of fish taking dry flies, and I have witnessed a rise or two, but fishing dries has mostly been a slow process of prospecting. I saw several small (size 16) tan caddis today, so that might be changing.
I caught this solid, healthy trout on a size 14 black stonefly nymph. Having seen caddis, I know what I will try next time I’m out on the stream.
As I suggested in my last post, the Gunpowder feels like it is just on the brink of fishing really well. Flows are good, and water temperatures are in the mid-40’s. I feel like we should start to see fish rising any time. I didn’t see a single rise yesterday, but I did see a couple Hendricksons (I believe) in size 14ish along with a large number of midges. (I did hear reports in the shop of trout rising to midges, but I can’t confirm that.)
Seeing no rises, I had success with nymphs imitating both Hendricksons (really Hare’s ears) and midges. Fishing faster water yielded nothing, but when I focused on deeper pools I found the trout to be feeding eagerly. I am hoping that the rain called for this week doesn’t send the river too high–if it doesn’t, I think we see some good fishing soon. As it stands, take your opportunities as you get them, because you never know what tomorrows weather is going to bring. That’s the reality of spring fishing on the Gunpowder.
It’s great to finally have something to report on the Gunpowder. I was able to get out this morning, and the river has the feel of a river that is just on the verge of getting good. The water was exactly 40 degrees at 11AM (measured, not reported via USGS), and there were midges in the roughly 22 size range coming off and flying around the whole time I was there.
It’s close, but not quite in prime shape just yet. Fishing was fairly slow, and a beadhead olive nymph brought my only fish to hand, not for lack of trying midges and midge emergers. Once we see temps staying in the mid 40’s, I think we’ll see some active, rising trout.
On Wednesday, I took advantage of the first day in recent memory that ambient temperatures weren’t encouraging water to freeze. I was prodded partially just by the desire to be outside, but also by this:
I had driven over the river in Monkton last week, and it was frozen over. Theaux at the shop said this is the first time he’s seen this in 15 years. But that is nearly 9 1/2 stream miles below the dam. Could ice be covering the river just over a mile below the dam? I hoped not.
I didn’t even bother bringing a fly rod. I just strapped on my gaiters and yaktrax and went exploring on the upper Gunpowder (above Falls Rd, where the stream gauge is.)
So, the good news is that the top section of the tailwater is NOT frozen.
It was great to get out on the trail, although calling the stretch by the boulder pools a ‘trail’ is generous. I wouldn’t recommend going on that trail. I know it by heart from the hours I’ve spent there during non-snow covered times, but there were still sketchy moments. It was beautiful, though.
Despite the frozen gauge, water temps are slowly creeping up. I’m hoping winter breaks soon and we will see some decent fishing in the not too distant future.