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.
Day 2 of my recent trip to Virginia started early. It has to if you want to fish Beaver Creek, one of the coolest trout fishing opportunities I know of in the Mid-Atlantic. I had such a great time here last year, I’d been looking forward to getting back for a while.
Beaver Creek reminds me a little bit of the Guadalupe River in Texas–it’s a beautiful setting managed by a TU chapter to limit access and create a special fishing opportunity. Only 4 people are allowed to fish Beaver Creek in a given day, determined by a first-come-first-served policy. You have to physically go to the 257 Grocery on Briery Branch Road to get your permit, and no advance reservations are allowed.
Like its namesake spring creek in Maryland, the stream maintains a relatively stable temperature all year. Fish are healthy, strong, and well fed. And large.
I hooked no less than 12 fish of similar size–and 2 decidedly bigger–in the 4 hours I fished Beaver Creek. Unfortunately I landed far fewer than that–my 4-weight wasn’t up to the task of guiding these fish away from in-stream obstacles. It could merely make suggestions.
With a giant grin semi-permanently etched into my face, at some point I decided I had played my fair share of large trout. Rain was supposed to hold off for another couple hours, and I wanted to see what the Skidmore Fork was about. I’d also been eager to test out my new tenkara outfit. With no pressing need to catch fish, I decided this would be a perfect opportunity.
The Skidmore Fork is technically a tailwater, running out of Skidmore Reservoir before joining up with the Dry River. With water temps at 46 and air temperatures in the 70’s, caddis were present if not particularly abundant. I didn’t witness any rises, but decided to stick with dries anyway.
Two different brookies came tantalizingly close to taking my caddis pattern and becoming my first fish on tenkara. I missed both of them, but I was OK with it. A note on tenkara–it is fun. I found myself thinking “this is what fly fishing is meant to be”. Yes, tenkara is limited in application, and the majority of my fishing will likely always be ‘regular’ flyfishing, but on a small mountain stream it is hard to beat the simplicity and ease of tenkara.