Monthly Archives: July 2009

Summer Fly Fishing on the Gunpowder River

Yes folks the water is low, but the only surefire way to catch a few is to go fly fishing. Today the Gunpowder is clear, 56F and is flowing at 31 CFs. The fish in the stretch above Falls have been keying in on beetles. If you’re an early riser, try a few flying ants in the flat water between Masemore and Bunkerhill. Bluemount Rd access downstream has a bit more flow and the water is warmer, so a small streamer might be in order.Thanks to Creighton for the following kind words:

Theaux/Jason,
My father, Jim Byrnes, loves the Gunpowder and has to stop by and say hello to y’all every time we head to the river. I’ve met you both a couple times and enjoy fishing the various spots on the river. Anyways, I wanted to say thank you for your knowledge and pointing us in the right direction every time we come out there. I’ve attached a photo of a Brown I caught on Falls Rd. early June of this year. Thanks for everything.

Best,
Creighton J Byrnes

and to Scott for the following stream report:

Hi guys,
After a week and a half spent saltwater fishing up in Nantucket with not much to show for it, I’ve enjoyed catching some fish on the Gunpowder. On Saturday, I fished the lower river and caught many chubs on a caddis, most of which were three to six inches long. Just as dusk was approaching, I made a cast into a promising hole and was rewardedwith a huge splash, a screaming reel, and a magnificient leap. In the end, a 16 inch brown ended up in my net, easily the biggest fish I’ve caught on the Gunpowder.

Scott

Fishpond Chest Packs Arrive…

We just received a shipment of versatile chest packs from Fishpond. Featured below are the Blue River, which has a padded neck and waist strap and the San Juan Vertical Chest Pack. Both packs are a fraction the cost of a vest and much cooler in the heat of the Summer. These packs are a great way to organize your gear. Next time you’re up on the river bring your old vest in to the shop and let’s see what fits in a Fishpond chest pack. I can assure you that you’ll be smiling instead of sweating and might just be able to find that Gunpowder Beetle you’ve been looking for…
Fishpond Chest Packs

Related Post:
Fishpond Packs and Piopods in Maryland

Fly Fishing Western Maryland Rivers: July Fishing Report

The Savage and North Branch of the Potomac Rivers are down to easier wading levels and conditions are great on both rivers. On a recent July trip, I guided and fished both rivers over the week. My fourth outing to Western Maryland this year brought yet again different conditions, but plenty of options for fishing. 
Releasing A Savage River Brown
The Savage flows were clear at 70 Cfs and fish were less willing to rise to larger dries, than previous high water levels. In many flat water areas fish were sipping tiny Blue Wing Olive spinners through the afternoon and refusing everything that wasn’t an exact match. I always bring some tying supplies and caught some naturals to take back to the campground. I tied up some size 24 and 26 dries with an olive/amber body and snow shoe wing, which worked great. The other most prevalent hatch was blue quills, sized 18 and many could be seen on the water or in spider webs along the river. Most days I covered a lot of ground from 9 AM and nymphed with caddis pupae, micro nymphs and attractors. By late afternoon the selectively feeding fish and a good BWO spinnerfall was always a way to bring a few more fish to the net, and take it light. Slate Drakes were hatching in lower portions of the Savage, as shucks could be found on many rocks. Larger nymphs and San Juan Worms in deep pools produced wild browns and a surprising number of healthy rainbows. The rainbows either washed down from Savage Reservoir or more likely swam up from the North Branch and took refuge in the Savage River. One morning I caught nine rainbows which were mostly eleven to thirteen inches, except for a few thick, seventeen inch bows in a hundred yard stretch miles above the confluence. The rainbows were healthy, fought hard and were beautifully colored.

The North Branch was at a great wading level flowing at 275 Cfs and 59 degrees. I’ve focused all year in Western Maryland on the Savage, and decided to break in a new rod on the North Branch. The Scott S4 ten foot four weight model paired with an Abel Brown Trout Super 4 Reel, is a great big water or nymphing set up. Standard 12 to 14 foot leaders for rough water nymphing taper down to 4X or 5X tippet, and 3/4 inch Thinagamabobbers help keep the heavy rig at the desired depth.  
Christening the Scott S4 10' Four Weight Rod
 The rainbows were abundant throughout both Catch and Release sections above and below Blue Hole in Barnum, West Virginia. The hike between pools is long, but each pool produced fish.  Rainbows ranging in size from eleven to twenty inches were common, and many were heavy Freshwater Institute fish in the two to four pound range. A variety of San Juan Worms, caddis emergers, and heavy stonefly nymphs worked great in the rough water pockets. A few medium size browns came to the net, and larger browns were looking at hoppers. One fish never gave me a clear look, but took me into my backing twice and bulldogged to the bottom of a deep hole for two minutes, before shaking my fly. One client hooked into some big rainbows, but the fish did everything to shake the hook or break the tippet. Fishing and wading the North Branch requires a lot of leg work, but the reward of big fish is well worth the extra effort.

Sweetgrass Fly Rod Review

Ron Trout caught and released this wild Gunpowder River Brown Trout on the third cast with his new 7′ 6″ 5wt 2/2 Sweetgrass Bamboo Fly Rod.
Sweetgrass Rod, Wild Brown Trout

Theaux,
Just about an hour and three cast after the purchase of the Sweetgrass 7 1/2 for 5. I found out just how sweet these rods really are! Smooth as silk throwing a bugger or a small dry. It can’t get much better than this! Thanks!!
Ron

Fly Tying Class:Tricos

Fly Fishing Maryland? Please join us for an intermediate Fly Tying Class on Saturday July 25, 2009 from 9:00 AM till 12:00 PM. The class focuses on Gunpowder river Trico patterns. Our very own Gunpowder river guides will be teaching this fun-filled lifecycle class. Cost of the class is $45 per person, and includes the use of materials. Please bring your own tools.The class is limited to six and pre-payment is required. Please give us a call at 410-329-6821 or drop us a line at info@backwaterangler.com to register.

Low Cold Flows, Caddis and Terrestrials

Tricos are Tiny
Though the low flows on the Gunpowder are making a stealthy approach necessary, the fishing has not been that tough. The water is low, clear, and cold (in the low 50’s), so long leaders in the 12-13 foot range and 7X tippet have been necessary. Fishing the riffle water with small caddis and terrestrials, and staying away from flat water has been productive. Small tan elk hair caddis, beetles, and small hoppers have been fooling fish throughout the catch-and-release section. On a recent evening outing to the upper section, I saw very few caddis hatching, but I had many fish eagerly take a caddis emerger and elk hair pattern. They were also hitting a black foam beetle below overhanging branches and bushes.

We have a great new selection of terrestrials in the muffin tins, so put a few in your box when you stop in. Tricos are on the way!

Maryland Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a flyfishing school. On Sunday, July 26 a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on flyfishing Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear, fly selection and an hour of on-stream instruction. Schools are held in a meadow overlooking the Gunpowder river by a Maryland state licensed and insured fishing guide. Class is held from 1:00 PM till 4:00 PM. Cost is $100 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland Non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased prior to the class with check or cash at the shop. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-payment is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 or drop us a line at info@backwaterangler.com to register.

Fly Fishing in High Water on the Savage River

The Savage River was at high water levels all Spring, and angling pressure has been extremely light during my previous trips. The Savage was dropping from the 400 Cfs range during the last week of June, so I made the trip for a few days fishing. The Savage River was impressive at a steady 330 Cfs and the roar was deafening. At first glance the river looked unwadeable, possibly unfishable, but both were possible in the right spots. A variety of insects were hatching in the rough flows including March Browns, Blue Quills, Olives, Caddis, Light Cahills and Sulphurs. The fishing and wading were challenging, but the water temps were at optimal levels in the 56-58 degree range. The hatches were the heaviest I’ve seen all year, but there was a limited number of calm areas to watch for risers. Every evening the trout were active on Sulphur and March Brown Spinners in the few pools calm enough to see them feeding.
The Savage River at 330 CFs
High sticking large dries in the pockets and soft seams during the day proved as productive as always, despite such high levels. I landed ten to twelve trout a day, missing or losing quite a few fish too. The majority of fish were wild browns in the eight to thirteen inch range, which in these flows pulled line off the reel. The fish were very active on dries all day, the hardest part was covering water, scrambling over rocks along the shoreline and fighting through the bankside Rhododendron. The biggest brown landed on this trip measured out at seventeen inches; ate a dry fly practically under my rod tip, and forced me to scramble over boulders and give chase 80 feet down river. 

Triple Plunge Pool
Leaders from 11 to 13 feet tapering to 5x or 6x, and mayfly patterns sized 12-14 in olive, rusty spinner and tan worked best. The placement and drift was critical, but not limited to drag free drifts. In some cases placing the fly in a pocket and skating the fly by twitching the rod got aggressive strikes. I spent the last day hiking up a brookie stream pictured above, which was at a great level. The scenery was as good as the fishing, and the endless plunge pools held some large brook trout. Flows have since come down to normal levels on the Savage, but the video shows the power of the river in these higher flows, so turn the volume way up for the full experience. 

Maryland FlyFishing School

Please join us for a flyfishing school. On Sunday, July 19 a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on flyfishing Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear, fly selection and an hour of on-stream instruction. Schools are held in a meadow overlooking the Gunpowder river by a Maryland state licensed and insured fishing guide. Class is held from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM. Cost is $100 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland Non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased prior to the class with check or cash at the shop. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-payment is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 or drop us a line at info@backwaterangler.com to register.

Maryland Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a flyfishing school. On Sunday, July 12 a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on flyfishing Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear, fly selection and an hour of on-stream instruction. Schools are held in a meadow overlooking the Gunpowder river by a Maryland state licensed and insured fishing guide. Class is held from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM. Cost is $100 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland Non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased prior to the class with check or cash at the shop. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-payment is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 or drop us a line at info@backwaterangler.com to register.