The month of April is prime time for dry fly anglers since the fish begin to respond to hatching mayflies and larger fly patterns. The midge fishing on the Gunpowder has been good early and late in the day, but reports of trout caught on hendrickson patterns increased this weekend. Some anglers witnessed emerging hendricksons midday and fish taking naturals and dries, while other anglers fished the dries blind in riffles. Swinging wets and soft hackles has been really effective any time of day, but especially in the evenings. When I got a call from my buddy Matt that he would be in town, we hit the evening bite on Sunday. We both caught five fish in two hours swinging a soft hackle that produced lots of hits and some fiesty browns in the 7-10 inch range. I saw a half dozen hendricksons, although most rising fish in the slow water were eating midges. A few anglers on the same stretch of water mentioned they did catch fish on midges and hendrickson dries before dark. On the next day we decided to take advantage of the great flows and float the Gunpowder farther down river. Water temperature was great in this section at 58-59 degrees with a few caddis and lots of craneflies hatching throughout the day. I saw only a few mayflies from a distance, most likely quill gordons or female hendricksons. I rarely find rising trout in this section, but when a hatch is good the subsurface fishing can be phenomenal. Swinging wet flies through the riffles was a good back up plan, so I decided to make a pass with a streamer in the first run. A brown charged the streamer on the second swing, and struck the fly as it swung through a current toungue into the bouncing chop below. The trout took line downstream, bowed the rod over and finally surrendered at the net. It was healthy trout measuring just under fourteen inches. I decided to break from my normal routine and fish streamers all day without switching to nymphs. Two hours later my three biggest browns measured between 13-15 inches, all thick fish like the brown pictured below.
Matt was finding plenty of action in the good spots on small nymph and emerger patterns under an indicator. The amount of craneflies on the water by mid afternoon meant they were surely a staple of the trout under the surface. Small rubber legged nymphs also caught fish, as they have in the upper sections of river the past month. We fished hard through an eight hour day, targeting the same areas with our different techniques. Each particular trout was looking for a meal stripped as fast as possible, or small nymphs drifted through riffles and deep water. We even picked up a few trout while in motion using both set ups, including a few browns and rainbows in the 9-11 inch range. One of Matt’s favorite spots where he encountered larger trout in the past, gave up this healthy fourteen inch plus brown below. The weather was great, the flows perfect and we encountered 2 other anglers over miles of river. The latest video features some of our fish, river shots and a good cranefly hatch.