Monthly Archives: July 2010

Tricos, Higher Flows and Sight Fishing On The Gunpowder River

Fog On The Gunpowder River
The Gunpowder River spiked at the Falls Road Bridge to 40 CFs after the heavy rains caused some spillover at the dam. The increase is also due to blow outs in the smaller tributaries above the Falls Road bridge. Aside from the initial rise in levels after the storms, the upper miles of the Gunpowder remained clear. The tributaries that blow out farther downriver are still dropping, so anglers can find slightly higher flows in the sections below major tributaries. The shop was notified that there will be an increase in flow from Prettyboy Dam in time for the weekend. The volume will increase from the mid 30 Cfs range, and level out between 75-100 CFs. Yesterday I took advantage of the higher, slightly off color flows below a blown out tributary. The nymph fishing was phenomenal in the riffles and deeper pools. Visibility was greatly reduced, but still clear enough to see the bottom in two feet of water. These types of conditions can be “feast or famine,” where anglers catch nothing, or catch a lot of trout. The combination of higher flows, a four to five degree spike in water temp, and the murky water tipped the odds in my favor. I started at 1 pm with an inchworm and a size 22 trico spinner drowned under an indicator. Six fish into the day, and four on the trico pattern, I switched out the inchworm for a rock worm caddis pattern. I switched flies occasionally throughout the day, working some areas twice with different patterns. By the end of the day an inch worm, SJW, caddis pupa, rubber legged nymphs, and midges all caught trout. My two biggest measured twelve inches, but it was a steady action day with a lot of trout between seven and eleven inches. I also caught four rainbows between ten to twelve inches in this section, the first rainbows I have ever caught in this area.
Gunpowder River Feisty brown Trout
Now that the majority of the storms have passed and a release is planned, conditions are looking ideal for the weekend. If a storm does roll through and raise tributary levels, the fishing will be good, but mainly upstream of Blue Mount Road through Falls Rd. Little Falls is currently still very muddy and sections down by Monkton were chocolate milk this morning. On rainy days this week blue wing olives were out whenever the sun was trapped behind cloud cover. The mid morning Trico hatch is great for a few hours of rising trout, while the midday and afternoons are terrestrial time. The increase in flow should also get the fish active for a few days on nymphs dislodged by the higher water. The lower flows from the past week were great for sight fishing. In the latest video post I included some scenery, some browns in plain sight, and a few fish from my day yesterday.

Holiday Fishing Reports

Thanks to Bill for the stream report.

Hi Theaux, nice to chat with you Wednesday. I had a good couple hours on the river after I left the shop. I went to the upper Fall Road lot and walked down to the bend before the canyon section. After working my way across the river with a series of casts I picked up a Rainbow on one of the snowshoe cream midge patterns dropped from one of Jason’s beetles. This is the first Rainbow I’ve caught on the riverin a long time. In the right light he had really noticable parr markings and the stripe along the side was a deeper red than I’d seen before. Is this one of the Kamloops? Neat little fish. I picked up another Brown on the beetle pattern. I then switched over to the caddis and missed a few and had a couple of LDRs. After loosing the elk hair caddis on a hard strike, oops, I tied on an X-caddis and managed to miss about another half dozen strikes. I’ll blame it on the light conditions… Light was fading as I approached the next bend and I called it a night. The weather was perfect and the river was virtually deserted. All in all a wonderful little break to recharge my batteries.

Thanks again for the advice and I hope you all have a great 4th!

Bill

And thanks to Jed for the following report:

Theaux, I did get a chance to get out Thursday. Water was low and clear. Saw a fair amount of trout. Fished a foam beetle, cricket, small grasshopper, foam ant, midge dry, and trico spinner. Caught 2 nice browns on the beetles, and a few takes, a large take on the cricket, one fish on the trico spinner and a couple takes; nothing on the ant, the midge and the grasshopper. Didn’t have any 7x; but fishes a long leader 12-13 feet with 6x. Saw large beaver chomping on a deadfall tree in the water. He made quite a racket. Day was beautiful!! I fished from the trail down from Evna to within 200 feet of the dam. Any reason why fish seem to rise so readily in the flat water just upstream of the trail, but as you hit more riffle water not much rising?? There did appear to be more bugs closer to where the trail descends at that flat water. Saw one tiny sulphur, midges, tiny caddis, what looked like a large stonefly adult, and what appeared to be a crane fly. Thanks for the Guide Lines.
Take care,
Jed

Watch Your Step Out There!

Baby Copperhead
I know that many anglers don’t like seeing snakes, let alone venomous ones, but I think the bigger problem is NOT seeing them. The copperhead above, that I almost walked within striking range of on Tuesday, was cooling down on the river’s edge. Fortunately I was guiding, and stopped to take the time to point out some important things in the water in front of us. This snake certainly topped the list of things to be aware of when it caught my eye. During the hottest weather it is not uncommon for snakes to move toward water, either helping them better regulate body temps, or to ambush prey. Areas with lots of boulders, ledges and rock walls are also prime habitat for these snakes to sun themselves, yet stay close to shade. On Wednesday I saw this much larger copperhead below, basking in the sun next to a ledge. It’s no secret these snakes are present in the park along the river, but it is rare to see two in two days. Be sure to keep an eye out as you walk the trails along the river!
Coiled Up Copperhead

Crayfish In The Gunpowder River

The sweltering heatwave of last week was an ideal time to test out my underwater camera housing. The view finder requires the person filming to be underwater, but I just tried to point-and-shoot from the knee. I was filming below the C & R section where the water wasn’t as cold as the upper river. When I got home to review the footage, it was interesting to see the variety of life under the water’s surface. Black nose dace, chubs and sculpins swam around, as I panned the camera over the bottom. Crayfish of all sizes were everywhere on the bottom. I even found two big soft shell crayfish in the process of molting. I also learned there are many more smaller crayfish that most likely become prey to a hungry trout, than the larger ones. Most crayfish patterns I tie are usually big, but a good pattern would be a size 12-16 olive or rust bugger. The interesting thing the camera picked up was the “snapping” sound that the crayfish made every time it flexed its tail to flee. The audio track is mostly muddled underwater sounds, but turn up the volume to hear the snapping sounds. I filmed this in a run where I fish often, and never knew just how many crayfish and minnows were swimming around my wading boots.

Trico Mayflies On The Gunpowder River

Trico Mayfly Patterns
Rain brought some relief today from the heat wave that we experienced this past week. The river is still low and clear at 35 CFs at the Falls Road Bridge. The water temperature on the Gunpowder is a frigid 50 degrees, and despite the hot weather most anglers are still wearing waders. The fishing on the Gunpowder during mornings is good for the Trico hatch, which has finally started to get the trout’s attention. Tricos in small numbers over the past few weeks have grown into the typical morning event we experienced in previous years. I noticed small numbers of Tricos in the Monkton stretch weeks ago, but saw clouds of them yesterday. The browns were rising steady for a few hours late in the morning on both dun and spinner patterns sized 22-24. The occasional fish will take a larger pattern, but with plenty of naturals on the water, most of the browns are pretty selective. The shop has a number of patterns shown above for those unwilling to tie flies down to size 24. The reverse hackle and spinner patterns arrived this week from Mike in NY, and have proven effective during this hatch. Small midge or nymph patterns down to size 20-24 work great drifted under a float in the deeper pools or riffles. Terrestrial fishing can be the most effective way to fish after the trout stop rising. Ants, beetles and small hoppers cast into shaded areas are producing trout during the middle of the day. Sight fishing opportunities are present in all sections, and especially in the deeper pools where trout feel a little less wary in these lower flows. Shallow water is a challenge, as a trout easily spotted in shallow water will also easily spot an approaching angler. Yesterday after a morning of working on the river during the Trico hatch, I spent the afternoon walking the grassy banks in one section of the Gunpowder. The clear water, tight cover on the banks and spot-stalk component made for rewarding fishing on a hot day.

Gunpowder Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a flyfishing school. On Saturday, July 24, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in 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.

Gunpowder Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a flyfishing school. On Sunday, July 18, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in 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 Saturday, July 17, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in 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.

Savage River Summer Fly Fishing Report

Savage River Chute
I just returned from a few days on the Savage River before the holiday weekend. Fishing midweek always limits the number of anglers on the water, and the campsite on the river was nearly empty. I crossed paths with Max and Alex who were heading back to Baltimore, and met up with fellow Savage enthusiast, Neil. The air temps dropped into the sixties when we arrived on Wednesday morning. The river was crystal clear and flowing at 55 CFs, which was the lowest I’ve fished it in over a year. In the pools the trout were easy to spot, and many trout were holding inches under the surface. I started with a tandem nymph rig and covered a number of deeper chutes, rapids and slow pools. A green caddis pupa, SJW and small rubber legged nymph accounted for a half dozen trout to the net before the evening hatch. I switched from my Scott S4 ten footer to my G2 nine foot four weight for fishing dries. The first evening I saw a few light cahills, caddis and the occasional sulphur. The midges and lime sallies were the most abundant bugs on the water toward dark. The “wildcard” hatch was a terrestrial flying beetle in a size 20 that resembled a tan winged lightning bug. Small caddis or midge patterns closely resembling these little beetles helped me pick off the risers in one pool. In the last ten minutes of light the increase of lime sallies flitting across the water drew splashy rises. I switched to a snow shoe sally pattern and caught a few big brookies 11-12 inches long. From noon to dark I landed fourteen fish, catching brookies, rainbows and some nice browns 12-15 inches. On the second morning Neil and I covered ground on a lower stretch. He caught a few on dries, while I caught mine with nymphs. In a few pools we spotted large brook trout, as well as rainbows. I caught another mix of browns, bows and brook trout before the afternoon hatch. In one pool around 5 pm the fish got really active on midges, and 8-10 trout started hovering inches under the surface. For an hour the trout were very active, rising with abandon despite the bright sun on the water. I caught five before they stopped rising, and a few more during the evening stonefly hatch. On Friday morning I tried a section of the North Branch of the Potomac and caught a few rainbows on green caddis pupas before heading back to Baltimore. The latest video post features footage of rising trout, insects and the trout I caught over two days on the Savage River, Maryland.

4th of July Weekend Hours

Celebrate Independence Day by fly fishing along the Gunpowder River. The river is low, 32Cfs, clear and 52-55 F throughout the catch and release area. Small caddis in the #18-20 range, beetles, ants and hoppers have been working fine in the riffles.
Backwater Angler New Location Side Porch
The shop will be open:
Friday from 10AM-6PM
Saturday from 8AM- 4
Sunday from 8-4
Monday from 8-4