As just about everyone in the Baltimore area has seen (and heard) the cicadas are out in full force. Water levels on the gunpowder this week are just over 80cfs at falls rd. Now is a great time to get out and splash down your favorite cicada pattern in hopes of finding an opportunistic trout, especially on hot and sunny days when the cicadas are most active. The BWA staff have spotted a few trout eating cicadas and caught a number of them on cicada patterns, but it’s important to remember that the gunpowder trout don’t remember 17 years ago. So it may take a little longer for the fish to recognize what a delicious and protein filled meal a cicada is. If you don’t feel like tying your own, we have a number of different cicada patterns in the shop that are proving to be very effective.
Although cicadas have our full attention, we can’t forget about the other bugs on the Gunpowder. We’ve been seeing healthy hatches of sulphurs in the river, especially at the access points up-river from York rd. When fishing during a sulphur hatch I recommend having a few different patterns in hand including a high floating pattern and a low floating pattern. Gunpowder fish are fast learners so switching back and forth between a comparadun style sulphur and a more traditional “Catskill” style sulphur is a great way to keep the fish on their toes and catch a few extra.
The Patagonia foot tractor wading boot is one of the best winter and cool water wadding boots on the market. It has a heavy bottom with a very grippy rubber sole. This allows you to keep traction in the slipperiest conditions. I have personally been using the foot tractors for about four months now and have been very happy with them. They keep your foot nice and warm even in freezing water. They provide amazing ankle support and don’t allow your foot to move and shift in the boot. I have found this most helpful when standing on slanted and slick rocks and other river obstacles. This is an amazing and very durable boot.
With the warmth of spring finally settling in the bugs are coming out. The river is flowing at 58 CFS and swinging around 51F. Sulphurs are coming off in good numbers with more expected to come in the next few weeks. Fishing them in the early afternoon has been the most effective, with potential for a wonderful evening bite near dusk. Caddis are also mixed in with the sulphurs and have been most effective in the morning, but opportunistic fish are willing to take them throughout the day.
A Cicada and it’s shell found in the Shop’s parking lot.
Everyone has been waiting and they’re finally here! The emergence of the Brood X Cicadas has started, although their numbers are not prolific yet. With warm weather in the forecast, expect an explosion soon. We have three Cicada patterns in the shop waiting to meet the water’s surface.
The Gunpowder River is in great shape for fishing and has been continuously improving throughout the month. At Falls rd, the river is flowing around 70 cfs with water temps ranging from the low to mid 50s.
There is quite a bit of didymo on the rocks at the moment, which can cause frustration while nymphing. Luckily there has been good opportunity for dry fly fishing this month, particularly in the upper portion of the catch and release section. In the past two weeks we have seen the first of the annual sulfurs and fish seem more than happy to pick them off. The heaviest hatches are yet to come, but its worthwhile to bring your sulfur patterns to the river from here on out. Swinging a wet fly is a great way to cover water and kill time while you search for rising fish.
Jacob’s first fish on a Sulphur this year.
On cooler days, when sulfurs are inactive, we have also been seeing a number of fish rise to small midges usually in the size 20-24# range.
As we go into the weekend the Gunpowder is flowing at 131 Cfs and 46 degrees Fahrenheit. The heightened flows have provided excellent opportunities to nymph the river. Using a heavy anchor fly helps to get small midge nymphs down to fish in the fast current. Fish have been eagerly feeding sub-surface and on the warmer, calmer days fish can be found sipping midges off the surface in the eddies and slower pools.
After a few days of summer like weather this past week, the Gunpowder is starting to act a little more like spring. Water levels are great for fishing, around 88 Cfs at Falls rd, while water temperate has finally broken the 40 degree mark and is peaking around 42-46degrees on a daily basis.Along with the warm temperatures and sun, we are seeing some very small black stoneflies and a number of fish rising to them. Although fishing with nymphs is still the primary way to catch fish, it’s wise to have a few small dries handy like an elk hair caddis in the #16-18 range for when you spot a splashy rise to a stonefly.
If you want a relaxing way to blend the two techniques, swinging small dark wet flies has been effective. When swinging, focus on getting your flies in front of and around rocks and log jams where the emerging stoneflies will congregate to climb out of the water.
The Maryland Department of Natural resources recently stocked the Put and Take section of the Gunpowder River.The River is flowing at 63 cfs and is 36 degrees at Falls Road. Down lower in the River, near Glencoe the river is flowing at 153 cfs. With 2,000 rainbow trout being stocked in the Put and Take section, fishing with small streamers slowly and nymphing with indicators are your best options. With warmer weather in our future be sure to get out on the river, whether it be on the Catch and Release or down on the Put and Take, enjoy it.
A longer rod is the keystone to Euro Nymphing. Echo designed The Shadow X specifically for Nymphing. I acquired my Shadow X 1003-4 (10 ft, 3 weight 4 piece) early in the fall and have thoroughly enjoyed fishing with it since. At 10, 10 and a half, and 11 feet in length you can Tight-line or Euro-nymph without having to wade deep into the pools. The very sensitive tip section is ideal for staying in touch with your flies and , feeling a fish take and protecting light tippet, but have enough backbone to turn fish out of strong currents. I’ve also found it ideal for using indicator rigs, as the longer length of these rods functions to turn over the heavy setups easily with a roll cast.
Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday, the 7th of March, 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 and fly selection. Class is held from 10:00-1:00pm. Cost is $125 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased at the shop on the day of the school. Please consider looking at the state license portal online at https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ to streamline the process of getting to the river on the day of the class. Call us if you have any difficulties with that. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.
The cold is persistent with chances of snow on most days in the upcoming forecast. The trails will continue to be covered in mixture of ice and snow, so wading may well be the safest method of moving spots. The river is staying around 39F and is currently at 65 cfs. Fishing has been difficult for most, but nymphing can still be effective. Especially with small tungsten midges. Fish are mostly feeding on the stoneflies and midges tight to structure and the bottom.