Monthly Archives: October 2007

Mid-Atlantic Fly Fishing Heating Up as the Gunpowder River Drops

The river is flowing at 24Cfs, and is 55 F. The river should be low and clear for sometime as Prettyboy Reservoir is given a chance to recharge. We saw many flyfisherman from the Northern Virginia and DC area taking advantadge of low flows and great Fall Flyfishing weather this past weekend.
Gunpowder River, Falls Rd access at 24 Cfs

Most of the catches over the weekend were on brassies, small midge larvae patterns and small streamers. Falls RD through Masemore RD access points were red hot hot but with lower flows forecast through the week, it would be prudent to seek out fish below the confluence of Little Falls at Bluemount RD downstream through Monkton RD.

Thanks to Craig for the following stream report.

I just wanted to let you guys know I appreciate the complete and accurate updates on stream and fishing conditions on your website. I drive up from Dulles so it’s nice to know ahead of time what’s happening.

Fairfax, VA

Gunpowder River Low and Clear After Heavy Local Rains Douse Maryland

After a signifigant storm, the promise of great trout fishing is alive and well on the Gunpowder river.  Where can one fly fish in the Mid-Atlantic after 5″ of rainfall? The Gunpowder river of course. While most locales received between 5.01 and 5.6 inches of rainfall in the past twenty four hours,  the Gunpowder river is low and clear from Masemore RD upstream through the Falls RD stretch to PrettyBoy Dam and is flowing at 80Cfs. Olives, caddis and small bead head nymphs have been very productive this week. Small streamers, including Lite-Bright Zonkers are also worth a shot.


Maryland Fly Tying Materials and Patterns

Fall can be the time for pursuing wild browns amidst the changing colors of leaves and reflecting on the past year’s fishing. Journals can help, often times a fly box can be a great place to look to bring back memories from months ago. The tattered snow shoe hendricksons and soft hackle nymphs in my box bring back early Spring evenings. Size twenty midge pupaes, zebra midges, caddis larvae and the faithful San Juan kept things hot on cold winter days. Wet flies, caddis pupae and pheasant tails in many colors and sizes dominate rows and rows of slitted foam in my boxes. My “fur lined” streamer box is a menagerie of creatures lined in tight rows, which give the appearance of one multi color pelt.


I recently pulled quite a few flies from my boxes in a effort to make room for future patterns. Those future patterns have yet to be tied, some even yet to be dreamt up. I prefer ushering out old patterns and leaving big gaps in all those rows of slitted foam. The mayflies, beetles and terrestrials that have served their purpose for the summer are stored until next year. Caddis, midges and attractor nymphs are reliable and effective patterns year round. Flies that rarely work, despite looking realistic or patterns that have little place locally all need to go. There can be no greater sense of satisfaction than to open a fly box that has been crammed full of flies tied by you. No greater sense of frustration than tying and fishing patterns that seem to fall short of productive. A level of comfort is gained by a full fly box, although random flies and prototypes from years past are just taking up space. An empty fly box makes anglers anxious, and that nervous feeling can best be remedied at the vise. Tying new patterns, whether from books or websites can provide inspiration along with seining insects on local waters. Tying and fishing flies is a constant progression toward having a fly box that is filled with patterns that catch fish.

Fly Fishing for Wild Brown Trout Near DC

The river is flowing at 118 Cfs, (a perfect level for wading) and is 54 F. The reservoir is still turning over but the river is clear enough to sight fish to wild trout taking olives and small caddis in the #18-20 range along the edges of seams. More larger fish, over 14″ have been caught in the past few weeks than the rest of the year combined, including a 20″ fish by lucky Philadelphia area fly fisherman Tom Buterbaugh, and a 20″ fish by local guide Capt. Jeff Lewatowski. Try a large streamer on a sink-tip line through some of the deeper runs and slots above Falls RD and below York RD as quite a few fish in the 4 to 7″ range have been attacked by larger fish this week. Double bunnies and zonkers are worth a shot in the boulder pools.Tiny pheasant tails, brassies and zebra midges are still favorites in the shallow riffles above Falls RD. Cooler days with cloud cover typically point to less traffic on the river, (and better fishing) so bring a rain jacket along and enjoy some beautiful scenery, wild fish this Fall when fly fishing along the Gunpowder River. As I was telling one of our regulars this morning, “The leaves are pretty until I hook them.”

Thanks to Troy for the following stream report.

Thank you again for the tips – I had a great day today, landing a nice fish with my first cast of the morning at about 7:25 a.m. or so, and then catching 5 or 6 on dry flies by about 8:45 a.m. while losing two flies to strikes and missing on 3 or 4. The double nymph set-up also brought in 5 nice fish. Everything today was about 11-12 inches, all Browns except for one Rainbow.
See you at the shop in the next couple of weeks.

The lower river was recently stocked with 750 rainbows. Most of the fish caught this week were hardfighting and in the 12-13 inch range. Check out access points along York Rd at Upper and Lower Glencoe RD and Sparks RD. Large bright streamers and nymphs should garner some attention from the truck fish.

The Gunpowder river has 18 miles of public water and is suprisingly close to DC, Philly and Northern Virginia. Need directions?

Gunpowder Trout By The Bucketful

The shocking survey on the Gunpowder River is pretty incredible to witness. On September 24th a team of Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologists shocked the Falls Rd area on Gunpowder River. A line of wader clad, net wielding biologists and volunteers pushed upstream behind biologists wearing electro-fishing backpacks. The shocking prod stunned anything within a five to six foot range with a low volt charge. The stunned trout floated to the surface where they were gently netted and placed in buckets. Trout and the occasional big sucker floated up from every little hole. The contents of the buckets were placed into tubs with meshed out bottoms to allow water to flow through. The area sampled was over a hundred feet long and was comprised of shallow riffles. During the survey, seven to ten tubs lined the shoreline each filled with 75 ten inch adult brown trout, and many smaller and young of year trout. In this video short, the trout in these tubs were anesthetized with a quick acting liquid solution that allowed the biologists to handle and release the fish with minimal injuries to the fish. Once the trout were sedated each trout was measured, weighed and looked over for hooking injuries. Many of the trout sampled did show signs of being hooked and safely released many times. After the trout recovered in a fresh water bucket, they were placed into the tubs in the river to recover and then released.

The Gunpowder has such a high density of wild trout that most anglers wouldn’t believe the results of the shocking survey, unless they saw it with their own eyes. In recent years the survey has uncovered browns over twenty inches and up to four pounds, but not this year. Although three fish in that size range were caught and documented on film by Backwater Angler Guides this Summer. Jeff Lewatowski’s big brown was caught one day after shocking surveys ended and was landed within earshot of where I video taped the survey. Big fish can make your day or even year, but the Gunpowder does not give up big fish easily. It does yield more wild trout than any river in Maryland, and its density of trout can allow skilled anglers the chance to catch dozens of feisty, beautiful trout in one outing. Once you become proficient on the river and resign yourself to catching these often acrobatic nine to twelve inch browns trip after trip, the big trout may start hunting you.

Baltimore Locals Fly Fish for Atlantic Salmon on the Grand Cascapedia

Gunpowder regulars Pam and Fred Meier had their hands full on a recent first time Atlantic Salmon trip to the Grand Cascapedia. The scenery and fishing looks nothing short of spectacular.
A Room with a View
Thanks to Fred and Pam for the pictures and accompanying fishing report from the Grand Cascapedia.

Theaux and Rocky:
The narrative as requested:
This 38 lb. Atlantic salmon was caught on the Grand Cascapedia River in
Quebec on the morning of the last day of the 2007 fishing Season,
September 29. She was taken on a Winston 8 wt. rod with 15 lb. tippet
and a size 8 Picas fly. Because of heavy rain the prior night, the
spawning salmon were moving; and this fish was hooked from a canoe in the deep Fraser pool. She was fought from both banks and netted in a quiet little pool above rapids after 1 hour and 13 minutes. The guide,
Chris Jerome, from Tracadie camp and a full blooded MicMac Indian was
nothing short of superb in the landing effort. Of course, she was
released so that her progeny, hopefully as magnificent as their mother,
may one day swim in the Grand Cascapedia.

P.S. The Winston rod was purchased at On The Fly almost 12 years ago by my former colleagues as a retirement gift. It has only been used twice in the intervening period. In combination with the Bauer reel your sold me early this year, it was excellent for salmon fishing- better than the 9 and 10 wts that the other guests at Tracadie were using.

Best regards,

Fish on and on and on....
For those interested in flyfishing tackle, gear and techniques for Atlantic Salmon in New Brunswick and Quebec, members of our shop staff have been lucky enough to flyfish the Restigouche and Matapedia over the years and would welcome any opportuntity to talk about flyfishing for Salmo salar, “the leaper.” Here is a last look at Fred’s 38lb Atlantic Salmon from the Grand Cascapedia before the release.
A 38lb Atlantic Salmon


Thanks to Gunpowder regular Terry Newendorp for the following gear review on the Thomas & Thomas Horizon II 9ft 8wt 4pc fly rod.

Hi Theaux:
I’m down at my place in Florida and went snook/redfish fishing yesterday with that T&T H II you sold me a few months back. It was the second time I fished it, but the first time in wind and for 8 straight hours in the flats and mangrove swamps. It was nothing less than fantastic: I put unweighted flies right on the nose of fish 70 ft away, weighted crab and shrimp flies right in front of tailing redfish at 60 feet (right on the money, 9 times out of 10), and heavy tarpon flies (yes, we did that too) out there 60 feet into the wind – and never broke a sweat (or wore out my arm). Even the guide (an Orvis guy, through and through) raved about my rod and my precision with it – and that was only the second time I ever had it in a fishing situation! Thanks!



Related Post:
Thomas and Thomas Paradigm, LPS, Helix and Horizon II Fly Rods

Fly Fishing For Wild Brown Trout Near Philadephia, PA on the Gunpowder River

The Gunpowder river is dropping today from 299 Cfs and should stabilize in the 180 CFs range through the weekend. The river is slightly off color because the reservoir is “turning over.” Lower water levels mean that those intent on wading can get out and cover more water throughout the catch and release stretch of the Gunpowder river. Small olives, caddis and midges have been coming off between Masemore through the Falls Rd stretch. Longer, finer leaders will once again be necessary to trick these wild fish with smaller patterns so start in the 9ft to 12ft 5x range and a some 6x, especially with the midges.
Heavy Water and a Big Brown
We’ve had an excellent stretch of fly fishing during recent high flows as witnessed by the following stream report and photos submitted by Philadelphia area fly fisherman Tom Buterbaugh. On his first visit to the Gunpowder Tom struck gold in the form of a 20″ wild brown.

My report from 10/05/2007 is as follows:
Mike and I arrived at the Falls Road access about 8am and hiked it in about 3/4 mile. The water looked too good to keep walking… With flows about 230 cfs we started nymphing with a Pheasant Tail/Serendipity tandem. Things started slow and then I picked up a nice 12″ brown on the PT. I caught two other smaller browns and lost one by 10am. Then I hooked what I knew right away was a good fish.
The 20″ brown took me down stream about 50 yards before I could land it. What a great stretch of water. This was my first trip to the area, but definitely not my last!

Tom Buterbaugh
West Chester, PA

Large Wild Gunpowder Brown in Hand

High Flows and Big Gunpowder Brown Trout

This video post features two large Gunpowder brown trout caught in the last week of September 2007. Angler Matt Devlin landed his seventeen inch brown on a tiny nymph in higher water and Gunpowder Guide Jeff Lewatowski landed a solid twenty inch brown on a small nymph during a lower flow.
The flow level at 300 Cfs can be tough wading for anglers not used to battling waist high water. Many anglers are foregoing fishing due to the belief the water is too high, but recent guide trips have accounted for first time anglers landing ten to fifteen trout. Dry fly enthusiasts may be disappointed, but nymph fishermen can expect to see some of the best fishing right now. A wide assortment of nymphs are working, but the main hurdles to overcome are using a lot of weight, and rigging the indicator the appropriate distance from the flies. The best way to locate where trout are holding is finding large current breaks, such as logjams, rocks or the insides of bend pools. The trout are not always holding in the calm edges, but many are favoring the tail out areas below rougher water. Using three to four split shot or large balls of weighted putty helps bounce the nymphs off the bottom, where fish are holding.
The Gunpowder may seem foreign to regulars at this high level, but it has become a streamer fishermen’s paradise. Five and six weight rods, large zonkers and 3X-4X tippet are recommended for chasing big browns. Various colors and retrieve styles have been working, but one important tip: Fish the streamer in slower moving water where the trout have a chance to grab the fly.
The current flows may continue into next week or longer, but anglers should expect to see levels drop significantly once Loch Raven Reservoir is filled. The leaves are already turning in the Gunpowder Falls State Park, the wild browns are biting and there is more cold water flowing down the Gunpowder than many of Maryland’s major river’s combined.