I spent every day the last week and a half on the Gunpowder River, guiding and fishing different stretches at different times of the day. Midges and blackflies are hatching in good numbers and the blackflies can be seen “skimming” along the surface. They look like a miniscule housefly with a short, thick body versus the long, thin bodies on midges. Trout sipping in the flat water areas are usually eating these bugs and flies in the 20-24 range will work. Hendricksons are starting to emerge late in the morning through 2-3 pm, and many are a tannish-olive, although they darken up to a deep reddish brown. The brown trout are eating a variety of emerger, nymph and soft hackle patterns during the day, especially during these higher flows.
Dry fly enthusiasts should try prospecting with hendricksons midday, as the majority of anglers catching fish on dries over rising trout started before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Although, on a recent guide trip the client rose around fifteen fish during the brightest hours of the day in less than 100 feet of river. Reports from customers include good dry fly fishing, yet the fish are not seen rising, but are rising to eat a properly presented fly. Midges are also hatching heavy toward dark, and while the sipping fish are only active the final hour of the day, they are eagerly feeding on the surface. Hendrickson spinners have been seen toward dark, and in good numbers bring fish to the surface. The rain has helped bring out some decent hatches, and raise water temps and levels with warm spillover. The rain predicted through this week may continue to blow out the Pennsylvania and Western Maryland rivers (Savage River currently spilling over at 345 Cfs and the North Branch at 1, 135 Cfs). The Gunpowder currently spilling over at 197 Cfs remains fishable with dries over 200 Cfs, and many die hard nymph and streamer fishermen target the usually wary, big browns in flows up to 300 Cfs. I included a short video of some blackflies and a close look at a Hendrickson mayfly along the Gunpowder.