Clean Gravel and Healthy Wild Browns On the Gunpowder

GP Wild Brown Trout
After the recent high water event over the past weekend, I fished and walked the Gunpowder, many miles down river from Prettyboy Reservoir. It was immediately clear the large volume of water had scouring effects on the bottom, and sent much of the silt deposited in recent years down river. In March 2007 the Gunpowder spilled over after 5 inches of heavy rain in the Hereford area, and the Falls Rd gauge hit 1,600 Cfs. The high water event in 2007 also led to the dam on Bush Cabin Run bursting, and many other tributaries of the Gunpowder blowing out and dropping silt into the river. The most recent high water event on August 28th, 2009 resulted from heavy storms dropping nearly six inches of rain close to the Pennsylvania border Friday night. Prettyboy Reservoir was already at full capacity so the Gunpowder remained clear in the upper river, despite such high levels and it’s tributaries (excepting Little Falls) were not flooded like in 2007.
Clean Riffle

The water level has since dropped back down to the mid 30 Cfs range and may fluctuate in the evenings with releases from Prettyboy through this week. The drop in flow has revealed some very clean rocks in the riffles and runs through miles of river. Many logjams have been relocated, and numerous riffles rearranged on familiar stretches of the Gunpowder. I spent most of Monday exploring these new areas and fishing was excellent. A lot of wild browns were visible in the lower flows, holding in the shallow riffles and nymphing caught a lot of these fish. The size of trout caught ranged from Young of Year browns (2 – 2 1/2 inches) to browns pushing 13 inches. The majority of browns were 10-11 inches, and a number of the trout had distended stomachs, possibly from gorging themselves during the recent high water buffet. I hooked a few larger browns in the 14-17 inch range, and spotted quite a few larger trout as well. A number of reports of larger browns caught or spotted by customers have been passed on with increased frequency in the shop this year, including this most recent one from Gary C. It seems many of those 8-10 inch trout from previous years finally grew up!

Hey Jason,

After you left Masemore Saturday night I fished the feeder stream at the end of the park and the soft water around the semi-submerged log. I sighted a huge brown who was right by the log and he (it was a male, he cleared the water several times and the cone shaped head was easy to see) made 4 appearances and the guy who joined me later was there to see it once. How big? I got two out of water viewings and then one where it chased an emerger to the surface. It’s head appeared to be around 3-3.5 inches wide and it had spots nearing dime size. Clearly this fish was north of 20 inches. I was hoping you would show back up to take a couple of shots at him…we couldn’t get him to notice anything.