The Gunpowder River flow increased to over 600 CFs midweek at the Falls Road gauge, when warm air and rainfall melted the snow that fell the previous week. Once the river flows dropped below 400 CFs, I spent some time nymphing and swinging streamers Thursday. A combination of cold night air and spillover dropped river temps into the 40s, but browns were still eating a variety of patterns. The increase in flow and colder water required deep, slow drifts for nymphing. The takes were really subtle, so using a Thingamabobber, and extra weight on the line helped detect these strikes. The trout preferred big or small flies, either a size 22 or a size 8 nymph pattern fooled a few fish. Streamers were still getting chases and swipes, but the fish were a bit more sluggish and preferred a less erratic, slower swing. A larger streamer required a bit more determination and patience than nymphing to get results, but produced one nice brown trout.
The flows at the Falls Road gauge leveled out at 173 CFs this morning, but higher flows from today’s heavy rains should be expected. A variety of patterns in the muffin tins on the counter produced for anglers sending in recent fishing reports from the previous days of higher flows. Reports from anglers nymph fishing ranged from just a few fish, to over ten fish in a few hours, and not many skunkings. Dry fly enthusiasts reported feast or famine, as far as locating and timing a hatch to the warmer hours of the day. The fluctuating flows, and effects from night and day time air temperatures can certainly make the fish sluggish, but it can also get them feeding. The best way to truly determine how active the fish will be is to suit up for a few hours, versus dissecting the forecast. On Monday of last week, I was surprised by a hook up on my biggest brown in years, on a cold day when I expected just to get outside for a few hours. The huge brown threw the hook after it provided fifteen seconds worth of excitement for me and a shop regular who watched the scene play out from the bank. One brown trout that size on the line and mid thirty degree air temps, high flows and rain suddenly have less bearing on whether to fish or stay at home tying flies. I know where I’ll be this coming week.