Early Mayflies and Late Evening Spinnerfalls On The Gunpowder River

13 Inch Wild Brown Trout
The unique conditions with high volumes of spillover on the Gunpowder means we are seeing many insects very early compared to previous years. Water temperatures are in the high fifties to low sixties, and held steady for the past three weeks with many mayflies hatching weeks ahead of schedule. The hendricksons are very early, showing up three weeks ago. The spinnerfall action after 7 pm means waiting out the bugs until dark. The quill gordons and march browns are still hatching, but their numbers are sparse compared to the hendricksons. On a few evenings this past week I fished until dark each night, and was rewarded with numerous spinners laying eggs and trout aggressively rising. For reference I had seen only a few duns hatch through the afternoon, and by 6:45 was ready to hit the trail, thinking the hatch wasn’t going to happen. I looked up against the sky and noticed waves of spinners slowly beginning to drop, which created a short lived but intense response from the trout. I’ve fished a few of these spinnerfalls, and the intensity can vary from one night to the next. I was surprised to see sulphurs hatching alongside hendricksons mid April, which is extremely early. Last year I saw the first sulphur on April 28th, and encountered the first fishable hatch on May 6th. This year I saw them on the 15th of April, and caught the first big emergence on a cloudy, rainy Wednesday this week. The browns wasted no time taking the sulphurs, a few even leaping up to take the duns, as they lifted off the water. I caught browns on a size 14 sulphur and saw duns emerging for about 2 hours, yet a weak hendrickson spinnerfall. The following day the conditions changed and the sulphur hatch was light, but the hendricksons returned to the water at dark. Caddis hatches are also a few weeks early, but the majority are hatching down river of the Catch & Release section. The variety of insects hatching through the course of the day means fishing a dry in the riffles is a great way to catch some trout on the Gunpowder. The brown below took a spinner pattern, while the brown above was caught by Matt on a second recent float trip. In the latest video I filmed a sulphur, quill gordon and egg laden hendrickson spinners returning to the water toward dark. I slowed the footage down and the dark bodied, size 14 spinners can be seen against the lighter sky.