Caddis Hatches And Higher Flows On The Gunpowder

Gunpowder Colorful Brown Trout
A water release was made this morning from Prettyboy Dam to raise water levels in Loch Raven Reservoir. The shop was informed that these flows should continue through this week into the weekend, and possibly the following week. The Gunpowder was ice cold all Summer at a medium to lower flow (5 times the bare minimum, and nearly double the dreaded 30 Cfs flow), but now is climbing to an early Spring level in the 115 CFs range. The conditions and fishing on the Gunpowder prior to the release really favor dry fly fishing. The trico hatch in the mornings and caddis hatches midday get the trout looking to the surface. Now the higher flows can be good for dries, nymphs or streamers. Last week Matt and I returned from WMD to take advantage of the good fishing on the Gunpowder. We started out the morning by locating a good hatch cloud of tricos and rising trout. The flurry of activity continued for over an hour before only a few fish rose sporadically. We caught over a dozen between us before moving into some riffles using caddis dries. Caddis began hatching and soon a few splashy rises resulted in two hours of great fishing. The two of us covered a lot of water, working the caddis to rising fish or fished blind. I caught this brook trout below in a riffle after seeing a caddis get smacked only moments ago.
Native Gunpowder River Brook Trout
The wild browns we caught were the typical 7 to 10 inch trout eager to eat dries, but we caught some larger browns between 11 and 13 inches. The action was consistent, and some riffles produced multiple trout. In one riffle I landed 7 browns without moving more than a few steps. By late afternoon the caddis hatch slowed, so we put on some caddis pupa patterns. The fish that were unwilling to rise were willing to eat our patterns subsurface. We ended the day with a lot of pretty wild browns on dries. The fishing was a change of pace from fishing the Savage days earlier, where we worked very hard for far fewer, but larger trout. We did locate one huge fish I call “the Salmon” that is among a bunch of big browns that reside in the Gunpowder, which are rarely caught. Matt drifted the biggest, heaviest nymph I had past a fifteen-sixteen inch brown we spotted on the bottom. We were shocked when a much larger brown appeared and spooked the smaller trout. We never knew for certain if the big fish ate the fly, but it swam three feet from its lair, and rolled slightly on its side before heading back to its hiding spot. The indicator never moved, but it was possible the fish hit-and-spit the fly. It was good to see this fish willing to move to a fly, because in the past I’ve tried and it usually spooks on the first cast. The latest video post features some browns we caught on the Gunpowder, tricos and a slate drake mayfly.