Monthly Archives: September 2010

Dry Fly Fishing Conditions are Improving Along the Gunpowder River

Native Gunpowder River Brook Trout
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 135 CFs, is clear and 51 F. The river took a nice drop yesterday from 254 CFs to 135CFs. Stream reports pointed to anglers fishing sink-tips and streamers above Falls Rd. As the water dropped, a lucky angler fishing a bit lower in the catch and release section reported a few brookies that were brought to hand and safely released. Blue Winged Olives, and Tricos are still part of the morning mix. Fish are looking up as Caddis have returned, are in a range sized from #16 to #20, and can be effectively fished along the edges of riffles.

Is a Gunpowder Brook Trout in your future?

Maryland Hunting Licenses

Last night I picked up an Economist and a Backpacker mag at the checkout. Before I could think about the heady implications of China’s relations with Myanmar, Writer Bruce Barcott got my attention with an article he penned in the October issue of Backpacker titled; Killer Hike. In it he takes a first stab at hunting from an otherwise granola perspective. I was favorably impressed with the balance he achieved by interviewing both Bruce Fredrich of PETA and motor city madman-come hunting luminary Ted Nugent. In quick order, Barcott purchases a firearm, takes a hunter safety course, belly-crawls up a bluff, and is then faced with having to decide whether to pull the trigger on a Mulie.

Barcott writes that, (links supplied):

…The outdoor world suffers from a binary split. We are hikers or hunters, two cultures divided by a chasm of ignorance and mistrust. We wear Patagonia R2® Fleece or Mossy Oak Break-Up® Camouflage.

…In the 1930s, conservation-minded hunters crafted the Pittman-Robertson Act, which established some of the nation’s first habitat-restoration programs using gun and ammunition excise taxes. Last year, $300 million in gun and ammo tax went into conservation programs-and that’s to say nothing of the more than $1 billion collected in hunting and fishing permit fees.

…According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service the number of americans who hunt has fallen 25% since 1980…Whitetail deer are over populated in 73% of their range.

As many of you know we sell fishing AND hunting licenses.
With the start of bow season today, we’ve been busily writing Maryland hunting licenses for the better part of the month. Many of these licenses are purchased from folks from just across the MD/PA line. The average cost for a non-resident hunting license sold in the shop is $180. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service 2009-2010 Maryland Annual Deer Report indicates that:

Deer hunting in 2006 generated over $113 million in retail sales with a total multiplier effect of over $190 million contributed to Maryland’s economy. Deer hunting in Maryland supports nearly 2,300 jobs and generates $71 million in salaries, wages, and business owner’s income, $15 million in state and local tax revenue, and $16 million in federal tax revenue.

For years, the sentiment expressed by most anglers in the shop has been that it’s far kinder to actually hunt deer intentionally than obtain them unwittingly on the hoof with a car bumper. With no shortage of deer in Maryland, (over 100,000 deer were harvested in the state during the 2008-2009 season.) I make it a point to thank hunters for there efforts when they stop in the shop and sincerely hope that hunting, now promoted by many under the “green” moniker of population control, continues in Maryland as more than just a storied past time.

Ginormous Zonkers in High Flows Fool Fish in the Gunpowder

Ginormous Zonker Tricks Gunpowder Brown
The Gunpowder River has dropped from 343 CFs to 254 CFs, is clear, and 52F. Wading is still challenging below York Rd but Bunkerhill, Masemore and Falls Rd access points are worth a shot. If you’re after larger than average fish, streamers are the ticket. Since the flow dropped late yesterday afternoon, we’ve had a few reports of fish smacking at caddis on the surface. It’s tough to get a drift at these flows so try skating caddis in the seams at the edges of riffles. Fish will be holding along the edges and shelves so don’t spend a lot of time fish the “deep middle” of the river.

Thanks to Adrian for the following pictures and stream report that included a word in use since 1948:

Hey Theaux and Jason,
This past Tuesday, I was gearing up with my father to go out for a few hours to fish the awesome caddis hatches that we’d been having with the slightly higher flows of the previous week. Well, after checking the river flows before heading out (then up to 250 CFs), we knew the game had changed. So we took out our heavy gear, and, after a quick talk with Jason, were off to the river. Battling the high water, especially with the strong current, can be tough, but in the end it was worth it. I ended up catching my biggest Gunpowder brown ever, a beautiful 15 incher, on a ridiculous, ginormous zonker. I also managed to hook into another good fish, probably around 14 inches, before it was time to head home.

Gunpowder Brown Falls for Ginormous Zonker

Sink-Tips and Streamers in High Water Along the Gunpowder

Gunpowder River High Flow Hook-Up
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 346 Cfs, is clear and 52 F. Stream crossings, while not impossible at these flows, can take your breath away. Gunpowder Guide Capt. Jeff Lewatowski is featured above two-stepping gingerly downstream with a highwater hookup during a similar flow in 2006. If you’re coming up this weekend, be sure to bring a wading staff and a good measure of caution. When the river is flowing over 275 Cfs, we suggest that anglers limit their wading. So if you’re planning on fishing the catch and release section, be sure to move up and down the river on the trails to cover the “fishy” spots with a sink-tip and an index finger sized streamer. Guide Dave Smith reported last night that there were still a few places in the upper section for die hard nymphers to try their luck. With the cloud cover rolling in we’ve had a smattering of olives in the morning and cream midges in the evenings. I talked to a few anglers that toughed it out this morning and left a number of fish rising to small dries. One of the most effective ways to fish dries at these flows is to focus on back eddies-a longer rod, 9 to 10 ft will help to keep the dries in the “slow” water. If you have any big terrestrials from a trip out west, come on up and try your luck against the banks. If you’re nymphing this weekend, you might need enough shot to get the flies down and rolling on the bottom to consider borrowing a helmet from one of the kayakers.

Thanks to Gary for a stream report from last Friday when flows were a little, shall we say, kinder…

Theaux and Jason
I took this past Friday off and fished the Gunpowder for about 6 hours and it was pretty much none stop action. The water was perfect at around 100 to 115 CFS and I had the upper section pretty much to myself…there was 1 other fisherman. Oddly enough I caught the majority of the fish using a cadis emerger (orange) and fished it dry. Occasionally I’d get hit just below the surface but the majority of hits occured while skating it on top. The big surprise was catching a beautiful brook trout on a black wooly bugger in some fast moving riffles. The fish slammed the bug hard and pulled line off (I was using the bamboo). I have not caught a brook in a fairly long time and this one was a big male at around 10 inches long and fat. Probably the biggest brook I’ve caught on the river.

Gary S. Corriero

Another Water Release On The Gunpowder

Just Under 14 Inches
The increase in flow last week on the Gunpowder created ideal conditions for fishing at 115 CFs. The trout certainly had more room to spread out, and were far less wary than at 55 CFs. I caught quite a few browns around ten inches, and the larger wild brown above. This pretty trout was just under fourteen inches, nicely colored with a large head. The shop was informed this morning that flows will increase today from double to possibly triple the current flow. The flow will increase incrementally today, and level out anywhere from 275 to 350 CFs. This larger release will send more water to fill Loch Raven Reservoir, and the higher flows should remain until that is completed. I’d wager a guess and say the higher flows will continue through this week, and into the weekend. Anglers reported this morning that the water is already rising, and at this time (2:27 pm) the flow is at 251 CFs on the Falls Rd gauge. These higher flows may be considered less than ideal by some, but the anglers in search of larger fish welcome these conditions. Now is the perfect time to fish streamers and heavy nymph rigs in search of bigger browns on the Gunpowder. The finicky wild browns either become less wary, or start feeding due to nymphs being washed down river. The higher flow may also increase the water temperature, since the increase from 55 CFs to 115 CFs also raised water temps from 48 to 51 degrees. The combination of warmer water, higher flows and dislodged food sources can lead to some great fishing. The downside to the higher levels is more difficult wading, and river crossings limited to the wider, shallow sections of all access points. The majority of rivers and streams in the region are still too low and too warm for trout fishing. Fortunately the need for drinking water also benefits the trout (and anglers) during a time when few would expect a chance to experience fishing “big” water in late Summer. In the latest video post I included some shots of a few nice browns I caught one day last week.

Labor Day Weekend Gunpowder River Staycation

Labor day is upon us, and we have dry flies on parade along the Gunpowder River. Tricos, Olives and Caddis are still part of the mix. River levels have been a near perfect 115 Cfs with water temps in the 52 to 55 F range. Nymphing the riffles is always a safe bet, especially in the mornings. Terrestrial fishing heats up just about every afternoon…See us before your picnic this weekend!
Hopper Brown
Labor Day weekend hours:
Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 AM till 4:00 PM.
The shop will be open Labor Day from 8AM till 4PM

Related Post Excerpt:
From Fly Fishing the Gunpowder River Labor Day Weekend, August 31, 2008

Tricos are still present in the flats from Falls Rd through Bunkerhill most mornings. Caddis in the #16 range have been peeling off by afternoon and are a sure bet in the riffles. Small streamers along undercut banks will produce fish. Be on the lookout for Wild Turkeys and Blue Winged Olives in the upper catch and release section of the Gunpowder River on cloudy, warm days.

Maryland Flyfishing Schools in September

Please join us for a flyfishing school. Each Sunday in September after Labor Day, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear, fly selection and an hour of on-stream instruction. Schools are held in a meadow overlooking the Gunpowder river by a Maryland state licensed and insured fishing guide. Each class is held from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM. Cost is $100 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland Non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased prior to the class with check or cash at the shop. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-payment is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 or drop us a line at to register.