Late April Fly Fishing On The Gunpowder

Great Flows On the Gunpowder
Heavy rain the past few weeks has kept the Gunpowder at higher flows, but fishable compared to other rivers in the Mid Atlantic. Last week anglers from Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, and New Jersey journeyed to the Gunpowder, since many rivers in those states were blown out. In a “spillover Spring” the frequent rain storms will raise flows on the Gunpowder, but the river remains clear. The higher water last week was producing results for anglers using big streamers, but I could only get chases from a few bruisers I’ve been targeting. This week flows leveled out at 137 CFs, and water temps have risen to 60 degrees. The hot air temperatures and warm spillover have certainly raised water temps, and jumpstarted numerous hatches. A variety of mayflies can be seen hatching on the river during the day, and returning to the water at dusk. Hendricksons, quill gordons, march browns, and the occasional sulphur can be seen through late afternoon. The numbers may vary from a few bugs to a few dozen over a couple of hours. Many anglers reported that the trout were taking dries readily, even though there were only a few dozen bugs hatching. The afternoon emergence is prime time to search with dries, but for steady risers the action is at dusk. Stay late to catch the mayflies returning to the water, which may not happen until after 7:15 pm. The window may be brief, but the fish are often very aggressive. I fished the river yesterday, and spotted a half dozen sulphur duns fly off the water at 5 pm. The majority of mayflies I saw were hendricksons, and I caught ten in my hat, which was about a quarter of the duns I saw fly by me. When the duns flitted on the water too long before take off, the trout were hitting them. Nymphing or swinging wets is still a very effective way to catch fish. I spent some time turning over rocks, and found a lot of smaller mayfly nymphs in a size 16-20. The body color on these nymphs ranges from light tan to black. I also found larger size 14-16 nymphs, in addition to lots of caddis worms. The caddis worms ranged in color from a cream color to a chartreuse green. The trout were really hammering the caddis worm pattern I was using despite all the mayfly nymphs on the rocks. A few caddis were hatching alongside small craneflies and midges. Now that there are numerous insects hatching, the trout may be keying into certain insects at different times of the day. In this video post I turn over some rocks, film some mayflies, and release some feisty Gunpowder browns.