Monthly Archives: October 2012

Low Flows, Easy Wading and Small Flies on the Gunpowder River

The Gunpowder is flowing at 34 Cfs, is clear and is swinging in temperature from 52 to 56 degrees F in the catch and release section. Anglers and boaters are finding lots of exposed gravel from Masemore upstream. Folks have been connecting with small caddis in the #18-20 range in the riffles and Blue Winged Olive emergers sized #20 in the flats. Hoppers are still worth a shot along grassy meadow stretches of the Gunpowder River like Bunkerhill Rd and Upper Glencoe Rd. Long leaders in the 9ft to 12ft range ending in 6 or 7x are necessary to get the job done. Cream and yellow midges have also been spotted in the flat water downstream of York Rd. Soft hackles are effective dropper this time of year. Try one in a size #16 behind a large Adams. Fishing two flies is fun and will account for a fair share of bright leaves as well as fish. Large streamers in the pools behind jams like this one are a good bet. Add a liitle deep soft weight in front of the fly so it tracks down on the strip and hold on!
New Jam on the Gunpowder River

Low Flows, Tough Paddling on the Gunpowder River

Old Stream Gauge at Falls Rd on the Big Gunpowder Falls River in Parkton, MD
The Baltimore Sun in an article titled; Best Places to Kayak near Baltimore just named the Gunpowder River as a top paddling destination. After a lengthy, spirited conversation from a kayaker this morning who stated that;

I walked about the same distance that I floated last week!

I’d like to relate that PrettyBoy Reservoir is full folks. With that in mind, it might be helpful to look critically at the flows controlled by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) in the last month compared with flows on the Gunpowder in the same time period over the past eleven years and review the good guidance found in the 2005 Reservoir Watershed Agreement that was signed by then Mayor (now Governor) Martin O’ Malley along with the Baltimore City Council, the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, the Secretary of the Maryland Dept. of the Environment and others that is currently being ignored. It states in part, under Program Goals:

1) The broadest and most fundamental goal of the Reservoir Program is to ensure that the three reservoirs and their respective watersheds will continue to serve as:
(a) Sources of high-quality raw water for the Baltimore metropolitan water-supply system; and
(b) Areas where the surface waters will continue to support existing environmental, wildlife-habitat, and aesthetic purposes, as well as beneficial recreational uses.

In the future, the author of the Sun article might consider checking with Baltimore City DPW before getting paddlers hopes up that they can indeed float the River without being forced to drag boats through vital fish spawning habitat this time of year. A world class wild trout fishery it is-and the City should be credited and thanked for their past stewardship of creating recreational opportunities for all user groups that frequent the Gunpowder River. Given the current River levels controlled by DPW, it is abundantly clear that the Gunpowder River simply cannot attain the status of a top paddling destination in Baltimore unless the criteria that needs to be met by recreational boaters is, “an opportunity to paddle gravel.”
Gunpowder River, Parkton USGS Hydrograph
The USGS Hydrograph shows that over the past month Gunpowder River streamflows controlled by Baltimore City DPW have been much lower than the 11 year median. The Gunpowder River did experience a significant spillover event after a heavy rainfall event towards the end of September as noted on the hydrograph. The triangles show median discharge over the past 11 years. The asterix denotes a measured discharge. The blue line is actual discharge (or flow) through the gauge at Falls Rd.