Songbirds, Soft Hackles and Mayflies on the Gunpowder River

Thanks To Sean for the great stream report and photos from his Spring Forays.

Hey guys.. going to give the stream report a go. I spend enough time on the Gunpowder Watershed drainage… been writing some stuff down recently. This time of year, last 2 weeks in April to the middle of May, is up there for me as being one of my favorite times within the Gunpowder River drainage. Whether it be above the reservoir or below, there is a lot of activity continually moving and growing. On land and in water. This week I concentrated on the Falls portion in the catch and release area. Mayflies are waxing and waning, caddis are getting more consistent and ants are all along on land, hopefully making their way in the water to the fish. The hendrickson hatch has given way to the epic sulphur hatches that we saw last year. The forecast seems great on that front. Last spring and summer we saw some of the more prolific sulphur hatches and especially spinner falls. I suppose the higher water levels created optimal conditions for our iconic mayfly. Im assuming 2019 will be much of the same as our water levels have been now consistently higher.

Streamers, swinging wets/ soft hackles were the way to go on overcast days. However, my best fish this week came in full sun on a small streamer pattern with a really long leader. I have been fishing small weighted streamers on a floating line with a 9 to 10 foot leader, casting directly at and around structure. On the warmest days and in full sun I found some shade and was euro nymphing while letting the presentation turn into a swing before I reset my position to cast. On the swing, as the flies lift toward the surface, the fish down deeper have been giving chase. Sulphur dries in 14 and 18 sizes accounted for fish during the hatches. I fish in the afternoons, so my observations pertain to this time period. But a good presentation, no matter subsurface or on top will net fish.

On a side note for all the birding enthusiasts, this week as like clockwork, has brought the migrating songbirds that make the Gunpowder River their home. During your angling endeavors, pay attention to the prairie warblers passing through and listen for the wood thrushes that have appeared this week. I pay attention to certain birds on the river, with some practice they will hint to you that bugs may be lifting off the water. Fish ON!