Even after one and a half inches of rain on September 2nd, flows on the Gunpowder remain clear and below 30 CFS with temperatures ranging between 56 and 60 degrees F. Despite the low water, lots of wild fish can be found rising to midges and some Tricos. Using small dries in the #18-22 range in the morning and evenings can result in subtle takes from these fish. Fishing a terrestrial around overhanging branches and grass is still an effective tactic.
Come visit the new shop labor day weekend. Directions to the new shop can be found here. We will be open:
This week the Gunpowder River flow has been fluctuating often. Recently it has been at ideal levels, and flowing at about 85 cfs, 57.9 F and clear. Terrestrials are still going to the most effective way to fish a dry fly. Targeting structure like trees and other formations along the bank will give you the best opportunity to catch a fish, but some opportunistic fish may rise in the faster runs.
Fishing a nymph rig can be very effective as well. You will find fish holding deep in the bigger pools, these fish are best targeted with nymphs. It is best to go small, imitating midges has worked best. We often pair the midge with a larger, heavier fly. The flow has been fluctuating often but recently has been at ideal levels, about 85 cfs.
My first trip to the Savage River several weeks ago presented different challenges than the Gunpowder. I had been told of the difficult wading and after my first day I would agree. Didymo covers the large boulders that lay in the water which causes very slick conditions. With much more rocks in the water, the currents were more intricate than those of the Gunpowder. For this reason, i found maneuvering through the river and positioning was key to getting a good drift. It may be helpful to bring a wading staff for crossing the river because of the slick rocks and strong current. It was 160 cfs the time we fished it, which was deceptively strong. But, overcoming these challenges can result in some great fish and beautiful mountain scenery.
Another great difference is the presence of pocket water on the Savage. On the Gunpowder, there is very little pocket water to be fished. But on the Savage, the fast currents and hidden holes provide great habitat for trout to hide in. This presented me with the opportunity to nymph effectively using Loon Biostrike rather than an indicator, which was a new tactic for myself.
Sulphurs & Blue Quills were the most predominant mayfly on the river and tan and black caddis were present in large numbers. By the early afternoon, fish could be seen rising consistently to sulphurs. The most spectacular time is the last minutes of the day. Near dusk, the spinner fall gave me the opportunity to see the large amount of fish within each pool and target some of the bigger fish. When fishing in the morning, I fished small nymphs with splitshot to keep flies down in the water column.
Please note: The shop will be closed this holiday weekend on the 4th & 5th.
The Susquehanna River offers some amazing water to target smallmouth bass. After fishing the river for years with spinning gear, I recently transitioned to fly fishing for smallmouth. My thoughts in presentation are still the same although I’m using a different setup.
I have been using the new Patagonia Swiftcurrent packable waders the last few times I’ve fished there. Studs in your boots are almost necessary if you decide to wade. Big boulders and slippery mud make wading a challenge, so be careful. I used a basic 7 weight combo that I’ve had for years with a floating line. Flies were thrown on a 2x leader, and using a sinking leader may be helpful because of the current, but snags can be a problem.
Mimicking the baitfish of the Susquehanna, I used streamers between 2-4 inches in both a green and brown color.
Near creek mouths, baitfish will often school in current breaks where bass often will be seen blowing up on the schools. I fished patterns with weight slowly, making sure to keep it close to the bottom. Smallmouth will present an amazing fight, and those who haven’t targeted smallmouth on the fly should give it a try.
We have a range of different leaders and tippets between 0x and 3x that will work perfectly for the conditions on the river. We offer several weighted streamers and some poppers that should get the bass to strike on the surface as summer gets closer.