Following the violent thunderstorms on Monday evening, access to the Gunpowder is limited. The Bunker Hill lots will most likely not be accessible throughout the weekend due to down trees. The access at Masemore Road is also limited as there are trees down on the Mt. Carmel side of the bridge. While on the river, it is very important to monitor the trees surrounding you as there are many loose or weakened branches that are still falling around the river. If you’re planning fishing this weekend, just be conscious of where you’re standing as falling branches are not something to mess with.
Despite the rough weather this week, the river is still fishing very well at its low flows. With all the down branches the terrestrials have been extremely productive. Black and brown ants and beetles have been the ticket for most fish. Mid-morning has been the most productive for the terrestrials but we have still had some luck in the evening as the sun begins to get behind the trees. Early morning has been good for nymphing. Split shot is generally not necessary during low water season as most bead-headed flies will have more than enough weight to get down.
It’s just past midsummer and it is hot outside. The river has been fairly empty of fisherman many of whom are out of town or wish to avoid the heat. We here at Backwater thoroughly discourage this position. The weather has been fairly pleasant as of late and the fish are very active in the early morning and late evenings. When we get morning Caddis’ hatches the Gunpowder can be incredibly productive. We highly suggest taking some time to do some early morning dry fly fishing. While the heat may be oppressive during midday, the river and nearby banks are far cooler than many assume. At Falls Road the river is around 55F meaning that most of the river is still bone chillingly cold even in the hottest summer day.
My advice on taking advantage of the summer lull is to use caddis for your dries or beetle patterns. For droppers I have liked San-Juan worms, Caddis emergers are doing well along with pheasant tales and zebra midges. We recommend fishing shallow riffles and faster moving water. Avoid wading and approach the water as stealthily as possible. The water is low, and the fish will see you if you are not carful.
For those planning to use streamers white and Olive is working. We discourage sink tip at this time unless fishing upper falls or fast water. Smaller fish will be your primary takers with the occasional larger fish if you’re fishing in the late evenings or early morning. Streamers are usually the most productive during or after heavy rains.
A recent fly fishing school where anglers had bites on streamers, nymphs, and dries all in one morning.
With Summer in full swing the fishing in the gunpowder has been great. Flows are still low at 34 cfs with temperatures ranging in the mid to high 50s at falls road. Anglers have had lots of success fishing with small caddis, beetles, and ants. These have been particularly effective throughout the mornings while targeting the riffles. Beetles and ants will continue to be productive into the fall and anglers will have the most success along the larger rocks, trees, and brush that lay in the gunpowder. With a bright sun and low water, it is important to minimize your wading and maximize your leader length. This will minimize the number of fish you spook by keeping your presence on the water subtle.
Nymphing has been another effective method for fishing the deeper portions of the river, with most of our success coming on midge imitations. A great way to nymph this time of year is with a hopper-dropper system. Using flies like Stimulators or Chubby Chernobyls as an indicator dry with a small pheasant tail or zebra midge is an easy and effective way to trick the picky fish and get the opportunistic fish on a big dry.
If all else fails, throwing a small streamer through the deeper and faster water may convince some fish to bite. A trusty black wooly bugger has been successful on more cloudy days and similar patterns should entice an aggressive fish.
The Gunpowder River has dropped down to 34 CFS and is still swinging between 50F and 55F at Falls road. The decrease in water means that fish will be more wary of your flies, wading, and leader length. To be the most successful on the water it is important to minimize and slow down you’re wading. we are fishing lots of smaller mayfly nymphs and caddis. Patterns such as pheasant tail, prince, hotwire caddis, and hare’s ear nymph have been working best. Dry flies such as elk hair caddis, x caddis, Sulphur emergers, ants, and small hoppers have been working great with the warmer air and water temperatures. Make sure to stop in the shop to restock on your favorite patterns.
A quality Brown Trout landed on Sulphur dry during a guide trip this week.
On the evening of June 16th The flows on the Gunpowder River raised to 74 cfs out of Prettyboy dam with temperatures in the low 50s. The increase in flow should improve our fishing and make fish a little less wary of us. Nymphing has been very successful throughout the day, but particularly good in the mornings. Most of our success has come on midge patterns, but imitating caddis or mayfly has been productive as well. If you want to fish streamers now is the time. While the water is higher the streamer bite should be more productive, however getting out early will still improve your chances with them.
The sulfurs are still prevalent throughout the afternoons. We will see caddis mixed in earlier in the day so fishing a caddis with a small nymph dropper is effective. As the afternoon progresses you will see lots of Sulphurs in the upper sections of the river. It is important to have a variety of Sulphur patterns as the fish catch on to your imitations quick. The evenings are also fishing well with dries as you often can find a spinner fall just before dusk. Get out and enjoy the river!
As of May 25th, the Gunpowder River has dropped down to 38 CFS and is ranging between 46-53F. With no rain in the near future, it is expected to stay low for a while. This will cause the need for longer and lighter leaders. Fishing a 10-12ft leader will greatly improve your drifts in the low water. It is best to avoid the slower water as fish will have lots of time to analyze your fly and the fish generally spook much easier. Target the riffles and deeper pools for the most success.
In the morning, we have had success swinging wet flies through the riffles in between pools. This has been an easy and successful method to catch fish consistently. As the water warms up throughout the day the sulphurs are prevalent. Again, the riffles will be more productive even while fishing the dries. Nymphing is still an effective method on the river when the water is low, however it is key to target the deepest water and limit your disturbance in the pool.
Stop in the shop to get all the gear needed for a good trip out on the Gunpowder!
Targeting a specific fish will help improve your casts and drifts in a sea of rises. Pick a fish, give it a few casts, and move onto the next. There are plenty of fish to be caught and it is best not to get hung up on one fish.
The water has dropped down to 66 cfs as of May 17th and is ranging between 45-51F throughout the day. Earlier throughout the day it is best to try swinging wet flies and nymphing. The caddis and sulphurs need some time to warm up to begin hatching, so most fish will be feeding on the nymphal and emerger stages of the bugs early in the day.
As the day progresses, sulphurs will begin to dance on the surface and the trout respond. It is best to bring multiple patterns to figure out which style of dry the fish want, as the smallest details can make a great difference in your catches. Longer leaders also help to maintain a drag-free drift and will greatly improve your presentation. These fish will not spook if you take your time, be patient and the river will show just how many fish are in each pool.
The Gunpowder River is clear and coming down nicely from 329 CFs on April 29th to a now ideal 103 CFs. Consequently water temps are rising a bit from a chilly 47.3 F and should be closer to the mid 50’s by the end of the weekend. We’re starting to see some clean gravel as the Didymo gets washed through. Swinging wets and nymphing other than drop-shotting is still tough and requires a lot of clearing between drifts and swings. A few Hendricksons and March Browns are still hanging on and have been returning on calmer, less windy days.Small Caddis and tiny Blue Winged Olives are flitting about and Sulphurs are certainly around the corner…
The Gunpowder River is clear, flowing at 97 Cfs and is 48.5 degrees F. While we’ve seen just a few March Browns and Hendricksons by mid-day, windy afternoons have kept them largely off the water until well into the afternoon. That said, BWO’s in the #20-22 range have been peeling off in the mornings with little fanfare. Because the trees are still leafing out, shade is still hard to come by making for tough conditions on bright days so starting early or late is one’s best bet. Didymo has been the real story of late and is still making it difficult to fish the gravel with traditional and euro-nymph rigs. Until the gravel cleans up, skating caddis or swinging wets might be the best approach. In the past week warmer water temps up to 56.5 degrees have been knocking the Feb-March Didymo blooms out but the “rock snot” is still slowly letting go and washing through. With a nice and thoughtful increase in flow from Prettyboy that started yesterday we should start to see a marked improvement in conditions leading into Earth Day Weekend!
We quietly celebrated our 22nd Shop Birthday last month! Thanks to all, both old and new that have helped us reach this milestone! We could not have been successful without your support and loyalty.
Fishing continues to improve on the Gunpowder as flows have been around the 60 Cfs range of late and river water temps are swinging upwards towards the magic #. Nymphing has been consistent with stonefly and attractor patterns in the #18-20 range. If the wind dies down try some tiny BWO’s between Masemore and Bunkerhill or a few black flies above Falls. A Bald Eagle sited well downstream of Corbett Rd. this morning was flapping merrily along with a fresh rainbow from last month’s stocking in its talons. May we all be so lucky this spring to connect and enjoy the bounty the Gunpowder River provides!
Please note: We will be closed April 2-7 and will reopen on Saturday the 8th. We will be closed the 9-12th and will reopen on the 13th.
THANKS FOR VISITING! The shop will be closed Friday the 22nd.