Trico’s are beginning to hatch and clear, cold, 50 degree (F) water is flowing down the Gunpowder. Fishing has been good in the mornings with dark nymphs and small midge patterns. Ants and beetles will work well throughout the day. With the beginning of the Trico emergence, stop in and grab a threader set (an easy way to tie on the tiny patterns) and a pair of flip-focals. Also make sure to check out our Trico patterns tied for us by Mike Bachkosky. 7X tippet and very long leaders will be necessary to fool the wary yet hungry wild trout.
Thanks to Chris for this stream report from July 20th.
Cosmic night on the Gunpowder! This was one of those evenings when all elements came together to result in classic dry fly fishing. As the fog rolled its way down river it chased the last of the tubers down-stream—I could hear their shouts and groans become swallowed and muted by the mist. Not a rising trout in sight. At approximately 7:30 the fog lifted to reveal the hidden world beneath the water–Rising trout came out to feed! With the water as low as it is, I took advantage by finding trout stacked up in channels and pools. One such spot tonight involved a glass smooth pool with a nice shade-line along its bank. Beneath the pool are large submerged boulders; two of which sit side-by-side forming a funnel that speeds the current as it passes through, resulting a deep green pocket with slowly twisting, braiding currents on top. The fish were holding in groups of 2 or 3 throughout this area and were feeding on the emergers of sized 16 and 18 sulphurs. A spattering of cream midges were mixed within the hatch. I tied on a sized 18 dun to 18 feet of leader ending in 7x and carefully made a 30 foot upstream cast to where the fish where pushing the surface. I instantly had a brown sip my fly. This became the routine for the rest of the evening, hooking into to several fish up to 13” (browns and rainbows) all on dry flies. This, I believe, is soulful fly fishing in its purist form. And not another person in sight; just the sound of the chorus of forest dwellers. I’m always truly amazed at what a phenomenal river we have just minutes from our doorsteps.
Thanks to Jessica and Brett for this Idaho fishing report and photos from July 13th.
We had a great Idaho trip – and I had a great time fishing. Caught rainbows and a small brown trout this week. Water levels were record highs which made it tough to fish most streams (lots of mending the line!).
Well, Jess and I are back from out Idaho trip. I can assure you that it is “all that” and then some. We had an outstanding vacation, although all the running around out there wore us out pretty bad. Selfishly I have to say that the first day of the trip was the highlight for me. We were set to float the S. Fork of the Snake River. Out guide warned me that it was high and muddy. He wanted to divert us to the Henrys Fork, which was the only stream that wasn’t blown out with the record snowmelt. We planned to fish the Henrys Fork on our own for several days, so we stuck with the plan. Overall, fishing was pretty slow. We caught many whitefish and a few nice rainbows, but it took lots of effort. I didn’t catch the big cutthroat I was looking for, but I did manage to hook up with a monster brown trout. Our guide freaked out. It was the longest brown he had a client catch in his 10yr career, just short of 26” on the tape (although it wasn’t very robust). Most of the fish were caught on nymphs and san juan worms, but I got a few rainbows on a streamer. Jess did fantastic, and nearly (notice I said nearly) outfished me on the trip. Her casting lessons at Backwater Angler helped tremendously.
We got some nice fish from the Henrys Fork over the next few days, all rainbows. It’s a magical place, crowded with both wading and drifting anglers. Lots of hatches coming off. I had to make daily trips to the fly shop to pick up the fly that the fish wanted that I didn’t have… My best was a 17” rainbow. All the fish were built like tanks, there’s just so much insect life there. Each of us actually got a few fish off the “Ranch” section, which is a famously difficult section to fish. It is simply awesome.
The river is flowing at 35 CFS and is 55 degrees at Falls Rd. Fishing has been productive throughout the day. Ants and caddis have been go-to patterns in the mornings and afternoons, while small midge and pheasant-tail nymphs have been working during mid-day. Tricos have just started coming off and the fish will begin eating them in the next week. A long leader ending in 7X has been the key to fooling the wary fish in low water. Fishing the upper sections of the river is a good idea if you want to fish pocket water and deep pools. Stop in and pick up some caddis and terrestrials from the muffin tins before you head out.
I fished this week in the mornings at Masemore, and didn’t see any anglers before 10 AM. Small caddis and ants were producing fish in the riffles above the bridge. The Acid Ant pattern we have in the shop was really working well I think due to the sparkle under the wing, Alex and I fished on Thursday morning and saw tons of flying ants on the windshield of his car so we decided to fish the flat water using a very small black ant pattern, 7X was the key along with a 14 foot leader and light rod. Nymphing with caddis pupas also produced in the deeper water. I’m fishing the Winston BIIX 3 weight which is a perfect summer rod for the Gunpowder because of its versatility. I can cast small dries without its butt stifness interfering with the light tippet, and the stiffer butt helps flip out nymphs and indicators. Fishing smaller streamers really isnt even a problem with the rod since the boron butt really helps with the heavier flies. With terrestrials and tricos coming up, I test cast one of the Sweetgrass Mantra Rods, and it would be perfect for flipping out small ants and beetles. The softness of the bamboo makes casting truly effortless, and fighting fish is that much more fun because you can feel it all the way to the butt of the rod. It’s been pretty hot, but wet wading has made the heat more barable. I’d recommend getting out in the mornings and evenings to avoid the midday heat.
The Gunpowder river is low, clear and flowing at 31 CFs. River temps are 54 to 56 F throughout the catch and release section. Tricos are here!!!!
Fishing has been good in the mornings starting at about 9:30 or so. The Tricos have really started hatching, and the heavy spinner fall has been bringing many fish to the surface. Size #22 and #24 spinner patterns have been catching fish in the mornings. Through the afternoon and evenings small caddis have been bringing up fish in the riffles. Ants and beetles fished under overhanging banks and branches have been working throughout the day. Though the water is still low, the fish are eagerly feeding and will take a properly presented fly.
Though the low flows on the Gunpowder are making a stealthy approach necessary, the fishing has not been that tough. The water is low, clear, and cold (in the low 50’s), so long leaders in the 12-13 foot range and 7X tippet have been necessary. Fishing the riffle water with small caddis and terrestrials, and staying away from flat water has been productive. Small tan elk hair caddis, beetles, and small hoppers have been fooling fish throughout the catch-and-release section. On a recent evening outing to the upper section, I saw very few caddis hatching, but I had many fish eagerly take a caddis emerger and elk hair pattern. They were also hitting a black foam beetle below overhanging branches and bushes.
We have a great new selection of terrestrials in the muffin tins, so put a few in your box when you stop in. Tricos are on the way!
On a recent outing to the catch-and-release area of the Gunpowder river, I was happy to have landed a good number of fish including a nice 16 inch brown. If fished from about 6 o’clock to 8, and landed a good number of fish casting small elk-hair caddis and large stimulators into riffles. There were no fish consistently rising, but they were eager to take properly presented and skated caddis imitations. At one point, the mist was so thick that I resorted to a dead-drifted size 10 wooly bugger with a small green Copper John dropper. I took the 16 incher on a fingerling rainbow imitation streamer. The evening was a good time to fish because it was nice and cool, and the sun wasn’t as strong as during the middle of the day. All in all, a good day in the catch-and-release section of the Gunpowder River.
I hit the River at Masemore around 6:45 am on Wednesday the 8th, and fished an olive zonker until around 7. I got three fish on that , but I switched to a size 22 reverse hackle trico on a 13 foot 7x leader. I got four nice brown’s that way, but after 11 o’clock, the hatch dwindled, and the fish stopped rising.
I then put on a green weenie with a red San Juan worm dropper. This arrangement resulted in a few tangles, but also a couple of fish. At about noon, I began to hit the banks with ants and beetles, either floating, or sunken with a split shot. I got more fish on that arrangement, but the nicest fish came from a deep pool below Masemore. He was 16 inches, and hit a prince nymph that I had cast into the quick water that edged the pool. After that, I landed a few more fish on a white wooly bugger, and a lite-bright zonker.
Hoppers were working well when cast hard against the banks.
I left the river at 3:00, having landed 15 fish and having missed over three dozen.