Category Archives: fishing report

for river related condition reports

Wild Fish and Clear, Cool Water on the Gunpowder River

Gunpowder River at York RdThe Gunpowder River is clear, low and flowing at 32 CFs and is 55 degrees F. Tricos are about at York Rd. and Masemore Rd. access points each morning. Try a Letort Cricket on a 9ft 6x leader and drop a size #20-22 Al’s Trico about 18 inches behind the cricket. We have plenty of Mike Bachkosky’s reverse-hackled Al’s Trico’s in the muffin tins. This time of year, the lower river below Sparks might be up to 15 degrees warmer than the catch and release section. Small streamers in sizes #8 through #12 are worth a shot if you’d like to cover more water in the bend pools. Try tiny cream midges in the Falls Rd section or a hopper-dropper style rig in the boulder pools substituting a foam ant followed by a zebra midge. Low water conditions can can make for challenging fishing but consistently cool water temps make the Gunpowder a safe bet for fly fishing the Mid-Atlantic through August.

Please note: The shop will open tomorrow at 8 AM for those wanting to get an early jump on the Tricos!

Gunpowder River at York Rd

Low, Clear Water and Terrestrials on the Gunpowder

Chunky  Wild BrownThe Gunpowder river is clear, low at 32 CFS and warming up at 58 F. Bright sun and burning hot days has made the fly fishing quite challenging. Thanks to Gene for the stream report and great photos:

After a brief spell of 80 cfs flows the dam has reduced the flow to the mid 30’s yesterday morning. Long leaders and small dry flies have been still been tempting plenty of fish in the faster water. Small caddis patterns and ants (size 18) are great go-to flies all day long.

Lower Catch And Release of the Gunpowder

5, 000 New Rainbows in the Catch and Release section of the Gunpowder River

Rainbow in hand

The Gunpowder River is clear upstream of Bluemount road, flowing at an ideal 78 CFs and is 55 degrees. Fish are taking terrestrials, small streamers and midge patterns. Five-thousand (5,000) fingerling rainbows were stocked in the upper catch and release section in the past two weeks.

Thanks to Gene for the following stream report and photos:

Since Friday, the flow has been bumped up from the mid 40’s to the 80 cfs mark, providing much greater fishing opportunities. The water temperature in the upper sections ranging from 50-55 through the day. At time of year, with temperatures being well in the 90’s, its often best to give the lower sections a miss due to high water temperature and lots of river traffic from others enjoying the river.

The fishing is most consistent in the morning. Bigger fish are falling readily for an opportunistic hopper or beetle. I’ve been catching more rainbows than usual lately, including a large one which was 17 inches long. Many fish will be tempted by caddis (size 16-18) and midges. I like using small streamers like sculpin patterns, wooley buggers and traditional’s like grey ghosts and Mickey Finns, being effective when fished up against any structure. As we enter August, keep an eye out for tricos as well in the morning.


Rainbow in Flow

Sight fishing the Gunpowder with Ants, Beetles and Hoppers

July flows on the Gunpowder river

The Gunpowder River is low and clear and flowing at 44 CFs and 54 degrees F. Find some shade and you’ll find some fish. Tippet in the 6 to 7x range is a must. Long Leaders starting at ten feet will ask make a big difference in whether your tricking fish or not. Thanks to Chris Karwacki for the great morning shot of the Gunpowder and to Gene for the following stream report:

The river is shallow, clear with ideal water temperatures for trout fishing.Terrestrials are having opportunistic fish looking up to the surface for ants, hoppers and beetles and will take them along shady banks. Midges will catch fish. Using a small zebra midge behind a caddis pattern is a good bet in the catch and release section-particuarly above falls Rd. The low water levels have forced fish to the deeper pools, and sight fishing with a pair of good polarized lens sunglasses is an effective way to catch fish. You’ll be able to see fish and know where they are for next time.

Please note: The shop will be closed on Monday, July 4!

Sulphurs, Caddis and Terrestrials on the Gunpowder

Healthy Gunpowder Brown Trout
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 110 Cfs and is 53.5 degrees F. The lower river is clearing nicely after some heavy rainstorms this week. Small caddis, sulfurs and terrestrial are all worth a shot. The difference between missing fish and catching fish might be your leader and tippet. Stop in the shop and show us your rigging. We’ll be happy to help you pick out the right stuff. By this time of year the fish have seen a lot of flies so go long and light by starting with a 10 ft 5x leader and plan on adding a foot and a half of 6x or 7x tippet. Fishing early will be productive with unweighted pheasant tails and soft hackles. Mid-Afternoon fishing with sulphur dries has been better after 2 PM. If you’re planning on fishing till dark try a few rusty spinners in a #16-18.

Thanks to Sean for the great stream report and photos from June 10:

Thanks so much for some of your insightful tips and getting me outfitted with the correct leaders, tippet, and flies for my current fishing endeavors. I did exactly as you said, and it worked. Mid-afternoon I tied on the Sulphur emerger pattern on to 1.5’ of 7x tippet on my 5x leader. Twelve presentations in I started seeing the fish coming closer to me feeding. I caught one on the emerger pattern and 3 on the sulphur dry’s as the afternoon progressed at Masemore, down river. All the time and effort put in to this River, it came together these past two days. Where, today I also had a great day out on the water. I was hunting the shade just as much as the fish. Here are a few pics I snapped of these beautiful wild’s.
Sean Eagan

And thanks again to Sean for another report from June 15:

Off and on rain did not permit me to get out on the river until the mid afternoon. At 3pm the sun was peaking thru the clouds as I entered the river, Masemore Rd downstream, and jumped from shade patch to shade patch. That humid erie fog was rising off the river as the sun made more of it’s presence known. Fish were feeding off and on throught this fog that was lifting. Not observing much sulphur activity, but I tied one on anyway. Sulphur Dry #18. No looks at all, made roughly 30-40 casts. As the afternoon progressed the fish became more active. Feeding within 10 feet of my, but not on my offerings. I tied on an Ant pattern #16 and immediately got the results I was looking for. The 2nd fish was a beautiful one. Maybe the biggest I’ve caught in this area. Fights was hard and aggressive. More than I expected. 73 degrees. Cool mixed with humid spells on the river, partly cloudy. River seemed to be moving faster today. This guys is pushing 12”.
Sean Eagan

Sulphurs, Caddis and Hopper Dropper Rigs on the Gunpowder

Patagonia Flyfishing Gear
The Gunpowder River is flowing at a near perfect 110 CFs and is 53 F. Bright days have been challenging for those seeking fish on dries. Small caddis in the #16-18 range and Sulphurs in the #16-18 range have been the ticket. If you don’t want to fish 7x Cover the pocket water and boulder pools with a #16-18 bead head prince behind a small hopper or foam caddis. Don’t wait to fish the Sulphurs-it might be time to get out of D.C and connect with a wild fish in the Gunpowder river…We’re loaded for bear with new Patagonia gear that just arrived in time for a wade or float trip out west. Fly fishing Western Maryland? –Stop in and ask Gene and Stefan how the Savage River was fishing this week.
Patagonia Fly Fishing Gear

Fly Fishing for Wild Trout over Memorial Day Weekend

IMG_0847The Gunpowder River is flowing at 80 CFs and is clear and 60 to 64 degrees F. Air temps in the upper 80’s this week have resulted in epic spinner falls throughout the catch and release section. Effective patterns include a suite of Sulpur emergers, duns and spinners tied by Mike Bachkosky including Phunny Emergers, Sulphur Unusuals, and his infamous bright Para-Spinners. Unweighted pheasant tails will also result in a few fish especially in the lull between the last emergence and the spinner fall. Small elk hair caddis and caddis emergers in the #16-18 range and BWO’s in the #18-20 range will also trick a few wild fish-especially early. Backwater Angler staffer Carl Cartier and fly fishing guide and instructor Bryan Donoway were recently in the shop together discussing the finer points of Leonard Bamboo Fly Rods and plaid shirts.

Please Note:
The shop will be open over Memorial Day Weekend:
Friday from 10 till 5
Saturday and Sunday from 10 till 4
Monday from 10 till 4

Sulphurs and Sunshine on the Gunpowder

Sefan Babij going deep in the Lower Gunpowder River
The Gunpowder is clear, flowing at 110 Cfs and is 56 degrees F. Lime green to a carrot colored orange Sulphurs have been the trick. Caddis emergers from a 16 on up are also working in the riffles. The ongoing rain has one positive result, especially if one has a rain jacket handy–water temperatures have remained mild and hatches are slowly coming off throughout the afternoon.

Sulphurs on the Gunpowder River

Sulphurs are just starting on the Gunpowder River! The Gunpowder River is clear and flowing at 124 Cfs and is 55F. Leaf out is about a week and a half early this spring. Now the banks are providing some much needed shade. Cadddis emergers and Sulphur wets are working fine. Fish will still take a Hendrickson or rusty spinner late in the evening but with water temps in the mid 50’s count on a late emergence of Sulphurs. We just picked up some great Sulphur patterns from the Post office today that Mike has been tying for us in NY. Check out the new rain jackets from Simms and Patagonia so you can focus on fishing instead of that “old damp feeling”. Want to learn some new tricks? Stop in and talk to the young folks behind the counter at Backwater Angler. Thanks to Justin Gaffney for the stream report and great shot of an upper river wild brown.

It took one of Mike’s Hendrickson patterns underneath a low limb beside a big rock against a bank. When I saw it rise, I thought it was a much smaller fish before It took the fly. I’m glad I had a net with me.
Justin Gaffney

Hendricksons and Black Flies on the Gunpowder

Scott G2 Dry Fly Fishing with a Hendrickson and Red Quill Pattern
The Gunpowder is clear, flowing at 127CFS and is 50.5 F. Thanks to Mike Colegrove for the Hendrickson pics and to Gene for the great stream report. Still knocking the dust off your gear? Please visit with him in the shop on Monday, Thursday and Saturdays to get the latest on River conditions. Red quills, emergers and tiny midge patterns have been the ticket-be sure to bring along some 6 and 7x.

This April, variable weather conditions is resulting in equally variable flow levels on the Gunpowder, it’s always useful to check the water gage link during this time of year before heading out. Streamers are taking lots of fish at the moment, olive wooly buggers for crayfish and sculpins along white zonkers for the baitfish, both being particularly effective as water levels drop after a spell of spring rain. Black ‘snow’ flies, hook size 20, are reliably peeling off the surface throughout the day. Keep an eye out for Hendricksons and March Browns, especially closer to the dam above Falls road where the large rocks on the streambed provide optimum habitat for the nymphs to thrive. As water temperatures steady at 50 degrees there should be greater abundances of Hendricksons and heavy spinner falls occurring throughout the next two weeks. All patterns readily available in our muffin tins will put you onto wild trout in the catch and release section. Recently stocked rainbows are moving up from the stocked water and settling into the lower stretch from Bluemount Rd. downstream.

Gene Howson