This past weekend I was lucky enough to get up to the North Branch of the Susquehanna for a smallmouth trip. The day we fished we got on the water early, about 4:00AM. We had a blast fishing topwater flies and landed about five 4 pound smallmouth. As the sun got higher in the sky the topwater bite died off and were forced to start fishing streamers to the fish. Around lunch time we pulled up in a back eddy where there was a little bit of shade. About four bites into my turkey sandwich I saw what I thought was a beaver, but at a closer look I realized that it was a massive carp. I quickly changed flies to a small Vaverka’s Mantis Shrimp, then made about a 30′ cast to the fish. Once my fly hit the water, the fish turned and went the 6 feet directly to it, and ate it right away. Once I set the hook on the fish, it made about a 100 yard run out into the middle of the river. The current was relatively strong in the riffle I fought it in and made the fish feel twice as big. Quickly my uncle had to fire up the boat and chase after it so I wouldn’t break it off, and about 30-40 min after I hooked it we finally landed the fish on a 7 weight G.Loomis NRX. It weighted in at nearly 35 pounds.
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 106 Cfs is 53.5 F and gin clear. Fish are looking up for caddis and flying ants. Tricos are just starting at Masemore. Long leaders and 7x are a safe bet. Fish are holding in the shade. Terrestrials like Shenk’s hoppers and crickets are worth a look. Pheasant tails followed by a midge or midge larva pattern are a nice way to cover the riffles. Thanks to Josh for the pics of wild browns.
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 106 Cfs is 52f and clear above Masemore Rd access. While the shop will be closed on the 4th, it will be open this Saturday and Sunday. The 4th is the last free fishing day in Maryland this year so be sure to take advantage of it. With cooler weather ahead, plan on a few Blue Winged Olives early. River temperatures have moderated a bit and are now starting in the low 50′s. Unless you’re planning on nymphing–sleep in, eat a hearty breakfast and get out on the River as it is warming up.The Sulphurs are all but gone and caddis are a good bet. We’re also seeing a few ants and beetles making their way into the stream. Long leaders are still the trick. Typically as the water drops mid-summer a 10 foot leader in 5x is a good starting point-add some 6 and/or 7x and you’ll be in the game. Think short cast, long drift and you’ll be on the right track. This shot of a native Brookie Josh Reider released just across the border was too pretty to leave archived as it would give even the best fireworks display a run for the money. Have a safe 4th!
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 171 Cfs, is 58 degrees F. and clear. Sulphurs are sporadic mid-day along the catch and release section within the Hereford Area of Gunpowder State Park. Caddis and Olives are worth a shot in the morning. Stop in and give the flies in the muffin tins a look. Sulphurs sized #18 and #20 and caddis in the #16-20 range area also a good bet…Longer leaders will help to trick wild fish this time of year so start with a 10 ft 5x leader and plan on adding some 6 or 7x tippet. Thanks to Josh Reider for the stream report and pictures:
Fishing has been very good the past couple of days after the storm. The water level dropping back below 200 Cfs this weekend has allowed the fish to return back to feeding on the surface. Fishing caddis in the shade during the middle of the day will produce a few fish. Many anglers have also reported catching fish nymphing small pheasant tails, hares ears, and zebra midges.
The Gunpowder river is clear, flowing at 229 Cfs and 60 F. Sulphurs are in full swing. Stop by the shop and check out the muffin tins. Mike Bachkosky just sent us more of his Unusual and Phunny emerges. The CDC Biot Comparaduns are great to fish as dries or cast them on a tight line and let them track down and across. Fish are holding in deeper softer water and river conditions are such that one should pick a bank and stick to it. Crossing at most of the river access points through the Hereford Area of Gunpowder State Park at 150 CFs or below can be tricky but attempting to cross at over 250 Cfs is downright dangerous. Caddis are always a good bet in the late afternoon. IF you must work try some evening fishing for the Sulphurs and bring a rain jacket just in case…
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 277 CFs and is 57 F. Cloudy days and full leaf out of trees along the River have resulted in a bit more shade. The fish are looking up and are taking small caddis in the #18-20 range.The last of the Hendricksons and Quill Gordons are on the wane. Just a few Sulphurs are coming off throughout the catch and release section. These bright mayflies can be imitated with a variety of emergers from the muffin tins on the front counter. Comparaduns and loop wings are sometimes easier to fish than traditional dries-especially on the swing. Leaders in the 10ft 5 and 6x range are a good bet. With River levels still on the high side and crossing the River safely is not an option so be sure to limit your wading. Thanks to Capt. Jeff Lewatowski for the great photos from a recent guide trip this week.
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 178CFs and is 40 F and is clear. Accessing the river has been one of the most challenging aspects of fishing this winter. The snow covered and iced over, frozen trails are now yielding to warmer, wetter conditions. The thaw, melt refreeze scenario has left most of the trails along the Gunpowder greasy, slick and downright dangerous. Best approaches have been for anglers to get in the water quickly and stay in-a difficult solution when the water is hovering under 40 F, but much safer than ending up on one’s backside. While the stocked section of the Gunpowder River is closed till the 29th (please see note below) the wild fish stretch upstream of the gas line below Corbett to Bluemount is open year round as is the catch and release, artificials only stretch from Bluemount upstream through Big Falls, York, Bunkerhill, Masemore and Falls Rd access points. With relatively high flows over the weekend, Didymo algae is just starting to let go along the catch and release stretch of the Gunpowder River. Often the algae breaks up in long tendrils making it difficult for anglers to nymph without fouling the double fly rigs that are commonplace in winter fishing. Until we have cleaner gravel, try a variety of small dries such as Black Flies in the #20-22 range and Blue Winged Olives sized #18-24. If you don’t want to start the fishing year squinting, a Renegade or Griffith’s Gnat in a #16-18 will usually do the trick in the flat water between the riffles. For folks with bigger flies and fish in mind, large streamers twitched on a downstream drift delivered with an Airflo sinking polyleader will get the big flies slow rolling along the bottom, into the log jams and in front of wild fish.
Thanks to Vince Crisler for the beautiful photo and fishing report from March 11:
Was great to stop into the shop and catch up! Was surprising to see
how much snow there still is on the banks of the Gunpowder, but it
looks like things are starting to wake up. Spent a couple hours
nymphing and ended up catching this guy at the very end dead drifting
a big articulated streamer. Looking forward to many more trips up
there from DC this year!
Closed on March 19, 20, 21
Backwater Angler will be open this Saturday, March 22nd and this Sunday, March 23rd from 10AM till 4PM.
Closed on March 24, 25, 26
Licenses for 2014: If you should need to purchase a license after hours please call 855-855-3906 or visit COMPASS You’ll need a nontidal (freshwater) license and trout stamp to fish the Gunpowder River for trout.
Please note: Little Falls and the lower Gunpowder River (called the “upper river” in the MDDNR Fisheries stocking schedule because it is upstream of Loch Raven) and regulated as a 5 fish a day stretch from the Gas line above Upper Glencoe through Lower Glencoe, Sparks and Phoenix closed on March 9 and will reopen at 5:30 AM on March 29th.
CATCH A POACHER 24-HOUR HOTLINE # 800-635-6124 This spring help Natural Resources Police (NRP) protect Maryland’s natural resources by keeping this number handy and at the ready. All streams in the state are signed with closure information upon stocking. If you see anglers fishing during closure periods make a call from a safe place and be sure to provide a physical description of the poachers, the closest road/stream intersection, vehicle description and license plate number.
Thanks to Josh Reider for the photos and gear review of his lucky Patagonia River Salt Jacket. We have a ready supply of these waterproof, breathable and durable wading jackets in stock ready to ship.
After fishing today in the freezing rain I found out two things: One, fish don’t care how miserable the weather is; and two, a nice rain jacket is a must. A friend and I fished in the dismal weather for 3 hours and were able to pick up close to 10 fish; hooking nearly twice that. We landed a few nice fish and a lot in the smaller 8-12 inch range. Fishing the Gunpowder this time of year is very productive and can be a lot of fun if you’re dressed properly. We were nymphing small pheasant tails and zebra midges with the most success. I switched to a streamer later in the day and had some fish chase it but none would commit.
My Patagonia Riversalt jacket kept me dry and warm in the miserable weather. I’ve had it nearly a year now and it works just as well as when I took it out of the box. It is great length, the cuffs work and because it is longer than most wading jackets it can be worn as a normal rain jacket. I use it whenever I fish and recommend it to anyone serious about staying comfortable fly fishing in a host of conditions.
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 104 Cfs and is 40 F. The Hereford Zone received between 5 and 7 inches of snow and Thursday night through Friday morning we dipped into the low single digits. The high winds made it pretty difficult for folks to get out Friday during the day but we had a surprising number of folks despite the cold weather getting out over the weekend. Most of the lots remain unplowed so York and Masemore are still the easiest to access with a car. Lots of edge ice is forming along the banks of the main stem and some of the smaller low gradient tributaries are starting to ice up. Consider giving the Falls Rd section a break. Fresh snow on the ground makes its tough to gauge where the holes are so stick to the flats until the condition of the trails improve. With rain on the way through today expect water temps to dip a bit and flow to increase as some of the snow slowly lets go. The shots in this post were taken at Masemore on Friday from the Gunpowder North Trail across from Bush Cabin Run and the Lefty Kreh Trail.
The Gunpowder River is clear and flowing at 119 and 41.5 F. A few stoneflies and Blue Winged Olives are flitting around but stream temps are still on the cold side. Fish the faster, shallow water with small nymphs starting in the #16 range and midge larvae sized #20-26. Streamers will also elicit a few takes and many more follows on a five or 10 ft sinking Airflo polyleader. Get ready for some snow along the upper river by Friday. If you bought studs for your wading shoes over the holidays now is the time to spend a few precious minutes this week putting them in-your backside will thank you!
Thanks to Josh for the stream report and photo:
Fishing the past couple days has been ice cold, but for those willing to brave the weather have found luck on the Gunpowder River. Nymphing small midge and black fly larva has proved the most successful. I have been fishing shallow as the fish that will eat are holding in water in the sun. I’ve also been staying warm by using a switch rod in the more open stretches and fishing streamers deep and slow with a sink tip. If you head out on the river for a couple hours this time of year, it won’t be hard to find serenity on many stretches of the Gunpowder!