The Gunpowder is at 38 cfs, starting the day at 40 degrees F and carrying some color. Since the flows have been bumped down from 65 to 38 cfs the fishing has slowed up markedly. The trout seem to go into a state of shock after flows drop to this level for the first time in a while. With less water however, water temperatures will rise fast with some mild air temps and sunshine, this will bring on some spring hatches before long. Nymphing and streamers is the way to go until then.
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 61 CFS and 40F. Fishing on the Gunpowder picked up a bit this week as mild air temperatures allowed water temperatures to creep out of the 30s and reach 40F. A few degree bump in water temperatures seemed to bring the river to life a bit more than weeks past. Winter stones could be seen along the riverbank and even a few splashy rises were reported. Drifting small stonefly nymphs and midges is always a good bet this time of year. Streamers will work. In the late afternoon when water temps are at their peak, try an adult stonefly pattern in the faster water. You may be surprised!
It’s never easy to catch fish consistently at this time of year as water temperatures linger in the mid- 30’s. That said, persistence pays off, as demonstrated by Seth Hinder who has put in a lot of time fishing the Gunpowder all winter. He caught this 17 inch brown swinging and stripping a zonker downstream erratically. Nice work Seth!
This weekend should see a break in the freezing nighttime temperatures, this will help get that water temperature up which will stir up the insect, then, trout activity. The weather is forecast to be cloudy, still and wet, ideal for some early season trout fishing!
Fishing on the Gunpowder is generally slow but time put in on the river always pays off. I fished Wednesday afternoon with Darin Crew above Falls road and we had the place to ourselves. The temperature was lingering below freezing but the wind had subsided allowing for comfortable fishing. Between us we covered a lot of water and ended with 5 trout but those caught were chunky wild browns between 9 – 14 inches.
When the water temperatures are as cold as they are, and little is hatching, odds are against catching numbers so it’s often worthwhile going for larger fish that may be tempted into opportunistic meal. Dead drifting streamers in the deeper pools is a great way to target these fish.
The Gunpowder is at an ideal 99cfs, starting the day at 36 cfs, and clear.Over the past week the discharge from Prettyboy dam has been gradually decreased from the 200+ cfs it was previously. At this current level, water temperature can really jump during a mild day, which looks good for the weekend. Early brown and little black stoneflies have been hatching, fishing a size 16 prince nymph is a good imitative pattern for these, which you will see crawling up logjams drying out their wings. If you see or hear a splashy rise, try skating a dry in the faster water, the first strong hatches of the year will tempt hungry fish to look up for a meal through early afternoon.
The Gunpowder is high at 285cfs, 39 F and progressively more stained downstream from Falls road.
The river is a different beast at these levels. Putting lots of weight onto your line is the way to go if nymphing, as the fish are sitting in deep water and will be sluggish. Zebra midges are working well. The issue is getting snagged more often as there is more debris washed into the river waiting to steal your fly.
I think that these levels are great for streamers, sink tip lines make a huge difference in keeping your streamer in the strike zone. The best bet of finding a larger, hungry trout is in the tails of pools and against structures like log jams.
Due to the freezing temperatures, fishing has not been easy. However, if you manage to stay warm and concentrate your fishing on days when the wind hasn’t been too harsh, the Gunpowder is producing. I fished New Years day and then Wednesday the 3rd. I caught several fish during a couple of hours on zebra midges on Monday when the water was clear, on Wednesday the water was stained and the flow was up to 195. Dead drifting woolly buggers picked up some nice wild fish. I had to work for them though and found them hugging the banks. Patagonia capilene underwear, gloves and shelled insulated pants make a huge difference to enjoying your outings during the winter months.
With a break in this cold weather this coming week, the fishing should get better. Fish will spread out in this higher volume of water and streamer fishing will work for those willing to put the time in. Czech nymphing is always an excellent way to search for fish when the water is stained like is it. Use caution when on the trails, put some cleats in your boots and avoid rocky areas if possible. Watch your step – broken bones are not fun, I can attest to that recently!
Thanks to Jim Czawlytko for catching this photo of this pretty brown with the giant tail.
Thanks to Gene for the following stream report and photos:
The Gunpowder is flowing at an ideal 87 cfs, clear and the water temperature has dropped below the 40 degree mark.
Fishing has been quite good considering how cold the air temperatures are. Edge ice is forming in increased amounts downstream from York road. Fishing between York road up to Falls has been the most consistent. Above Falls road the didymo is blooming as normal at this time of year. Streamers are worth a shot up there, fish them slowly and close to the bottom. Trout will eat in these cold temperatures but typically don’t move far to intercept food items. I’m finding that tiny pheasant tails, miracle nymphs zebra midges are effective. Anything bigger than a size 16 I find does not produce as much at these temperatures. The most productive time of the day is between 11-3 when the sun is at its highest.
At 1 pm today I walked the access points in the catch and release section, i counted 8 fishermen braving the sub zero temperatures, despite having to clear their guides of ice, wild fish were still being caught. Despite the challenges the cold brings to fishing, you won’t catch fish sitting on the sofa.
The Gunpowder is at 74.4 cfs, clear and starting the day 44.5 degrees F. With the drop in air temperatures the fishing has been tricky on the Gunpowder. That said, fish are being caught, particularly for those anglers willing to tight line nymph. Jim Czawlytko enjoyed two snowy days of fishing over the weekend on the Gunpowder and got into plenty of wild brown trout. Jim found the action was on size 20 grey wd40 midges and size 22 pheasent tail nymphs. Fished with a tungsten beaded jig nymph on the point, which also caught fish. When the going gets cold, getting down to the bottom of the river is neccessery and czech nymphing is the most effective means of achieving this whilsts detecting delicate takes. As the afternoon wears on try a small streamer in the slacker water and back eddies.
The Gunpowder River is clear, flowing at 40 Cfs and is 46F. Most have found fly fishing the Gunpowder challenging during the past few bright days. Sometimes a longer leader and 7x makes all the difference in the flat water.
The Gunpowder is Flowing at 42 CFS and temps are ranging from 46- 48 degrees. With the past weekends mild weather, active fish could were rising throughout the catch and release sections of the river.
During a recent outing below the York Road access, fish could be found rising to midges in the slower sections. With the appearance of stoneflies along the river, try fishing a brown or black caddis (size 16-18) imitation with a Griffiths gnat dropper to draw some strikes.Fishing streamer patterns with a slow and erratic retrieve will draw some attention of hungry trout. Also, with cold weather approaching don’t be afraid of fishing a mouse pattern tight to the banks and retrieved steady and slow in a downstream and across presentation may surprise you. The trout above slammed a mouse pattern after the first slow strip.