March has historically been a time when numerous insects start hatching on the Gunpowder River. Midges hatch on the river on mild days, and Blackflies can be found hatching in areas of the river this month under warm, ideal conditions. Stonefly nymphs pictured below can be found in the water under rocks and in leaf piles.
Dry fly anglers should look for less wary fish down river and an extended period of warm days or bright sun. I got reports of fish hitting dry flies on the warmest days the past two weeks. On days when the temps reached 55 degrees I counted six browns rising to stoneflies and midges in one pool in the Lower River. I also noticed little hatching and no risers on the days before and after in the same area. Small nymphs, attractor patterns, zebra midges, DMC midges and brassies have been working all winter. The fish have been pounding correctly imitated nymphs and pupae, and some will rise to dries during a short period of the day. Fishing the hatch involves nymphing if it’s cold, because the bugs are still subsurface. The fish have also been aggressive on black, brown and white streamers. Five different anglers reported black Wooly Buggers got the trout biting this past weekend. This video shows fish caught through the month of February in both the upper and lower stetches of the Gunpowder River.
The level of Prettyboy has risen with recent rain, but at least eight feet remains until spillover.The river upstream of the upper Falls Road lot, below Prettyboy Dam is very low, and tough to fish without spooking the trout. The levels at Falls Rd have been fluctuating from 34 to the low 20 Cfs range. Little Falls has been raising the levels in the lower river after recent rains, which has provided good fishing for many. Anyone looking to check out areas farther south should know the lower river below the Gas Line down stream of Corbett Rd Bridge will close on the March 9th, and not reopen until the 29th. A lot of rainbows from last Spring’s and this Fall’s stocking are still in the river, along with fat wild browns. The fishing isn’t slow, the conditions are just very different from years past and anglers adjusting tactics and exploring new areas are getting into fish.