Brook Trout, Tiger Trout and Sulphurs on the Gunpowder River

Sulphur Mayfly Gunpowder River
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 63 Cfs, is 49.5 degrees F and gin clear. Quite a number of brookies have been caught this spring. Fish are looking up and taking a mix of caddis, caddis emergers and Sulphurs. Most of these are in the #16 range and we’ve also had a few midges about. We have Sulphur unusuals, “phunny” emergers and para-spinners from Mike Bachkosky in the muffin tins. With the water low and clear long leaders in the 10 to 12ft range ending in 6 or 7X are making a difference- especially in the flats between Bunkerhill and York. Falls road access has been fishing better in the evenings but we’ll need some warmer evening to fish the spinner falls any earlier than almost dark. Thanks to Ryan for the following photos and stream report.

I spoke with you today after fishing with my dad and asked you to identify a trout I caught above Falls Road on the Gunpowder. You said it was a Tiger Trout and you also said I could email you a photo of it to post on your fishing report. Here are the photos of the Brook Trout and the Tiger Trout.

Thanks very much.

Ryan Jack

Brook Trout Gunpowder River
We’ve had a number of folks stop in over the years and ask us why Brook trout are so significant, and maybe what they’re getting at is they want to know why we still see native fish that have never been stocked still surviving in the Gunpowder watershed. The tiger trout Jack caught below is actually a cross of Brown and a Brook trout that naturally occurs in the Gunpowder because both species spawn in the fall.

Tiger Trout Gunpowder River

For those interested here is a statement from MDDNR on Brook Trout for your review.

Brook trout are Maryland’s only native freshwater trout species and have been a popular recreational angling resource since European colonization of North America.

Brook trout require relatively pristine conditions for survival and typically cannot survive when water temperatures exceed 68F. Anthropogenic alterations to Maryland’environment over the last several centuries including clear cutting of forests, establishing large agricultural areas, and urbanization have resulted in the extirpation of brook trout from 62% of their historic habitat in Maryland. Of the remaining 151 streams where brook trout populations are found, over half are in westernmost Garrett County, the least developed area of Maryland.

The vast majority (82%) of the remaining populations are classified as “greatly reduced”, meaning that within the subwatersheds where they occur they occupy only 1% to 10% of the area that was historically inhabited. A major difficulty in managing the brook trout resource is that only 11% of all brook trout streams and stream miles are fully within state lands, the vast majority of habitat is on private land and a mix of private/public lands.

Of the more immediate threats to brook trout populations in Maryland, urbanization is the most serious. In watersheds where human land use exceeds 18% brook trout populations cannot survive. If impervious surface area is greater than 0.5% in a watershed brook trout will typically be extirpated.

For more information please go to the Fisheries Outreach page on Brook Trout