Firstly, Happy New Year! Heading out to the Gunpowder River? Check out the most recent report of the stream from Mike Slepesky
The Gunpowder River is up and seasonal for temps. Fish can be taken, but it takes focus and attention to detail.
Current Stream Temps- 41-45 degrees! (fairly steady over the last week or so)
Current Stream Levels- 100cfs; recent rains over the last month have the river JUICY with flows and fish eager and ready to fill up before the doldrums of winter
Current Bugs- Midges, BWO, baitfish imitations
Use the advice below to help you net a few more fish the next time you step out on the
Tip #1 - Eggs are for breakfast... (and more!)
The spawn is over, Fish are long gone off the redds and filling up for winter. Brown Trout are carnivorous and cannibalistic beasts. They tend to eat eggs that are around post spawn, as well as eggs from brook trout, suckers, and any other fish that spawn in fall and winter.
In recent trips, both as a guide and personally, I have had wonderful success landing many fish, including some nice ones (pictured below). I tend to put my egg as the dropper fly on a two fly system. I look at it as the egg that draws them in, and then possibly a smaller fly dragged behind for a secondary option. Lately, half or more of my fish landed have come on the Orange Egg Pattern. In the winter, fish have less choices. When presented with a meaty opportunity to bulk up on, it can be difficult to resist. Don't be afraid to fish in the winter, it can be quite fruitful. However, you should be afraid if your box doesn't have a couple eggs in it!
Tip #2 - Trailer Flies for the win!
I fish a fair amount of the double nymph rig. Granted, the higher flows at the moment play a large role in this. Spring is also quite similar. However, one could still employ this theory as well in deep pools any time of year. As a result, I tend to have a smaller imitative pattern, and a larger more attractor style nymph in combination. Use this as a template:
4 ft of tippet off a tippet ring. Then include in a second piece of roughly 20-24 inches of tippet and double surgeons knot them together. I leave about 6 inches of a tag off the 4 ft section for my dropper/tag fly. As a result, I typically use a size 16 nymph, like a CDC France, Walts Worm, Sexy Walts, Egg Pattern etc on the tag fly.
On the bottom I tend to have a size 14 Blow Torch, Tasmanian Devil, etc. on the point. I find this combination of flies allows me to get down to the bottom, where fish truly are this time of year, and command a slow drift in the strike zone that results in more fish!
Tip #3 - Draw them in......
There is a quote that I once heard, I forget where from but I believe it was George Daniel, that roughly said:
"Have enough flash to draw them in, but not so much to scare them away"
I think in the winter this is critically important. Fish are sluggish, they need a reason to eat. Therefore, I like flies that are just a step more flashy that usual. For example:
Flies that work WELL year round:
- Zebra Midge
Patterns that are similar, but just a bit more flashy for winter success:
- Frenchie or Hot Butt PT
I believe the latter patterns mentioned draw fish in. I also think it gives them reasons to commit to eating your fly. However, those patterns do not have too much excess to dissuade a fish from wanting to eat.
Pictured is the new addition to the site, the Tasmanian Devil!
Get your boots wet and chase down some fish!
I hope this report, with tips included, helps you the next time you head out to the Gunpowder River. Be sure to head over to my Youtube Channel and see the latest adventure, head over to the store for euro nymphs for your next outing, and consider booking a trip for the summer through the website.