Heading out to the Gunpowder River? Check out the most recent report of the stream from Mike Slepesky
A pic of Jeremy, a recent guided trip guest on February 10th. We went out to learn some of the key tenets to Euro Nymphing. I think this fish has him hooked for life! Great job buddy!
Current Stream Temps- 38-44 degrees! Depending what time of the day you fish these are perfectly good winter temps to catch trout!
Current Stream Levels- 18-19.5cfs; levels are absurdly low. In my 10 years plus fishing the Gunpowder River, this is the lowest I have ever seen it. As a result, most of the upper river looks void of fish and more like a beach.
Current Bugs- Stoneflies........... that's about it and they aren't out in great abundance either. However, only about two months away from the sweet spot of hatches being in full swing.
Use the advice below to help you net a few more fish the next time you step out on the water!
Tip #1 - Can you resist a cheeseburger?
Fish, specifically brown trout, are lazy by nature. They want to expend the least amount of energy for the most protein in return. Therefore, in the winter, when there are no hatches, a
mop fly is a great choice. Think of it like this, if you were on the couch and someone brought you a cheeseburger, could you resist? (The answer is no)
Using a mop, by many is consider "junk". I believe it is an attractor, that in some times of the year does resemble a cased caddies larvae. At this time of year, fish don't have many options. As a result, it is tough for them to resist the chance at a big piece of potential food drifted right to them. Trust me, you won't regret it!
This fish fell for a mop, along with about 10 others on this trip. It truly was the difference from an average day and a great day!
Tip #2 - A sucker for eggs.......
Trout spawn from October through November roughly. As a result, browns will key into eggs most of the fall and winter. Moreover, suckers will spawn in February/March. When fishing in the late winter and spring take some eggs with you. The egg fly acts as an attractor pattern many time, but also imitates a food form in the system.
I really like running this as my "anchor" fly at the bottom of a tandem rig. I will then attach a smaller, more natural fly, like a pheasant tail, or walts worm. In my eyes, I believe fish see and move for the egg, which many times they will eat. I also find you catch equal amounts of fish on the more natural/smaller tag. In my estimation they are drawn in by the egg and end up eating the more natural presentation.
A beautiful brown that fell for an egg pattern. One nice part of eggs/mops if fish tend to hit/strike a bit harder and tight lines!
Tip #3 - Pray for rain!
As you may have saw, flows are only 18.5 CFS in the upper areas of the river. This is disturbingly low. As a result, these flows aren't worth making the trip unless cabin fever is too much to handle. We are due for a nice storm this upcoming week. We need all the help we can get.
The current projections are that the river will not see an increase in flows from the dam until late spring or early summer. If this is true, spring fishing will be painstakingly low and tough to see becoming great. The Gunpowder River really shines at 50-100 CFS, 18.5 CFS is more like a beach and fish can't spread out in the river and gorge on food like this should in the spring. Look for the deepest holes and runs, while skipping over lots of otherwise good water, if flows were up.
Tip #4 - Wait..... be patient
We are in the doldrums of winter. Water temps are contingent upon sun to warm it up. What usually happens, is the dawn hours have the river this time of year around 36-37 degrees. By the end of the day, the water is usually 40-41 degrees. This makes a MASSIVE difference in fish activity. Most of the year, in the spring through fall, I want to be on the water at first light. However, in February, it may not be a bad idea to wait and fish in the afternoon. Hatches will have potentially occurred and minimally the increase in water temps will have fish feeding more than the morning.
Another point to consider, about being patience, is making sure your drifts are as "dead" as possible. Be sure to:
A.) Keep flies in one line of current
B.) Get near the bottom, not on it
C.) Have your drifts going at or slightly slower than the surface current
If you are able to dial in these three key components then more fish will be caught.