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Gunpowder River Report: 6/19/23

Heading out to the Gunpowder River? Check out the most recent report of the stream from Mike Slepesky

A beautiful shot of one of my favorite sections of river. It is loaded with riffles and runs that are plentiful of gorgeous wild brown trout.



Current Stream Temps- 47-54 degrees! These are still ideal spring temps and the fishes metabolism is in optimal feeding conditions


Current Stream Levels- 38-74cfs; levels have INCREASED after a recent release from the Prettyboy Dam, which makes for good fishing. We are due for two good rain events this week, that hopefully will keep the river stable throughout.


Current Bugs- Sulphurs and Caddis are starting to dwindle, especially lower in the system. Fish are still looking up and eating on top! Terrestrial season is right around the corner as well.


Use the advice below to help you net a few more fish the next time you step out on the water!


Tip #1 - Pretty in Perdigon


A fly that has really produced for me, in a variety of patterns, is the Perdigon. What is a perdigon? It is a Spanish style fly that is VERY thinly dressed with either thread, tinsel, etc, and coated in UV Resin. These flies are durable, dense, and a trout delicacy. What I think makes them most "fishy" is that they get down QUICK! There is no material to absord water. The whole fly is hydroprohobic and will not take on any water. As a result, when I cast these flies in riffles, and gain contact with my drft, they are in the strike zone quick and fish react just as fast. On recent trips the Hot Spot Perdigon and Quilldegon have netted quite a few fish. Also, a new pattern I am playing around with, also has caught many fish in recent outings. The fly of choice lately has been the Purple Perdigon Bullet.


Pictured above is Dave, who caught this stellar wild brown on a Purple Perdigon Bullet. It was one of many after a 25 year hiatus from fly fishing. Welcome back, and thanks to his son Joe for booking a trip on Father's Day Weekend. What a blast!


Tip #2 - Drab season is upon us


Give fish a reason to take your fly, not multiple reasons to reject. Often times, when fly fisherman, myself included, are selecting flies, we get very hung up in "the right/perfect fly". However, the reality is, a well presented fly is more important. In recent lower flows, I was often fishing a single Walts Worm with great success. There really isn't much to this fly. Furthermore, it is a stable in spring creeks, tailwaters, and even freestoners. It can look like so many different smaller aquatic insects and offers very little to reject, from a fishes perspective. Surely, I enjoy fishing a Sexy Walt's Worm, and that has caught plenty of fish for me as well. However, the reality is, sometimes keeping it as plain as possible on the sunny days, with low flows, can result in better opportunities.


"Pretty flies catch fisherman, not fish"

Tip #3 - Riffles and Runs


In the summer, the faster water is the name of the game. Fish take to these areas for a variety of reasons:


  1. Cooler water

  2. More highly oxygenated

  3. Buffet line for bugs

  4. Easier to avoid overhead predation with broken water

For all the reasons listed above, this is a Euro Nymphers dream. I believe this is the hardest type of water to fish. Drifts can be manipulated in a split second with bad form or technique. Whereas, a well placed cast with contact can yield incredible results. What I love most about fishing this water is many anglers skip right by it and make assumptions that there can't be fish in water that low or fast. Also, many anglers do not have the set up to get a slow enough drift, that is drag free, in this style of water. As a result, times like late spring and summer yield high numbers of quality fish when Tight Lining. Think of it like this, have you ever had a fish come up and refuse a well placed dry fly in a pool? Is there anything more maddening that that rejection and seeing how close you were to a fish? Well, fishing riffles is the opposite! These fish have very little time to come up and place their nose on the fly and inspect it, much like they would in a pool. Instead, these fish have to make split second decisions to eat or not, because the food source will be gone if they don't. This gives the Euro Nymphing angler the advantages in water like this.



Conrad is working a long riffle, from back to front. We were able to pick off fish in just about every spot that we suspected they could be. After a few dozen fish we walked out with our heads held high. Great job my friend!



(Disclaimer: By no means am I saying Euro Nymphing is better than, or superior, to other forms of fishing. Do what makes you happy and gives you the most fun on the water!)


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.

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