Heading out to the Gunpowder River? Check out the most recent report of the stream from Mike Slepesky
The Gunpowder River is still fairly low, but cold. Fish are there to be had, but one should be stealthy and make adjustments to see consistent action. Read below for some advice!
Current Stream Temps- 51-59 degrees! (Ideal water temps, get out there!!!!)
Current Stream Levels- 38 cfs; this has been a consistent flow for the last few weeks and will remain that way likely till the fall, unless we get some consistent rains/tropical storm.
Current Bugs- sporadic midges, tricos, olives, sulphurs. mostly terrestrials.
Use the advice below to help you net a few more fish the next time you step out on the Gunpowder River!
Tip #1 - Terrestrials to the banks and riffles!
Dry fishing is one of the most rewarding ways to catch fish. Having a fish come up and reject your fly can be maddening, but having a splashy take from an eager brown can be exhilarating! On recent outings, we have been catching fish on ant, beetle, and hopper imitations. Typically, the size of these have ranged from 12-16 on most patterns.
What we have found is that we prospect the riffles with our terrestrial for actively feeding fish, and we target rising fish near the banks. Keep your casts tight when targeting the banks. A few inches off the bank is sufficient. Also, in the riffles be ready for quick and aggressive eats. The fish do not have time to inspect the flies, like they do near the bank Therefore, eats will be fast and furious.
Tip #2 - Find deep and fast water
This spring, when we had average flows from 100-200 cfs, the whole river seemed to be on fire! However, there were super deep and heavy riffles I found I just could not get the drifts I want and were not catching fish out of them. Albeit there were no fish caught in a couple of these holes, I knew it was too fishy to be void of trout.
A picture of the swift run that in the spring was near impossible to get a good drift in
On a recent outing I went back to the spot that I was having difficulty on in the spring. Due to below average flows, that heavy riffle was not much more manageable. I quickly tied on a White George Daniel Sculp snack. I made a cast right into the heaviest part of that run and on the first drift, and third twitch of the rig, FISH ON! It was a gorgeous 15" wild brown.
The brown trout lurking in the deep run that assuredly held fish.
After releasing him, I tucked another cast in a different seam of the same run and BOOM, another fish on. Alas, he had broke the line and I lost the only one of the pattern I had.
I quickly switched to a double nymph rig. I tied on a sz 14 blow torch, and sz. 16 CDC France fly. I tried the inside seam of the riffle, which I had already caught two fish out of, and yet another nice brown was landed, this one being 14".
Why share these stories? The point is to let you know fish are in there. Especially this time of year when it appears most of the river is scary low. Fish find refuge in the deeper fast water for a plethora of reasons. The largest trout will harbor in the heads of those runs and you can often catch a real gem, plus a few more, if you work those bits of water strategically.
Tip #3 - Map out YOUR river
The last piece of advice is not really a fishing tip but more of a philosophical piece of advice. As much as I love nymphing and higher flows, right now it is not the most ideal time for it. Surely I still can go to the river and employ the strategy to catch fish. However, the low flows instead provide you another opportunity.
This is a great time of year to really walk further along the river. Be observant, take notes, make a mental or physical map of what you see. The reason this is important is because in low water you can find "buckets", or impressions, in the river. Why does this matter? The reason is due to the fact when the flows do come back up, which they will, you know know the softer spots of the river bottom that provide the fish refuge to sit near the bottom in slower water, when the surface water may be telling you differently.
Also, in lower flows you can find root systems, undercut banks and boulders with undercuts. All of these places are perfect locations for trout to inhabit during normal or above average flows. Although today there may be no fish in those locations, rest assured your mapping of the river you call home will pay off when the time is right!
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.