Heading out to the Gunpowder River? Check out the most recent report of the stream from Mike Slepesky
The Gunpowder River is low and cold. Fish can be taken, but it takes focus and attention to detail.
Current Stream Temps- 48-56 degrees! (starting to cool down into fall like temps)
Current Stream Levels- 32 cfs; a month ago I foreshadowed it would be this way unless we got a tropical storm. We did, and nothing changed. Its going to be a tough fall.......
Current Bugs- Fading Terrestrials, sporadic caddis and BWO
Use the advice below to help you net a few more fish the next time you step out on the
Tip #1 - Get ON the bottom
On recent personal and guided trips we are not really seeing rising fish. There is the occasional "fools gold" where they come up once, but nothing is consistent. As a result, our focus has shifted away from dries and dry dropper, to single and double nymph rigs. A size 14 as a single fly, or 14/16 and 16/18 have done a lot of good things in returns on catching fish. I have really enjoyed fishing a double nymph with a Blow Torch on the point fly (bottom) and a CDC France Fly on the tag (upper). In the event I am fishing a single fly, my go to pattern is still the CDC France Fly. It has been out most consistent producer for months. With the low water, a single fly can get the job done the majority of the time. However, when I am fishing two, I like an attractor on the point.
The fish are glued to the bottom is the main take away. We must execute dead drifts on the river bottom to have success. The fish are really not actively taking bugs from the surface or mid column. There also really isn't the depth to provide for the opportunity. Which brings me to my next tip.........
Tip #2 - Find deeper wintering holes
I had a conversation recently with Vernon, from Great Feathers Fly Shop. He is a wealth of knowledge and knows the river well. He mentioned this year fish really never got out of winter mode. I believe this to be fairly accurate for the following reasons:
A.) The water never got above 60 degrees, which can keep them somewhat lethargic
B.) The hatches never were prolific, so they never keyed into looking up
C.) Flows were low most of year from June onward, so they didn't have much room to go
As a result of this info, I have found fish to be in pods in some of the deeper water. You have to get ON the bottom, present a dead drift, and make sure not to spook the glassy holes. However, if you do all these things correctly, some spots can yield nice rewards!
Tip #3 - A bobber can do a world of good!
When I first started Euro Nymphing, I used an indicator ZERO percent of the time. I always had the ignorant notion that the sighter replaced the need for an indicator, and thus you don't need it. However, I was listening to a Troutbitten Podcast and overheard their discussion on the topic. Based on my experience, I felt as if they too would sparingly use on. I learned a valuable lesson that day, be versatile and open minded. On that episode, the host Domenick Swentosky mentioned he uses an Indy approximately 40% of the time. I was astonished! As a result, I made it a point to consider trying it more. I have found certain situations for it to shine.
For example, just this past weekend fishing was SLOW. We had caught 3 on the day so far. Fishing was inconsistent in the riffles to say the least. I used the logic of finding a deeper hole and we tried something new. I kept on our single barbless CDC France Fly and attached an Indy to our sighter, by the tippet ring. What took place next completely changed one anglers day, and my view on their use. Within a few casts that bobber was under the water! We missed the first few takes, but were confident it was not just the bottom. We stayed consistent and ended up netting 4 fish from one deep run. We were both elated and walked away wiser and happier. The morale of the story, be versatile, open minded, and always keep learning!