Having not fished for a few weeks (with my last trip having been to North Carolina over the Christmas break), I was excited to see a couple nice weather weekends come through Maryland. While the Chesapeake isn’t fishing great currently, and warm-water fisheries are still dormant, trout feed year round in Maryland tail-waters, one of which is the Gunpowder.
The first trip, I fished the area near Bluemont Road, far from the Prettyboy Reservoir Dam, and where the fish are usually bigger and more scattered. Water levels were extremely low, and I fished with a streamer most of the day. I saw two fish during the day – one feeding on the surface for a moment, and another spooked as I waded through a pool I had fished thoroughly (oops).
I saw a few midges hatching, but very little activity from insects or minnows. I did fish up from the bottom of Little Falls, but again, water levels were very low, and I did not run across any fish.
The second trip saw me hit the section below Masemore Road, which is excellent for dry fly fishing in the summer, and has a healthy mix of smaller fish. I fished a stonefly pattern on top for most of the day, but was unable to move any fish. Despite temperatures in the 50’s, and a few stone flies hatching, I never saw a surface feeding fish. As the sun dipped behind the trees, I changed to a large woolly bugger in brown, and fished it unweighted around shallow log jams. After a few minutes, I had my first excitement of 2017 – a large brown shot out of a hole, and nailed my streamer, coming partially out of the water. The fish wasn’t hooked, but it was enough to keep me fishing until dark.
While I didn’t catch any fish, both days provided great weather, and a needed break from work. It also has me thinking strategy on how to fish the gnarliest portions of the river. While the best structure on the river can be difficult to fish with streamers, I think weedless streamer patterns may be a way to address this for larger browns. Maybe some of my snook flies can do the job…