I love the Gunpowder River. It’s an hour from DC, is full of wild brown trout, and it’s a challenging river. Every day is different, with fish that can be happy (even stupid) at times, and at other times invisible and discerning.
My Easter morning brought both experiences. The fish were happy and hungry, with splashy rises to sulphurs the size of birds and a few caddis, but were discerning of my dry flies that weren’t quite up to snuff. A big elk hair caddis brought strikes, but hooking a fish was near impossible. Switching to a mid-sized parachute adams, I was able to catch fish right away…and then the bite just as quickly died. I alternated between a variety of dries and dry-dropper combinations without a look.
I fished a 5X 12′ leader, as the shallow clear water and spooky fish demand it. On days like this, I like my Redington Classic Trout 3wt and a double-taper fly line to make roll casting, as well as a quick pick up and recast, easy.
Once the sun was was directly overhead, I gave up on the top water approach, and started swinging a large pheasant tale. This worked, and while I had multiple takes, I was unable to set the hook in time.
All of this is characteristic of the Gunpowder (at least for a part-time trout guy like me). Fish that strike aggressively, and spit your fly just as quickly. And this makes it a ton of fun, with each fish earned.