We have been graced with good water flows and a full reservoir for the last few months on the Gunpowder. Adding to this we have had the best Trico mayfly hatch the river has ever seen which lasted through August has continued through September. The hatch is present throughout the river and fish can be found rising to the tiny mayflies in the early morning hours nearly every day. The fishing is challenging, but skilled and patient anglers can really catch some fish if they put the time and effort in.
Tricos are small, black or grey bodied mayflies and are easily recognized as they swarm in large bunches above the stream and fly with an erratic motion. The wings look like tiny mirrors on the water surface as flies who have just hatched float downstream struggling to escape into the air. Of course, the trout take full advantage of the easy meal. The tough part is imitating such a small bug and landing a fish on the necessary 7 or 8 x tippets.
Many fish can be fooled on dry flies. I like patterns in size 20 to 22 with black or gray sparsely tied bodies and light grey hackles or cdc for a wing. I do well on a simple reversed hackle pattern with black dubbing and and a light dun hackle. I also like simple cluster patterns like a griffith’s gnat. Midge pupa patterns in black or grey also work well during the hatch if fished under a short indicator.
Remember folks, we’re fishing on the Gunpowder, not every trout is a 18 to 20″ fish. The Gunpowder is unique on the east coast for it’s large numbers of stream-bred brown trout. The average trout you will catch on the stream is 8 to 12″. There are , however, many more 15+ ” trout in the river than most realize. Good anglers learn that catching larger fish comes with altering techniques, being persistent, and targeting big fish lies consistently. I landed a 21″ brown this Spring, my best in a few years, while fishing nothing more than a pair of bead head pheasant tails. We had a fish on one trip this week which would have went 20+, but broke him off. Anyway, don’t be discouraged if you don’t hang a big fish every trip out. We are lucky to have such an exceptional tailwater fishery to fish year round.
The fishing should only get better as fall arrives and the browns take on their brilliant spawning colors. I hope to see you out fishing on the stream soon. Jeff