Last Friday I got a chance to take out some folks for Backwater Angler and show them around on the Gunpowder. A few warm days got the fish excited before our outing and the stoneflies were keeping them busy in the slack-water and eddies. Friday was a little cooler and cloudier than it had been but any time I’m not shoveling snow in March, I’m not going to complain.
Theaux set us up with one of his 5pc Winston 4wts to try out (We brought it back in the original 5 pieces) and we had a great time putting it through its paces. With a few clouds overhead, the water temps flirted with 50 degrees, though it didn’t quite get there for us. Stoneflies and Blue Winged Olives provided the bulk of our action. The father and son duo were good company on the water and, as someone who treasures fishing-time with family, I had fun showing them around. They reminded me a lot of my brothers and I with some good laughs about casting and catching. We landed a few and, with the sunshine peeking out right at the end of the day, it felt like Spring was surely here. It reminds me that I need to put some days on the calender to fish with my own family.
- Tight Lines in March
If you’re headed out this week and weekend, check the weather and the gauges. This gauge has flows AND temps. When it heats up, fishing should be great. Pack some stoneflies, a few Hendricksons and a lunch – make a day of it! Don’t have flies or haven’t renewed your license yet this year? Swing by Backwater and talk to Theaux’s crew. There’s some gold out there (see photo below) and it’s hungry!
Tying your own flies? Knee Deep has some patterns for you. Check out our favorites for spring! Get signed up for the Knee Deep Fly Fishing Newsletter and keep up to date!
Keep your stick on the water!
After all the Thanksgiving turkey, the family has cast off again and things quiet down, it’s nice to escape the house and get a line wet. This fall’s conditions have been erratic and fishing has been different every day. Today I hit the water just after 7:00am and was greeted by 26 degree air temps and water near 50 degrees creating a quiet fog on the water. The scene was quite different than July and August’s foggy days on the water when the air and water temperatures were reversed!
Focusing on seams in the high stained water produced fish this week and a mix of nymphs and streamers was the ticket. Fishing a tandem rig with lots of weight will get your flies to the bottom fast and with one fly higher allow you to cover the water column. If you’re not bouncing the bottom every few casts, you may not be getting deep enough.
Winter fishing brings its own special challenges like cold hands and iced up guides on your rod. If your guides freeze up while casting, dip your rod below the surface for a few seconds and the warmer temperature water will take care of the ice. Don’t try to pop the ice chunks out with your fingers. That’s a surefire way to break your rod. Good wool gloves will keep your hands warm and wearing lots of layers will ensure your core stays warm and there’s plenty of warm blood pumping to your finger-tips. If your gloves get wet you can slap them against your waders or jacket to shake the water out. Even wet, wool will continue to keep you warmer than no gloves at all.
Not sure how to outfit yourself to make the most of winter’s short days? Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing a call, we fill you in on how to layer up and keep warm.
Many anglers only think of dry-fly fishing during the Spring hatches though there are caddis and mayflies hatching even into late fall. The shot above was takes Tuesday, Nov 2nd. No that’s not snow, those are mayflies happily soaking up sunshine around 1:00 in the afternoon! There were tricos and blue-winged-olives mixed in one big swarm over this fast riffle.
While the flows are a little high for easy dry-fly fishing, they will surely drop. In the meantime those same high flows are making for some great streamer fishing. Flows around 200cfs still allow for easy wading and for the trout to move around finding lies and undercut banks where low water wouldn’t normally permit them to swim. Be sure to pack a few lead-eyed buggers in tan, white and brown and don’t forget to include your dry-fly box and a selection of nymphs for dredging the deeper runs. A Non-slip-loop knot will increase the action of your streamers and is worth practicing at home before you hit the water.
All of this sound like code to you? Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing a call and book a day on the water for November! We’ll help you sort out that box full of flies and get you on fish while learning a few new tricks.
Sometimes you hit the river expecting to see certain conditions and arrive to a completely different game. Monday’s outing was exactly that. I left the house expecting sparse clouds and hatches but arrived to sunshine and only a brief appearance of tricos in the AM and a dry windy afternoon.
I was joined by Trent Jones, fishing manager at the Bethesda, MD Orvis store, and we had a great time watching the trico’s blow off into the woods when we arrived. The Gunpowder was still running high from recent storms but was clear and fishable. The insect showing was a mixed bag of tricos, caddis, and “rusty” mayflies. We had a great time exploring the higher flows and still shifting riverbed after the larger storms we’d seen in recent weeks.
After parting ways with Jones, I spent some time hunting bugs in the river and snapping a few photos. The afternoon’s fading light made taking pictures a challenge but I found enough caddis and a few stoneflies to keep me entertained for some time. After what I found taking samples, I’d put my money on caddis pupe all winter long in green and light tan. Despite receiving a thorough scouring the riverbed still holds enough detritus to hide a lot of large stoneflies and I nabbed a beautiful shot of a nice big golden stone.
After arriving home I was greeted by not one but two praying mantis on back porch. Since I’d spent the afternoon taking photos of insects I was ready for the situation at hand. Sometimes it’s all about being in the right place at the right time.
With flows still above 150cfs there’s lots of water to spread the fish around. If you’re headed out this weekend be sure and look before you leap; often fish will be holding in areas where there was previously very little water. The weather looks perfect for some fishing and family time outdoors. Be sure and bring some tricos for the AM and some tan caddis for the afternoon. See you on the water!