Summer can’t be far off.
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.
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!
Keep your stick on the water!
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.
Nothing is new about fishing wet flies but I thought I’d share my go-to wet/dry sulphur pattern. Fishing the Gunpowder Falls anglers are treated to some great hatches of sulphurs and caddis. I think there are more caddis in the river but feel free to debate it with me. In any case, I fish this fly both dry and wet. I even fish a combo of it with just the wings dried off by a powdered fly drying agent. There’s nothing fancy about it except maybe the snowshoe-hares foot wing. The more fish you catch the worse it looks and the better it seems to work. I don’t leave the house without a full compartment of this fly if I’m taking other people along. As the season goes by I tie it smaller and smaller and even with a dun colored wing. I credit an old friend for turning me onto the snowshoe hare years ago and I put it in everything.
Wet flies are one of those things you just can’t get in your local fly shop (unless you have a great local shop…if so get in there and buy some flies and other stuff from them and keep them open) and when I hear people say “It’s not worth tying my own flies” I think of this one. They’re becoming a lost art. There are dozens of patterns that you just can’t pick up everywhere. Many tiers are picky about little details and swear by minor adjustments of old patterns. I’m definitely one of those folks; for me it’s the little tweaks that give flies the “life” that some store bought flies are lacking. Spending a few hours at the vise refining and learning can pay off on the stream. There’s nothing more rewarding than learning to tie your own flies and hitting the water and CATHCHING FISH with something you made!
Get out there while it’s still spring! And get on some of those sulphurs. Maybe call your favorite local fishing guide (hint, hint!) and ask about some fly tying lessons. It’s a sure-fire cure for cabin feaver when winter comes around again.
Last Saturday I seized the day (read: “gave the wife a day in the house without me dropping stuff everywhere”) and headed out to the Patapsco. I had fished shortly after the Maryland did their fall stocking and, while I was having a blast hooking big rainbows, I regretted leaving without collecting some bugs and seeing what is really going on under the surface.
This time I got in there with my kick net and was amazed with what I found. I only sampled the area below the first riffles following the Daniels Dam. In about 3 square feet I found about 3 dozen insects of note. The primary find was a large scud with big dark caddis following in at a close second. I’ve attached some photos below.
These caddis had lighter colored undersides. They weighed in at a meaty #12 or so and would be EASY to represent with any basic caddis pattern.
These scuds ranged in size from something close to a 16 up to a large 12 or so.
It’s something like and “early black stone” but the stripe is the brighest I’ve ever seen. Very interesting!
These big flat mayflies were great. There’s were lots of them to keep the smallies happy during the summer.
The weather man is calling for a bit of snow but a warm up on Thursday. Cross you fingers!