Here at Knee Deep Headquarters, we’re happy to report that Sandy missed us by a hair. Sadly our pals up in NJ and NYC got the worst of it. Rain came and went, and by Friday, flows on The Big Gunpowder were down to fishable levels. At 260 CFS, wading was still tough but the water was clear and the fish were aggressive. The photo below is of a popular pool and the evidence is in the undergrowth as to how high the water came up.
The shame here is these leaves are food for the insects the trout need to survive. The Gunpowder is an interesting study in water management. The river took a hit last fall in the form of hurricane floods and somehow bounced back. We can, at a minimum, be grateful for a Didymo flush.
Leaves in the undregrowth are proof the water rose well over the banks.
The week ahead looks like a great one for fishing if you can get out. We’ll be crossing our fingers with reports of a Nor-Easter coming through. The flows are still dropping and fish are eagerly chasing big streamers when the sun is out; see the photo below of the fat fish that took a monster bugger! Nymphing through the tail-outs and around log jams should continue to produce. Last week a mixed bag of nymphs proved effective – from caddis to stoneflies and zebra-midges – and getting down into the flow fast seemed to be the key to success.
Looking to get out? Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing a call and we’ll show you how to keep up with the changing seasons!
We’ll take fat-tailed fish like this one any day!
With Hurricane Sandy on the way, if you can skip work and hit the water Friday and Saturday, you won’t regret it. The forecast is for 40mph winds and heavy rain. The fall foliage will soon be gone but this will speed things up.
Stoneflies and caddis larve in the riffles will produce and streamers on the seams and near downfalls are a good bet. When your indicator rig tangles, it’s worth tying on a streamer and making a few swings before you re-tie your rig. The fish below fell for a big tan steamer after countless drifts with nymphs couldn’t lure him out from his log.
Get your feet in the water this weekend!
The Knee Deep Team
Low sun but great fall colors await before Sandy hits!
This fish took a big streamer after rejecting a number of nymphs.
A welcome, rainy, break from the heat
The weather is cooling down a bit and there was even some fishing in the rain last week. It felt strange to put on waders, rather than wet wade, and even put on a wading jacket. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to have my polarized glasses covered in drops of rain. After weeks of dry weather and record high temperatures, it was a welcome change.
The day was an exercise in applying technology to fly fishing long before we hit the stream. I found myself loading gear into a hotel room the previous evening around 9:30pm in a heavy rain shower. Of course, by the time I’d finished unloading everything, the rain had reduced itself to a light mist. Not enough rain to raise the Gunpowder any noticeable amount. I gobbled down some salty fast food while anxiously starting up my laptop and logging into the weather radar for the region. Lines of storms seemed to be passing us over with only one large clump of Doppler-green hours away. A quick check of the river gauges confirmed the rain had made no change in the flows. With rain forecasted for the over-night hours, the morning’s fishing was at risk of becoming a long casting class and a trip to the pub.
Thunder woke me up at some point in the early morning hours. I laid in my hotel bed listening to the heavy rain blow against the windows and waited for thunder to follow up faint flashes of lightning. A look at the clock confirmed that it was still an hour when I should have been logging some sleep. Fading in and out of consciousness for another few hours, I found out the hard way that the previous occupant had set the alarm clock for 6:00am.
I stumbled into the oddly large kitchen and made a tiny pot of no-name coffee. With the news on TV and my laptop going, the time it took for the USGS river gauge pages to load seemed to take forever. With my first sips of some of the worst coffee I’d ever had, my nerves were slightly calmed by the tiny blue graphs confirming little had changed in the river’s flows overnight. A look at the weather radar showed that the rain would pass over mid-morning and it looked like we’d stay fairly dry after that. There was no lightning in the forecast and the day was a go.
Waiting in a parking lot for my day’s fishing companions, the clouds gave it everything they had, and I still felt a little nervous about the day. While we geared up in the parking lot next to the river, getting waders on and sealing up in jackets was the first order of business. I kept reminding myself of the clear, rain-free, window of weather I’d seen on-line before leaving the hotel. Everyone was smiling as we headed out for a quick casting lesson and the amount of attention I was devoting to the rain seemed to dwindle. An hour into the day, the sun began to fight its way through the clouds and I thought about how far we’ve come in predicting weather. The ability to check river gauges, water temps, and weather radar on-the-go has changed the way we live and fish. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.
Low water turns the riverbed into heat-sink for the Gunpowder.
While flows on the Big Gunpowder Falls are abysmally low, smaller streams in the area are looking nice and full for July. Exposed rocks in the Big Gunpowder falls will raise temps below Masemore Rd. fast on hot sunny days while the Baltimore DPW has the valves cranked low. If you’re headed up to there to fish, focus your efforts above Falls Road to avoid tubers and give the fish down-stream a break while they’re under stress from the herons. I think even the tubers and canoeists will have a tough time with flows below 30cfs.
With that said, the Baltimore/DC regions other streams are looking great for July. The Pax rivers are running a bit stained but there’s fishable water to be found around Savage Mill (a favorite of Micah’s for cloudy water smallies) as well as upstream in the other special regs areas. The brookie streams have more water than can usually be expected this time of year and anglers who brave the high grass with a short rod can find fish. We’ll be out tossing the 7-footers in the tiny creeks this week for sure. This is a great time to grab the swim trunks and a few Clouser Minnows to hit the Potomac and cool off. Early and late are going to be your best bets no matter where you go.
If you’re undecided about where to fish, give us a call this week!
While the hot weather eases-up occasionally, it never seems to go away this July. Knee Deep Fly Fishing is here to help you cool off. Right now is the perfect time to ditch the waders and sport those wading-boots with a pair of neoprene booties and get cool in a tail-water like The Big Gunpowder. While your fishing friends may be driving north to New England the water is running in the 50’s here in Maryland.
Staying cool and getting her hands wet!
Outings in the last few weeks have required a lot of patience later in the day (see article about tubing here) but a great assortment of trout-feed has the fish looking up. Caddis, Tricos, beetles and grasshoppers have all fooled trout while anglers kept cool. Big terrestrials fished with a “Fast Caddis” for a dropper have been a winning combo in the riffles. We’ve seen lots of anglers catch their first fly-rod trout in the last few weeks and had quite a few laughs at the tubers floating by. While a few days topped out around 100 degrees, time on the water has been time well spent.
Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing, LLC a call and we can help you find the fish and escape the heat of the city!
Proof that trout make people smile!
- Sunny Days and Brown Trout
With stormy weather in the forecast for this afternoon, it’s nice to look back at some of the sunnier days.
The sulfurs won’t mind if it’s raining. In thinking about it, a few years ago I left the city only to get stuck in traffic for hours and arrive at the river just as the sky opened up. I fished all evening at Falls Road and caught fish after fish while cars drove over the bridge, pausing, to watch me unhook and release the fish. I waved at a couple of the passing cars as the rain poured down around me. One of them gave a toot of the horn as they pulled away. It seemed like I had the entire river to myself – I probably did. The sulfurs emerged through a storm of nickle sized rain drops and the fish splashed at the surface like nothing was happening.
Rain and trout
Stay dry and safe this afternoon. If we’re lucky it’ll all blow over and we’ll see a nice spinner fall tonight!
The Night Shift
A few folks in the know leave work a lttiel early to beat traffic and hit the Gunpowder Falls for that magic hour after the sun fades. It’s a time when I’ve made some great memories with family and friends, both old and new, and caught a lot of fish. The Sulfur hatch is on and it’s time to start bailing out early! E-mail us or call and set up an after-work outing in the next few weeks!
Spring seems to be here to stay and so are the hatches. Sunday’s outing provided plenty of sunshine and warm temps as well as mayflies and caddis. A mixed bag of insects keeps anglers busy changing flies but the action seems to continue throughout most of the day. As the sun rose higher during the day, the hatches changed, turning on and off but there always seemed to be some surface action. Forecasts for the week predict similar conditions and the fishing should be great. 80 degree weather feels pretty good!
Now’s the time to get on the calendar for an outing in June and there’s a few dates remaining open in May. If you’re headed out on your own, bring along some #14 elk hair caddis and a handful of #14 sulfur emergers. Snowshoe comparaduns are a favorite and float well in faster runs and tail-outs. Don’t forget lots of water and sunscreen!
Sunshine and Brown Trout
…photos are at the bottom!
I took a ride around the north end of DC to Mongomery/Howard County to fish the Patuxent River. With the whole day to myself, I took the scenic route. This brought me past the Brighton Dam area, which I hadn’t fished since last season, so I decided to pull in and check it out. To my surprise, a stocking truck pulled up and a few volunteers helped toss buckets of fish into the river. It was nice to see fish going in there as it’s a great chunk of catch and release water for the new angler to cut their teeth on. It’s worth checking out after work on a weekday; just don’t stay too late and get locked in by the park staff!
A short run in the truck took me upriver to the Howard’s Chapel Rd crossing and I fished upstream almost to Hipsley Mill Rd. The early spring was giving the rose bushes a head start – I can’t wait to see how my waders hold up on the cold Gunpowder after this run – and the terrestrials too. I didn’t see many of the river’s crayfish but there were Japanese beetles and enough caddis to get me to prospect with an Elk Hair Caddis. I turned over a few rocks and found big mayflies, caddis and scuds in the riffles. I got a chance to watch from a high carved bank as two fish picked their lunch from the current below me and fed on the surface as well as sub-surface while I enjoyed a cigar from our pals over at W. Curtis Draper Tobacconists. Most of my hits and misses came on tan buggers and crayfish patterns despite the fish watch for smaller forage.
If you’re looking to explore this stream that’s right in our backyards, travel light with a few attractor patterns and streamers. If you’ve got some small hand pruners, save yourself some stress and a few scrapes, by tossing them in your wader pouch. Bring a camera to catch the birds and flowers that are popping up a couple weeks behind the city. Cast to the under-cut banks and downfalls and you’ll find lots of fish. Take your time and observe. You’ll be surprised what you discover. I left a few flies in the trees for you! – Micah