Water water everywhere
It’s been a wet spring. From the beaches to the trout streams there seems to be no shortage of runoff. While I couldn’t join the crew on the beach in the last week I was lucky enough to be guiding up on The Big Gunpowder Falls.
If you aren’t familiar with the river it’s one to put on the road-trip list. With flows generally controlled by a dam and cool water flowing from a bottom release anglers can usually find a refuge from the high water found on other streams this time of year. After days of rain there was plenty of spill-over pushing at the banks of even the Gunpowder.
The night before our outing I stayed up tying flies and watching the radar and USGS river gauges; I was sweating a little, I admit. At some point in the evening the flows peaked and, by morning, began dropping. I called the gang at Backwater Angler and they said the fishing was good. A report from accomplished anglers is always to be taken with a grain of salt. I know those guys can catch fish even if the river turns to chocolate milk but if there are no bugs it can make for a long day.
We hit the water in a hard-fished stretch and immediately started seeing bugs. Better, there were rising fish. Obviously I had earned a slice of good karma somehow. (Note to self: keep holding doors open for people) With a flow that went from 35cfs to around 300cfs the wading was tough but we managed plenty of takes and even put a few fish in the net.
What is the take-away? Not just to be sure and have a few extra wooly-buggers in your box, but to watch the flows on your local stream even when you’re not heading out. If you’re at work and it starts raining take a look at how the USGS charts spike. You can find maps of the gauges here: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt . Getting a feel for how the flows fall after the rain stops can come in handy when you do get a chance to hit the water. Getting the fish in the net when the water is raging can be tough but the faster flow allows for heavier tippets and can make the fish a little easier to fool when it comes to making the perfect presentation.
It’s going to rain again. Don’t let it keep you off the water. Do your homework and keep the honey-do list whittled down so you can escape when the time comes!