It was a great day to escape the house and get out this last Saturday. With the air temps hitting close to 50, I joined the flow from city to stream and pointed the truck towards the Gunpowder. Since we had rain on Friday, a lot of rain, I decided that the Gun would be the only place to go that was close where the flow of slit introduced by the rain would be limited by the dam at Prettyboy Reservoir. When I arrived at the Big Falls bridge, I took one look at the water and knew I had made the correct decision.
The river was flowing strong and cold with the water a frosty 37 - 38 degrees. Well... given my luck/skill I knew I was in for a day of fishing rather than catching as anything below 45 degrees significantly reduces active feeding. But - it was a nice day and I proceeded to fish and explore my way upstream.
I really liked this stretch. In fact, I liked it a lot. After my bad experience up at the classic section just below the dam, this renewed my appreciation for the Gun. At the dam, you get to enjoy a fisherman every 25 yards on weekends (I know they are not there during the week and I am jealous of those of you who live close enough to hit that section on the off days). Down at Big Falls, there are several miles of nice, wandering river in a typical Maryland setting to enjoy. While I saw about 5 other guys, I certainly never felt pressured.
There is plenty of nice fish holding structure here - bushes, undercut banks, trees akimbo in the water - all protecting nice holes or deep runs where the water takes a turn. I worked it hard with my broken 4 wt rod (I snapped the tip off about a month ago and had not gotten around to doing the warranty return). The epoxy'd / duct taped tip held up just fine as I worked the river with stonefly nymphs and streamers. As expected, I fished; did not catch. But really enjoyed the day.
The river is cut like a gash - the banks are steep and you need to be careful getting in and out - especially with the lingering ice. The water is deep enough for chest waders and I added warmth to them using the small chemical heat packs. In the heart of winter, you really get to look into the bones as all vegetation is gone, everything is exposed - a great opportunity to do a recon for the return trip I will plan for the spring.