Baltimore County, Maryland, June 16, 2013
It was Father’s Day and we really didn’t plan on fishing, but I received an email from Jin saying he got a pass and could fish the Gunpowder River in the afternoon. And since my wife generously let me choose how I wanted to spend my day, I told Jin I could meet him at the Masemore Bridge at 2pm for a few hours of fly fishing.

Thunderstorms were predicted to arrive in the late afternoon so it was possible we might be rained out but it didn’t stop us from going. You fish when and where you can and since we had the ok from the home bosses we were going to fish, dammit, and no threat of a thunderstorm was going to stop us.

I arrived in the small town of Monkton, Md., around 11pm and stopped at the
Backwater Angler fly shop. I picked up a bunch of flies to add to my collection--not necessarily what was hatching at the moment but stuff I thought looked interesting to have for future trips elsewhere. Owner Theaux Le Gardeur, always gracious and helpful, gave me a brief report on how the river was fishing and also directed me to the deli counter at Graul’s Market where I ordered and consumed an excellent Black Russian sandwich--thin sliced cold roast beef and Swiss cheese with Russian dressing, a light slaw veggie topping which was more on the mild, sweet side rather than a tart vinegar, piled on Rye bread. Throw in a dill pickle spear and a small bag of Utz potato chips and it’s a pretty good deal for only $5.99. A much better lunch than an overheated hot dog at the nearby Exxon gas station.
We pushed up the trail, past the first bend in the river above the bridge and found an open area to fish. The sky was overcast and there was sporadic bug life floating in the main current and trout were picking them off in the quieter water, usually in the shade under tree limbs or shrubs that lined the opposite bank. I picked off a couple of small, stocked rainbow trout in really shallow water then worked my way out into the deeper pockets where the wild browns lived.
The fish were picky as usual. Some fish were rising in the same spot while others were sporadic sippers. These fish see a lot of flies and you usually have only one good shot at setting the hook. If you miss, they’re not come up again no matter how many times you put the fly in front of them. Changing to something smaller or larger sometimes worked but it was usually best to stay alert and set the hook the first time rather than miss and try again.
But we got our share of trout. Jin and I worked slowly back towards the parking lot, bypassing other anglers who staked out spots on the river. A few were standing in the middle of a spot they should have been fishing. We spent the final hour working a shallow stretch of river about a 100 yards above Masemore Bridge, catching trout on emerger patterns as the sky darkened. These were all wild brown trout and they fought well when hooked but we finally decided to call it a day and head for home just as the heavy rain arrived.
EQUIPMENT: Use anything from a 3 to 6 weight rod depending on the size of fish you are after. Leaders 9 to14 feet long at 5x or6x are good for general use but lighter tippet up to 7x and longer might be needed earlier or later in the year. Check the Backwater Angler fly shop (16938 York Road, 50 yards on your right after making a right turn onto York Road) for fishing information.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 towards Baltimore then left onto I-695 to Towson. Take Exit 24 and merge onto I-83 Timonium/York, PA. Take Exit 27 Mt. Carmel Rd/MD-137 toward Hereford. Turn left onto 137 (Mt. Carmel Road) and follow for 1/4 mile. Turn left onto Masemore Road and slowly follow the narrow road downhill and past the old stone house on the corner. Fly fishing parking is just before the Masemore Road Bridge.