With a jolt, I realized it was already September. This means that the days of smallies will soon come to a close as the rivers get colder and my thoughts return to trout. Recognizing that I have picked up plenty of bad habits as a result of my smallie obsession during the summer, I decided to go back to the Gunpowder and see how it was surviving the warm summer we have had and maybe find a trout or three.
According to the Maryland DNR site, the water stays cold far beyond the tailwater section (which is the most heavily pressured up near the Prettyboy Reservoir). Since I had already fished each section from the Prettyboy down to Monkton, I decided set my sights lower, farther down the river, and went to the Glencoe bridge crossing.
After dropping the Basswife at her twin sister’s home in Glen Burnie, I made the easy drive around Baltimore to arrive at the Glencoe bridge mid-morning. Looking for parking, the first choice is immediately on the left at the bridge where there is a very small cleared area that has obviously been used for parking. However, it borders private property and one might suspect that it is not public land. Concerned about getting towed, I pulled down the short road to the left of the bridge and happily discovered a small parking area associated with the trail that runs the length of the Gunpowder River. Someone was sponsoring a fun run on the Sunday I was here so parking was scarce. Thankfully, a car left just as I rolled up.
After gathering all my fishing gear, I wandered down to the river and took a temperature reading. The river was a crisp 65°; a pleasant surprise given the distance that the Glencoe bridge crossing is from the tailwater at Prettyboy Reservoir. The only challenge now would be to determine if there any trout left this late in the summer. But, that really didn’t matter too much as I was here to regain and tune my limited trout fishing skills after a summer of rambunctious smallies.
I decided stick with top water patterns because the river was shallow in this particular area — it was running about a foot or foot and a half. I started to fish my way up the river and was impressed with the structure clustered around the banks.. There are more than enough trees and shade to provide interesting habitat for trout. Given the shape of the river and the cold water, it was clear that the Maryland DNR site was not exaggerating that trout can live here year round. Maybe I would run into some of the brown trout or even some rainbows left from stocking season.
I can guarantee that bluegills live here as they nibbled at my fly but did not actually land one – but no trout. About 1/2 mile upstream, I ran into another fisherman and had a chat. He was fishing downstream and confirmed that trout do exist, even this late in the summer. He was happy that he had one on the stringer and was brokenhearted that he had lost a 25 inch rainbow a bit farther upstream. Good news for me since that meant that the big guy was still there for me to pursue. I dodged around this fisherman, giving him plenty of room, and began to fish about 100 yards upstream.
Still no luck. About a half later I looked down at my pocket and realized I had lost my box full of dry flies. Dang! I had forgotten to attach the Velcro to the box which would have held it in the pocket as the backup if I failed to zip the pocket back up. My only hope was that it was a floating box and perhaps I would be see it caught on the bank somewhere downstream. Since the river was moving swiftly, I headed back downstream searching for the box.
This day was my lucky day because about 1/4 mile upstream of the bridge I saw it floating gently next to a grassy bank. After a quick prayer of thanks, I picked it up, popped it back in my pocket and decided that was enough practice for today.
Bottom line: On my way back down to the bridge in pursuit of my fly box, I noticed that the road parallels the river for a quite a distance. After loading my gear back in the truck, I drove up the road to see if it offered any advantage. As you can see from the map, the road veers away from the Gun about a half mile above the bridge. There is a fairly large parking area there which already had two trucks parked in it. More fisherman were now on the river.
My impression of the water was that the river upstream from the bend near this parking area is better than the section from the bridge upstream to the bend. There were more deep cuts north of the bend which would remain cool in summer and hold more trout. In addition, it was here that the other guy indicated he almost caught that monster.
As I crossed the bridge on the way back to the truck, I had a short chat with other fly fisherman who indicated that the Maryland stocking program had dumped a large number brood trout into the river at the bridge. He said they had migrated upstream and that’s probably what the other fisherman had encountered.
All told, I saw about six other fishermen here – something I felt was a very high number for a Labor Day weekend. This leads me to the conclusion that, like the upper stretch of the Gunpowder, this section sees its fair share of pressure.
Getting There: From I83, take exit 24 onto E. Belfast Road. Follow it until it deadends at Rt 45. Turn right and then an immediate left onto Lower Glencoe Road. Follow that to the bridge. I recommend you go beyond the bridge and park at one of the turnouts next to the river.
Google Local Coordinates: 39.550000, -76.635730
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Guide to Maryland Trout Fishing
Downstream from entry point
Upstream from entry point
Broad, cold, and quick water
Plenty of trees to provide even more shade and cool water
But – be careful parking next to the bridge. The front two cars were blocked by the bike rack car that came in last.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore