After fishing the Gunpowder north from the Glencoe bridge crossing, I took a quick run to the next parking area below the bridge based on a recommendation of another fly fisherman I encountered as I walked back to my car. He said that the Maryland DNR stocked a number of mature brood trout in this area and a good many of them probably migrated downstream. Since it was still only mid-afternoon, I decided to go check it out.
The next parking area down from the Glencoe bridge is pretty small. There is only room for four or five cars and those will be a tight fit. In addition, it’s poorly marked and, if you did not know that it was there, you would probably drive by if you are coming from the west. Basically, you must be alert for it as soon as you come down the hill, lean into the gradual left hand turn and start paralleling the river. If you find yourself with the Gunpowder River on your right then you have already gone past this particular parking area.
The short trail to the river is not that visible. It’s kind of a gap in the bushes in the middle of the parking lot which leads into a close, beaten-down path that careens along the edge of the high bank. With no clear way directly to the river, you have to search to find a place where you can slide down to the water without killing yourself. Fortunately, such a place does exist and I slid into the river and looked around. Granted, since this was only 1/2 mile downstream from where I had just fished, it’s not surprising that it was not much different. Although the water looks muddy in the pictures below, it remains crystal clear and what you see in the pictures is the sandy bottom of the river. It’s not deep, at normal water levels all you need are hip waders.
The river is much tighter here than it is above the bridge – only about 20 feet wide. That makes casting a little bit sporty and you have to align yourself pretty much up and downstream or you’ll snag your fly in the trees that cluster on both banks. My friend from the bridge recommended that I work the rock wall next to the road. It was certainly easy to find – about 30 feet up from the parking lot. So I started to flip a grasshopper pattern in that direction as soon as I hit the water. Within a couple casts I was rewarded with a huge splashing strike on the surface and was excited at the prospect of catching my first trout of the day. But, as I got the fish closer, it was a huge fallfish. Granted, those guys give up a bit of a fight but, even with that, it’s still a disappointment when you have your heart set on either a smallie or nice trout.
I fished my way up the river and was interrupted by a gaggle of canoeists coming downstream. I was really surprised to see the density of canoes in this section of the river since it was so shallow. I believe they put in at Monkton and then do the easy float to Phoenix. Anyway, there’s not much trout fishing, even for stockers, after 20 canoes file by, I decided to call it a day and climbed out of the river about 1/4 mile upstream from the parking area.
Bottom line: Even with my bad luck, I have high regard for the Gunpowder – it’s a great river. The only part I would avoid is the scenic section up by Prettyboy Reservoir because of the intense pressure and fisherman every 25 yards you encounter on weekends.
My buddy from the bridge followed me into the water and he commented that some of the canoeists pointed him at some of those big brood trout downstream from the lot. This confirms that the trout are here; they just were not ready for me on this particular day.
The water temperature was a crispy 65 on this hot August day, so there’s no danger of the fish becoming stressed in the summer as long as the water levels stay adequate.
Even though you see a lot of Red in my ratings above, I would come back to this section during the stocking season or even to get a trout fix in the middle of summer. It’s not tough walking, it’s pleasant, and you get to chat with the canoe guys as they float downstream.
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. Look for the parking area as soon as you come up on the river.
Google Local Coordinates: 39.550000, -76.635730
Secrets Revealed? No. The Gunpowder is a public location that is documented on the Maryland DNR site and in the Guide to Maryland Trout Fishing
Downstream from the entry point
Upstream from the entry point – note all the trees!
Big, big chubs
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore