On the same day I checked out Deer Creek, I swung by the Gunpowder on the way home to do a reconnaissance of the Sparks access point. Given that Deer Creek was totally blown out by the rains, I had no illusions that the Gunpowder, this far down from the reservoir, would be any different. And it was not.
I rolled into the parking lot on the east side of the bridge and was amazed that on a bright, sunny Sunday that there were not more cars packed into the moderate sized lot. There were plenty of hikers, bikers and joggers moving up and down the well maintained NCRR Trail that parallels the river. I did not have my bike with me but realized that this would be a good place to leverage that capability. You can park here or up at the Glencoe bridge and then bike to the other end. If you can do that, you will spend more time in fishing new water than fishing your way back over trodden ground.
As I mentioned, the Gunpowder was totally blown out, running thick and muddy with a deep chocolate brown color. All I could do was to get a sense of what the river would be here. Starting from the bridge moving north, the river cuts through a section tightly lined with trees on either side and does not break back out into open fields until it begins to parallel Lower Glencoe Road a significant distance upriver. Even there, there’s a steep rock wall that will block your view of the surrounding farming country. But it did not seem tight on the bank and, as you can see from the picture, the faint fisherman’s trail made it easy to move from place to place.
Although I could not see the river bottom because of the mud in the water, I assume the river is the standard mix of sand and rocks that represents the typical Maryland watershed.
After looking at the bridge, I walked north on the trail for about a mile and then bushwhacked back over to the river. Except for the fisherman’s trail, the only way to move up and downstream is the NCRR trail. But, the undergrowth is not that thick and it was easy to move to the river. I took a quick look, grabbed a few pictures and resolved to return in the middle of summer when I needed a trout fix.
The Sparks Bridge is a popular takeout as evidenced by the rutted trail that leads to the rivers edge underneath the bridge. I remember when I fished the Glencoe bridge crossing area two years ago that my fishing was repeatedly disrupted by canoeists and kayakers moving downstream towards the Sparks destination. So, don’t expect a solitary day on the river if you fish on a nice summer day.
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Bottom Line: Another good access point to a river that remains reasonably cold into the summer months as long as there is not a heat wave that bakes the area for significant period of time.
Date Fished: 10/25/2009
Getting There: From I83, take exit 24 to get onto E Belfast Road. Follow it to Rt 45 and turn right. Turn left onto Sparks Road and follow it to the bridge. The parking area is on the east side of the bridge.
Google Local Coordinates: 39.539578,-76.638436
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Plenty of parking on the east side of the bridge
Downstream from the bridge
Downstream from the northern point
Upstream from the northern point
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore