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Trout Hike – Gunpowder River (MD – Masemore Downstream)

I had an hour at the end of the day, so I decided to fish downstream from the bridge at the Masemore Road access to the Gunpowder River. Earlier in the day, I had fished upstream and was impressed by the quality of the water, the rocky bottom and the lack of fishing pressure on this particular day in late October. I know that this access point, like the one up by Prettyboy, gets a lot of attention on the weekends since it is close to the Prettyboy Dam section. The farther away you move downstream from Prettyboy, the more the pressure drops off. This is surprising since the water, in this tailwater fishery, remains cold during a normal summer all the way down through Sparks – so you would think the entire river would get attention… not the case.

Lack of pressure does not mean there was no pressure and I chatted briefly with another fisherman who was gearing up to fish immediately under the bridge. As is my habit, I decided to walk to get away from the parking lot and looked at the bank on either side of the river to determine the best approach to move downstream. I saw hikers walking on the northern bank, so I decided to follow that trail downstream approximately half mile and begin fishing.

The water was running exceptionally strong and fast on this particular day since earlier in the week there had been a huge rainstorm that had blown out Deer Creek as well as the Gunpowder down in the Sparks section. They must have been releasing more water from the dam because the volume and the velocity made difficult to wade. At normal flows, fishing is pretty easy here. The vegetation hangs back and does not present a challenge to casting once you move a foot or two away from the bank. Of course, the Gunpowder trout are notoriously wary as a result of all the attention they receive and I tried to respect that as I entered the river.

This late in the season, I confined my presentation to nymphs and streamers and flipped them aggressively next to the structure that peppered the river bank. I worked up and down the stream bank with no success. This was going to be another day of being totally skunked. But, at least the sun was out, the weather was warm for late October, and I was not mowing the lawn or some other obnoxious domestic task.

Bottom Line: I know I have just scratched the surface of the Gunpowder despite all of the posts and visits I have made. This is a complex river with its own unique character whose trout have an intriguingly different personality. They are wary, defensive, skitterish … and demand the utmost in skill before they reward the angler with a startling tug and a vicious fight. I’ll be back up here in the spring and give this another shot.

Date Fished: 10/25/2009

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Remember to refer to my rating explanations – these are based on what I look for – so RED for Physical Fitness translates to easy physically – you do not need to be in shape to fish this section.  I prefer terrain that is tough to get into and out of.

Getting There: Head north on 83 and get off at exit 27 for Mt Carmel. Head West over I83 and you will see the turn for Masemore Road on the right.  It comes up quick and is a small road.  It will wind its way back to the river – there are some one lane sections.

Google Local Coordinates: 39.61111,-76.682682

Secrets Revealed?  No.  This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:


Maryland DNR
Guide to Maryland Trout Fishing

Looking back up to the bridge

Downstream from the bridge

Typical structure – note how clear the water is

Logs collect where the river jogs to the left or right

Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore

Articles on this site are out of date since some go back to 2006. Regulations and property ownership may have changed since publication. It is your responsibility to know and obey all regulations and not trespass on private property.

Disclaimer and Warning:  The contents of this site reflect the opinion of the author and you, the reader, must exercise care in the use and interpretation of this information.  Fishing is a dangerous sport.  You can slip and fall on rocks and sustain severe injury.  You can drown.  You can get hooks caught in your skin, face, eyes or other sensitive places.  All sorts of bad things can happen to you when to go into the woods to visit the places documented here.  Forests, streams and lakes are wild areas and any number of bad things can happen.  You must make your own judgment in terms of acceptable behavior and risk and not rely on anything posted here.  I disclaim all liability and responsibility for any actions you take as a result of reading the articles on this site.  If you do not agree with this, you should not read anything posted on this site.

Disclaimer and Warning:  The contents of this site reflect the opinion of the author and you, the reader, must exercise care in the use and interpretation of this information.  Fishing is a dangerous sport.  You can slip and fall on rocks and sustain severe injury.  You can drown.  You can get hooks caught in your skin, face, eyes or other sensitive places.  All sorts of bad things can happen to you when to go into the woods to visit the places documented here.  Forests, streams and lakes are wild areas and any number of bad things can happen.  You must make your own judgment in terms of acceptable behavior and risk and not rely on anything posted here.  I disclaim all liability and responsibility for any actions you take as a result of reading the articles on this site.  If you do not agree with this, you should not read anything posted on this site.

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