So here is the Cyber Monday fly fishing gifts story. We’ve missed seeing many of you in the shop during this uncertain time. I’ve quickly come to the conclusion today that it would also not be prudent to go fly fishing on the Gunpowder River today during the flood watch and associated 30-40 mph gusts.That said, we’re making it easier for you, while you stay safer at home, to shop with us. Here are a few items that have been garnering the most attention from our website. Treat yourself or allow someone else too-that’s a win-win! Take advantage of free shipping on any of these items. Gift certificates can also be e-mailed right to your inbox during the shop’s normal operating hours.
Here’s an update on stream conditions a few pictures of the new shop and shop protocols during the Fall Holiday. The Gunpowder River is flowing at 33 CFS and is 54 degrees F. Small unweighted streamers in the bend pools and around the log jams and drifting nymphs on a tight line are worth a shot… With water temps on the rise, count on fish midging and use a longer lighter leader to trick them in bright and low conditions.Limit your wading and use the trail network through the catch and release area.The river is too shallow to float. Please don’t risk damaging potential spawning habitat by attempting a float in low to no flow conditions. If you fish early or late or can wait for some cloud cover you might find some more willing wild trout.
Based on the Governor’s guidance we are going to 50% of capacity, so we’ll be temporarily halting Hunting and Fishing license sales until we are back to 100% retail capacity. You may buy a license online here: https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov
We’re limiting store traffic to three people at a time in the shop, limiting store traffic to one person from each family or party in the shop and continuing curbside pickup during regular hours. Just add curbside to your online or phone order and text us when you are in the parking lot up to 15 minutes before closing and we’ll place everything in your trunk.Please note our bathroom is STILL not open to the public so plan accordingly.
We are expanding online shopping with socially distanced fly selections for curbside or mail delivery.
We have hand sanitizer on the front porch and counter area and will provide you with a mask if you forget yours. All of our employees are undergoing temperature checks are busy wiping down touch points between customers, and are happy to help you at a safe distance. Instead of stopping in just to chat consider giving us a call or sending us an email with all the questions you can muster. we’ll answer them to the best of our abilities and if we can’t we won’t give you any rigamarole and want you to succeed in this lifetime, quiet sport. Stay well!
The water level on the Gunpowder is at 34 CFS with waters temperature of 52-54 degrees F. Fish haven’t been rising too much so nymphing has been good, especially in the deep pools. The two patterns that have been doing best have been #20 midge emergers in black, brown, or olive and #16 tungsten jig heads. Dry droppers, like a small foam hopper followed by a midge emerger, have been working excellent this morning.
Please follow the leash law if you’re bringing a dog with you. There are lots of little deer on the trails right now that dogs love to chase. It’s a beautiful day on the Gunpowder to try your luck with the fall fish. Stay safe and socially distanced from others, and have fun.
We still have 3 spots open in our fly fishing school.
Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday the 15th of November a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear and fly selection. Class is held from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM. Cost is $125 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased at the shop on the day of the school. Please consider looking at the state license portal online at https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ to streamline the process of getting to the river on the day of the class. Call us if you have any difficulties with that. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.
Learn about Backwater Angler’s fly fishing school services here.
Come stop by to see the new clothing with the Backwater Angler logo. Check out the Filson Ridgeway Fleece vest with Polartec Thermal Pro in brown and dark blue. We also have the Filson Ridgeway Fleece jackets with Polartec Thermal Pro in gray.
The water level on the Gunpowder is remaining low around 30 cfs with water temperature being the much more favorable factor. On most days the river is peaking around 54-60 degrees, triggering hatches of midges and the occasional stonefly. Very small dry flies in the size 20-24 range have still been the key to catching fish sipping midges on the surface.
Nymphing is becoming increasingly effective as the weather cools. One of the best nymphing setups for the catch and release section is a caddis pupae paired with a zebra midge or similar midge larva. When nymphing, we recommend sticking to a few fly patterns and experimenting more with weight and indicators. I’ve been using the Deep Soft Weight putty from Loon. It’s great for fine tuning the weight on your leader without the damage of crimping on split shot.
As always, we endorse fall streamer fishing. Gunpowder brown trout typically spawn in mid-late November. So now is the time to tie on a streamer and target structure near good spawning gravel in hopes of finding an aggressive pre-spawn brown. That being said, use care while wading as to not step on any redds where trout have cleaned a patch of gravel to lay their eggs.
Come check out the 7 new Abel reels that just came in, 5 Vaya, 1 SDS, and 1 TR. We know have a total of 14 Abel reels in stock!!
Abel TR Reel
The detailing of the native brook trout on the TR 2/3 reel makes for a beautiful finish. This design requires at least 7 hours of hand painted craftsmanship.
The return of a classic. The new Abel TR stays true to the roots of the original, but with a striking modern design and feel. The partial porting of the frame draws from the Abel lineage, and its unique features are as inventive as anything Abel has ever produced. -Abel
Abel SDS Reel
The Abel SDS design shows off the stunning patterns and beautiful green and blue colors of a bonefish on the best new saltwater reel.
Winner of the best new saltwater reel at the 2016 ICAST/IFTD show, the Abel SDS (Sealed Drag Salt) takes all the power, reliability, and smoothness of its smaller counterpart and combines them in a larger package capable of taking on saltwater gamefish of all sizes.- Abel
Abel Vaya Larko Brown Trout Reel
The Abel Larko Brown Trout Reel features a unique and technical design of the brown trout perfected to create this impressive look. Andrea Larko’s design requires at least 11 hour’s to finish per reel, adding bright and fun colors for new creative look.
We’re honored to feature, and replicate the work of a few of the most talented artists in the fly fishing industry. Derek DeYoung, Andrea Larko, and Jon Osiris are also each great ambassadors for our sport, and we’re proud to have teamed up with them to provide select examples of their beautiful artwork on Abel Reels. -Abel
Abel Underwood Vaya Series: We now have three Underwood On The Hunt Vaya reels available.
Abel Vaya Underwood On The Hunt in Slate Gray Reel
Casey Underwood, an amazing artist partnered with Abel Reels, creates designs that fit perfectly with Abel’s models. On The Hunt design is laser engraved into the reel.
Each of these original designs was created to correspond with a specific model in the Abel lineup. Individually laser engraved, and put through a proprietary polishing/texturizing process, these reels feature an innovative, first of its kind finish.
Abel Vaya Underwood On The Hunt in Deep Green Reel
The On The Hunt reel is also available in the rich, but not too bright, color of deep green. It adds a subtle pop of color for a very sleek fly fishing set up.
Every now and then, we come across an artist whose work naturally fits Abel’s palette of custom finishes. This time, that artist is Casey Underwood. – Abel
Abel Vaya Underwood On The Hunt in Black Reel
We also carry the Underwood On The Hunt in a traditional, classic black color.
Flows on the Gunpowder River are still low at around 30cfs. The few tricos we saw this year are beginning to taper off, but midges are still in abundance. Now that tubers have vacated the river we fly anglers can start taking advantage of more access points. So keep an eye out for trout sipping midges from Prettyboy dam all the way down to Monkton.
As the weather cools off, larger brown trout will start moving upriver. That being said, don’t be afraid to toss a streamer around. We have some great unweighted streamer patterns in the shop that work well in low water. Lastly, swinging soft hackles and nymphing will generally be productive. Midge larva, caddis pupae, and stonefly patterns will be your best nymphs going into fall.
After a week of favorable flows in the 70s, the river has dropped back down to its typical summer flow of ~30 cfs. We recommend wading as little as possible and fishing long leaders with 6-7x tippet as the trout are quite skittish. Stop by the shop for some Trout Hunter 6.5x tippet, which is absolutely perfect for fishing low water when you just don’t want to commit to using super delicate 7x.
Fishing a dry dropper is a good way to catch fish in the early mornings. I recommend cutting off the dropper around 11am when the water begins to warm up. Terrestrials have been successful recently, but it doesn’t hurt to downsize your ants and beetles. Crickets can be heard chirping along the river banks this time of year. So don’t be afraid to play around with a small, dark colored hopper or Chernobyl ant.
Tricos have not been particularly prevalent on the river this summer, but there are plenty of midges and the fish are almost always feeding on them. A small trico pattern in the #20-22 range will oftentimes work for the trout sipping midges in slow water.
The weather has taken a pleasant fall-like turn recently. So enjoy your time on the water and if all else fails swing a wet fly!
Like many fly anglers, I was sucked into the hobby by visions of casting dry flies to rising trout surrounded by the sweeping hills and vast skies of the American west. However, not long after breaking into the hobby, I found myself being drawn to the excitement of flats fishing in the Florida Keys and the idea of taking a trip out west became distant.
Finally, five years after casting my first fly rod, I made the journey to Salt Lake City and then north to Wyoming. The first full day of fishing was one of the most memorable I’ve had. My fishing buddy and I explored the massive Wind River Range, following miles and miles of dirt roads. I could have stayed there forever catching those eager cutthroat trout, but eventually we came to an impasse that our rental car just wasn’t up for.
On our second day we put the Wind River in the rear view and headed to Yellowstone. I found the rivers in the park to be incredibly diverse. The lower Gardiner River is fast flowing and full of pocket water where gullible brown trout will almost always rise to a well drifted hopper. The Lamar is a truly epic river with big mayflies, big cutthroat, and big scenery. The final day of our trip was reserved for fishing the infamous Slough Creek. The hiking, the landscape, the weather, and the fishing on slough can all be described as intense. On the slow meandering bends of Slough Creek the cutthroat act more like carp than trout. Before casting to the undercut on the opposite bank, it pays to carefully watch the shallow gravel bar on the inside of the bend for cruising trout who may be in less than a foot of water. These cruising fish are very eager to rise to a well presented terrestrial, albeit the slowest and most cautious rises I’ve ever seen. To sum it up; those aforementioned visions of casting dry flies surrounded by vast landscapes came to fruition on Slough Creek.
Anybody who has fished out west knows that covering ground is key. That being said, the gear that allows you to hike further and fish longer will far outshine things like your rod and reel setup. On this trip I was fortunate enough to use the new Chota Hybrid High-Top Rubber Soled Boot. These boots are a great value for the price and resemble a lightweight hiking boot more than a wading boot. Chota purposefully built these boots with a removable insole. So they can fit comfortably with regular socks, neoprene wading socks, or the booties on your waders. However, my favorite quality of these boots is undoubtedly their light weight and how easy they are to slip on and take off whether wet or dry!
Another item I found to be invaluable on my trip was my Patagonia Stormfront Sling pack. Yellowstone is known for its hot and dry summer days, but I can assure you that thunderstorms can pop up in an instant. This pack was not only comfortable, but great for keeping my stuff dry when I couldn’t avoid a rain squall. It’s important to keep in mind that this pack is basically one big compartment. So organizing your gear inside takes a little consideration, but I find the Patagonia Black Hole Cubes to be the perfect for compartmentalizing. The not so obvious benefit of the Stormfront Sling is the fact that it’s not only water tight, but also fairly air tight. This means that the delicious smelling sandwich I stashed in my pack is pretty unlikely to lure in that big grizzly we spotted from camp the night before.