The Gunpowder River has been flowing at 263 cfs for the past 4 days and is at 57 degrees. With the higher and slightly warmer water the fish have been on the move. Higher flows mean excellent terrestrial and streamer fishing. We suggest using hopper, ant, and beetle patterns. Streamer patterns in black have also been very productive. Patterns such as the Gonga and Bond’s Dragon have been very effective. Make sure to stay safe out there while wading-don’t plan on crossing at these flows. Tight lines!
With everyone, even staff (my hat’s off to the guys pictured above- Dave, Jacob, Hudson, and Peter) who were so great to work with during the summer season. Great News-Hudson and Dave will be continuing into the fall! If you need to place an order online before September, we’ll still be shipping in-stock products including gift certificates during this time. Thanks to all of you who have supported the shop this season through some wildly strange weather! I gather that between us, we’re all trying to get some fishing in before school starts so we will have limited hours through the end of August as follows
The shop will be open from 10-3 on:
Monday the 21st
Friday the 25th
Saturday the 26th
Monday the 28th
Following the violent thunderstorms on Monday evening, access to the Gunpowder is limited. The Bunker Hill lots will most likely not be accessible throughout the weekend due to down trees. The access at Masemore Road is also limited as there are trees down on the Mt. Carmel side of the bridge. While on the river, it is very important to monitor the trees surrounding you as there are many loose or weakened branches that are still falling around the river. If you’re planning fishing this weekend, just be conscious of where you’re standing as falling branches are not something to mess with.
Despite the rough weather this week, the river is still fishing very well at its low flows. With all the down branches the terrestrials have been extremely productive. Black and brown ants and beetles have been the ticket for most fish. Mid-morning has been the most productive for the terrestrials but we have still had some luck in the evening as the sun begins to get behind the trees. Early morning has been good for nymphing. Split shot is generally not necessary during low water season as most bead-headed flies will have more than enough weight to get down.
It’s just past midsummer and it is hot outside. The river has been fairly empty of fisherman many of whom are out of town or wish to avoid the heat. We here at Backwater thoroughly discourage this position. The weather has been fairly pleasant as of late and the fish are very active in the early morning and late evenings. When we get morning Caddis’ hatches the Gunpowder can be incredibly productive. We highly suggest taking some time to do some early morning dry fly fishing. While the heat may be oppressive during midday, the river and nearby banks are far cooler than many assume. At Falls Road the river is around 55F meaning that most of the river is still bone chillingly cold even in the hottest summer day.
My advice on taking advantage of the summer lull is to use caddis for your dries or beetle patterns. For droppers I have liked San-Juan worms, Caddis emergers are doing well along with pheasant tales and zebra midges. We recommend fishing shallow riffles and faster moving water. Avoid wading and approach the water as stealthily as possible. The water is low, and the fish will see you if you are not carful.
For those planning to use streamers white and Olive is working. We discourage sink tip at this time unless fishing upper falls or fast water. Smaller fish will be your primary takers with the occasional larger fish if you’re fishing in the late evenings or early morning. Streamers are usually the most productive during or after heavy rains.
With Summer in full swing the fishing in the gunpowder has been great. Flows are still low at 34 cfs with temperatures ranging in the mid to high 50s at falls road. Anglers have had lots of success fishing with small caddis, beetles, and ants. These have been particularly effective throughout the mornings while targeting the riffles. Beetles and ants will continue to be productive into the fall and anglers will have the most success along the larger rocks, trees, and brush that lay in the gunpowder. With a bright sun and low water, it is important to minimize your wading and maximize your leader length. This will minimize the number of fish you spook by keeping your presence on the water subtle.
Nymphing has been another effective method for fishing the deeper portions of the river, with most of our success coming on midge imitations. A great way to nymph this time of year is with a hopper-dropper system. Using flies like Stimulators or Chubby Chernobyls as an indicator dry with a small pheasant tail or zebra midge is an easy and effective way to trick the picky fish and get the opportunistic fish on a big dry.
If all else fails, throwing a small streamer through the deeper and faster water may convince some fish to bite. A trusty black wooly bugger has been successful on more cloudy days and similar patterns should entice an aggressive fish.
For gear we propose three set-ups you can find in the shop. Our low-price option is the Echo lift kit, which comes in sizes 9 for 4-6 with the echo base reel and a 12-month warranty. The Echo Lift kit will come in at a price of $189.99 making it a great choice for a starter or low-cost rod. Our second suggestion falls into the mid-price range with the Echo Trout 9-foot 5 weight costing $349.99 with a warranty extended through the life of the rod. For your reel and line, we suggest the Lamson Liquid reel ($139.99) and Airflow Universal Taper ($100). In total this kit will cost you $589.98.Echo Trout Fly Rod | BACKWATER ANGLER Lamson Liquid – Smoke | BACKWATER ANGLER
Another great mid-price rod is the IMX pro Creek with a price of $570 with lifetime warranty. Its a great smaller river rod with no particular disadvantages and lots of play to the tip making it the perfect rod for the Gunpowder. We suggest a Lamson Remix with this rod ($189) with the Airflow Tactical Taper ($100). In total this setup will cost you around $859. G Loomis IMX Pro Creek | BACKWATER ANGLER lamson remix | Search Results | BACKWATER ANGLER
If you’re looking for something a bit wider ranging, we suggest the NRX + ($915). A stiffer and faster rod from G-Loomis. The rod will work wonders on larger waters such as those found out west and give you easy control over your casts. We would pair this rod with the Abel TR 4/5 (625$) with the Airflow Power Taper ($100) to take advantage of that powerful cast you can get with this rod. this setup will cost you around ($1640) But is an excellent choice for around home and on bigger water. G. Loomis NRX + | BACKWATER ANGLER Abel TR 4/5 in Satin Black | BACKWATER ANGLER
Final suggestion we offer a high price kit featuring a Scott Centric ($945), a handcrafted rod with lifetime warranty. For your reel and line, we suggest an Abel Vaya ($675) and Airflow Power Taper ($129.99) or Airflow Tactical Taper ($100). in total this kit will cost you around $1800 and will last you a lifetime. Scott Centric | BACKWATER ANGLER Abel Vaya 4/5 Satin Black | BACKWATER ANGLER
In other news the gunpowder has entered peak beetle season. Larger foam patterns and stimulators will work all day especially under bushes and overhanging trees. We highly suggest running a dropper setup with any large flies you throw.
This past week I was lucky enough to fish Yellowstone National Park and many of the surrounding waterways. This was my fourth time visiting the park and it was for sure one to remember. After fishing 16 different bodies of water in the area I am sure on what is necessary to have a great trip.
A good pair of waders is key to an enjoyable fishing trip. Leaky, worn, or uncomfortable waders can hinder your maneuverability, create unnecessary wet clothing, and cut your fishing trips short. I have been using the Patagonia Swiftcurrent waders this summer and they provide the perfect balance of comfort, breathability, and durability. Heavy enough to protect you from the cold water and light enough to not be sweating buckets. Even more important are the boots. You need to ensure that your boots are fresh rubber or equipped with studs because the currents, rocks, and algae make for difficult wading on many of the rivers.
Your rod is another major factor to your success while fishing. Depending on the size of the water you’re fishing the rod needs to change. Larger water like the Madison River and many of the lakes a 5 or 6 weight rod is ideal. With larger fish and stronger currents, you need a rod with a little extra backbone to turn the heads of fish. Larger rods also help fight the wind commonly found out on western streams. If you’re looking to fish smaller water like the firehole, gibbon, or water similar to them a 4 or a 5 weight is ideal. Rods like the G. Loomis NRX, Scott Centric, or Echo Trout all have a fast action to battle these tough fish and conditions.
The last and possibly most important is your fly selection. From the biggest streamers to the smallest dries, it is important to be prepared for any situation on the water. We can set you up with the perfect assortment of flies for your trips out west and cater them towards the bodies of water you plan on fishing.
The Gunpowder River has dropped down to 34 CFS and is still swinging between 50F and 55F at Falls road. The decrease in water means that fish will be more wary of your flies, wading, and leader length. To be the most successful on the water it is important to minimize and slow down you’re wading. we are fishing lots of smaller mayfly nymphs and caddis. Patterns such as pheasant tail, prince, hotwire caddis, and hare’s ear nymph have been working best. Dry flies such as elk hair caddis, x caddis, Sulphur emergers, ants, and small hoppers have been working great with the warmer air and water temperatures. Make sure to stop in the shop to restock on your favorite patterns.
Between G. Loomis and Scott Fly rods we have never had a better assortment of saltwater weaponry. From the stiff and fast action NRX + S to the subtle presentation of a Sector we have just what you need for every species of fish you plan on targeting.
The NRX + S is the perfect fast action rod for your bigger flies and tough conditions. The extra stiffness greatly improves your longer casts and help fight the windier conditions. This rod will turn over bigger flies with ease and is great for all sorts of saltwater applications. With the fast action and stiffness, you do lose sensitivity in the close range however the precision is still there.
The Scott lineup includes the Sector, Wave, and Tidal rods ranging from a 7 weight to a 9 weight. These rods provide the most sensitivity a saltwater rod can offer and are perfect for any flats or low tide situation where precision and accuracy is key to an angler’s presentation. The added sensitivity is a drawback for larger flies and heavy winds however the rod will still be effective in these conditions.
Stop by the shop to cast these rods or order you can order them through the links provided on the post!
Dave Matthews with Backwater Angler. I enjoy helping out at the shop as much as my schedule allows. I grew up close to the Gunpowder River, and still live nearby. However, most of my early years of fishing were spent fishing Prettyboy reservoir for perch and bass. It wasn’t until more recently that I picked up fly fishing.
Jacob – I began my fishing on the Gunpowder and its tributaries. I started fly fishing when I was 11 Years old and have now worked at the shop for the last six years. My experience at Backwater includes both in the shop and guiding on the water. This is my second year guiding for the shop and it has been a wonderful experience. I have experience fishing throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Montanna and lots of fishing down in Florida while at school.
Hudson- I grew up 5 miles from the river right here in Monkton. I’ve had a rod in my hand since I was 5 years old. growing up on the river has helped me learn the behavior of these fish and the bugs they eat. This October I plan to begin guiding for the shop after working here for 4 years. I look forward to getting people out on the river and bring fish to net.
Peter- I grew up in Owings mills Maryland and have been fishing since I was 6 years old. My experiences with the Gunpowder begin with me and my dad thoroughly unknowledgeable stumbling over our feet trying to catch trout. It took us 2 years before we caught our first trout and by then we were far from better fishermen as we refused to learn from our faults. Since then, I’ve improved and gotten an intimate knowledge or the river and its inhabitants. I hope to bring others into the sport alongside passing down some of my experiences.