Monthly Archives: August 2011

Gunpowder River Stream Reports from Early August

The Gunpowder river was clear this morning, 52 F and it was flowing at 94 CFs. Tricos are just getting started each morning at Falls Rd through Bunkerhill access points. Snowshoe caddis in a size #16-18 are also a good bet. Rain is now falling at a rate at 2.56 inches an hour and smoke from The Dismal Swamp Fire is working its way through the Hereford Zone. For those planning on getting out tomorrow we’ve provided a stream reports from Gary and Steve who fished the Gunpowder river as the flows bumped up last Monday.

Hey Theaux,
Haven’t been able to get out much this year but I did get out yesterday, Monday August 9th, for some late afternoon early evening fishing. I was rewarded with an empty river and nearly 100cfs which made for great water and fishing. I fished the lower end of the river from Masemore up from the bridge and all the familiar spots were enhanced by the increased volume. The water was very clear so I put away the nymphs and tied a 16 caddis on. While there were no hatches and nothing hitting the surface the water seemed perfect for skating bugs across the seams and riffles. After a few casts I had several fish break the surface trying to grab the bug…and while I missed the first three I didn’t miss the next four. All were good size browns in the 8-9 inch range and the interesting thing was, they seemed to really attack the caddis as the flies were deep in their mouths. Kind of amazing since there had been nothing attacking the surface. I fished until around 8pm and switched over to a grey ghost which produced several good size fish.

-all in all a spectacular day!

Theaux, Jason and other staff,
After the rain this weekend, I had kept my eye on the gauges hoping the flows would be up a little bit and I could get out chase some wild Gunpowder browns. As I made my way from Bel Air, I stopped at Glencoe Road and it was high and like chocolate milk. My next stop was York Road, and the water was high, and stained, with some visibility. I still consider myself somewhat of a novice, and have always been reluctant to fish during those conditions, but everything I have read pointed to chucking streamers. So I rigged up and headed toward the Hemlock pool. I tied on a zonker and felt (and saw) lots of short strikes. I never had the opportunity to get a hook set. I worked the pool for about 20 minutes and decided to switch to a black bead head flash bugger. Further upstream, I found some perfect water and got into some fish right away. I landed 4 fish, typical Gunpowder browns, from 8 – 10 inches. At one point, I saw a rather large boil right behind the bugger, but I never saw the fish. I was persistent and continued casting and swinging my bugger in the same area, then it happened. WHAM! I knew it was a big fish, but until I saw the first flash near the surface I had no idea. I was on my way to a personal best. The fish immediately headed downstream in the deeper current, then worked its way toward some deadfall. It was tough, but I kept it away. It then made a run toward some submerged branches in some shallower water. I know that if I let that fish get anywhere near debris, I would lose it, and I was determined to land it. I got it into the shallow water, snapped a quick picture, and sent it on its way. Based on the picture, and relative to my rod, my wife and measured and estimated it to be about 17 inches.

Steve Gutowski

Central Pennsylvania Brook Trout Fishing Report

Eastern Brook Trout
I just got back this past week from central PA. While there are not many well known rivers and streams in that area, there are several small mountain creeks that hold high populations of native brook trout. We stay in a small town by the name of Eaglesmere and travel down the mountain to Worlds End State Park. In the park there are eight to ten small streams. My favorite is Double Run, it has four waterfall pools that range from three inches to nine feet in depth. The streams usually only span two to four feet. Many people would walk over a stream like this, thinking that there is no way that any fish could survive in such a small stream. An average catch on a stream is anywhere from ten to thirty fish a day-all about five inches long. Even though the fish are small they make up for it with their beauty. This year I was lucky enough to catch a seven year, fifteen inch trout which is by far the biggest fish I have ever taken out of the stream. I encourage people to get out and try some smaller streams up in the mountains of PA and MD. Brook trout are extremely fragile, and populations are declining all along the East Coast, so be sure to pinch the barb down on the hook and bring forceps to get the hook out of the fish. Try using a size #14-16 elk hair caddis. It will usually prove to be successful and it’s easy to fish.
Small Stream Brook Trout

Beginner’s Fly Fishing School on Sunday August 21

Please join us for a flyfishing school. On Sunday, August 21 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, fly selection and an hour of on-stream instruction. Schools are held in a meadow overlooking the Gunpowder river by a Maryland state licensed and insured fishing guide. Class is held from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM. Cost is $100 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased prior to the class with check or cash at the shop. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-payment is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 or drop us a line at to register.

Mid-June Stream Report from the McCloud and Upper Sac Rivers

Thanks to Neil for the mid-June stream report from the McCloud and Upper Sac Rivers.
Fly Fishing the McCloud River

I wanted to fish the McCloud River in N. California as soon as I heard about it 10 years ago. Finally retired and got my chance. I hired a local guide who was just terrific. The McCloud has been famous for over 100 years as the nursery of its’ red-sided and big trout to the fisheries of the world. You’d think with a rep like that it would be jammed with flyfishers, and on some days it can get a bit crowded. It is far off the beaten path, even for Californians, and the lower river is in a deep canyon wilderness. Rick taught me the local patterns and how to fish them. During the day that means plenty deep. Golden stoneflies and various nymphs fished off the bottom do the trick in the high waters of mid-June. The McCloud is fed by the big snowmelt coming off Mt. Shasta and the water is quite cold and deep just off the bank. There are no riffles, but plenty of boulders. I have no pictures of my big fish, (rats!) because they were caught during the evening on my last day when I was on my own without a camera. Suffice it to say I have never had such an evening – no one else anywhere in sight, bouncing giant stimulator dryflies. Rainbows to 20″ came up off the bottom to slam the big flies. You can see them swim up in the clear glacial waters. There are occasional browns, too. Thanks for allowing me to demo a 9ft. 6wt. St. Croix rod, it had plenty of backbone and you’ll need it. The rod is now mine. A 9-10 ft. 5wt. will do just fine, too. The photo with me in it is on the Upper Sacramento just a few miles away, another superb blue-ribbon stream paralleled by I-5 for many miles, making it so accessible that local fishers often do not bother with the McCloud. Finally, if you are like me, you will love staying in the town of McCloud, a very quiet place that depends on recreation and tourism now that the lumber industry and the dinner train are gone.

Tricos and Terrestrials on the Gunpowder

Size 24 Trico and a real Trico mayfly

Trico’s are beginning to hatch and clear, cold, 50 degree (F) water is flowing down the Gunpowder. Fishing has been good in the mornings with dark nymphs and small midge patterns. Ants and beetles will work well throughout the day. With the beginning of the Trico emergence, stop in and grab a threader set (an easy way to tie on the tiny patterns) and a pair of flip-focals. Also make sure to check out our Trico patterns tied for us by Mike Bachkosky. 7X tippet and very long leaders will be necessary to fool the wary yet hungry wild trout.

Peace, Quiet, and a Few Wild Fish on the Gunpowder River.

July flows on the Gunpowder river

Thanks to Chris for this stream report from July 20th.

Cosmic night on the Gunpowder! This was one of those evenings when all elements came together to result in classic dry fly fishing. As the fog rolled its way down river it chased the last of the tubers down-stream—I could hear their shouts and groans become swallowed and muted by the mist. Not a rising trout in sight. At approximately 7:30 the fog lifted to reveal the hidden world beneath the water–Rising trout came out to feed! With the water as low as it is, I took advantage by finding trout stacked up in channels and pools. One such spot tonight involved a glass smooth pool with a nice shade-line along its bank. Beneath the pool are large submerged boulders; two of which sit side-by-side forming a funnel that speeds the current as it passes through, resulting a deep green pocket with slowly twisting, braiding currents on top. The fish were holding in groups of 2 or 3 throughout this area and were feeding on the emergers of sized 16 and 18 sulphurs. A spattering of cream midges were mixed within the hatch. I tied on a sized 18 dun to 18 feet of leader ending in 7x and carefully made a 30 foot upstream cast to where the fish where pushing the surface. I instantly had a brown sip my fly. This became the routine for the rest of the evening, hooking into to several fish up to 13” (browns and rainbows) all on dry flies. This, I believe, is soulful fly fishing in its purist form. And not another person in sight; just the sound of the chorus of forest dwellers. I’m always truly amazed at what a phenomenal river we have just minutes from our doorsteps.

-Chris Karwacki

Idaho Fly Fishing Report from the Snake and Henry’s Fork.


Thanks to Jessica and Brett for this Idaho fishing report and photos from July 13th.

Hi Theaux,
We had a great Idaho trip – and I had a great time fishing. Caught rainbows and a small brown trout this week. Water levels were record highs which made it tough to fish most streams (lots of mending the line!).

Brett boasting a beautiful Idaho brown

Well, Jess and I are back from out Idaho trip. I can assure you that it is “all that” and then some. We had an outstanding vacation, although all the running around out there wore us out pretty bad. Selfishly I have to say that the first day of the trip was the highlight for me. We were set to float the S. Fork of the Snake River. Out guide warned me that it was high and muddy. He wanted to divert us to the Henrys Fork, which was the only stream that wasn’t blown out with the record snowmelt. We planned to fish the Henrys Fork on our own for several days, so we stuck with the plan. Overall, fishing was pretty slow. We caught many whitefish and a few nice rainbows, but it took lots of effort. I didn’t catch the big cutthroat I was looking for, but I did manage to hook up with a monster brown trout. Our guide freaked out. It was the longest brown he had a client catch in his 10yr career, just short of 26” on the tape (although it wasn’t very robust). Most of the fish were caught on nymphs and san juan worms, but I got a few rainbows on a streamer. Jess did fantastic, and nearly (notice I said nearly) outfished me on the trip. Her casting lessons at Backwater Angler helped tremendously.

We got some nice fish from the Henrys Fork over the next few days, all rainbows. It’s a magical place, crowded with both wading and drifting anglers. Lots of hatches coming off. I had to make daily trips to the fly shop to pick up the fly that the fish wanted that I didn’t have… My best was a 17” rainbow. All the fish were built like tanks, there’s just so much insect life there. Each of us actually got a few fish off the “Ranch” section, which is a famously difficult section to fish. It is simply awesome.