Author Archives: Theaux Le Gardeur

New Zealand Mudsnails

IMG_3156A population of New Zealand mudsnails (Potamogyrus antipodarum) has been confirmed by Maryland DNR in the following press release. Thanks also to Scott Dance for early coverage in the Baltimore Sun of the prescence of the invasive New Zealand Mudsnails in the Upper Gunpowder River.

There are two schools of though on invasives; one is the “aw shucks” approach to let thing be, the other more conservative approach is apt to slowing the spread of invasives by educating river users and taking steps to containing invasives to the affected waterbodies. The good folks at MDDNR should be applauded by taking the conservative approach of letting angler’s know about this new invasive species of concern.

“We’ve been dealing with Didymo or “Rock Snot” an invasive algae in these waters since 2008. Initially the Backwater Angler shop maintained wader wash stations and in 2010 Gunpowder Riverkeeper took over maintenance of the stations with volunteers. Anglers are the vectors. We have anglers that fish globally. The Gunpowder is a nationally recognized wild trout fishery and made Field and Streams Top 5 tailwater or dam controlled rivers list in 2005. Whether it came from the Madison or Spring Creek is immaterial at this point. The only other known area on the East coast is Spring Creek in Centre County, PA. The Centre Daily covered the occurrence back in 2013.
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Invasive species tend to inhabit disrupted ecosystems. It is widely known that the Gunpowder system has too many nutrients namely Phosphorous and Nitrogen that can be contributing to their abundance. Once established, New Zealand mudsnails can amass in such large quantities at over 300,000 per square meter. At these levels they are best described as biofoulers-like zebra mussels and are known to clog water intakes. Something to consider given that the Gunpowder River supplies water regionally to 1.5 million residents in the metro-area.

Because the snails are very hardy and temp, turbidity and salt they could move quickly into the rest of the Gunpowder system well below Loch Raven. Gunpowder Riverkeeper advises all visiting boaters and anglers to take precautions to clean check and dry their gear including physical methods like soaking gear in hot water or freezing gear before and after visiting the Gunpowder to reduce the chance of spreading invasive species.

Recent literature from the Oregon State indicates that New Zealand Mudsnails can also adapt to high salinity environments. Here is the USGS take on these critters that also includes a distribution map.

Finally, here is guidance hot of the press from MDDNR on cleaning protocols.After fishing in the Gunpowder Falls, at least one of the following decontamination methods should be completed:
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Soak waders, boots, and equipment in a bath of 20 g/L Virkon Aquatic for 15 to 20 minutes. Spray application alone is not a reliable method of disinfection.

· Soak waders, boots, and equipment in hot water (>60oC) for at least 5 minutes (Not recommended for Gortex).

· Freeze waders, boots, and equipment for at least 6 hours at -3oC.

· Dry waders, boots, and equipment completely for at least 48 hours.

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If you are still reading we need your financial support to keep the River protected now and in the future. Please consider a charitable contribution of support to protect the River.

You may donate at: http://www.gunpowderriverkeeper.org/#support or by sending a check to Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER®, P.O. BOX 156 Monkton, MD 21111.

Thank you for your support!
Theaux M. Le Gardeur
Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER®

GRK is a 501(c)(3) non-profit categorized by the IRS under Natural Resource Conservation and Protection. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Beginners Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday September the 24th 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 10:00am – 1:00pm. 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 with check or cash the day of the school. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.

Beginners Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Saturday September the 23th 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 10:00am – 1:00pm. 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 with check or cash the day of the school. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.

Low Water fishing on the Gunpowder.

The Gunpowder is flowing at 28cfs and gin clear. Water temperatures are starting out at 54 degrees and rising to the 60 degree mark at the warmest part of the day. Thanks to Stefan for the following report & photos.

With low water conditions on the gunpowder fishing has been tough. With that being said fish still have to eat and fishing long 10-13 foot leaders tapering to 6 or 7x will get them to do just that. Ants and beetles will draw the most consistent dry fly action in the heat of the day, if you are fishing in the morning or evening a small size 16-18 tan caddis should do the trick. Streamers fished early in the morning will also provide a few eats.

Streamer eater
Early morning streamer eater.

genewithyugefishlandscape
Gene with a brown taken on a small caddis.

Beginners Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday September the 17th 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 10:00am – 1:00pm. 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 with check or cash the day of the school. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.

Beginners Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Saturday September the 16th 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 10:00am – 1:00pm. 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 with check or cash the day of the school. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.

Rain and clear water on the Gunpowder

trout caught on an ant

Thanks to Gene for the fishing report and photos.

The Gunpowder is stable at 42 cfs, clear and starting the day at 54 degrees.

Following the push of water last week the river is back down to summer flows. Tributaries will add a little color to the river downstream from Falls Rd. Despite that the river is relatively clear until Little Falls at Bluemount Rd. Fishing with beetles, ants and small hoppers has been productive in the mornings especially. Small caddis size 18’s are coming off in the mornings and evenings. Tricos have been inconsistent as of yet this season.

evening on the lower river

Beginners Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday August the 20th 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 9:00am – 12:00pm. 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 with check or cash the day of the school. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.

Beginners Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Saturday August the 19th 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 2:00pm – 5:00pm. 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 with check or cash the day of the school. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.

Better Flows on the Gunpowder

chunky brown trout

The Gunpowder is at 73 cfs and water temperature remains in the mid 50’s at Falls road.

Since the flows have been increased Monday night the fishing has been great. The fish seem to have spread out and are very active. Streamers have been working really well, especially for the larger fish, after 4 weeks of low water. Much of the same has been working – terrestrials, caddis etc. Now you can encounter tricos around 8-9 am from bunker hill downstream: Fish should be reacting to those more each day from now whilst they last.

This fish was caught on a sculpin pattern 20 minutes after catching one a little bigger. In summary, don’t wait, fish these conditions whilst they last! We have guides ready to work with you on brushing up your skills whether that’s with dries, wets, streamers or nymphs.