Monthly Archives: August 2003

Great weather for Olives…

It’s raining now. Lots of reports of folks catching fish above Falls Rd on Olives #18-20 and small CDC Caddis #18.

Clouds in the forecast tomorrow should brew up some great weather for Olives. While there are still many craneflies around a #18 griffith’s gnat or #18-22 ICSI midge is usually more effective. Water temp was 52 F today and may rise quite a bit if we get any spillover from the Dam. If the water is a little off-color tomorrow try a small streamer. A #10 or #12 wooly bugger in brown or olive should be a good prospecting fly.

A tall tale from Carson Satterfield

The following tall tale was written by Carson Satterfield, daughter of a Backwater Angler customer. Carson wrote this story for an assignment in 5th grade at Sparks Elementary School last Spring. The assignment was to create a tall tale, using all of the traditional elements of the tall tale. Carson decided to address topics with which she is familiar, fishing and the Gunpowder River. The story is fictional and any similarities to real persons or events are coincidental. Carson is in no way personally affiliated with Backwater Angler and has received no compensation from the fly shop for her story (though her dad is arguing for a discount). Enjoy!
Theo Hopper
Have you ever heard the tale of the greatest fisher ever? Theo Hopper was born in Belvedere, Illinois, near a pea sized river. He was born the size of a pocketbook, with deep blue eyes and a head balder than America’s eagle. That boy grew like a weed, but he remained tiny. Nothing could stop Theo from shooting down to the river and wrestling with the fish. He swam like a fish, and he loved that river like a writer loves words. Everyday he would go down and fish, and he could fish like an otter. Yessiree, he could fetch a giant sailfish in two seconds flat. And every fish he caught weighed at least as much as a house. By the time Theo was 28, he could cast a line faster than light could travel. But there was one problem, he had caught all the fish in the river! Well, as soon as he told his momma, she got as excited as a child with ice cream, and solved the problem as fast as lightning. “I heard ‘bout a place way out east,” she told him, “Where they got a great bay, the size of Jupiter. Why don’t you go seek your fortune?” The more Theo thought it over, the more he liked the idea. So he packed up his fishing gear, and a few home cooked pies, and bid goodbye to his tear-ridden mother. She was as sad as a weeping willow, but wished him good luck. “Write me when you get there!” She cried, waving a hanky. “I will!” He assured her, as he started down the path. And with a quick wave of his tiny hand, he was gone. By the time Theo reached Maryland, the land of the great bay, he was 29. He had shaved his head, for easy movement in the water, and he had grown a goatee for looks. Along the way, in Kentucky, (he got off course for a while) he had picked up a fisherman’s cat, from along the wharf. No one claimed the cat when Theo asked around, so he decided to keep him. He had named the animal Leonardo. Leonardo was a yellow stripe tabby with beautiful brown eyes. He wore a yellow tuxedo; his stripes with a white shirt and gloves. He was the most handsome creature Theo had ever seen, except for himself. Maryland was a prospering place, with a miniature city that was ac*****ulating people like land ac*****ulates grass. Theo got a cabin way out in the country, down in a town called Monkton. There was a railroad, a river and a few shops that Theo often visited. After a few days of settling in, he walked to the General Store and bought himself a map to reach the Great Bay. The first time Theo went fishing in that bay, he caught a humongous sailfish, the size of a small town. Oh, did he have a time getting that thing home, dragging it for hours, pushing and pulling, lifted and setting back down. After 48 hours of letting it drag on the ground, Theo and the fish reached their home in Monkton. When he looked behind him, and saw the trench he had made, Theo was concerned. And then he got an idea. He sprinted to get his hose, and waited for two months while the hollow filled up. When it was done, Theo was thrilled with his river. It was filled with fish from top to bottom and was overflowing with live bait. But when Theo went to catch some fish, his river wasn’t near deep enough to row out and cast a line. So he thought it over. And soon he had the best idea in the world. He flew to his work bench, and constructed a lengthy rod, with an extensive line that had a miniature hook on the end. After 2 hours, Theo had finished his rod, and was darn proud of it. He was about to slide down to the river to test it, when he realized that he was short on bait. He couldn’t use worms! The next day, Theo headed to the bustling town, hoping to get an idea from the big city folk. Well, he walked into about fifty eight fishing stores, and only one shop gave him his plan. A young man was behind the counter, busily and noisily whistling and tying a line. “You got anything that can help me with my problem?” Theo called loudly. “That depends,” the man snottily declared, “what’s ya’re problem?” “While, I got a river,” Theo began. But the man did not let him continue. “Ya can’t fish in a river. Too shallow. Bad fish.” “Well I invented this new rod, and I need some bait for it, as seeing worms won’t do.” Theo told him. “Why don’t ya just look in the river?” The man responded, as if it were the most obvious thing in the dang ole world. “Why don’t I.” Theo stated, and strolled out of shop. Back at home, Theo thoroughly checked the river for creatures. He was checking under rocks, straining at their weight, when he came across a itsy bitsy critter no bigger than his pinky nail. “Why, I’ll be darned! If it ain’t a little river nymph! Perfect!” And he scooped up the nymph and put it in his pocket. That day, Theo tried his new rod. He had crafted a false nymph, and tied it to his hook. His idea was that he would throw his arm way back, up, so the line almost touched the water, and then do it three more times till he landed it on the water. But it took him a while fore he could fish, cause his line kept hooking everything behind him. He ended up catching a tree, rock, fence, and cat (Leonardo). And just when he was about to give up, his line landed safely on the water. Well, no more than 2 seconds later a fish dang popped up and bit that nymph. Whooping and yelling, Theo gave it a tug and landed a gigantic tuna, about the size of the river itself. Just then, Leonardo caught a huge bass, larger than a boulder. Prouder than anything, the two boys sauntered up the bank to fry and eat their catches. A few years after Theo had invented the Gunpowder river, and the fly fishing method and rod, he retired and started a little fly fishing shop. And for all we know, he’s still there, fishing for fun and selling his products, and keeping his Mother company with weekly letters.

Note: Do you have a tall tale? Send it to

Gear Review Survey

New products will make their debut in September and many of our sales representatives have already beaten a path to our door to give us a peek at what’s new for the 2004 season. 

From time to time we get new product in the development stages. This year we’ve been busy testing new lines from Airflo. Stay tuned for other exciting news from Vendors like R. L. Winston, Sage, Ross and Simms.

New gear reviews are up!

New gear reviews are up!
For our latest thoughts on new products,
just click on the gear reviews page. You will find the most recent reviews in the right column and the most popular in the left.
The abc directory header at the top of the page will allow you to scroll through reviews and find them by alphabetical listing.

Note: Check out our new gear poll. What would you like us to review?

It’s the humidity…

We heard a fellow comment today that,
” the Gunpowder was colder than a few high mountain tribs he had fished out West last week”. The river has recovered nicely and we’re still hearing reports of fish taking dries-mostly early AM from York through Big falls. A renegade is a great searching pattern. If you’re not sure if the flies are Tricos, give one a try in a #18.
If you are to proud to fish a bead head pheasant tails under a terrestrial then you are doomed to watch others succeed. Copper Johns also work wonders…

Note: Check out our in store sale on select wading boots from Simms and Chota. Save up to 50% on in store stock only.

Dry Flies Anyone?

Reports of BWO’s #16-18 on cloudy days are encouraging. We’re still seeing some Tricos out there and fur ants with a little shot are tricking fish in the riffles. While the water is up and a little off, try some light bright zonkers #4-6.

Water is dropping fast and is clearing up aftera big rain Sat night. Water temp is in the mid 60’s but should come down a bit once the river settles down. It should be back in fine shape by Tuesday AM.

Note: We have some new winging material in the shop called Medallion Sheeting that is very versatile. It works great and can be used to tie anything from #22 Trico Spinners to #6 American Hoppers.

The forecast calls for Tricos…

The Gunpowder is still at a great level, (109 Cfs) and with warmer days ahead the ants, beetles and hoppers should get hot enough to chance a swim across the river. The “meadow” section from the rock ledge pool at Bunkerhill to the I-83 bridge is a great one to try-just be sure to stay on the left bank if you are working downstream because the right bank eventually falls up and away from the river and leads you on a billy goat death march. We are still hearing some rumblings about Tricos in the morning. York Rd downstream through Bluemount is a good section to try. A griffiths in a #16-18 on a nice long leader-start with a 12 footer, add some 6x and fish backeddies and the heads of pools. Remember that while in PA you’re likely to see a matress sized cluster hovering over the water, but in Maryland, the Trikes are more subdued and a basketball sized cluster is a joy to behold.

Chance of rain till September…

The water has not looked better all Summer. Flow is around 100Cfs but may bump up after it rains.Water temp is 53F. Is the fishing better this year? -With reports of lots of 10-14″ fish caught in the past few weeks I’d say it is on the upswing.We are are certainly not seeing the pressure we saw during drought conditions last year and heck it’s August , so there are a good many people broiling on the beach.

We are just now getting reports of Tricos in the morning between York and Bluemount. -Better have a good alarm clock, most of the activity starts well before 8:00 AM. If you don’t feel like tying on a #22 Trico, try a #16-18 Griffiths Gnat. The ICSI, (I can see it) midges #20-24 are another great summertime searching pattern, especially around back eddies.Fish these behind a hi-vis beetle.Rocky is still using Bead Head Pheasant Tails #14-16. If you must fish hoppers, try fishing them with a little shot through deep pools.

Note: Now is the time to start tying on those 12ft 6 and 7x leaders.