Monthly Archives: July 2007

Conserve Water in Baltimore, Maryland

Back in June, in an Examiner Article titled; “Balancing Water to Balance Trout”, local writer Boyd Pffiefer alluded to the great resource we have in the Gunpowder river. Water is precious and it is easy to waste. MDE, (Maryland Department of the Environment) has a very helpful bulletin on household water conservation tips. Give it a read, I’m sure that we, and the Gunpowder River wild fish, can all benefit.

Intermediate Fly Tying:Caddis

Please join us for an Intermediate Fly Tying Class on Saturday September 29, from 11:00 AM till 2:00PM. It’s an intermediate fly tying class that focuses on Caddis patterns. Our very own Gunpowder river guides will be teaching this fun-filled intermediate class. Cost of the class is $45 per person, and please bring your own tools and materials. The class is limited to six and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-329-6821 or drop us a line at to pre-register.

Fly fishing this Week? Bigger Flows on the Gunpowder River near Baltimore, Maryland Await…

The river is flowing at 86 Cfs, is clear, and 54 F at Falls Rd. Mornings have been very productive with lots of fish taking caddis in the #16-18 range, and small hoppers sized #10-12 from Masemore Rd upstream. A dozen or so large brown stonefly cases were brought in last week from the lower river. A few Cahills have also been present but not in enough of a concentration to call it a “hatch.” Nevertheless the fish are looking up and if you have a few stimulators left in your Western box, give ’em a try. We’ve been using lots of 7x, even with the hoppers, so expect a few tangles if you’re doing the same.

Dropped Shoe on the Banks of the Gunpowder River

We also had a lot of reports of trash along the Gunpowder River, from Bluemount through the Lower Glencoe section of stream. This section is particuarly popular with tubers and I suspect that we’ll be cleaning up the river this Fall and finding a lot of empties. If you have some time, stop by the shop and pick up some trash bags, left over from our cleanup and lend a hand in keeping the river beautiful. Two Backwater Anglers , took advantadge of the higher flows this weekend, by covering Bluemount to Monkton Station in a new craft-video to come. The lower Gunpowder river has been a great spot early in the morning, especially on weekends before the plastic hatch. Tricos and small, traditional streamers should carry the day in this section. We’ve also found lots of fish nosing the banks for terrestrials, especially in the frog water. Fish have moved out of the riffles and can be found in the water we’d normally skip. Boat and tube traffic may well be influencing where the fish are, but rest assured they’re ready to eat.

Related Posts:
Gunpowder River Cleanup Video

Bamboo Fly Fishing Rods built in Baltimore Maryland, Hon

I’m proud to introduce the community to our very own Bill Felter. Bill is a Maryland State Licensed Fishing Guide, Backwater Angler Clinic Instructor, and Bamboo fly rod Builder. Bill will be contributing to the site on various topics including fly fishing reports, guide know-how and bamboo rod building, of course. –Theaux
Tapers, Tapers, Tapers...
Hi there, it’s Bill. I just started working on another rod for the shop. I finished flaming and splitting the culm that will become a copy of the famous Model 97 taper designed by Jim Payne. It’s a 7-foot, 2 piece rod with 2 tips that casts a 4 weight line. I really love this rod for its smooth action and it’s my favorite rod for fishing those little Brook Trout streams out in Garrett County. It loads up with just a few feet of line out and it has enough power to reach out to about 40 feet before it starts to feel overworked. It really shines in the 15 to 30 foot range, which is as far as anyone would need to cast in most small stream situations. It can handle streamers up to about #6 and turns over long leaders for fishing really little dry flies. I routinely fish this taper on the Gunpowder and think it does a nice job of landing fish in the 12 inch and under range. It’s not the rod you’d take to the North Branch.

The rod is darkly flamed and will have blued ferrules and hardware, an agate stripping guide and dark bronze guides. The reel seat hardware will be the classic down-locking cap and ring style. Wraps will be chestnut brown silk with black tipping. I hope to have it finished and in the shop by October. After that I’ll have 1 or 2 rods ready for the holidays.

Tight lines,

iPhone Review and Activation Foiled in Baltimore, Maryland

June 30, and I’m still looking, but not using the iPhone. It’s my fault really, this dialogue, (or is it a diatribe?) is coming from a guy who has a 33 year old Cub Cadet riding mower, a rotary phone and no TV. I’m driving to the Apple store tonight to buy a Macbook Pro. After all, we’re putting together one to two fly fishing videos a week for the site and I’ve been secretly coveting Jason du Pont’s Machine since last Summer. So, I’m mentally ready to take the tech plunge. I’m hoping to get the iPhone “synched” and working using the Apple store’s wireless connection. While I’m waiting, a steady stream of folks are barreling through the store. –Hopeful kids with parents in tow, smiling older people that are “hip to the tech”, and even some octogenarians are pouring over the iMacs.

At the MacGenius bar, I meet a distressed woman that drove down from Harrisburg, PA to get her iPhone activated and she, after a few hours with a Mac Genius left with an AT&T email message that said,

“Congratulations, AT&T is activating your iPhone. Your phone will notify you when activation is complete.”


The super nice Apple guy I spoke to on the phone is here in person yipee! He’s beaming and ready to help, but relates that; “they are sold out of the $1999 machine, and would have them available Monday or Tuesday”.

So off to CompUSA I go. It’s now 8:30 PM, the store hours sign say they’re open till 9:00 PM, but the OPEN sign is not lit. Am I too late, or is CompUSA just sticking it to BGE? In a few minutes I’m inside, looking earnest and trying to make eye contact with several red vested clerks. Finally, I’ve got one. I ask the clerk if, “they have any MacBook Pros boxed up and ready to go.” He says; “We should have one in stock and that, “he’ll be right back” and disappears amidst the aisles. After about ten minutes, the store will be closing message blares over the intercom. I’m ready to take my package to the front, but I don’t have one yet. The clerk returns long-faced and mentions that they only have two in stock and they are both on the floor as demos. My plan to activate my iPhone is foiled again…

Related Posts:

iPhone Review and Realization in Baltimore, Maryland

iphone Review and Woes in Baltimore, Maryland

FlyFishing Clinic:Entomology

Please Join us Thursday evening, July 19, 2007 from 6:00 PM till 8:00 PM for an entomology clinic along the Gunpowder River.

Brush up on insect identification, biology and matching the hatch with a variety of techniques.

Cost is $75 per person and participants provide their own gear. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-329-6821 or drop us a line at to preregister.

Big Gunpowder Falls River Smallmouth on a Fly Rod

The Catch and release section is still relatively cool but with mid 90’s forecasted through this week, we could use a bit more flow. Currently the river is at 40 Cfs and temps at Falls Rd are in the low to mid 50’s throughout the day. Mornings have been especially productive with large attractor dries like stimulators and trudes in the #8-12 range. Midday small caddis emergers like zing-wings, cdc pupas and and x-caddis in the #14-16 range should work fine in the riffles. Low water is typical this time of year as is less pressure on the river. Many anglers over this past weekend found alot of room and reported lots of dry fly action. Rest assured, more water is on the way, until then, work the fastest water-read more dissolved oxygen and cover and limit your wading.The Gunpowder river at Sparks access was measured at 77 F on Thursday. Little Falls is quite warm and contributing to higher temps downstream, so please give the lower river a rest until conditions improve.

Thanks to Fred for the following report and picture of a fly rod smallmouth.

Gunpowder River Smallmouth on a Fly Rod


Quick report form July 4th, (a little late). With the river being super clear and the fish spooky, I decided to try something different. I decided to climb around the mouth of the dam and fish the far side of the plunge pool. Using a sink tip withan intermediate line I managed to land this smallmouth probably measuring between 17-18 inches and 4 1/2 -5 1/2 pounds. The picture does not do the fish justice. In order to land the fish I had to climb down the rock face where there is only one foot hold , which was very sketchy. I manged to get him up, -luckily with 6 pound test. Jim, (with BMW) witnessed the catch from the other side of the plunge pool. The day was a little overcast so visibility was low, but I saw a lot of activity down below the plunge pool. I had lots of strikes using that method and also caught a handful of browns and one white perch. Looking forward to doing it again and maybe this time I’ll get one of those big browns.

gotta go


Fly Tying For Beginners: Gunpowder River Favorites

Please join us for a Beginners Fly Tying Class on Saturday July 21 from 11:00 AM till 2:00PM. It’s an introductory fly tying class that focuses on Gunpowder river patterns. Our very own Gunpowder river guides will be teaching this fun-filled beginners class. Cost of the class is $45 per person, and includes the use of tools and materials. The class is limited to six and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-329-6821 or drop us a line at to pre-register.

Savage River and North Branch of the Potomac Fishing Report Update

Western Maryland in June was tough fishing with low water. When I had a few days free this past week I called some friends and decided to give it another try.

The Savage River was fishing hot despite returning to 55 Cfs from 800 on Sunday July 1st. Sulphurs, Yellow and Lime Sallies, Olives, Caddis and even March Browns were still hatching. Fish were looking up in a big way, which was a change from last month. X-Caddis and Olives in a size 14 brought many fish up from the deep holes. In the tailouts and flat water fish were selectively rising to size 20-24 Olives. Size 16 Sulphurs caught fish, but only early or late in the day. Many fish were visibly holding inches under the surface, waiting for something to hit the water. In the evening the spinnerfall was pretty heavy, but short-lived. Fishing South on the river was more productive for spinnerfalls. I saw a mere dozen fish rising in the last twenty minutes one night in the PHD pool. A better stretch yielded dozens of risers the next night two miles farther south.

Suspension Bridge

Prospecting with big dries all day was easier and more productive than trying to pick off the selective risers in the flats. One large trout rose to my X-Caddis but wouldn’t take. A quick tippet change and Pheasant tail nymph accounted for one 16 inch brown and one 13 inch brookie. Two browns lost in battle in the 17-18 inch range made me regret using 7x, but I guess you can’t catch what you can’t get to bite. I haven’t seen fish this large so active since the Brood X cicadas.

The North Branch of the Potomac was good fishing. Anyone who has put off fishing this river due to tough wading should make the trip now. Water levels are really low, concentrating fish into the better runs and allowing river crossing in many areas. The bottom is still pretty rough walking, but without the strong flows, it is much easier.

I mentioned to a couple of friends at the Barnum access that someone out of the three of us would hook into a fish pushing 22-25 inches. Three hours later a screaming reel and yells of “Big Fish” caused me to drop my Scott E2 10′ 4 weight. As tough as the river is to wade, running downstream 100 yards to help net a large rainbow was fairly easy. The 21-23 inch bow allowed me to close the distance a few times, but bulldogged downstream into a heavy rapid. Snap! I hate seeing the big ones get away on this river. Sorry Nick, I should have netted that fish.

Big Nasties Box

Six hours later we had hooked thirty fish total between 12-23 inches, with fat 16-18 inch bows on the larger size of what we landed. Few fish were active on top except below the dam in the Cable Flat. Some sulphurs were hatching in the uppermost stretch of river. San Juan worms, copper johns, brassies and other attractor nymphs with red or brown were hot.

Four days of fishing in Western Maryland took me on a whirlwind of hatch matching on the Savage River for large browns, dissecting the massive North Branch for huge rainbows and slowing things down on local brook trout tributaries. I even saw my first Western Maryland black bear on a hillside off of I-68.

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Backwater Angler Overnighter