Monthly Archives: April 2008

Grand Opening at New Location for Backwater Angler Revealed

The shop will be closed on Wednesday April 30, and will reopen at the new location on Thursday May 1, 2008. Our phone lines will down on the 30th as the lines are changed over to the new location. Our phone #, 410-329-6821 will remain the same.
After many questions about where the new shop will be located,
we thought that a few pictures were in order.

Backwater Angler New Location

The shop is at 16928 York Rd, Monkton, MD 21111 at the corner of Monkton Rd and York Rd.

Backwater Angler at 16928 York RD, Monkton MD 21111

Stop in May 3 and 4th during our Grand opening at the new location.
Our Scott, Abel, Airflo, and Patagonia rep Ken Lagerveld will be in house on Saturday, May 3 from 10 till 4pm.

Gunpowder River Midge, Caddis, Hendricksons afoot, and Shad…

The Gunpowder river is low, clear and flowing at 36 Cfs. The water temperature last evening at Falls Rd was 49 F. Early morning temps are closer to 45 F. The trees along the river are budding out and there are some wonderous colors reflecting in the clear pools out there. Lack of shade has made fishing tough on bright days. Midge activity has been steady from Masemore through Falls Rd. Flies in the #20-22 range have been productive in the flats, especially in shaded areas. Caddis in the #18-20 range  are just starting at Masemore through Bunkerhill Rd. If you’d like to use larger flies, a  few Hendricksons have been spotted as far downstream as  Corbett Rd. The lower river in the 5 fish a day stretch from the red posts above Upper Glencoe Rd. through Phoenix Rd. will be closed from this Sunday, April 20 until 5:30 AM on April 26. 

Thanks to Louis for the following Shad Report,

Stopped by the lower Gunpowder in Joppatown on Jason’s recommendation. Shad live in the suburbs! The river was super low, but I met a couple kids who said they saw a few upstream of the rail bridge in pool below the chutes. Not many of them, but caught a couple and a white perch on mini pink and white clousers and a chartreuse dart. I’ll definitely have to give it another shot. There was still a lot of sun in the sky when I decided to head the rest of the way up to Deer Creek. Absolutely tons of shad above the pumping station. A handful of fishermen to go with them, but plenty of space. Caught a few more, good size – 14-16 inches – but didn’t really get a good handle on the favorite color of the day. Too few good drifts, I think. Maybe I’ll go back to practice tomorrow. Thanks, as always, for your help and advice, and good luck on with the move.
Happy Fishing,
Louis Kovacs, Baltimore

Backwater Angler is Moving to the Intersection of Monkton Rd and York Rd May 1

That’s right folks, you heard it here first, Backwater Angler, after 7 years at 538 Monkton Rd is pulling up stakes and moving to the intersection of Monkton and York Rd at 16928 York Rd. Sometimes the shortest moves are the hardest so, prior to the move, we will be having a sale from April 18 through the 27th on select inventory that we do not want to pack up.
Ella, Backwater Anglers Official Greeter, is ready for the move
Our phone #, web address and staff will remain the same and we’ll have additional parking at the new location to boot!
Please stop in the new location of Backwater Angler at 16928 York Rd, Monkton, MD 21111 during our upcoming open house weekend on May 3 and 4th. We look forward to welcoming the Backwater Angler Community into the new space.

Gearing Up For The Shad Run

Shad can be great quarry for fly rod anglers. Although due to the limited time they occupy Maryland rivers and streams many people miss out on these great fish. The phone at Backwater Angler routinely rings each March as questions about the shad’s whereabouts, gear and locations pour in. Generally we see the shad in good numbers by the second week in April.


Shad, especially Hickory Shad can be caught on three to six weight rods. Lighter rods may limit the ability to present flies to fish in deeper water, as a three can’t handle a short sinking leader like a five weight rod. The larger American Shad, can be found in the Potomac and anglers use rods up to seven weights for these larger shad. Shad can run hard and jump so a good reel will aid in landing these impressive fighters. Sinking leaders, although not necessary will help get the fly down in higher flows, or deeper water. A long leader tapered to 4X-5X with a lightly weighted fly is a standard rig in most streams like Deer Creek.

Savage and North Branch River April Fishing Report

Last week I journeyed to western Maryland for some big water fishing. The tailwaters in the region have been flowing extremely high all winter, and I took the first chance to fish once the levels dropped. Many anglers are learning the Savage Reservoir has been releasing water to lower levels so a broken dam release gate can be repaired. The reservoir has been nearly emptied from extended releases in the 600 Cfs range through winter. Depending on how quickly work is completed the reservoir may or may not gain back enough water in time to provide cold flows through summer. According to MD Fisheries freshwater report webpage, it is too early to tell if flows will be a problem come summer. Clarity problems seem to have improved on the Savage as it was clear while I fished it, despite reports of murky water the past few months. The “Licks” and upper Savage are flowing very high, and many roadside ditches are brimming with runoff from rains and snow melt. Currently there is no lack of water on the lower Savage, as it rose from 78 Cfs to 125 Cfs over three days. Stoneflies, Blue quills and BWOs were hatching in good numbers bringing some trout to the surface. The hatches were short, but accounted for many of my fish caught. Size 18 PT nymphs also worked in the deeper pools, and narrow chutes.

Fingerling Cutthroat

The North Branch was 300 Cfs at Barnum,WV. I brought no large trophies to hand, but managed to catch my first East Coast cutthroat. I snapped the pic above and caught 3 more in the same hole. The fish were healthy and holding in some prime water, which oddly enough was where a client caught one last July. I hooked up on a few large rainbows, and came tight on a solid 20 inch + brown that tore off down river, nearly into my backing, before pulling free. The water temp was 45 degrees, and the fish were pretty sluggish on dries despite an impressive hatch of brown stoneflies. Fishing subsurface was key, seining the river I found scuds, stonefly nymphs and caddis larva. Both rivers are at great levels, bugs are hatching and fishing is good as long as releases continue.

Gunpowder River Early April Stream Report

We’re enjoying some much needed rain and surface activity along the Gunpowder River. Tiny midges in the #22-26 range are accounting for most of the surface activity. Midge nymphs, emergers and dries are all working, as long as they’re tied up with a little 7X. Water temps are also on the rise, and the river is clear above Blue Mount Rd. By midday we’re seeing water temps in the 47-49 F range in shallow riffles between Falls Rd and York Rd.

Thanks to David for the following stream report:

Backwater, I took up fishing the Gunpowder a few months ago, and this past weekend I decided to get a guide because my brother was in town and wanted to put him on a few fish. We went with Capt. Jeff and as we approached the river a near freezing temperatures, it began to snow on us. Needless to say, we didn’t have high hopes. We immediately hooked a few fish and went on to catch over 40 fish on midges. This is quite a feat for any guide (putting two amateurs on that many wild browns). So thanks again Backwater, and I plan on getting my other two brothers up here to fish with someone out of your shop soon. I learned more about the Gunpowder in a few hours with a guide than I have in several months there by myself. I’ve attached a few pictures from the trip.


David Todd Harmon

Give our Backwater Angler Guide Service page a look and don’t postpone joy!

Time Lapse Photos Of March Water Levels In Prettyboy Reservoir

When will we see an increase in flow on the Gunpowder River?

In the shop we are asked this question almost daily. These lower flows the past six months have resulted in tough fishing, but on the bright side it has allowed Prettyboy to gain a lot of water back. I have monitored the levels in Prettyboy in March using a camera to document the rise of water against the dam wall.I snapped this photo below on March 7th 2008. The elevation of the water level at that time was roughly 12 feet from the point of spillover.CIMG0108

I snapped this photo below on March 19th after two days of good rain earlier in the week. By looking at the funnel shaped concrete turrets on the dam, it is easy to see the water rose a few feet in less than two weeks.


The photo below shows the most recent levels in Prettyboy as of March 30th. By comparing all three photos and doing some guess work there remains less than eight feet to be gained until spillover. A couple of heavy April showers in the region may help raise levels in the reservoir, and lead to spillover.