Monthly Archives: December 2009

Pick up a 2010 License Before New Years

The shop will be closed New Years Day.
So… if you’re planning on picking up a fishing license to ring in the first fishing day of the New Year, please do so at the shop before Friday, January 1st, 2010.
The shop is open from 10AM till 6 PM every weekday.
The shop is open every Saturday and Sunday from 8 AM till 4 PM
We will be open New Years eve till 4 PM.
If you miss us, purchase a license direct by either calling 800-918-2870 or
buy your license online.
A non-tidal, (freshwater) license and a trout stamp is required to fish the Gunpowder river.
Non-residents may choose from an annual or short term license with a 3 to 5 day duration.
Residents may choose from short term license with a 5 day duration or an annual license.

Resolve to fish more in 2010.
We’ll see you on the river…

Snowmelt along the Gunpowder River Points to Streamer Fishing Mid-Week

Chota ThinSkin Neoprene Gloves
The Gunpowder river is flowing at 668 CFs and is dropping. A full reservoir, coupled with 19″ of snow from the last storm, and a warm and rainy Christmas weekend in the Hereford Zone, pushed the river up to 1, 070 CFs last night. An angler who stopped in the shop yesterday at 8 AM tried his luck at Masemore until a tree floated past him. Typically, flows below 275 Cfs are more reasonable for fly fishing the Gunpowder but even at those levels one should limit wading and use the excellent trail network to get around the river. If pitching streamers from the bank is your idea of fun, (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it) wait until midweek and cast but don’t wade among the logs from Masemore through Bunkerhill with Smallmouth sized streamers-think Clousers and Lite-Bright Zonkers under a large strike indicator. With plenty of Winter fishing ahead, stop in and pick up some Chota ThinSkin neoprene gloves and a Filson wool stocking cap while the water receedes. More snow is in the forecast for New Years. If you have a youngster at home next weekend, after they shovel the walk, have ’em try a snow experiment before they pull the sled out of the garage.

Fly Fishing Maryland: Small Stream Shots 2009

Staying Low on the Small Streams
Every year I always make time to explore smaller streams throughout the region in search of wild trout. Fishing small streams, especially for the first time, can lead to incredibly scenic places where few trout are pressured by anglers. Exploring unknown water is a gamble, as many hours or even days can be spent hiking along small streams with few or no trout caught. The anglers who stumble onto small streams with good numbers of trout, often find a piece of paradise to themselves. Over the course of 2009 I fished a number of small wild brown and brook trout streams in Maryland, and wanted to share some photos of these little gems that didn’t make it into a website report. While I spend the bulk of my time fishing the Gunpowder, I’ll be sure to return to these streams in 2010.
Maryland Double Plunge Pool Long

MD Native Brook Trout

Big Plunge Pool

Shaded Maryland Creek

Clear Water Brookie

Split Falls

Trout Stream

Small Stream Brown

Slow Pool

Small Pocket Water Stream

Holiday Hours and Good Cheer Via Email

Gingerbread House at Backwater Angler
Check out our Happy Holiday Hours:
The shop will be open Monday through Wednesday from 10AM till 6 PM.
The shop will be open Christmas eve from 10AM till 2 PM.
The shop will be open Saturday and Sunday from 8AM till 4PM

If you’re Snowbound and still wondering about what to get the fly fisher on your list and have a VISA or M/C handy, fear not, for EMAIL Gift Certificates, redeemable for gear, guide trips and instruction are available for delivery until Noon on December 24th. You may also call us with your email info at 410-357-9557. Cheers!

Snow Day at Backwater Angler

Winter's Day On The Gunpowder River
If you’ve called the shop this morning you’ve already heard the news. The shop will be closed today due to inclement weather. If you need a fly fishing gift, enjoy the snow and stay warm by curling up to your favorite computer. It’s easy, just whip out your Mastercard or VISA and shop securely on the Backwater Angler catalog site.

If you’d rather drop a gift certificate in his or her stocking, we can email one to you that can be printed out next to, but no too close to, the roaring fire.

In other news, NOAA has proven that snowflakes can be turned into numbers as this stark historic data set for snowfall recorded at BWI, now BWI Thurgood Marshall illustrates. Which leads to a quick question…What was BWI called in 1883?

For an easier and more enjoyable take on the same data set, and less commas, check out Frank Roylance’s article about El Nino and it’s effect on snowfall, if you’re still snowbound, and somewhat interested in the topic NOAA has another take on these “hot air over water” phenomena.

Update 12/20/09: The shop will also be closed on Sunday December 20, 2009 and will reopen on Monday.

Fly Fishing The Gunpowder River In December

Gunpowder In December
The Gunpowder River flow increased to over 600 CFs midweek at the Falls Road gauge, when warm air and rainfall melted the snow that fell the previous week. Once the river flows dropped below 400 CFs, I spent some time nymphing and swinging streamers Thursday. A combination of cold night air and spillover dropped river temps into the 40s, but browns were still eating a variety of patterns. The increase in flow and colder water required deep, slow drifts for nymphing. The takes were really subtle, so using a Thingamabobber, and extra weight on the line helped detect these strikes. The trout preferred big or small flies, either a size 22 or a size 8 nymph pattern fooled a few fish. Streamers were still getting chases and swipes, but the fish were a bit more sluggish and preferred a less erratic, slower swing. A larger streamer required a bit more determination and patience than nymphing to get results, but produced one nice brown trout.
Gunpowder Brown Release Shot
The flows at the Falls Road gauge leveled out at 173 CFs this morning, but higher flows from today’s heavy rains should be expected. A variety of patterns in the muffin tins on the counter produced for anglers sending in recent fishing reports from the previous days of higher flows. Reports from anglers nymph fishing ranged from just a few fish, to over ten fish in a few hours, and not many skunkings. Dry fly enthusiasts reported feast or famine, as far as locating and timing a hatch to the warmer hours of the day. The fluctuating flows, and effects from night and day time air temperatures can certainly make the fish sluggish, but it can also get them feeding. The best way to truly determine how active the fish will be is to suit up for a few hours, versus dissecting the forecast. On Monday of last week, I was surprised by a hook up on my biggest brown in years, on a cold day when I expected just to get outside for a few hours. The huge brown threw the hook after it provided fifteen seconds worth of excitement for me and a shop regular who watched the scene play out from the bank. One brown trout that size on the line and mid thirty degree air temps, high flows and rain suddenly have less bearing on whether to fish or stay at home tying flies. I know where I’ll be this coming week.

Blue Wing Olives, Brookies, and Snow Along The Gunpowder River

Masemore Rd Snow

The first snow storm of the year dropped three to four inches in the Hereford/Monkton area yesterday morning through late last night. Anglers braved the snow storm yesterday, and a number of reports included rising trout and empty parking lots at river accesses. Today the bright sun is melting the snow on the roads and trees, so river flows may increase over the next few days. A number of cars were parked along the Masemore stretch this morning, yet no anglers in sight at the bridge above. This week a good olive hatch had trout feeding on the surface on the tiny mayflies, and many anglers reported extremely active, but selective fish. On Friday while guiding during a short olive hatch we picked off rising trout, moving less than a hundred feet in two hours before the hatch ended. One of the trout caught later in the day was a small brook trout, the second one I’ve seen this week. I caught the brookie below on Thursday while nymphing a BWO emerger I tied. A variety of nymph, emerger and olive dun patterns in the shop have proven effective for anglers this week. The dry fly activity can be short or sporadic, but only a few bugs on the water will bring the trout to the surface. Winter weather has arrived, but the fishing opportunities will continue through the season.
Gunpowder Brook Trout

Fly Fishing with Stoneflies on the Gunpowder River

Gunpowder River Stonefly
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 96 Cfs is clear and 50 F. Fish are still taking dries from Bunkerhill Rd. through Falls Rd. access points. Blue Winged Olive mayflies and small grey midges sized #18-22 have also been tricking a few rainbows. Be sure to bring along some gloves if you’re planning on doing some early morning nymphing. Alex and Max were both fishing the Gunpowder over the holiday break and reported good fishing with dries and streamers and relatively few anglers along most stretches of the river. Large stoneflies, like the one pictured above, can be imitated by using large Copper Johns rigged with plenty of shot and a large indicator. This setup allows one to cover the slots and runs and to fish deep through the boulder pools in search of Moby trout.

Intermediate Fly Tying: Midge Lifecycle

Fly Fishing Maryland? Please join us for an intermediate Fly Tying Class on Sunday, January 10, 2010 from 9:00 AM till 12:00 PM. The class focuses on the Midge Lifecycle. Our very own Gunpowder river guides will be teaching this fun-filled intermediate class. Cost of the class is $45 per person, and includes the use of materials. Please bring your own tools.The class is limited to six and pre-payment is required. Please give us a call at 410-329-6821 or drop us a line at to register.

Intermediate Fly Tying: Stoneflies

Fly Fishing Maryland? Please join us for an intermediate Fly Tying Class on Saturday, January 9, 2010 from 9:00 AM till 12:00 PM. The class focuses on Gunpowder River Stonefly Patterns. Our very own Gunpowder river guides will be teaching this fun-filled intermediate class. Cost of the class is $45 per person, and includes the use of materials. Please bring your own tools.The class is limited to six and pre-payment is required. Please give us a call at 410-329-6821 or drop us a line at to register.