Monthly Archives: September 2010

Maryland Invasive Species Talk

Please join us on Wednesday, October 27 at 7:00 PM for an Maryland Invasives species talk by Ron Klauda. Following is a bio-sketch from the speaker:

Ron Klauda currently serves as Director of the Monitoring and Non-tidal Assessment Division in Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. The group he supervises is responsible for monitoring the water quality and ecological health of the State’s streams, rivers, and estuaries from the mountains to the sea. Ron also serves as the Co-Chairman of DNR’s Invasive Species Matrix Team, charged with recommending management actions that DNR should take to deal with the threat of aquatic and terrestrial aquatic species. He has been with DNR for 20 years. Prior to joining DNR, Ron spent seven years as a Senior Scientist with the Aquatic Ecology Section of the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab. His research focused on the effects of acid deposition and other contaminants on the eggs and larvae of striped bass, American shad, blueback herring, alewife, and yellow perch. Ron is a fisheries biologist and aquatic ecologist, with a Ph.D. in Zoology from Penn State University. A Michigan native, he now lives in Prince Frederick, MD, and has seen Calvert County ‘develop’ from only two stoplights in 1981 to almost too many to count in 2010——all because of population growth: the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the back of the classroom that few people chose to acknowledge.

We have a limited number of spaces left available for this important talk. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 or drop us a line at to register.

Gunpowder River Guide Trip Feedback

Wild Brown Fell for a Caddis
Thanks to Mark Noble for the nice stream report and photo from a guide trip with Backwater Angler guide Dave Smith.


I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to stop by the shop when I was done fishing today. Although it’s not too surprising, I never can tear myself away from a river until it is absolutely necessary.

I really enjoyed fishing with Dave today. We did catch quite a few fish, but even better than that was fishing with someone who really knows the river and can offer tips on what you’re doing right and how to improve. I feel much more confident in my ability to create a drag free drift through cast placement and mending. I think over all we landed at least a dozen fish up to 9 or 10 inches or so. We did see some larger fish, one of which rose and bumped our caddis imitation with his nose and when it didn’t respond decided to have something else for lunch. We were hoping there would be a larger caddis hatch, but it never seemed to materialize while we were on the river. We only saw a few caddis every once in a while.

Thanks for the expert help as usual. I hope to make it back up soon,

Mark Noble

Fly Fishing The Frying Pan River,Colorado:Day 3

Colorful Wild Brown Trout
On my third day on the Frying Pan I fell into my routine of catching the morning midge hatch up in the flat below Ruedi Dam. On the previous days I found success with zebra midges, RS2s and DMC (embroidery floss) midge patterns. There was a ton of shucks floating on the surface from the hatching midges, including some midges still trapped in their shuck. The adults were large, a size 18 black body midge, with a gray wing. I captured a few wriggling larvae to inspect them closer. The larvae were big, much bigger than the size 20-22 midges I caught fish on the previous days. I decided to upsize to a size 18 blackfly larva pattern I fish back East in the Winter months. The pattern I tie features stripped peacock herl wound around the hook shank, and 3 coats of Sally’s Double Duty (nail polish) for durability. The pattern has a natural rib with the dark edges of the peacock strip, translucency from the nail polish, and has one bulbous end tapering to a thin end. I rigged one size 18 and one size 22 blackfly larva behind a tiny split shot, under a thingamabobber. The flat riffle ranged in depth from thigh deep to ankle deep, so spotting fish was easy. Once the action began I had as many as twenty to thirty fish visibly rising or flashing in front of me. The majority of trout I’d estimate between nine and sixteen inches, but the occasional larger trout could be seen holding in deeper water. I landed two rainbows over eighteen inches, as well as a bunch of browns and bows between eleven and sixteen inches. The switch to a larger midge pattern lead to the best two hours of fishing all week, but I had a difficult time filming while standing in the middle of a wide river, trying to hold out a chunky fish for the camera. A number of anglers (8-10) were fishing above, below, across or behind me, so at times I couldn’t move back to shore without walking through someone’s drift. The hatch stopped right at Noon, and I left with everyone else for lunch.
Lower Section Of The Frying Pan River
In the afternoon I was close to completing my goal of fishing all the public access points along the road paralleling the river. I knew I’d never know them intimately, but felt that each area had obviously different characteristics. On the previous days I fished through some rough water, and tough wading, but on the third day I found some nice long riffles and shallow pocket water. I rigged my nymph/caddis combo and fished up into the first few miles below the dam. There was a lot more pressure in these areas, so I walked the road to leap around the anglers and guides. It was interesting as I progressed up river, my patterns became less effective. Trout were rising in backeddies and slow pools to small size 20 baetis, and I started switching out nymphs. I got a few fish on trico nymphs, bwo nymphs and small pheasant tails, but the fish were keyed into something about the real nymphs I was missing. The evening midge hatch hit just when I got back down river to my car, so I fished some dries for my last evening on the river. The latest video post features some shots of the flats below the dam, and some of the fish I caught on day three on the Frying Pan River.

Beware The Falls Road Beaver!

Gunpowder River Beaver
Apparently there is a beaver in the upper Falls Road section of the Gunpowder terrorizing anglers and boaters. We had two reports yesterday morning of beaver attacks, and a pair of shredded Patagonia waders to prove it. The beaver actually latched onto both angler’s waders, and knocked them down. Fortunately no one was actually bitten or injured. Today we received a call from an angler who was in the shop yesterday, and he mentioned three separate incidents in the afternoon. The angler, his friend and a kayaker all had encounters with this aggressive (possibly rabid) beaver. The two anglers were charged, and chased out of the water. The beaver was rumored to have tried to climb atop a passing kayak while in motion, (I’m not making this stuff up) before being hit with a paddle numerous times. The reports all point to the section of river directly below the Highland Trail access off the upper Falls Road lot. The section of river where these attacks have taken place is often referred to as the “old beaver dam pool.” It is easily recognized as the big flat just upstream of the Gorge stretch and boulder pools. We have reported the rogue beaver to Natural Resources Police. To anyone fishing in this area, be on the lookout for a large, brown, “floating log” with a taste for Gore-tex. Seriously though, if you are in this area be on the lookout. In two days we had 5 different reports, so this isn’t an isolated incident.

Fly Fishing The Frying Pan River, Colorado:Day 2

Frying Pan Wild Brown Trout
I spent my second morning on the Frying Pan River nymphing midges in shallow riffles. I started out on a wide riffle at a lower access point, and caught a brown on a holographic midge larva. After fishing for thirty minutes I wasn’t seeing the midge hatches I had the previous morning in the upper sections, so I moved upriver. I found a good midge hatch and rising trout that lasted for two hours. Dead drifting zebra midges, holographic midges, and black fly larvae under an indicator accounted for a dozen fish by lunch time. The majority of the browns and bows I caught were between nine and fifteen inches. Some larger brutes not willing to rise (the reason I was nymphing) would occasionally bite, and tear off across the river. Most of these trout were big rainbows, between three and six pounds, and went ballistic once hooked. The Thingamabobber would dart under, and a big bow would go airborne before I got a chance to set the hook. One memorable twenty inch plus brown ate the fly, and was down river in six seconds into the backing. I gave chase thinking I got through the initial run, until it swam toward an angler on the far side. To the angler’s surprise the trout swam at him in a series of jumps, leaping up, breaking me off and nearly hitting him. I think the fish actually hit his fly rod, and it definitely splashed him a little. He shot me a bit of a look, either because I was laughing, or he was trying to figure out where the fish came from. Keep in mind I was over a hundred feet above him, on the opposite side of a wide river. Once the hatch slowed, the bite did as well. I headed back into town for lunch.
Hot Flies On The Frying Pan River
The midday fishing was a little more work than the morning midge action. I focused on working up the river from the lower sections, covering the rougher areas where few anglers were fishing. I hit the slow edges off rough water using the rubber legged nymph and Sparkle Pupa above. One section of river had a series of riffles where the river washed up along the red rock bluffs. The bubble line hugged the ledges, and the water was just a little deeper against these bluffs. I managed to catch ten fish in one of these runs, and all of these spots looked like they held three times that many fish. Instead of changing flies, I just kept moving, trying to see what was around the next bend. The Frying Pan would change dramatically from narrow, swift chutes to wide sections of shallow broken water, and even some deep slough type sections. I gravitated to the faster sections where the trout were in predictable holding lies, and aggressively feeding. Before dark I pulled out my Scott G2 for some dry fly fishing when the midge clouds and drake spinners hit the water. The trout were focused on the size 22-24 midges, and could have cared less about the size 10 drake spinners on the water. I ended the day with a few more fish in the net before heading back into town. In the latest video post I filmed more fishing on the Frying Pan River.

Sign up for the Gunpowder River Shocking Survey

Sign Up for the Shocking Survey

Thanks to Mark Staley for the shocking survey update and invite:

We plan to conduct our annual electrofishing survey of the Gunpowder Falls tailwater on the following dates:

Sept. 27—Dam/Falls Station
Meet 9:30 am at the upper lot on Falls Rd.
Backpack electrofishers-2 or 3

Sept. 28—Masemore Station
· Meet 9:30 am at the Masemore Rd. lot
· Barge shocker

Sept.29—Bluemount Station
· Meet 9:30 am at the Bluemount Rd. lots and carpool down the NCR trail to the station.
· Barge shocker

Chest waders will be necessary for those who want to participate in the electrofishing. Anyone is welcome to attend and observe, however not everyone will be able to participate in the actual electrofishing.

Bring your favorite net and electrofishing gloves if you have them.

Please disinfect your waders before attending if you have been in other waters recently. We will provide disinfectant for those who need it at the beginning and end of each day to help prevent the spread of didymo, etc.

Contact us at the office: 410-442-2080 & 301-854-6060 or cell 240-344-7352 if you have questions about the survey or the schedule. We will try to keep the schedule as firm. High flows and heavy rain will require us to reschedule.

Please respond if you are going to help so we can plan accordingly.


Mark Staley
Central Region Manager
MD DNR Inland Fisheries

Harvest Moon over the Gunpowder River

The Gunpowder is flowing at 156 CFs, is 52F and clear. This week I’ve been looking skyward as the autumnal equinox, the alignment of Jupiter and Uranus, and a looming harvest moon signals an official end to summer. Excellent flows this week have allowed folks that have very little water left in Northern Virgina and South Central PA to give the Gunpowder a try. If you’re fishing dries, Caddis, Olives and Tricos are still in the mix. Small Copper Johns with a caddis larva droppers are also accounting for quite a few fish in the riffles. The water will be dropping by Monday for the DNR annual shocking survey, so enjoy the flows and the fishing this weekend.
Thanks to Jason for the stream report:

Backwater Angler,
I’m sorry, I forgot your name. I was in the shop earlier today (Saturday). I am the PhD student from University of Maryland. I just wanted to say thanks for the info and the advice you gave me. My friend and I had a great day and caught a bunch of fish. We tried swinging the caddis emergers briefly but it’s just not what I’m used too. I think I gave up on that a little too quickly. Anyway, we wound up fishing the bead-head emergers under a fairly good size elk hair caddis. That seemed to do the trick. We were catching fish of all sizes in some surprisingly shallow water just like you said we would. All the fish came on the emergers. I was amazed at the density of fish in the Gunpowder. Again, not what I’m used too. We will definetely be back to the Gunpowder and your shop.

Thanks again for your help.
Jason Robinson

And thanks to Kevin for the kind words:

Just wanted to drop a line and say thanks for the help last weekend. My buddy and I were the ones in early Saturday morning to pick up flies and get a report on the river. Learning a new body of water is always a process, and we would have been lost without the help. You’ve got a great river up there, and I hope to make it back soon for a fishing trip and hopefully a clinic or two as well. Always looking for chances to pick up new skills.

Thanks again and take care,

Kevin Chandler

Fly Fishing The Frying Pan River, Colorado: Day 1

Frying Pan River, Colorado
I recently returned from a week long trip to Colorado. This was my first time fishing in Colorado, and I narrowed down my efforts to the Frying Pan River near the town of Basalt. I landed in Denver and picked up a rental, driving four hours through the mountains. The Frying Pan, a tailwater, offered many miles of public access, and connected to the Roaring Fork River a short walk from my motel. I arrived on Sunday just in time to get a fishing license, check in and wet a line for thirty minutes. On Monday morning I drove up the Frying Pan to the first mile below Ruedi Dam. The road hugged the river most of the way, and I marked some good looking pull offs on a map. The section below the dam was popular, as anglers and guides were all suiting up when I arrived. Even with twenty to thirty anglers nearby I walked into a nice spot below a low head dam. The sun was just starting to break over the mountains, and when it did a good midge hatch began. I was rigged with a mysis shrimp pattern and small midge larva pattern under an indicator. It wasn’t long before browns and bows began rising in the soft spots below the small dam. I caught my first fish on the shrimp pattern, a smaller wild brown. I eventually swapped out the shrimp for a zebra midge pattern, and by lunchtime landed eleven trout. I drifted my midge tandem rig through the risers using 6X tippet, and watched the Thingamabobber take off. The browns and bows I landed ranged from seven to fourteen inches, but I stung a few larger fish in this run.
I headed back into town for a quick lunch and began working my way up the river from the lower sections. It was clear after a few minutes of surveying the water that the midges I had on the line were not likely to produce. I could see a number of large and small mayflies peeling off the water. The small gray baetis were in the 20-22 range, and a few larger mayflies were tan bodied in a size 14-16. I even saw some larger green drakes hatching. After a few minutes I noticed one nice brown flashing under the surface in a riffle. After a number of unsuccessful drifts with tandem nymph rigs, both big and small, I noticed some size 16 caddis crawling on a log. This became an ephipany of sorts, as the next pattern I tied on became the Go-To-Fly for the week. I tied on a small brown bodied Caddis Sparkle Pupa, and the brown took on the first drift. I spent the rest of the day trying different patterns, and pull offs along the road. I caught a good hatch with rising trout taking very small midges before dark. I ended the afternoon with more fish than I caught in the morning, but nothing big. I hooked a few fish between 15-17 inches, but only landed one thick fifteen inch brown. The lower sections of the Frying Pan reminded me of the Savage River, with rough pockets, deep slots and rock ledges. I decided that day to stay on the Frying Pan for the remainder of the trip, instead of spreading myself thin on other rivers. The Roaring Fork was close by, but I already locked down a few hatches, and I had plenty of the patterns the Frying Pan trout were willing to eat. The latest video post features footage of the drive through the mountains, river shots, and some of the trout I caught on day one.

Baltimore Harborkeeper Trash Bash is Tomorrow!

Want to do something to protect the water in the harbor?
Please join Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, Eliza Smith Steinmeier on September 18, from 12:00- 5:00 PM at Nick’s Fish House overlooking Middle Branch for a silent auction fundraiser including a seafood buffet, oyster bar and live music. Backwater Angler has donated a full day guided fly fishing trip on the Gunpowder River for the event and encourage all to attend.

The Mission of the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper is to protect and restore the Baltimore Harbor and the greater Patapsco River & its tributaries through enforcement, fieldwork and citizen action in order to make the river suitable for recreation including fishing and swimming, to improve public health, and improve the health of the river ecosystem.

Buy tickets online or make a donation to the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper.