Monthly Archives: December 2018

Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER 2018 Year End Review and Appeal

Thank you for supporting our efforts to protect the Gunpowder River! We could not have been successful without your generous support. Our work links and protects the forests, the fish and the faucet. Riverkeeper respects the varied economic, recreational and biological aspects of the River. Clean water in the Gunpowder watershed is everyone’s right and as a shared resource must be protected for all.

Unfortunately, we are faced with many environmental threats that harm people’s ability to enjoy the River. The organization works collaboratively and proactively to find solutions to pollution problems and represent member’s interests in protecting the Gunpowder River and its watershed.

We are asking for your support again in 2019 to address these environmental threats:

In the upper Gunpowder, we are reviewing a consent decree between the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Carroll County Bureau of Utilities Hampstead Waste Water Treatment. Riverkeeper is asking for a Special Environmental Project and fines covering violations of the plant’s discharge permit. Meaningful enforcement will mitigate the harm to Piney Run and downstream waterways from excess Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Bacteria.

In the upper Gunpowder River we also tracked violations of the state temperature standard of 68 Degrees in the Gunpowder River that is protective of coldwater habitat for trout and insects. Spillover this year from Pretty Boy Dam resulted in water temperatures at Falls Rd in the Gorge section as high as 77 Degrees Fahrenheit.


In the lower Gunpowder River, we are tracking complaints from waterfront property owners that have reported high bacteria counts and foul smelling odors in the Joppatowne area. We will undertake a compliance sweep of permitted facilities to find the source(s) of bacteria and take appropriate action to protect the tidal Gunpowder.

A few highlights of our work in 2018 include:

Our settlement between MDE and Carroll County for the Hampstead Waste Water Treatment plant addressed upstream water quality for trout in Piney Run and downstream water quality for 1.5 million metro area residents. The agreement included an accelerated 12 million dollar upgrade of facilities, four years of sampling upstream and downstream of the plant and a programmatic change to MDE permitting procedure that increases transparency related to discharge permit violations from municipally owned Waste Water Treatment Plants statewide.

We saw the closure of the C.P. Crane Powerplant’s coal-fired powerplant after pressuring MDE for stronger permit conditions. The plant has been polluting waters of the state since 1961. It has burned 950,000 tons of coal per year, emitting 2.2 million tons of Carbon Dioxide, discharged up to 271 million gallons of water a day and 170,000 gallons of toxic wet fly ash every two years. The waste stream also included total suspended solids 17 times greater than the Bay pollution diet for the entire Middle River segment.

Additionally, the closure of the coal power generation operation will remove tens of thousands of pounds of pollutants including the following pollutants and pervasive metals:

Sulfate 37,852,470 pounds per year
Bromide 677,707 pounds per year
Aluminum 157, 029 pounds per year
Arsenic 22, 000 pounds per year
Copper 27,000 pounds per year
Selenium 55,000 pounds per year


The Terry Newendorp Environmental Scholarship is a gift that was established by Terry Newendorp, an avid fisherman and conservationist who with generosity and foresight knew that; “protection of the Gunpowder River had to come from future generations.” Founded in 2018, the Award’s purpose is to assist college-bound high school seniors who excel in their studies and who plan to use their talents and expertise in the service of environmental protection. Each year, one winner will be chosen from among the current year’s graduating class. The award will provide $1,000 towards college costs for students with strong connections to the Gunpowder River Watershed.


The Gunpowder supports varied recreational interests, habitat for native and wild trout, drinking water for 1.8 million Baltimore-Metro Area residents and important tidal habitat for Rockfish, Perch and crabs. Additionally water touches all of our lives-our brains are 75% water! Riverkeeper protects drinking water, property interests, sensitive species, recreational and aesthetic values.

We need your financial support to keep the River protected now and in the future. Please consider a year-end donation of support to amplify our outreach and advocacy. You may donate at: or by sending a check to Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER®, P.O. BOX 156 Monkton, MD 21111

Thank you for your support,

Theaux M. Le Gardeur

GRK is a 501(c)(3) non-profit categorized by the IRS under Natural Resource Conservation and Protection. Your charitable contribution is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. A copy of the current financial statement of GRK is available by writing P.O. BOX 156 Monkton, MD 21111 or calling 410-967-3526. Documents submitted under the Maryland Solicitations Act are also available, for the cost of postage and copies, from: The MD Sec. of State, State House, Annapolis MD 21401 (410) 974-5534


Year End Gunpowder Fishing Report

The Gunpowder is at 245 cfs, clear and 43 degrees F.

Update 11 am 12/28. Gauge at Falls road is at 440 cfs and rising, with more rain forecast through this afternoon. Remember level over 300 cfs are unsafe for wading, keep it to the banks!

The river is in good shape. Gradually the flows have came down to a more optimal level for wading and fishing. Backwater Angler Guide Bryan Donoway & I fished yesterday and found a good amount of fish rising for blue winged olives and midges along the banks, in the back eddies and softer water. Nymphing was especially productive with small pheasent tails, miracle nymphs, hares ear and zebra midges accounting for a plenty of feisty brown trout. With wetter weather around the corner, streamer fishing should be the ticket once again.

It’s that time for renewing licenses, we’ll be here normal hours including New Years Eve, stop by for some friendly advice and some flies that will help get you some fish in the net.

We also have a good amount of Filson Cold Weather Hats, Tin Packer Hats & Insulated TIn Cloth hats that we are selling at 35% off. Pick one up while stocks last!


Ideas for Christmas Gifts

Christmas is just around the corner, the fishing has been thrown out of sorts with the customary weekly downpour, so here’s a little list of gift ideas if you are unsure what to buy.

  1. Gift Certificate. This makes it easy for you, it can never be the wrong shape, size or color. Call us at the shop and we can email you a gift certificate in no time. If one already fly fishes, it can be used for more gear, if it is something one is interested in pursuing it can go towards lessons or guide trips.
  2. Fly Selection: A box made with flies selected for a specific stream like the Gunpowder or region such as the Florida Keys. We are happy to put together a fly selection for you with seasonal favorites suited for wherever one may fish.
  3. Filson clothing: Whether it’s a hat, a duffel or a outerwear garment. Filson has been at the forefront in outdoors clothing since 1897. Treat yourself or a loved one to the best
  4. Rods: We carry a wide range of rods from five of the leading manufacturers in the industry, Scott from Colorado, Echo & G Loomis from Washington State, St Croix from Wisconsin and Winston from Montana.
  5. Fishpond: From packs, vests, nets and accessories. Exceptional products, great value and a industry leader in environmentally friendly products.
  6. Patagonia Foot Tractors. If one enjoys fishing the larger trout rivers of Western Maryland or central Pennsylvania, this wading boot is perfect for those tricky wading situations on large slippery boulders. On sale from 279 to 200.
  7. Floatant: Be ready for the spring time with an essential stream-side accessory. Tiemco Dry Shake, Tiemco Dry Magic, Loon Aquel, Loon Top Ride, Loon Lochsa.
  8. Layering: Patagonia Tough Puff Hoody, Tough Puff Shirt, Snap-Dry Hoody or R1 Hoody.
  9. Rain Jacket: Patagonia SST and Minimalist Jacket. Don’t let the rainiest year on record in Baltimore stop one from being outside.
  10. Books: Signed copies of fine wintertime reads written by local author and bamboo rod maker Jerry Kustich.

Holiday Hours at Backwater Angler!

The shop will be open all week, from the 17th through the 21st from 10-5, 

The 22nd and 23rd from 10 till 4. 

The shop will be closed on December 24,25,26.

The shop will be open the 27th-30th and on News Years Eve.

We have a super range of inventory just in time for the holidays! If you need to do some Christmas shopping for friends, family, or just yourself! We’re here ready to assist.

Happy holidays!

December Fishing Report on the Gunpowder

The river is at 182 cfs and 44 degrees F.

Water levels have gradually fallen to a better level for fly fishing. Streamers are working well, with the recent high water the trout are spread out. There are plenty of tiny white midges hatching, especially in the deeper boulder pools, on warmer afternoons you can find risers in the softer water sipping emergers. If wading watch out for redds as there are lots of them throughout the catch and release section and please don’t fish for the trout on them.

Anyone fishing Masemore lately lost a rod tip for a Winston? We have it safely behind the counter.


Fly Rods in Maryland

Here’s a short list of new four piece fly rods we’ve received this week.

Fly rods from Twin Bridges, Montana:
R. L. Winston Super 10, 10 foot 3 weight
R. L. Winston Super 10, 10 foot 4 weight

Fly Rods from Montrose, Colorado:
Scott Radian 8 foot 6 weight 4 weight
Scott Radian 9 foot 5 weight 4 weight
Scott G-Series 8 foot 8 inch 4 weight

Fly Rods from Park Falls, Wisconsin:
St. Croix Legend Elite 9 foot 5 weight
St. Croix Legend Elite 9 foot 4 weight
St. Croix Imperial 9 foot 5 weight
St. Croix Imperial 9 foot 4 weight

Fly Rods from Woodland, Washington:
G. Loomis NRX LP 7 foot 6 inch 3 weight
G. Loomis NRX LP 8 foot 8 inch 3 weight
G. Loomis NRX Nymph 10 foot 3 weight
G. Loomis NRX LP 9 foot 4 weight

Fly Reels in Maryland

We just Received the following reels in the shop this week from:

Ross Reels, Montrose, Colorado
Animas 4/5 and 5/6 in Platinum and Matt Black
Gunisson 4/5

Lamson Reels, Boise, Idaho:
Liquid 1.5 and 2
Remix Black 1.5, 2, 3.5 and 4
Remix Sublime 1.5,2.3.5.and 4
Guru 2 Grey/Orange