Author Archives: Theaux Le Gardeur

Late April Gunpowder River Stream Report

Water levels in the Gunpowder have been falling steadily from the 180’s last week to 110 mid-week and are plateauing a little below 70 Cfs and well into ideal wading and fishing conditions. With the cold nights seemingly hanging on water temps have been swinging down from 56-57 F earlier this week to 49.5 F this morning. As to hatches, we’ve seen a few speckled, gray winged caddis and tiny Blue Winged Olives. Find time to explore the tributaries bounded by Mt.Laurels and Rhododendrons and fringed by Mayapples. Now is the time to fish below the confluence of these small noisy runs moving groundwater from the upland seeps and springs dotted with Skunk cabbage and leaving only bits of mirrored Mica confetti strewn in the quiet gravel filled pools. Though small, they have enough flow to warm up the downstream segments if for just a few yards adding vital surface water from the land to the otherwise frigid cold waters emanating from the Dam. Here one can catch a glimpse of a ramshackle cadre of Sulphur yellow mayflies with wings too wet to lift off mired in current and fumbling around the surface film before they disappear down the hatch of a wild trout nosing in the foam laden shallows.

April 8 Gunpowder River Stream Report


Unsettled weather carries cold fronts passing, April showers in full swing and the Gunpowder River rising. Looking skyward to catch a notion of light and a bit of blue foretelling of fair winds ahead I send a wish upstairs that my garden plot may dry out enough so I can get back to working the soil…That said the Gunpowder River is flowing at 277 Cfs and falling. That’s 277 cubic feet, say the size of a basketball, pouring over one’s favorite rock through the Upper Gorge every second. Unless it’s a bank fishing outing that’s mighty quick through the narrow upper river corridor.If you have a kayak bring your helmet and scope any snags and deadfalls before committing…Wade fisherman will be better served under 125 Cfs so check the gauge-it will move downward quickly. Water temp is climbing from 47.5 F and the magic # is 51 F that will surely wake up a few wild browns hanging on the bottom and behind wood. We’ve had a few in today chasing fishing with sinking lines and tips and streamers. Better fishing is just ahead, particularly when the River calms down and stops resembling sheet flow.

March 31 Gunpowder River Fishing Report


March went out like a Lion!–Quiet on the Gunpowder River before the storm this eve…I felt very thankful to take in a Bald Eagle with a wriggling Northern Watersnake, a Kingfisher flitting between the Sycamores, and a few wild fish sipping tiny Blue Winged Olives.The Gunpowder River is waking up and on the rise! The River is flowing at 100 Cfs and rising and is holding between 48 and 46.5 degrees. By Saturday the heavy rains and resulting flows will have moved through the upper River creating ideal conditions for nymphing or swinging small streamers in the #6-10 range on sink-tips. Over the weekend the River will be both dropping in flow and warming up a bit pointing to dry fly opportunities-stoneflies anyone? Midges and tiny BWO’s are making up the balance of the insects in the flat water-especially below riffles and drops but windy afternoons have not allowed them to drift on the surface very long. Start early before the wind picks up and watch your footing-trails are recently cleared and a bit muddy!

Vernal Spring Equinox on the Gunpowder River


The Gunpowder River this week after blessings from the vernal Spring Equinox-equal time dark to light. After 21 years along the River, I still find it hard to believe that 16 million people live within fours hours of this invaluable resource. In spite of this or maybe in part because of it, on most days, it’s still easy to spend time in quiet reflection among some of the oldest rock formations on the East coast and bear witness to the only other sounds of flowing waters and bird songs greeting the warming air.

Early Spring Gunpowder River Stream Report

The Gunpowder River is flowing at 78 Cfs, is 46 degrees F and is clear. With the last snow having retreated quickly, this week we’re back to sunshine and warming water temperatures. Look for wild fish in the tailouts and shallows taking tiny BWO’s and small stoneflies. Stop by to see our new Hi-Vis Klinkhammer that can do double duty alone or as a parachute lead fly to support an emerger. One might even chance upon a Hendrickson or early March Brown. The shop is full of new lines from Airflo including sinking polyleaders for those intent on fishing big streamers or trying for Shad.No matter your worries or cares, the smells, sounds and the promise of spring found along the Gunpowder River will welcome you with open arms.

Beginner’s Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Saturday, April 30, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear and fly selection. Class is held from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM. Cost is $125 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased at the shop on the day of the school. Please consider looking at the state license portal online at https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ to streamline the process of getting to the river on the day of the class. Call us if you have any difficulties with that. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.

Beginner’s Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Saturday, April 23, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear and fly selection. Class is held from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM. Cost is $125 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased at the shop on the day of the school. Please consider looking at the state license portal online at https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ to streamline the process of getting to the river on the day of the class. Call us if you have any difficulties with that. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.

Beginner’s Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday, April 10, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear and fly selection. Class is held from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM. Cost is $125 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased at the shop on the day of the school. Please consider looking at the state license portal online at https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ to streamline the process of getting to the river on the day of the class. Call us if you have any difficulties with that. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.

Beginner’s Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday, April 3, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear and fly selection. Class is held from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM. Cost is $125 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased at the shop on the day of the school. Please consider looking at the state license portal online at https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ to streamline the process of getting to the river on the day of the class. Call us if you have any difficulties with that. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.

Backwater Angler Celebrates 21 Years on Mardi Gras

The adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” clearly applies in the case of continuing Wally Vait’s On The Fly since 2001. While not necessarily an auspicious year to restart a retail specialty fly shop, many that year found solace and comfort from the happenings of 9/11 along the river.

Since then we have proudly served both Gunpowder regulars and anglers who have been lucky enough to travel further afield in search of beautiful fish in stunning landscapes. In this way, and in the moment our hope is that these fishers have found a bit of peace from the stresses of the 24 hour news cycle, work, familial responsibilities and the unexpected happenings of being human.

This could not have occurred without the support of our loving family, friends, dedicated staff and longstanding and loyal customers. To misquote John Donne, “No fly shop is an island…” In a little over two decades, we have seen many fly shops fold that serviced their local communities well and have seen many long-lived and favorite friends of the shop pass away all too quickly.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to them as we would not have had nearly the fun or been able to celebrate the success of our small independent fly shop without their laughter, their support and interest in our and the Gunpowder River’s future in the face of roll up consolidations, big box distribution models and lately, supply chain interruptions.

We hope to celebrate in the future with folks we have not yet met as we continue passing along and sharing our knowledge and learning from others. We believe that fly fishing as a craft, sport and livelihood is rightly described as, the “quiet sport. For us, fly fishing also allows us to be a kid again by entreating us to get lost in the moment and explore the mud, the muck and see and hear the first signs of spring first hand. The sport gives one an opportunity to stand in the flow of clear water over polished gravel waiting till the gloaming of the ever fleeting golden hour presents. The benefits are innumerable and include a so-called time expansion for those caught up in matching the hatch, seeing a wild fish leaving its holding lie and taking a bit of fur, feather and yarn wrapped onto hook secured to a gossamer leader and connected to a willowy rod held lightly in a hoping hand. It is in these moments that one witnesses something wild quietly and playfully going about its business of life. In this way, fly fishing allows one to step into a serene, pastoral landscape painting and discover nature’s wonder in a respectful, reverent and holistic fashion.

Thank you all for your support and love of the shop and the Gunpowder River over the years.

Laisez-les Bon Temps Rouler,
Theaux

As an aside, Riverkeeper is also celebrating an anniversary this year-our 11th as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit characterized by the IRS under Natural Resource Conservation and Protection. We protect the waters of the Gunpowder and Bush watersheds, drinking water for 1.5 million metro area residents, sensitive species and communities that benefit by these waterways being in a protected state buy outreach, advocacy and litigation when necessary. Please consider supporting this cause for present and future generations. If you should have time to volunteer or join a committee we would love to hear from you!