Author Archives: Jacob Warner

Savage River Fishing Report


Western Maryland is home to some of the some of the best water on the east coast: The Savage River and North Branch of the Potomac River. Both bodies of water hold Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout. Like the Gunpowder River, these Rivers are tailwaters or are dam controlled. This means that the water temperatures stay consistently cool throughout the year, even in the heat of summer.  Right now, the water levels on the Savage and North Branch are low, at 48.8 CFS and 229 CFS respectively. These are great levels to fish as you don’t have to battle the strong currents present during higher flows.

Both rivers have many challenges, one of the most notable being the wading. Slippery round boulders cover the banks and the bottom, providing many opportunities to fall. Studs and/or a wading staff are highly recommended. The other challenge anglers face is the intricate currents on the rivers. High gradient and big boulders make for lots of different currents in each run. It is important to read the water correctly in order to present your fly well. This river will test your c

Hudson and I were using terrestrials throughout our trip. Opportunistic browns and rainbows were eager to rise out of the pocket water and take a dry or dropper. If you’re interested in more information on Western Maryland, we can set you up with all the gear and knowledge necessary.

A glimpse at the beautiful yet rough terrain along the Savage River.

Early August Fishing Report

This picture was taken at Falls Road immediately after a steep drop in water.



Summer low flows have finally hit the gunpowder. Although this picture was taken at the minimum of 26.7cfs on Wednesday, the water has bounced back to 38.0cfs. Water temperatures have seen an increase, ranging between the mid 50s up to 60F. Although this is still a safe water temperature for trout, understand the water lower in the river will be warmer and you must use your best handling of fish to ensure their survival.

Despite the drop in water, our tactics have not changed. Beetles, ants, and small hoppers have been on the menu for fish in our faster water. The slower pools will hold consistently rising fish; however, they will be eating very tiny flies like midges and trico patterns. To target fish on the surface, a long leader will be almost necessary. We have been fishing a 10–12-foot leader to minimize the chance of spooking fish with our fly line. A longer leader will also give you more time before your fly starts to drag in these slower pools.

A dry dropper has been a go-to for subsurface fishing. Nymphing can still be effective in the deeper and faster water however that water is hard to come by in these conditions. Fishing with a dry dropper in the riffles and runs is often the best way to present a nymph without spooking fish.

Late July Fishing report

A great brown trout caught on a nymph during a guide trip last week.

The Gunpowder is still sitting at a beautiful 60cfs with temperatures swinging from 51-57F. Although the water is cold, try to limit handling for the fish’s safety. Terrestrials have been the key to fishing on these hot summer days. Using beetles and ants to cover the water shaded by trees has been very productive with opportunistic fish willing to take them. Putting a nymph under the larger foam patterns is an effective way to pluck the more hesitant fish from the moving water.

Nymphing has been a successful tactic when the fish are hesitant to come to the surface. The faster water will be the most productive. I usually use a larger nymph paired with a midge imitation. The larger nymph is used to help get the flies down in the current and deeper water, however the midge is often the most productive of the two.

The last of our Patagonia and Filson clothing will be 50% off for the summer. These are mostly vests, jackets, and pullovers, however there are some other gems in the mix.

*Clothing does not include waders and boots*

July Fishing Report

This fish sipped a size 22 midge off the surface during a guide trip earlier this week.

With Summer in full swing the bug activity has definitely slowed down. Although the heavy rains yesterday caused spillover at the dam, the Gunpowder has returned to 63 cfs and the temperature is in the low 50s. Occasional sulphurs and caddis are still present through most of the river; however, their numbers and size have dwindled. Ants, beetles, and midges have started to become the main food sources off the surface. It is best to cover as much water as possible with terrestrials and adding a dropper off the bend of the hook won’t hurt. The fish rising to midges will be localized to the slower pools where the rises are more subtle. This is when the light line, long leaders, and small flies are essential to getting these picky fish.

Nymphing has been the most consistent tactic along the river with the mornings seeming the most active. We have had luck fishing a caddis pupa paired with a zebra midge or other midge patterns. Allow these flies to drift below you and you will often pull fish up on the swing. Targeting the fastest and deepest water will result in the most successful trip. This depth and current provide more oxygen, food, and protection for these fish to hold in during these hot summer days. Come stop by the shop to get anything you need for your next trip.

Abel Reels

A new line up of Abel reels are in the shop! From large saltwater reels like the new Abel Rove to the lightweight Vaya, we have many different sizes and paint jobs to choose from. The most notable of the new hand painted reels are the Vaya 5/6 in Native Brown Trout, the 9/10 SDS in Blue III, and the Vaya 5/6 in Larko Brown Trout.

Abel Vaya Native Brown Trout

Abel SDS 9/10 in Blue III with Aluminum Handle

Larko Brown Trout Vaya 5/6 Reel

If you’re looking for something a little less flashy, we also have many models in the satin and standard black. These still offer the unmatched quality of Abel without the glamour and price tag. Give the shop a call at 410-357-9557, an email at, order online, or stop in to get one of these reels for yourself!

Notice: The shop will be closed on Father’s Day, June 19th.


Backwater Flat-brim Hat Sale











With the heat rolling in there isn’t a better time to get a new hat. With every purchase over $75 made in the shop we will be giving away one of our Backwater Angler Flat-Brim hats. They come in a heather, blue, and brown colors and will be provided to customers while supplies lasts.

These hats are a $30 value that we will be giving away. If you aren’t going to spend over $75 then you can get the hat directly through our website. These will be a good addition to any Father’s day gift so that they are set to go out on the water.

BWA Embroidered Flat Brim Fitted Hat

Early June Fishing Report

A brown trout picked up nymphing during our Fly Fishing School over the weekend.

With Summer about to hit the flows have dropped down to 60 CFS with temperatures in the low 50s. Even with the drop in flows the bug activity has been quite active with lost of sulphurs coming off throughout the day. The best way to fish effectively is with a slightly longer leader between 10 and 12 feet. This will allow you to present flies without having the fly line bother the fish in the pool.

Nymphing has been quite effective throughout our mornings and in our deeper pools. These fish will often hold deep when hatches are not active and fishing a nymph rig is the best way to go. Our mayfly imitations have been the most effective throughout the river with a midge trailing behind to get any of those picky fish.

Father’s Day Great Eight Gifts!

Abel Reels- Abel is the pinnacle of fly fishing reels. They offer the best durability, warranty, and style in the Fly Fishing business. These are a one time purchase, leaving the customer set for life. We offer many variations of Abel reels from basic colors to eccentric hand painted designs.

Underwood On The Hunt Deep Green Vaya 5/6 Reel

Ross Reels- Ross focuses on the durability and ergonomics of a fly fishing reel. It contains all the strength and technology harbored in Abel reels without the flashy finishes. These reels are truly the best bang for your buck.

Ross Animas

Fishpond Submersible Sling- The Fishpond line of submersible packs are optimal for the most active or most clumsy of fisherman. These packs allow you to push your waders to their limit without the worry of wet items like your keys, phone or other valuables.

Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Sling

Airflo Fly line- The newest edition of Airflo Lines have been spectacular for the employees and the customers of Backwater Angler. They offer a smooth cast that will load the majority of rods well.

Airflo SuperFlo Universal Taper

Gift Certificate- As always a Gift Certificate is a safe bet when buying a gift. If you’re entirely unsure what to get for fathers day you can always let them pick.

Backwater Angler Gift Certificate

Scott Centric- The Centric is one of the best rods on the market right now. It had the most advanced technology that creates a quick and sensitive response with the rod. A 5 weight would be ideal for fishing out west and on our bigger eastern streams while the 4 weight will be more ideal for our local bodies of water.

Scott Centric


Patagonia Waders- The Swiftcurrent Line of waders has been found to be the ideal wader for fishing throughout the temperate climates like ours. They are lightweight but durable enough to withstand the thorns and brush that tear up weaker waders. Patagonia also offers a great warranty program that allows you to send the waders in for repair if needed.

Patagonia Men’s Swiftcurrent Waders

Umpqua Fly box with Fly Selection ($75,$125,$175,$250): We can offer a personalized fly selection at 4 different price ranges. We can pick specific flies for whatever best suits their fishing needs in high quality fly boxes.

Umpqua Day Tripper Box with Personalized Fly Selection

June Fly Fishing Schools!

With our Hatches in full effect the month of June is the perfect time to learn how to fly fish. We have 3 spots available on June 12th and on June 18th. Our Fly Fishing Schools includes a 3 hour course with all gear necessary to learn. In the first half of the course we go over our basic knots, casting skills, fly types and choices, and our techniques on the river.

Following Instruction on the bank we practice our techniques on the water. You will get to try the 4 main techniques we use while fishing this river: dry flies, wet flies, nymphs and streamers. Our guides will go over the techniques and help each individual with to best prepare them for a trip on their own.

Please contact us at or 410-357-9557 and we will get you set for trip on the Gunpowder River.

Late May Fishing Report

With hot temperatures in the forecast we can only expect the fishing to heat up over the weekend! The river is flowing at 113 CFS and fluctuating between 55 and 62 degrees F. There have been great sulphur hatches throughout the day and into the evenings allowing for exceptional dry fly and wet fly fishing. Swinging wet flies like a partridge and yellow have been very effective throughout the warmer portions of the day. Into the evening this will continue to be effective however we begin to see more dry fly action as the day goes on.

The heat this weekend could provoke some really good spinner-falls in the evenings and result in an incredible time fishing. We have been fishing our sulphur patterns throughout the evening followed  by variations of rusty spinners just before dark. Stop in the shop and get yourself ready for one of the best hatches on the river.