Category Archives: fishing report

for river related condition reports

Lows Flows on the Gunpowder River and lots of Small Wild Fish

With water levels returning to a somewhat “fall normal”, The Gunpowder River of flowing at 43.7 CF
s and is swinging between 54 and almost 58 degrees. As long as one doesn’t pick a bright day you’ll be greeted by lots of eager yearlings and young of the year-even smaller wild trout clobbering small terrestrial patterns. Longer leaders ending in 6and sometimes 7x can make a big difference in low flows. If the idea of squinting evinces a wince, give the pocket water a go above Falls Rd! It is fun section to fish this time of year especially with larger terrestrials and dropper rigs. Floating the river, while tempting, is still challenging with fall flows resulting in more of a push/drag. The numbers of strainers introduced during the last few storms has certainly resulted in some “must portage” bends.

Please note: We still have room in Beginner’s fly fishing schools scheduled for this Saturday the 17th and next Saturday the 24th. Please call us at 410-357-9557 to reserve your space!

Please note: The shop will be closed October 4-12 but will be open on Saturday the 8th

Labor Day Weekend Gunpowder River Fly Fishing Report

The Gunpowder River is low at 43.7 Cfs and is swinging from 54 in the morning up to almost 58F. That said, longer leaders in the 10 to 11 ft ending in 7x have been productive in the shade. Small, not large, terrestrials will produce this time of year. Small beetles, CDC and foam ants should be in your box. Henryville caddis, tiny BWO’s and midge cluster patterns are all worth a shot. Unweighted streamers are also fun especially when fished upstream rather than on a swing. With leaves just turning get out while you can…

Please note: The shop will be closed this Sunday and Monday and will reopen on Thursday, September 8.

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.

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.

May Stream Report and New Shop Hours

The Gunpowder River is flowing at a beautiful 127 Cfs and fluctuating between 57 and 59 degrees throughout the day. The decreasing flow and warm temperatures have created incredible conditions for fishing of all kinds. Earlier in the day nymphing has been the most effective while imitating the mayfly nymphs. If you watch your waders you will see these bugs latched onto you as your day goes on.

As the water warms up throughout the day more sulphurs have been hatching and the fish respond accordingly. Having several different patterns and patience are the key to fishing the hatches. Take your time through the pools and and don’t get too caught up over one fish, there will be plenty more a few feet from it willing to eat. These hatches show you how many fish this river truly holds. Stop by to get some patterns and enjoy the fishing this spring!

Backwater Angler shop hours for May:

Monday: 10am-3pm                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Thursday: 10am-3pm                                                                                                                                      Friday: 10am-3pm                                                                                                                                          Saturday: 10am-3pm

We are closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday.



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.