As we go into the weekend the Gunpowder is flowing at 131 Cfs and 46 degrees Fahrenheit. The heightened flows have provided excellent opportunities to nymph the river. Using a heavy anchor fly helps to get small midge nymphs down to fish in the fast current. Fish have been eagerly feeding sub-surface and on the warmer, calmer days fish can be found sipping midges off the surface in the eddies and slower pools.
Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday, the 7th of March, 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 10:00-1:00pm. 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.
For those of you home for the holidays and practicing in-law-avoidance week, please put fishing the Gunpowder River squarely in the NO GO ZONE this weekend. Full reservoir levels at the Baltimore City DPW managed Prettyboy Reservoir, a forecasted, full day of rain and the resulting snow melt has triggered widespread, dangerous flooding within a typically peaceful River corridor. So while water temperatures are 48 degrees F, the Gunpowder River is flowing at a new 20 year record high for December 25th of 1,111 Cubic feet a second. That is 5.41 ft at the Falls Rd gauge! Last year on this day the river was flowing at 208 CFS. If you don’t believe in CFS, Please see the graph expressed in river level in Feet. We don’t take people fly fishing at levels over 275 CFS and the range we’ve found young and old alike are safe wading is under 175 CFS. If you must escape the homefront, we are in the shop all weekend, the hiking trails are open if a bit squishy and one may still enjoy the river this holiday weekend without getting in it.
So here is the Cyber Monday fly fishing gifts story. We’ve missed seeing many of you in the shop during this uncertain time. I’ve quickly come to the conclusion today that it would also not be prudent to go fly fishing on the Gunpowder River today during the flood watch and associated 30-40 mph gusts.That said, we’re making it easier for you, while you stay safer at home, to shop with us. Here are a few items that have been garnering the most attention from our website. Treat yourself or allow someone else too-that’s a win-win! Take advantage of free shipping on any of these items. Gift certificates can also be e-mailed right to your inbox during the shop’s normal operating hours.
Here’s an update on stream conditions a few pictures of the new shop and shop protocols during the Fall Holiday. The Gunpowder River is flowing at 33 CFS and is 54 degrees F. Small unweighted streamers in the bend pools and around the log jams and drifting nymphs on a tight line are worth a shot… With water temps on the rise, count on fish midging and use a longer lighter leader to trick them in bright and low conditions.Limit your wading and use the trail network through the catch and release area.The river is too shallow to float. Please don’t risk damaging potential spawning habitat by attempting a float in low to no flow conditions. If you fish early or late or can wait for some cloud cover you might find some more willing wild trout.
Based on the Governor’s guidance we are going to 50% of capacity, so we’ll be temporarily halting Hunting and Fishing license sales until we are back to 100% retail capacity. You may buy a license online here: https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov
We’re limiting store traffic to three people at a time in the shop, limiting store traffic to one person from each family or party in the shop and continuing curbside pickup during regular hours. Just add curbside to your online or phone order and text us when you are in the parking lot up to 15 minutes before closing and we’ll place everything in your trunk.Please note our bathroom is STILL not open to the public so plan accordingly.
We are expanding online shopping with socially distanced fly selections for curbside or mail delivery.
We have hand sanitizer on the front porch and counter area and will provide you with a mask if you forget yours. All of our employees are undergoing temperature checks are busy wiping down touch points between customers, and are happy to help you at a safe distance. Instead of stopping in just to chat consider giving us a call or sending us an email with all the questions you can muster. we’ll answer them to the best of our abilities and if we can’t we won’t give you any rigamarole and want you to succeed in this lifetime, quiet sport. Stay well!
We still have 3 spots open in our fly fishing school.
Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday the 15th of November 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 11:00 AM till 2:00 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.
Learn about Backwater Angler’s fly fishing school services here.
Come stop by to see the new clothing with the Backwater Angler logo. Check out the Filson Ridgeway Fleece vest with Polartec Thermal Pro in brown and dark blue. We also have the Filson Ridgeway Fleece jackets with Polartec Thermal Pro in gray.
Come check out the 7 new Abel reels that just came in, 5 Vaya, 1 SDS, and 1 TR. We know have a total of 14 Abel reels in stock!!
Abel TR Reel
The detailing of the native brook trout on the TR 2/3 reel makes for a beautiful finish. This design requires at least 7 hours of hand painted craftsmanship.
The return of a classic. The new Abel TR stays true to the roots of the original, but with a striking modern design and feel. The partial porting of the frame draws from the Abel lineage, and its unique features are as inventive as anything Abel has ever produced. -Abel
The Abel SDS design shows off the stunning patterns and beautiful green and blue colors of a bonefish on the best new saltwater reel.
Winner of the best new saltwater reel at the 2016 ICAST/IFTD show, the Abel SDS (Sealed Drag Salt) takes all the power, reliability, and smoothness of its smaller counterpart and combines them in a larger package capable of taking on saltwater gamefish of all sizes.- Abel
The Abel Larko Brown Trout Reel features a unique and technical design of the brown trout perfected to create this impressive look. Andrea Larko’s design requires at least 11 hour’s to finish per reel, adding bright and fun colors for new creative look.
We’re honored to feature, and replicate the work of a few of the most talented artists in the fly fishing industry. Derek DeYoung, Andrea Larko, and Jon Osiris are also each great ambassadors for our sport, and we’re proud to have teamed up with them to provide select examples of their beautiful artwork on Abel Reels. -Abel
Abel Underwood Vaya Series: We now have three Underwood On The Hunt Vaya reels available.
Abel Vaya Underwood On The Hunt in Slate Gray Reel
Casey Underwood, an amazing artist partnered with Abel Reels, creates designs that fit perfectly with Abel’s models. On The Hunt design is laser engraved into the reel.
Each of these original designs was created to correspond with a specific model in the Abel lineup. Individually laser engraved, and put through a proprietary polishing/texturizing process, these reels feature an innovative, first of its kind finish.
Even after one and a half inches of rain on September 2nd, flows on the Gunpowder remain clear and below 30 CFS with temperatures ranging between 56 and 60 degrees F. Despite the low water, lots of wild fish can be found rising to midges and some Tricos. Using small dries in the #18-22 range in the morning and evenings can result in subtle takes from these fish. Fishing a terrestrial around overhanging branches and grass is still an effective tactic.
Come visit the new shop labor day weekend. Directions to the new shop can be found here. We will be open:
My first trip to the Savage River several weeks ago presented different challenges than the Gunpowder. I had been told of the difficult wading and after my first day I would agree. Didymo covers the large boulders that lay in the water which causes very slick conditions. With much more rocks in the water, the currents were more intricate than those of the Gunpowder. For this reason, i found maneuvering through the river and positioning was key to getting a good drift. It may be helpful to bring a wading staff for crossing the river because of the slick rocks and strong current. It was 160 cfs the time we fished it, which was deceptively strong. But, overcoming these challenges can result in some great fish and beautiful mountain scenery.
Another great difference is the presence of pocket water on the Savage. On the Gunpowder, there is very little pocket water to be fished. But on the Savage, the fast currents and hidden holes provide great habitat for trout to hide in. This presented me with the opportunity to nymph effectively using Loon Biostrike rather than an indicator, which was a new tactic for myself.
Sulphurs & Blue Quills were the most predominant mayfly on the river and tan and black caddis were present in large numbers. By the early afternoon, fish could be seen rising consistently to sulphurs. The most spectacular time is the last minutes of the day. Near dusk, the spinner fall gave me the opportunity to see the large amount of fish within each pool and target some of the bigger fish. When fishing in the morning, I fished small nymphs with splitshot to keep flies down in the water column.
Please note: The shop will be closed this holiday weekend on the 4th & 5th.