Category Archives: news

the news section is for shop events and programs

June 24th Gunpowder Fishing Report

The Gunpowder River is flowing at 67 CFS and is a cool 52 degrees. As the warmer summer weather sets in, we have been seeing a large amount of fish taking terrestrials and mayfly nymphs. Patterns such as a quick sight beetle, foam ant, and smaller sized chubby chernobyl’s have been working great as indicator flies for dropper rigs. Off the the back of those terrestrials we are putting patterns such as perdigons and pheasant tails. If you are looking to fish single dry flies come on in and check out some of the new flies we just got in; our Adams and caddis patterns have been restocked and are ready to be fished!

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.

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.



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.

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,

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!

New Abel Vaya’s in Stock

We have just restocked our reel case with some beautiful Abel Vaya’s. There is simply no other reel like it. The Vaya is one of our favorite reels here at Backwater Angler not only for its stunning looks but also for it durability and technology. Crafted by avid Colorado anglers, the VAYA series debuts an all-new technical look and feel paired with outstanding performance. The partially-ported VAYA frame offers the unique combination of minimized weight, incredible rigidity, and just enough surface area to highlight Abel’s hand-anodized finishes. The frame interior also features varying sets of CNC-milled fly patterns, relevant to each size of reel. The large-arbor spool features a precision-balanced, dual-pawl drag engagement design that eliminates the need for a counterweight. The spool’s mechanical incoming click compliments the audible, smooth feel of the outgoing drag. The carbon / stainless multi-disk drag system produces substantial resistance, while providing a wide range of adjustability for delicate tippet.

Abel Vaya 4/5 Classic Brown Trout

Underwood On The Hunt Slate Gray Vaya 7/8 Reel

Underwood On The Hunt Deep Green Vaya 5/6 Reel

Abel Vaya 7/8 Blue III

Abel Vaya 4/5 Native Brook

Abel Vaya 4/5 Satin Black