Category Archives: reviews

Patagonia foot tractor wadding boot review

The Patagonia foot tractor wading boot is one of the best winter and cool water wadding boots on the market. It has a heavy bottom with a very grippy rubber sole. This allows you to keep traction in the slipperiest conditions. I have personally been using the foot tractors for about four months now and have been very happy with them. They keep your foot nice and warm even in freezing water. They provide amazing ankle support and don’t allow your foot to move and shift in the boot. I have found this most helpful when standing on slanted and slick rocks and other river obstacles. This is an amazing and very durable boot.

Patagonia Foot Tractor Boots – Sticky Rubber (Made by Danner)

Echo Euro Nymphing Rods

A longer rod is the keystone to Euro Nymphing.  Echo designed The Shadow X specifically for Nymphing. I acquired my Shadow X 1003-4 (10 ft, 3 weight 4 piece) early in the fall and have thoroughly enjoyed fishing with it since. At 10, 10 and a half, and 11 feet in length you can Tight-line or Euro-nymph without having to wade deep into the pools. The very sensitive tip section is ideal for staying in touch with your flies and , feeling a fish take and protecting light tippet, but have enough backbone to turn fish out of strong currents. I’ve also found it ideal for using indicator rigs, as the longer length of these rods functions to turn over the heavy setups easily with a roll cast.

Echo Shadow X

Patagonia Provisions Smoked Salmon and Mussels Review

“Philadelphia wraps” (Smoked Patagonia salmon, cream cheese, avocado, and lettuce)

Over the past year I’ve enjoyed a number of meals from Patagonia’s gourmet line of camp foods.  I particularly like their smoked products such as the salmon and smoked mussels.  Each product can be “dressed up” or simply eaten as is.

The smoked mussels are a rich and savory snack perfect for throwing in your pack for a day of fishing.  I like to make chopsticks from tree branches and eat them right from the tin!

Patagonia Provisions Smoked Mussels

The salmon portions are perfect for either the trail or at home where you can enhance them with a nice salad or pasta dish.

Patagonia Provisions Black Pepper Wild Pink Salmon

No matter how you prepare your Patagonia Provisions, they add quality variety to an otherwise bland outdoor food market.  Plus each product is sustainably harvested, keeping in line with Patagonia’s dedication to environmentalism.

 

Filson Ridgeway Fleece Vest with Backwater Angler Logo

The Filson Ridgeway Fleece Vest with the Backwater Angler Logo is a great option for a cold winter day. We currently have Dark Navy and Bark in stock. The vest shines when layered on the cooler days but works well on its own during slightly warmer days.  The rubber zipper handles make for easy zipping and offer aid to numb fingers on a cold day. The Ridgeway Fleece vest has three pockets located above the hips and on the left chest. As Filson says, “Our Ridgeway Fleece Vest is made of a lightweight, quick-drying Polartec fleece that’s both warm and breathable for comfort in mild to cool weather.”

Filson Ridgeway Fleece Vest With Backwater Angler Logo

Chota Hybrid High-Top Boot Review

Chota Hybrid boots (HY-800’s) in action on the Wind River, WY

As winter 2021 drags on I can’t help but daydream of the approaching summer. When wet wading season finally rolls around I know I’ll be relying heavily on the Chota Hybrid High Top wading boot. I had the pleasure of wearing these boots on a trip to Wyoming last summer and found them invaluable.  These boots are lightweight, fast draining, and fast drying. They pair perfectly with a simple neoprene wading sock for a full day of summer hiking and fishing. They also come in at a great price point of $129.99 making them a versatile value item!

Chota Hybrid Hi-top Rubber Sole Boot

Mid September Gunpowder Fishing Report


After a week of favorable flows in the 70s, the river has dropped back down to its typical summer flow of ~30 cfs. We recommend wading as little as possible and fishing long leaders with 6-7x tippet as the trout are quite skittish. Stop by the shop for some Trout Hunter 6.5x tippet, which is absolutely perfect for fishing low water when you just don’t want to commit to using super delicate 7x.

Fishing a dry dropper is a good way to catch fish in the early mornings. I recommend cutting off the dropper around 11am when the water begins to warm up. Terrestrials have been successful recently, but it doesn’t hurt to downsize your ants and beetles. Crickets can be heard chirping along the river banks this time of year. So don’t be afraid to play around with a small, dark colored hopper or Chernobyl ant.

Tricos have not been particularly prevalent on the river this summer, but there are plenty of midges and the fish are almost always feeding on them. A small trico pattern in the #20-22 range will oftentimes work for the trout sipping midges in slow water.

The weather has taken a pleasant fall-like turn recently. So enjoy your time on the water and if all else fails swing a wet fly!

BWA goes west/Gear review

Like many fly anglers, I was sucked into the hobby by visions of casting dry flies to rising trout surrounded by the sweeping hills and vast skies of the American west.  However, not long after breaking into the hobby, I found myself being drawn to the excitement of flats fishing in the Florida Keys and the idea of taking a trip out west became distant.

Finally, five years after casting my first fly rod, I made the journey to Salt Lake City and then north to Wyoming.  The first full day of fishing was one of the most memorable I’ve had.  My fishing buddy and I explored the massive Wind River Range, following miles and miles of dirt roads.  I could have stayed there forever catching those eager cutthroat trout, but eventually we came to an impasse that our rental car just wasn’t up for.

On our second day we put the Wind River in the rear view and headed to Yellowstone.  I found the rivers in the park to be incredibly diverse.  The lower Gardiner River is fast flowing and full of pocket water where gullible brown trout will almost always rise to a well drifted hopper.  The Lamar is a truly epic river with big mayflies, big cutthroat, and big scenery.  The final day of our trip was reserved for fishing the infamous Slough Creek.  The hiking, the landscape, the weather, and the fishing on slough can all be described as intense.  On the slow meandering bends of Slough Creek the cutthroat act more like carp than trout.  Before casting to the undercut on the opposite bank, it pays to carefully watch the shallow gravel bar on the inside of the bend for cruising trout who may be in less than a foot of water.  These cruising fish are very eager to rise to a well presented terrestrial, albeit the slowest and most cautious rises I’ve ever seen.  To sum it up; those aforementioned visions of casting dry flies surrounded by vast landscapes came to fruition on Slough Creek.


Anybody who has fished out west knows that covering ground is key.  That being said, the gear that allows you to hike further and fish longer will far outshine things like your rod and reel setup.  On this trip I was fortunate enough to use the new Chota Hybrid High-Top Rubber Soled Boot.  These boots are a great value for the price and resemble a lightweight hiking boot more than a wading boot.  Chota purposefully built these boots with a removable insole.  So they can fit comfortably with regular socks, neoprene wading socks, or the booties on your waders.  However, my favorite quality of these boots is undoubtedly their light weight and how easy they are to slip on and take off whether wet or dry!

Another item I found to be invaluable on my trip was my Patagonia Stormfront Sling pack.  Yellowstone is known for its hot and dry summer days, but I can assure you that thunderstorms can pop up in an instant.  This pack was not only comfortable, but great for keeping my stuff dry when I couldn’t avoid a rain squall.  It’s important to keep in mind that this pack is basically one big compartment.  So organizing your gear inside takes a little consideration, but I find the Patagonia Black Hole Cubes to be the perfect for compartmentalizing.  The not so obvious benefit of the Stormfront Sling is the fact that it’s not only water tight, but also fairly air tight.  This means that the delicious smelling sandwich I stashed in my pack is pretty unlikely to lure in that big grizzly we spotted from camp the night before.


Heading out west yourself? Feel free to stop in the new shop at 16829 York Rd and we’ll outfit you with plenty of Chubby Chernobyls (basically the only fly you’ll need west of the rockies)!

Scientific Anglers Absolute Leader and Tippet Review

Scientific Anglers have long been known for outstanding fly lines.  This year they have released their premium line of “Absolute” leader and tippet.  Here at the shop, we’ve received the full line of leaders and tippet from 7x-20lb and have been very impressed with the quality and performance.  Both the Absolute Flourocarbon and Nylon are supple, strong and boast a 30% increase in wet knot strength. SA has done a great job of increasing breaking strength without increasing diameter. The Absolute Streamer leaders are 4 ft and great for use with a sinking line or a floating line on those days fishing in higher water.

To top it off they are packed in biodegradable pouches, continuing a trend of environmentally friendly fly fishing innovation.  The new tippet spools feature a line cutter and a tight band that should mean less chance of unknowingly walking down the trail dragging 20 ft of tippet which we’ve all done once -at least I have!

 

Scott Radian Review

It’s a real statement in the current market when a rod truly stands out from the rest and remains one of the most popular freshwater rods 8 years after it’s introduction, but that’s what the Scott Radian series does.

Despite their fast action, they have a very unique feel which allows for a wide range of uses from delivering small dries on light tippet to banging weighted streamers against the banks. The quick recovery rate and springy action really makes for easy casting rods. Many modern fast action fly rods simply don’t offer this level of control from short to even long range casts.

We have a 9’ 4 weight in stock which is an ideal rod for the Gunpowder. If you don’t know whether you’ll be fishing streamers or fishing an evening spinner fall, this rod has you covered. The 10’ 4 weight has much more backbone and the extra reach allows for easier mending and presentation at longer distances. It would easliy be at home on the larger rivers such as the North Branch in Western Maryland, Little Juniata, Penns or Pine Creek up in Pennsylvania. 

Former staffer Ethan Lawson recently took a 10′ 5 weight to Colorado. It makes presenting dries in often windy conditions a breeze!

Ethan Lawson putting his Scott Radian to good use in 40mph gusts on the Colorado River

 

Abel VAYA in Stock!

We have in 3 gorgeous new VAYA reels from Abel.

These are partially ported, leaving just enough surface area to highlight the hand anodized finishes. The frame interior also features varying sets of milled fly patterns for those who appreciate the attention to detail. The large arbor spool features a precision-balanced dual-pawl drag engagement design with a fully sealed adjustable drag. The rigid machining, design and finishes are of the highest quality as you’d expect from Abel.

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