Holiday Season Fishing Report


Flows on the Gunpowder have been favorable recently, fluctuating between 60-120cfs.  This provides enough water to make the fish feel comfortable, but not so much that wading is too difficult.  That being said, please use care when walking the banks of the river as recent snows have formed a lot of ice.  This is particularly true for rocky sections such as the boulder pools above the Falls rd access point where the sunlight rarely reaches the trail deep in the river valley.

As for the fishing, it seems to be improving as December progresses.  On days when the water level is rising streamer fishing tends to be most productive.  For days like that it’s best to pick your favorite streamer pattern and fish it close to the bottom.  More commonly, when the water level is dropping, nymphing will be most effective.  Trout in the Gunpowder have seen quite a lot of pressure from anglers this year.  So don’t be afraid to experiment with different nymph patterns, hotspot colors, and rigging options until you discover a combination that works for you!

Despite cold temperatures, midges are still hatching quite abundantly and trout can be seen rising to them.  Most midge hatches have been occurring during the heat of the day (12-2pm) and require 6-7x tippet and small dries around size #22.  Luckily, the slight increase in water has made the fish just a bit less discerning toward flies than they were when the water level was at 30cfs.

From the sulphur hatch, to the brief fishing ban, to the tuber hatch, to last Wednesday’s snowfall, 2020 has certainly been an eventful and challenging year.  As this year full of uncertainty comes to a close we can’t help but reflect on all the fishing we’ve done and we invite all of you to tag our instagram account @backwaterangler with photos of your favorite fishing moments of 2020!

Happy Holidays Hours:
December 22 10-3PM
December 23 10-3PM

December 24 Closed
December 25 Closed
December 26 9-3
December 27 10-3
December 28 10-3
December 29 10-3
December 30 10-3

December 31 Closed
January 1 Closed
January 2 10-3
January 3 10-3

Early December Fishing Report


After a long period of low water, Friday nights (12/4) rain increased the flow on the Gunpowder to ~100cfs.  The higher water levels have temporarily put down most of the rising fish in the river, but streamer fishing and nymphing have increased in effectiveness.

When streamer fishing we recommend using small streamers in darker colors such as black and olive.  In slower runs and deep pools a short strip of ~6inches can be effective, while dead drifting a streamer on a tight line tends to be more effective in riffles and fast cuts. Nymphing with small zebra midges, caddis pupae, and pheasant tails has been productive, as always.  Heavy leech patterns dead drifted near the bottom have been particularly effective since the increase of water.  if you’re hitting the river blind, rigging up a leech pattern along with one of the aforementioned nymphs in a size 18-22 is a great way to start the day.

Cyber Monday Fly Fishing Gifts

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.

BWA Knit Cuffed Hats

Backwater Angler Gift Certificate

BWA Knit Beanie Hat

Backwater Angler Fly Fishing School Gift Certificate

BWA Bayside Hat

Backwater Angler Guide Trip

Fly Fishing the Gunpowder River Over the Fall Holiday


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.

Covid update From Governor Hogan’s office

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.

Personalized Fly Selection

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!

Gunpowder River Stream Report

 

The water level on the Gunpowder is at 34 CFS with waters temperature of 52-54 degrees F. Fish haven’t been rising too much so nymphing has been good, especially in the deep pools. The two patterns that have been doing best have been #20 midge emergers in black, brown, or olive and #16 tungsten jig heads. Dry droppers, like a small foam hopper followed by a midge emerger, have been working excellent this morning.

Please follow the leash law if you’re bringing a dog with you. There are lots of little deer on the trails right now that dogs love to chase. It’s a beautiful day on the Gunpowder to try your luck with the fall fish. Stay safe and socially distanced from others, and have fun.

Beginner’s Fly Fishing School Nov. 15

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.

Filson Ridgeway Fleece Clothing in Maryland

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.

Filson Ridgeway Fleece Vest With Backwater Angler Logo


 

The silver Backwater Angler really pops on the dark blue vest.

 

We also have Filson Ridgeway Fleece jackets in gray with an orange Backwater Angler logo.

Filson Ridgeway Fleece Jacket With Backwater Angler Logo

Fall Fishing on The Gunpowder


The water level on the Gunpowder is remaining low around 30 cfs with water temperature being the much more favorable factor.  On most days the river is peaking around 54-60 degrees, triggering hatches of midges and the occasional stonefly.  Very small dry flies in the size 20-24 range have still been the key to catching fish sipping midges on the surface.

Nymphing is becoming increasingly effective as the weather cools.  One of the best nymphing setups for the catch and release section is a caddis pupae paired with a zebra midge or similar midge larva.  When nymphing, we recommend sticking to a few fly patterns and experimenting more with weight and indicators.  I’ve been using the Deep Soft Weight putty from Loon.  It’s great for fine tuning the weight on your leader without the damage of crimping on split shot.

As always, we endorse fall streamer fishing.  Gunpowder brown trout typically spawn in mid-late November.  So now is the time to tie on a streamer and target structure near good spawning gravel in hopes of finding an aggressive pre-spawn brown.  That being said, use care while wading as to not step on any redds where trout have cleaned a patch of gravel to lay their eggs.

Abel Artistic Finish Fly Reels

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

Native Brook TR 2/3 Reel

Abel SDS Reel

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

SDS Bonefish 7/8 Reel- Ported

Abel Vaya Larko Brown Trout Reel

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

Larko Brown Trout Vaya 5/6 Reel

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.

Underwood On The Hunt Slate Gray Vaya 7/8 Reel

Abel Vaya Underwood On The Hunt in Deep Green Reel

The On The Hunt reel is also available in the  rich, but not too bright, color of deep green. It adds a subtle pop of color for a very sleek fly fishing set up.

Every now and then, we come across an artist whose work naturally fits Abel’s palette of custom finishes. This time, that artist is Casey Underwood. – Abel

Underwood On The Hunt Deep Green Vaya 5/6 Reel

Abel Vaya Underwood On The Hunt in Black Reel

We also carry the Underwood On The Hunt in a traditional, classic black color.

Underwood On The Hunt Black Vaya 4/5 Reel

 

 

October Gunpowder River Fishing Report


Flows on the Gunpowder River are still low at around 30cfs. The few tricos we saw this year are beginning to taper off, but midges are still in abundance. Now that tubers have vacated the river we fly anglers can start taking advantage of more access points. So keep an eye out for trout sipping midges from Prettyboy dam all the way down to Monkton.

As the weather cools off, larger brown trout will start moving upriver. That being said, don’t be afraid to toss a streamer around. We have some great unweighted streamer patterns in the shop that work well in low water. Lastly, swinging soft hackles and nymphing will generally be productive.  Midge larva,  caddis pupae, and stonefly patterns will be your best nymphs going into fall.