As 2021 kicks off, it seems like we’ve gotten into a pattern of crisp winter weather. Water flow on the Gunpowder is good, around 65 cfs. However, the water is on the colder side, peaking at around 42-43 degrees on most days. Due to the chilly temps rising fish are difficult to find, but these conditions provide a great opportunity to practice your tightline nymphing skills.
We’ve also had a number of anglers in the shop reporting good results from streamer fishing. Personally, I’ve enjoyed dead drifting small streamers close to the bottom this winter. Sometimes giving your fly an occasional jigging motion while it drifts through a run can go a very long way.
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 131 CFS and dropping while reaching temperatures around
45 degrees during the afternoon. With the water levels up, using tungsten nymphs will be very helpful in getting your flies down towards the bottom. We just received a bunch of tungsten Euro-Nymphs and Jigs. Fishing current seams and wooded structure will be most effective throughout the day so don’t just target the deeper pools
Thanks to Hudson, a new employee at Backwater Angler for the following stream report.
I was out fishing yesterday above Big Falls road. The fishing was decent and the river looks great. The water has started to go down back to a normal level. I saw a lot of small midges but had better luck on leeches yesterday.
In the evenings one can find small cream midges and olives hatching with fish rising to them in the slower moving pools. These hatches tend to be more prolific as you move closer to the dam but bugs can be found throughout the catch and release section.
We will be open Tuesday the 29th and Wednesday the 30th from 10AM till 3PM.
We will be closed on Thursday the 31st and Friday The 1st.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.