Happy Thanksgiving! Save 15% on Guide Trips Gift Certificates for 2018 Purchased this Weekend!

The shop pictured above and below will be closed Thanksgiving week from Tuesday through Thursday and will reopen Friday from 10 till 5 and this Saturday and Sunday from 10 till 4.

We are especially thankful this year for our customers that support the shop. Working in a job that allow us to take a walk along the river before, after and sometimes during work is something we’ll never take for granted. Without your support we would not be celebrating our 17th year in 2018.

Call us during shop hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and save 15% on any fly fishing guide trips that are paid in full. We will issue a gift certificate redeemable for a guide trip to be taken during the 2018 season on the Gunpowder. Finding a day to go fishing with us next year is up to you!

Fishpond Accessories in Maryland


We have just received a shipment of Fishpond gear to Backwater Angler! Fishponds range of gear is comfortable, practical and built to last. Furthermore much of their fabric is made out of recycled industrial nylon waste turning it into quality products.

Much of the success of Fishpond’s innovative products is attributable to the passion that we share with our loyal customers for the outdoors and the habitat that drives our inspiration. Together, we practice responsible stewardship and believe that every small act counts.
We call it the “Ripple Effect”- the collective impact of individuals performing in an environmentally conscious manner and leading to lasting change-in thinking, in deeds and in results.
Fishpond is looking for ways to reduce our footprint on the environment, and with this new line of products made from 40-100% nylon recycled commercial fishing net, an industry first, our customer can participate in the process of inspiring others about the importance of a sustainable planet. Conservation of our natural world is a shared responsibility. With each step forward, each new ripple we create, we move closer to becoming a brand that embodies a vision for a healthy and sustainable environment. As in every facet of life, none of us can do everything, but each of us can do something.

Fishpond’s nomad nets are some of the lightest, strongest nets on the market, with a range of handle lengths to cater to your netting requirements.

We have the following accessories in stock:
Headgate tippet holder $19.95
Piopod (pack it out pod) $12.95
Dryshake bottle holder $8.95
Confluence net release $29.95
Floatant holder $8.95

Gunnison Guide Pack $129.95
Summit Sling Bag $99.95
Waterdance Guide Pack $99.95
Emcampment Lumbar Pack $89.95

Nomad Native Net original $125.95
Nomad Emerger Net $149.95
Nomad Mid Length Net $159.95


Little Black Stoneflies on the Gunpowder River

The Gunpowder river is low and clear. It is flowing at 40 CFS and is 50F. Little black stoneflies or winter stones are now making their appearance along the banks of the Gunpowder. This photo, (thanks Jennie!)shows one of dozens that were found along a river bridge abutment this afternoon. Rainbows that were stocked in October along Upper and Lower Glencoe, Sparks and Phoenix Road access points are still being found up to 11 miles upstream in the catch and release section. Small prince nymphs and aug bugs are worth a shot. Try nymphing with 5x tippet and very little weight. Small traditional streamers are also worth a shot.

Gunpowder river November stream report

Rainy day at masemore

Thanks to Gene for the photos and following report:

The Gunpowder is 40 cfs at falls road and temperatures remain around the 50 degree mark.

November has brought chilly temperatures finally and some needed rain. Swinging small streamers or wet flies such as hares ear and royal coachman has made for very good fishing in the riffles and runs. Fish that are on the lookout for an opportunistic meal tend to be tight up against the banks. When targeting these areas, focusing on making shorter more accurate casts will produce more solid hook ups.

brown trout in net

Great dry fly sport on the Gunpowder

Changing seasons in the boulder pools
Thanks to Gene for the fishing report and photos:

The Gunpowder is flowing at 40cfs and water temperatures range from 49 degrees to the lower 50’s by midafternoon.
The Gunpowder has been fishing well, especially with dry flies. The surface action being the best between Falls to York road. Streamers and nymphs tend to be more effective above falls road in the boulder pools and in the faster riffles and runs. A simple elk hair caddis size 16 is a solid choice from mid day through to the evening. Soft hackle wet fly patterns like partridge and yellow or orange imitate the emerger well. Whilst the caddis hatches of tend not to be concentrated but spread out meaning the regularity of their presence keeps opportunistic trout on the lookout for them. Fishing with midges has also been productive, particularly in morning or evening, size 18-22 red or olive zebra midges imitating their drifting pupa and 20-22 snow flies imitating the emerger well. Griffiths gnats are always a great-go now of year of year. Everyone should spend time outdoors enjoying this beautiful time of year whilst it lasts!

wild spots

Leafy water and colorful trout on the Gunpowder

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The Gunpowder is running cold starting at 48 degrees at the start of the day, the level is 38 cfs and clear.

Thanks to Gene for the following Fishing report:
The fishing has been productive for those fishing caddis patterns. Size 16-18 has been the ticket and these have been coming off when the water hits the 50 degree mark, on warmer days this will be late morning on cooler days mid afternoon. In the evening if you scale down to fish midges in the flatter water this will catch fish. I like using size 22 emergers, 12 feet long leader and 7x tippet.

Thanks to Seth for the photos!


October on the Gunpowder

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The Gunpowder is gin clear, 35.7 cfs and starting the day at 49 degrees.

Beautiful autumn colors and vibrant trout abound on the Gunpowder. The fishing has been good as normal for this time of year. Many are reporting observing strong caddis hatches, tan size 18, in the late afternoon through the evening that are bringing up lots of fish. Terrestrials and midges have also been working great. A Griffiths gnat size 20-24 is a super go-to at this time of year in the flat pools where fish are sipping.

New Zealand Mudsnails

IMG_3156A population of New Zealand mudsnails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum)has been confirmed by Maryland DNR in the following press release. Thanks also to Scott Dance for early coverage in the Baltimore Sun of the prescence of the invasive New Zealand Mudsnails in the Upper Gunpowder River.

There are two schools of though on invasives; one is the “aw shucks” approach to let thing be, the other more conservative approach is apt to slowing the spread of invasives by educating river users and taking steps to containing invasives to the affected waterbodies. The good folks at MDDNR should be applauded by taking the conservative approach of letting angler’s know about this new invasive species of concern.

“We’ve been dealing with Didymo or “Rock Snot” an invasive algae in these waters since 2008. Initially the Backwater Angler shop maintained wader wash stations and in 2010 Gunpowder Riverkeeper took over maintenance of the stations with volunteers. Anglers are the vectors. We have anglers that fish globally. The Gunpowder is a nationally recognized wild trout fishery and made Field and Streams Top 5 tailwater or dam controlled rivers list in 2005. Whether it came from the Madison or Spring Creek is immaterial at this point. The only other known area on the East coast is Spring Creek in Centre County, PA. The Centre Daily covered the occurrence back in 2013.
Invasive species tend to inhabit disrupted ecosystems. It is widely known that the Gunpowder system has too many nutrients namely Phosphorous and Nitrogen that can be contributing to their abundance. Once established, New Zealand mudsnails can amass in such large quantities at over 300,000 per square meter. At these levels they are best described as biofoulers-like zebra mussels and are known to clog water intakes. Something to consider given that the Gunpowder River supplies water regionally to 1.5 million residents in the metro-area.

Because the snails are very hardy and temp, turbidity and salt they could move quickly into the rest of the Gunpowder system well below Loch Raven. Gunpowder Riverkeeper advises all visiting boaters and anglers to take precautions to clean check and dry their gear including physical methods like soaking gear in hot water or freezing gear before and after visiting the Gunpowder to reduce the chance of spreading invasive species.

Recent literature from the Oregon State indicates that New Zealand Mudsnails can also adapt to high salinity environments. Here is the USGS take on these critters that also includes a distribution map.

Finally, here is guidance hot of the press from MDDNR on cleaning protocols.After fishing in the Gunpowder Falls, at least one of the following decontamination methods should be completed:
Soak waders, boots, and equipment in a bath of 20 g/L Virkon Aquatic for 15 to 20 minutes. Spray application alone is not a reliable method of disinfection.

· Soak waders, boots, and equipment in hot water (>60oC) for at least 5 minutes (Not recommended for Gortex).

· Freeze waders, boots, and equipment for at least 6 hours at -3oC.

· Dry waders, boots, and equipment completely for at least 48 hours.


If you are still reading we need your financial support to keep the River protected now and in the future. Please consider a charitable contribution of support to protect the River.

You may donate at: http://www.gunpowderriverkeeper.org/#support or by sending a check to Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER®, P.O. BOX 156 Monkton, MD 21111.

Thank you for your support!
Theaux M. Le Gardeur

GRK is a 501(c)(3) non-profit categorized by the IRS under Natural Resource Conservation and Protection. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Late September on the Gunpowder


The Gunpowder is at 33 cfs and starting the day cold at 50 degrees at Falls road. The flows continue to be low for this time. However the past week the flows have been steady and with ideal water temperatures the fishing can be good, fish will always be opportunistic at this time of year. Caddis, around size 18, have been hatching in the afternoons through the evening from falls and the fish key in on these when happening. In the evenings, from the dam down to bunker hill area, tiny cream midges are hatching that are around size 24. Small subsurface patterns like Zebra midges, patterns for caddis pupa and small nymphs will do well in the riffles and fast water.

Beginners Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday September the 24th 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 10:00am – 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 with check or cash the day of the school. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.