Author Archives: Theaux Le Gardeur

Congratulations and Safe Travels to Mike Colegrove

Grand Bahama Bonefish
This Just in from Justin Sterner, our SIMMS, R.L. Winston, Lamson/Waterworks, Scientific Anglers and Smith Optics sales representative.

Dear Theaux,
It is with great pleasure that I am writing to you to introduce the new member of my team here in the Northeast. Michael Colegrove will take the position as sales associate and will begin work full-time on April 14th.Born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Mike spent his childhood a few yards from the Severn River on the Chesapeake Bay. It was there that his passion for being on the water began. Summers home from college were spent in the blue waters of the Mid-Atlantic canyons off the coast of Maryland chasing billfish and tuna. During this time, his interest in fishing turned into more than just a hobby and became a genuine obsession. Around the same time, Mike first picked up a fly rod and he hasn’t put one down since. Shortly after graduating from Hofstra University, he returned home to Maryland and began working at Backwater Angler on the Gunpowder River. Over the past few years Mike has split his time between working in a professional office setting (poor soul) and the fly shop. When Mike isn’t chasing wild brown trout or traveling, he can be found on Maryland’s Eastern Shore pursuing striped bass, bluefish, speckled trout, and redfish on the fly. As a multi-disciplined angler, Mike will bring a true passion to the job and a professionalism that will help us provide an increased level of service to you.

For those of you that have had the pleasure to meet Mike Colegrove over the years at Backwater Angler, we hope that you are as proud as we are to see him take on a full-time job in the industry. Please stop by the shop Saturday, April 12 between 10 and 4 to see Mike work his magic behind the Backwater Angler counter and wish him well.

Congratulations and safe travels Mike! We’ll miss you and we’re sure that you will be an asset to these great companies and to Mr. Sterner.

Wild Brown Trout minutes from Baltimore

Wild Brown Trout minutes from Baltimore
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 178CFs and is 40 F and is clear. Accessing the river has been one of the most challenging aspects of fishing this winter. The snow covered and iced over, frozen trails are now yielding to warmer, wetter conditions. The thaw, melt refreeze scenario has left most of the trails along the Gunpowder greasy, slick and downright dangerous. Best approaches have been for anglers to get in the water quickly and stay in-a difficult solution when the water is hovering under 40 F, but much safer than ending up on one’s backside. While the stocked section of the Gunpowder River is closed till the 29th (please see note below) the wild fish stretch upstream of the gas line below Corbett to Bluemount is open year round as is the catch and release, artificials only stretch from Bluemount upstream through Big Falls, York, Bunkerhill, Masemore and Falls Rd access points. With relatively high flows over the weekend, Didymo algae is just starting to let go along the catch and release stretch of the Gunpowder River. Often the algae breaks up in long tendrils making it difficult for anglers to nymph without fouling the double fly rigs that are commonplace in winter fishing. Until we have cleaner gravel, try a variety of small dries such as Black Flies in the #20-22 range and Blue Winged Olives sized #18-24. If you don’t want to start the fishing year squinting, a Renegade or Griffith’s Gnat in a #16-18 will usually do the trick in the flat water between the riffles. For folks with bigger flies and fish in mind, large streamers twitched on a downstream drift delivered with an Airflo sinking polyleader will get the big flies slow rolling along the bottom, into the log jams and in front of wild fish.

Thanks to Vince Crisler for the beautiful photo and fishing report from March 11:

Was great to stop into the shop and catch up! Was surprising to see
how much snow there still is on the banks of the Gunpowder, but it
looks like things are starting to wake up. Spent a couple hours
nymphing and ended up catching this guy at the very end dead drifting
a big articulated streamer. Looking forward to many more trips up
there from DC this year!

Shop Schedule:
Closed on March 19, 20, 21
Backwater Angler will be open this Saturday, March 22nd and this Sunday, March 23rd from 10AM till 4PM.
Closed on March 24, 25, 26

Licenses for 2014: If you should need to purchase a license after hours please call 855-855-3906 or visit COMPASS You’ll need a nontidal (freshwater) license and trout stamp to fish the Gunpowder River for trout.

Please note: Little Falls and the lower Gunpowder River (called the “upper river” in the MDDNR Fisheries stocking schedule because it is upstream of Loch Raven) and regulated as a 5 fish a day stretch from the Gas line above Upper Glencoe through Lower Glencoe, Sparks and Phoenix closed on March 9 and will reopen at 5:30 AM on March 29th.

CATCH A POACHER 24-HOUR HOTLINE # 800-635-6124 This spring help Natural Resources Police (NRP) protect Maryland’s natural resources by keeping this number handy and at the ready. All streams in the state are signed with closure information upon stocking. If you see anglers fishing during closure periods make a call from a safe place and be sure to provide a physical description of the poachers, the closest road/stream intersection, vehicle description and license plate number.

A Maryland Fly Shop for Anglers Celebrates 23 Years on the Gunpowder River

Old Timey Display Case
Spring is not quite here folks but the calendar does not lie
The shop will be closed from Monday February 3rd through Friday February 7.
Until then knock the dust off your gear, check your flylines and get a good list of what you’ll need when this weather breaks-We’ll be happy to assist you when we reopen on Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th from 10AM till 4PM and will resume regular hours the week of the 10th. February is Backwater Angler’s 13th year on the Gunpowder-all told (including Wally Vait’s On the Fly) this little fly fishing shop has been around about 23 years serving some fine folks that have fished more storied waters than I’ll ever remember.This season we’ve brought in more quality gear from Umpqua, lots of custom flies from Catskill based tier Mike Bachkosky and fine fly rods from R. L. Winston, G. Loomis, Scott and St. Croix rods. Over the holidays we purchased a vintage display case from Cooks limited antiques-Thanks Dixie!- and now it is full of high quality U.S. made reels from Abel, Bauer and Lamson. As part of our upcoming anniversary we’re inviting everyone to a gathering on the 23rd of February from 10 till 2 PM. Until then-dust off that old fishing log and send us your best SHORT fishing story (500 words) relating experience on the Gunpowder-it probably won’t hurt to reference the shop or staff in the telling. Send it along to .We’ll be featuring our favorites during a reading that afternoon and, if space allows we’ll put’em right on the website. Everyone will receive our undying gratitude and the top three wordsmiths will get a fresh Backwater Angler hat for their trouble…
Patagonia Clothing Baltimore

Related Post: Kaufmman’s Closes-A not so gentle reminder to shop where you get your stream report

Patagonia River Salt Wading Jacket Review

Patagonia River Salt Jacket
Thanks to Josh Reider for the photos and gear review of his lucky Patagonia River Salt Jacket. We have a ready supply of these waterproof, breathable and durable wading jackets in stock ready to ship.

After fishing today in the freezing rain I found out two things: One, fish don’t care how miserable the weather is; and two, a nice rain jacket is a must. A friend and I fished in the dismal weather for 3 hours and were able to pick up close to 10 fish; hooking nearly twice that. We landed a few nice fish and a lot in the smaller 8-12 inch range. Fishing the Gunpowder this time of year is very productive and can be a lot of fun if you’re dressed properly. We were nymphing small pheasant tails and zebra midges with the most success. I switched to a streamer later in the day and had some fish chase it but none would commit.
My Patagonia Riversalt jacket kept me dry and warm in the miserable weather. I’ve had it nearly a year now and it works just as well as when I took it out of the box. It is great length, the cuffs work and because it is longer than most wading jackets it can be worn as a normal rain jacket. I use it whenever I fish and recommend it to anyone serious about staying comfortable fly fishing in a host of conditions.

Wild Trout in Maryalnd

Abel Fish Graphic Fly Reels

Abel Fish Graphic and Engraved Reels
Thoughts of Abel engraved and Fish Graphic reels might just be the ticket to keeping warm this time of year. Especially if the idea of a (clockwise) Blue #3 engraved Grand Slam super 9-10N, Bonefish Super 7-8N and Tarpon Super 11-12N help to transport one’s mental state to more southerly climes. Other examples of this California handiwork are exhibited by the other Abel reels in the new display case at Backwater Angler including (clockwise) the 25th anniversary De Young Super 6N, the Tribal Fish in 7-8N and a Brown Trout Super 3N. These beautiful reels are testament that you don’t need a lot of fly reels-just the “right” ones.

I’m still fishing an original 3N in artistic blue/black camo that I bought when Backwater Angler opened in 2001. It’s helped me land Atlantic salmon, albies, rockfish, blues, bonefish and redfish and has never let me down.

Abel Artistic and Fish Graphic Reels

Snow along the Gunpowder River

Gunpowder River, Masemore Rd Upstream in Snow
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 104 Cfs and is 40 F. The Hereford Zone received between 5 and 7 inches of snow and Thursday night through Friday morning we dipped into the low single digits. The high winds made it pretty difficult for folks to get out Friday during the day but we had a surprising number of folks despite the cold weather getting out over the weekend. Most of the lots remain unplowed so York and Masemore are still the easiest to access with a car. Lots of edge ice is forming along the banks of the main stem and some of the smaller low gradient tributaries are starting to ice up. Consider giving the Falls Rd section a break. Fresh snow on the ground makes its tough to gauge where the holes are so stick to the flats until the condition of the trails improve. With rain on the way through today expect water temps to dip a bit and flow to increase as some of the snow slowly lets go. The shots in this post were taken at Masemore on Friday from the Gunpowder North Trail across from Bush Cabin Run and the Lefty Kreh Trail.
Masemore Rd Downstream Gunpowder River in Snow

Fly Fishing the Gunpowder River New Year’s Week

Gunpowder Brown Trout
The Gunpowder River is clear and flowing at 119 and 41.5 F. A few stoneflies and Blue Winged Olives are flitting around but stream temps are still on the cold side. Fish the faster, shallow water with small nymphs starting in the #16 range and midge larvae sized #20-26. Streamers will also elicit a few takes and many more follows on a five or 10 ft sinking Airflo polyleader. Get ready for some snow along the upper river by Friday. If you bought studs for your wading shoes over the holidays now is the time to spend a few precious minutes this week putting them in-your backside will thank you!

Thanks to Josh for the stream report and photo:

Fishing the past couple days has been ice cold, but for those willing to brave the weather have found luck on the Gunpowder River. Nymphing small midge and black fly larva has proved the most successful. I have been fishing shallow as the fish that will eat are holding in water in the sun. I’ve also been staying warm by using a switch rod in the more open stretches and fishing streamers deep and slow with a sink tip. If you head out on the river for a couple hours this time of year, it won’t be hard to find serenity on many stretches of the Gunpowder!

Gunpowder River Wild Brown

Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER 2013 Year End Wrap Up


The Gunpowder River is truly a gift of shared waters. As a 1977 Baltimore Sun article penned by Michael Wentzel and Michael Shultz once related; “The Gunpowder is the River you Drink.” So with that context in mind it’s important to relate that Baltimore County has 2,100 miles of streams a majority of which hold native brook trout and wild brown trout. Notably, over 1,000 miles of tributaries drain into the Reservoirs that providing drinking water for 1.8 million Baltimore-metro area residents.

In 2013, Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER saw the end of four commercial tubing shuttles along the upper Gunpowder River. By their own estimations the two vendors had claimed that they were renting up to 400 tubes a day each. The shuttles routinely dropped off patrons every 20 minutes in a 75 to 100 foot wide, 2.2 mile stretch of river between the catch and release section at the designated Wildlands Areas of Gunpowder State Park and the two fish a day section of stream to Monkton Station along the NCR (now Torrey Brown) trail. In the end, the county zoning ordinances failed to support the livery services that had put too much pressure on this vital resource to sustain shared uses like fishing, boating and traditional tubing by families.

Gunpowder Riverkeeper Service Project

As the River and its uses returned back to a more balanced state this spring, this shared waters perspective became even more revealing when Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER® began submitting environmental comments and intervening in the (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) application for the Columbia Gas Transmission (CGT) Line-MB interstate gas pipeline project.

The CGT Line-MB is a 26” diameter, 21.1 mile long Interstate Natural Gas Transmission line from Owings Mills to Rutledge impacting 305.4 acres of land and 70 waterways with a temporary 75 to 100 foot wide construction right-of-way (ROW) resulting in a permanent 50 foot ROW across the Gunpowder Watershed in Baltimore and Harford counties, Maryland.

GRK identified that 39 of 70 waterways impacted by the natural gas transmission line project are designated as drinking water supply waters (USE III-P and IV-P). The project also crosses the Gunpowder Falls River that provides drinking water for 1.8 million Baltimore-Metro area residents.

MDDNR Stream Waders

The pipeline does not define our work but has shown just how connected the wild trout and drinking water are in this fragile upper watershed. If the land agents for Columbia Gas Transmission do not strike deals with the affected landowners along the proposed route for the new right of way the properties that the line would go through may be taken in the courts through eminent domain. GRK has asked for more public participation in the regulatory process, thorough environmental review including an Environmental Impact statement and full mitigation of environmental harms to protect the sensitive waterways crossed by the project.

Please visit our Chesapeake Commons interactive map describing waterway impacts (including drinking water) of the pipeline project that were not disclosed by the MDE and the CORPS in the joint public notice.

GRK’s Advocacy:
GRK led 18 Conservation Organizations in urging the Army Corps of Engineers (CORPS) and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to disclose waterway impacts of proposed Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Project on Baltimore City Metro Area Drinking Water supply.

GRK Outreach:
Led the St. Francis Community Center Reservoir Hill Power Project group on a streamwalk and service project along the River to discuss the sources of City drinking water and the importance of wild trout; Credited as contributing author in a Poster at the International Didymo Conference in VT; Lead a panel discussion on Invasive Algae Didymo at the Waterkeeper ALLIANCE Annual Conference at Callaway Gardens, GA.; Led service projects with over 70 local scouts and brownies that included trash cleanups along the river as part of their merit badge requirements; Led a Juniata College Alumini service project; Took part in the MDDNR Stream Waders program and sampled the River and its tributaries with 8 volunteers that collected benthic macro-inverteb=rates that will be used to inform state water quality standards; Served as a public interest member of the State Water Quality Advisory Committee; Created awareness that current management protocols of Baltimore City DPW that manage Pretty Boy Reservoir at full pool impacts the River with widespread flooding during heavy rainfall events, is counter to the Baltimore City Watershed Agreement and the Loch Raven Total Maximum Daily Load (Pollution diet) and can be prevented with proactive management that allows the reservoir to fill rather than spill during Hurricane Season; Maintained 12 MDDNR Wader Wash Stations along the Gunpowder River to contain the spread of invasive algae Didymo; Worked with Maryland Park Service staff on trail closures and clean-ups; Informed Maryland Natural Resources Police on poaching complaints; Provided regulatory comments and gave testimony before Baltimore County and the MDE on the County Municipal Stormwater (MS4) permit; and added environmental comments to UMD Law letter on MDE Construction Stormwater regulations.

Gunpowder RIverkeeper Service Streamwalk

GRK Sign-Ons:
GRK supported important regulatory comment letters related to pesticides; manure and fertilizer application on farm fields; MS4 (Stormwater) permits; a Department of Energy application for the Cove Point Terminal to export Liquified Natural Gas (LNG); a public interest letter regarding disposal of coal ash, and a letter to the editor of Baltimore Sun regarding the environmental impacts of the export of “Fracked” natural gas.

GRK Testimony and Letters:

“The Baltimore County MS4 Permit should be framed in the context relating that it is protective of Clean Water Act (CWA) language, not simply ‘moving towards compliance’ and namely that deadlines for implementation are absent from the draft permit…Despite the Baltimore County Sanitary Sewer Consent Decree, overflows in dry conditions in March and April attributed to vandals accounted for hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage entering the Gunpowder [River] and its tributaries. These events are illegal and must be prevented.”
– GRK on Baltimore County’s Municipal Stormwater (MS4) discharge permit

“The Public notice (PN#13-21) is deficient under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as it is neither contains sufficient facts nor is informative enough to properly engage the public to allow them to comment meaningfully in this regulatory process.”

“The Corps must make permit decisions based on consideration of property interests and the needs and welfare of the people. By not providing the public information about surface water designated uses in the public notice; namely, drinking water supply, the regulatory process is subverted and the public is excluded from commenting on substantive environmental issues raised by the project.”

“Based on these deficiencies, we believe that the Corps and MDE must re-issue an amended notice to include impacts to drinking water supply waterways and provide for an additional public meeting to properly engage the public in this regulatory process.”
–GRK on the legally deficient Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Baltimore District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CORPS) Joint Public Notice, PN#13-21 for the 404 (Wetland and Waterways) / 401 (State Water Quality Certification) permit for the Columbia Gas Transmission Line-MB Extension Pipeline Project.

Gunpowder RIverkeeper Service Day

Our projects, outreach and advocacy is strengthened by your support. Please consider a donation at our website via PAYPAL to become a supporter and further the cause of protecting the Gunpowder River for future generations. When mailing a donation please send it to: Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER, P.O. Box 156, Monkton, MD 21111

The protection of the Gunpowder River is a gift worthy of your support.
Theaux M. Le Gardeur

Related Posts:

Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER YEar End Wrap up for 2012

Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER Year End Wrap Up for 2011

Maryland Use III-P Streams

Maryland Fishing Licenses for 2014

2014 MD Fishing Guide
The calendar is marching on. Now that the in-laws have left your humble abode it’s time to pick up a 2014 MD Fishing License. The shop will be closed on the first so be sure to stop in on Monday (from 10 till 5) or Tuesday (from 10 till 2) if you’re planning on fishing on the first! Thanks for your support in 2013 and we wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Licenses after hours may be obtained online through the Compass Portal. If you picked up a license last year enter your customer id# into the system. If you don’t have it handy search for your record using your last name, date of birth and /or drivers license number. If you have not picked up a Maryland fishing license in the past, simply enroll as a new customer. Note: You must have an email address to use the system and a license will be emailed to your address upon completion of the transaction.

Holiday Hours:
Open Monday Dec 30 from 10 till 5
Open Tuesday December 31 from 10 till 2
Closed Wednesday January 1

Fresh Snow and Wild Trout on the Gunpowder River

Alex McCrickard with a Gunpowder Brown
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 137 Cfs, is 42.5 F and clear. Most of the trails are frozen and the fresh snow has already left the grassy areas. It’s time to put in studs and bring along a wading staff. Stoneflies in the #14-16 range have been coming off on warmer days. Starting early-try zebra midges in the riffles. Black fly larvae in the #20-22 range are a good bet-especially behind Blue Winged Olives sized #16-18. Traditional streamers in the jams will trick a few fish along the edges. Try a Grey Ghost or small marabou muddler on 6x. Baltimore County Trout Streams