Author Archives: Theaux Le Gardeur

Abel Maryland Flag Reel

Jayne, One of our loyal Backwater Angler regulars pitched the idea of a Abel Maryland Flag reel to us back in the early Spring. At the time, Abel only had a Colorado and Texas flag reel option under their custom finishes. The Maryland Flag falls between the 7 hour plus pricing and the Artist pricing and rightfully so-our state flag is easy to recognize but hard to paint! These are currently available at Backwater Angler in both the Super Series 4/5 and 5/6 sizes. Both come with a vibrant red aluminum handle. Please call us at 410-357-9557 for availability or Buy the new Abel Maryland Flag Super Series reel in size 4/5 or 5/6 from our online catalog.

Sulphurs and Caddis on the Gunpowder River

The Gunpowder River is flowing at 214 Cfs is clear and 54 degrees F. Caddis and Sulpurs are in full swing. While it has not been warm enough for “epic” spinner falls we are seeing quite a few drop in very close to dark. Mid- morning and late afternoon into evening fishing has been productive with caddis and caddis emergers in the #14-16 range and Sulphur patterns, from nymphs, emergers and duns in the #12 -16 range. We have many patterns in the muffin tins on the front counter the guides have been using this week. Just quick look at the fly towers reveals that we have over 30 sulphur patterns and 16 caddis patterns to chose from. When faced with choosing between being hemmed up inside cleaning out the garage, mowing the lawn or going fly fishing for wild trout on the Gunpowder on a beautiful spring weekend the answer is clear…

Flows and Temps are Improving on the Gunpowder River

The Gunpowder River is flowing at 211 Cfs and is 53.5 degrees F. Caddis and Sulphurs are making their presence known as are plenty of wild fish. With the forest in full leaf out This spring don’t wait to go fly fishing on the Gunpowder! We have just received close to 100 dozen dry and wet flies including duns, spinners and hard to find caddis and sulphur emergers from expert tier Mike Bachkosky. Hint: The ones that work best are in the muffin tins on the front counter and won’t last…

Songbirds, Soft Hackles and Mayflies on the Gunpowder River

Thanks To Sean for the great stream report and photos from his Spring Forays.

Hey guys.. going to give the stream report a go. I spend enough time on the Gunpowder Watershed drainage… been writing some stuff down recently. This time of year, last 2 weeks in April to the middle of May, is up there for me as being one of my favorite times within the Gunpowder River drainage. Whether it be above the reservoir or below, there is a lot of activity continually moving and growing. On land and in water. This week I concentrated on the Falls portion in the catch and release area. Mayflies are waxing and waning, caddis are getting more consistent and ants are all along on land, hopefully making their way in the water to the fish. The hendrickson hatch has given way to the epic sulphur hatches that we saw last year. The forecast seems great on that front. Last spring and summer we saw some of the more prolific sulphur hatches and especially spinner falls. I suppose the higher water levels created optimal conditions for our iconic mayfly. Im assuming 2019 will be much of the same as our water levels have been now consistently higher.

Streamers, swinging wets/ soft hackles were the way to go on overcast days. However, my best fish this week came in full sun on a small streamer pattern with a really long leader. I have been fishing small weighted streamers on a floating line with a 9 to 10 foot leader, casting directly at and around structure. On the warmest days and in full sun I found some shade and was euro nymphing while letting the presentation turn into a swing before I reset my position to cast. On the swing, as the flies lift toward the surface, the fish down deeper have been giving chase. Sulphur dries in 14 and 18 sizes accounted for fish during the hatches. I fish in the afternoons, so my observations pertain to this time period. But a good presentation, no matter subsurface or on top will net fish.

On a side note for all the birding enthusiasts, this week as like clockwork, has brought the migrating songbirds that make the Gunpowder River their home. During your angling endeavors, pay attention to the prairie warblers passing through and listen for the wood thrushes that have appeared this week. I pay attention to certain birds on the river, with some practice they will hint to you that bugs may be lifting off the water. Fish ON!


Beginners Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Saturday May the 11th 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 – 2:00pm. 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.

Fly Fishing Schools Close to Washington D.C., Northern VA and South Central PA

Tax man got you down? Shake off all that math on the Gunpowder River in our turn-key fly fishing schools. Whether you are from D.C., Northern VA, or South Central PA-find out what folks in the Baltimore Metro area already know-the Gunpowder is likely the closest wild trout stream to your doorstep. If you can catch fish here you can catch them anywhere! We have still two openings each in our 11 AM fly fishing schools for April 14th and April 20th. Call us at 410-967-3526 to reserve a little bit of tranquility and learn a lifetime sport! Participants will need a freshwater license and a trout stamp that can be purchased at the shop the day of the school. Here is a shot of Alex McCrickard fly fishing the boulder pools.

Environmental Scholarship Opportunity for Students Residing within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The Terry Newendorp Environmental Scholarship for the Gunpowder River 2019 Criteria and Application Guidelines
What the award is: The Terry Newendorp Environmental Scholarship is a gift that was established by Terry Newendorp, an avid fisherman and conservationist who with generosity and foresight knew that “protection of the Gunpowder River had to come from future generations.”

Founded in 2018, the Award’s purpose is to assist college-bound high school seniors who excel in their studies and who plan to use their talents and expertise in the service of environmental protection. Each year, one winner will be chosen from among the current year’s graduating class. The award will provide $1,000 towards college costs for students with strong connections to the Gunpowder River Watershed.

Eligibility: Students must reside within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and have a clear connection to the Gunpowder River Watershed. Qualifying connection examples include: A connection to drinking water or recreational, aesthetic, and/or environmental attributes of the Gunpowder River Watershed.

In addition to the above restriction, all applicants must:

a. Plan to major or minor in one of the natural sciences or other appropriate subject, and;
b. Demonstrate a strong personal commitment to protecting the Gunpowder Watershed.
The application procedure: The application must be submitted by the student.
A complete application will include all of the following:
1. The student’s name and complete contact information including phone and e-mail.
2. The name of the school and complete faculty contact information.
3. A short essay (450 words total) written by the student answering all three of the following questions: 1) why the Gunpowder Watershed matters to you; 2. how conservation fits into your future career goals; and 3. what you plan to study in college and why.
4. A copy of the student’s current high school transcripts.
5. A letter of recommendation from a student’s guidance counselor or science teacher.
6. A description of the student’s extracurricular activities regarding environmental / conservation issues (e.g. Environmental Club membership, Scouting merit badges & awards, participation in local conservation efforts, membership in environmental organizations, applicable hobbies, etc.)

Disbursement: In order for the scholarship to be disbursed, the student must have been accepted by an accredited college or university for the Fall 2019 Semester and provide a copy of the letter of acceptance from the college or university where the nominee will be attending to Gunpowder Riverkeeper.

All applications may be accepted between November 15, 2018 and must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2019 and mailed to:
Terry Newendorp Environmental Scholarship
PO Box 156
Monkton, MD 21111

For questions regarding the scholarship application please contact Theaux Le Gardeur, Gunpowder Riverkeeper at

The decision-making process: A panel comprised of Gunpowder Riverkeeper Director, Trustees, and Board Members will review all applications. The winners of this year’s Terry Newendorp Environmental Scholarship will be chosen no later than May 1, 2019; and the award presented no later than May 30, 2019. If possible, the award will be presented publicly at the school’s annual awards event.

Award Recipient’s Opportunity: For a period of two years after the award a student may take part in an unpaid internship with the Gunpowder Riverkeeper.

Gunpowder River Streamer Clinic

Need to fine tune your streamer fishing techniques? Please join us on Sunday March 3 for a streamer clinic with a Backwater Angler Guide on the Gunpowder river. This course will cover gear selection (suitable rods), leader selection and construction, knots, fly selection and their imitations, casting mechanics (casting heavy lines/flies, shooting line) and multiple presentation scenarios and techniques (streamer retrieves and dead drifting). Class is 2 hours long and starts at 2pm. Cost is $100 per person. 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 clinic. Class size is limited to 3 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.