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May Day Gunpowder Fly Fishing Report

The Gunpowder river is at a great level, 140 cfs, running clear once more with water temperature in the upper 50’s.

Abundant caddis are hatching throughout the river. Trout on the lookout for them in strong numbers. Try skating a caddis in the riffles for some aggressive takes. Mayflies, mostly sulphurs with the occassional Hendrickson are starting to come off well from early – mid Afternoon. Stop in the shop for local patterns and advice.

We still have availability in our guiding calendar this May and June, give the shop a call at 410 357 9557 to reserve a trip. We are guiding 7 days a week.


Easter Weekend Gunpowder River Report

Brown Trout on the Gunpowder River

The Gunpowder is flowing 170 CFS and starting the day at 50F and warming to 52-54F. The water seems to have cleared from the greenish tint that it has had in recent weeks. With the warmer weather recently, fish have spread out quite nicely throughout the river. We have been doing best nymphing deep, but fish are starting to take swung wet fly’s and soft hackles through different parts of the water column. We are coming across a few rising fish in the afternoon, although they are still relatively spread out and seem to be eating mostly midges. Sporadic hendrickson’s, quill gordons, caddis, stoneflies, and even a few sulphurs have been spotted throughout the river. Pheasant tails and Hare’s Ear’s have been productive, along with our shop patterns, particularly Mike Bachkosky’s ties. Stop in and we will point you in the right direction.

With more rain on the way, be sure to check the USGS gauge before heading to the river.  Since the reservoir is still spilling over, it does not take much rain for the river to rise. Take special care wading should the river rise above 225CFS. The shop will be closed this Sunday, April 21.

Better Water Levels on the Gunpowder River

The river is slowly dropping from 254 cfs, and is clear with a green tint to it and warming up to 46 degrees F.

The Gunpowder looks beautiful at the moment. The level has fallen to a much improved volume for both wading and fishing but is still on the high side. Early season stoneflies size 16 are coming off throughout the river and the trout will be looking up for these typically by early afternoon. Midges are hatching in thick numbers, especially upstream from Masemore road but the fish are predominantly eating the pupa subsurface, with the levels still being unseasonably high. In  the slower pools you can find some sipping midge emergers. Pheasent tail and hares ear nymphs size 14-18 are producing in the riffles now this years mayfly nymphs are starting to stir. On cloudy days and/or early morning or evenings streamers are definitely worth a shot.

The Gunpowder is Blown Out! Let us help you prepare for the upcoming season this weekend.

After almost an inch and a half of rain yesterday through last night resulted in the Gunpowder cresting at 1700 cfs at Falls Road. It’s now at 1500 cfs, slowly dropping and heavily stained. Best put off fishing for a while until it drops to a safer level. Streamer fishing from the bank can be productive at around 400 cfs but I wading is not recommended until it’s under 300 cfs. Remember all of Little Falls is closed from any forms of fishing until Sunday March 31st.

The wet weather trend of last year looks like it isn’t leaving anytime soon! So we have a great selection of fully waterproof, submersible packs from both Fishpond and Patagonia. Be ready for rain when you’re out on the water this season & keep your valuables nice and dry.


March Fishing Report on the Gunpowder

The river at Falls road is flowing at a steady 214 cfs. The water temperature is now climbing above 40 degrees F at Falls road.
Prettyboy reservoir has been spilling over since last summer and with the ground completely swollen any rainfall occurring above the dam causes the Gunpowder to rise. Before planning a trip look at the USGS gauge at Falls Road. If it’s above 250cfs, it’s tough to wade. With this continuous high water many anglers have been throwing streamers but with the water still being cold and insects starting to stir, if you fish small nymphs and midges in the back eddies and softer water around some structure, you’re more likely to catch more fish. A nice benefit from the high flows is that didymo hasn’t managed to take hold as much, especially when compared to last year. For those wanting to fish dries, you can find fish rising to blue winged olives size 18 and midges size 20 in slow runs in the afternoon through the catch and release section especially on warmer days. Particularly from Bunker Hill downstream little black stoneflies size 16 have began hatching, this should provide some great dry fly fishing in the coming weeks from now. We have some excellently tied stoneflies for skating in the riffles and snowshoe midges from Mike Bachkosky that will be just the ticket this early spring.
Note: The lower river in the Put and Take section on the Gunpowder & Little Falls are closed to any fishing whilst the state stocks them with rainbow trout. Fishing reopens in these areas on Sunday, March the 31st.

Beginners Fly Fishing School

Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Saturday March the 23rd 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.

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.

February Report on the Gunpowder

The Gunpowder is clear, 240 cfs and 40 degrees F.

This winter 300 cfs has became the new normal on the Gunpowder, these high levels have limited good fishing opportunities.  When the river is at this level the water temperature doesn’t climb much even on a sunny or mild day – bad news for those looking to find fish rising to midges. Trout will eat a slowly worked streamer or a midge pupa, pheasant tail or prince nymph dead drifted close to the bottom. Given the river volume and temperature getting your fly down to the bottom is important as the fish won’t generally move much. The trout in the Gunpowder are in great shape post spawn and some beautiful fish are being caught by those willing to work for them.

With snow thawing out the trails are very slippery so take care getting in the river. Wading staff and studs in your boots are recommended to keep your footing in these higher flows.

If you’ve been out lately on the Gunpowder submit a fishing report and photos to, we’d love to share your experiences on the website. Thanks!