Tuesday, March 23, 2010
A conversation with Theaux Le Gardeur
Theaux Le Gardeur owns Backwater Angler, just down the road from the Gunpowder River. If you have never fished the Gunpowder, carve out some this year. It is truly a beautiful place.
Theaux, where was home originally? And how did you end up in Monkton, Maryland?
I grew up in St. Tammany Parish and Orleans Parish, Louisiana. I used to spend summers in Western North Carolina fishing. I lived in St. Petersburg, FL, Mobile, AL and on Dauphin Island, AL where I studied Marine Biology and taught fly casting and tied flies for six shops along the Gulf Coast.
After school, I moved to Western North Carolina where I worked in a retail shop and guided for a few years. Then I signed on with Winston Rod Company as their Eastern Sales representative and covered 28 states for them for a few years. I also worked a short stint for Powell Rod Co, Islander Reels, and Umpqua Feather Merchants.
2010 will be the 9th year I've had the shop!
Tell me about the river, what makes the Gunpowder so special?
The tail water character of the Gunpowder creates great coldwater habitat for trout. Gunpowder State Park provides a buffer from development along the upper stretches of the river.
We've had over the past eight years up to 5,036 (trout) per mile in the upper stretch 1,100 per mile in the middle and closer to 850 per mile in the lower river.
I know you get out and check on the river almost every day - do you have a favorite time of year?
March and April are my favorite months along the river-everything is waking up during that time of year.
Some advice, how should anglers approach the Gunpowder?
One's best approach to the river would be taking some time to stop in the shop for up to date info and a few locally tied flies-conditions and hatches change rather quickly so it's tough for anglers to guess what might work-sharing stories with folks that are closely tied to the resource also creates a better overall fishing experience.
What are some of the mistakes you most often see?
Mistakes typically are related to length of leader-way too short, size of tippet-way too heavy and wading on top of fish- instead of wading along the edges.
In terms on leaders and tippet, what do you usually recommend?
Long leaders in the 9ft to 12 ft range in 5,6 and 7x work a little better than the short heavy stuff.
From spring through early fall, what are some of the flies and sizes that someone should always have?
Caddis dries and emergers, various mayflies including a pile of sulphurs and lots of terrestrials.
Do you have a favorite way to fly fish?
I like to fish tiny dries and small traditional steamers.
I know that you’ve worked real hard on Backwater Angler over the years, what have you tried to create?
I haven't created the shop --the customers have. Ideally, I'd like people to view the shop as a friendly, great gear-filled place that is service oriented.
If you could fish only one dry and one nymph, what would you go with?
One dry- bivisible, one nymph- breadcrust .
Theaux, thanks again and we will see you out there.