Maryland Fly Fishing

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MD - Gunpowder Falls: 39.705997, -76.824905
MD - North Branch Potomac River: 39.528427, -78.587517
MD - Potomac River: 38.174194, -76.545998
MD - Savage River (Lower): 39.496822, -79.103966
MD - Savage River (Upper): 39.643108, -79.019852
NANTICOKE RIVER AT SHARPTOWN, MD: 38.544004, -75.719932
BIRCH BRANCH AT SHOWELL, MD: 38.409333, -75.212389
POCOMOKE RIVER NEAR WILLARDS, MD: 38.388889, -75.324444
NASSAWANGO CREEK NEAR SNOW HILL, MD: 38.228917, -75.471444
MANOKIN BRANCH NEAR PRINCESS ANNE, MD: 38.213889, -75.671389
BEAVERDAM CREEK NEAR SALISBURY, MD: 38.353111, -75.572556
CHICAMACOMICO RIVER NEAR SALEM, MD: 38.511667, -75.879917
CHOPTANK RIVER NEAR GREENSBORO, MD: 38.997194, -75.785806
TUCKAHOE CREEK NEAR RUTHSBURG, MD: 38.966806, -75.943056
SALLIE HARRIS CREEK NEAR CARMICHAEL, MD: 38.964889, -76.108833
UNICORN BRANCH NEAR MILLINGTON, MD: 39.249694, -75.861306
CHESTERVILLE BRANCH NEAR CRUMPTON, MD: 39.257056, -75.940139
MORGAN CREEK NEAR KENNEDYVILLE, MD: 39.280028, -76.014556
THREE BRIDGES BRANCH AT CENTREVILLE, MD: 39.054083, -76.054667
BIG ELK CREEK AT ELK MILLS, MD: 39.667583, -75.825583
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER AT CONOWINGO, MD: 39.657913, -76.174175
Octoraro Creek near Richardsmere, MD: 39.706775, -76.115229
DEER CREEK AT ROCKS, MD: 39.629972, -76.403306
DEER CREEK NEAR DARLINGTON, MD: 39.617444, -76.191861
SWAN CREEK AT SWAN CREEK, MD: 39.522612, -76.142175
BYNUM RUN AT BEL AIR, MD: 39.541472, -76.330111
JAMES RUN NEAR BELCAMP, MD: 39.492194, -76.259111
WINTERS RUN NEAR BENSON, MD: 39.519944, -76.372972
PLUMTREE RUN NEAR BEL AIR, MD: 39.496497, -76.347460
WHEEL CREEK NEAR ABINGDON, MD: 39.481722, -76.340528
OTTER POINT CREEK NEAR EDGEWOOD, MD: 39.439278, -76.306028
GUNPOWDER FALLS AT HOFFMANVILLE, MD: 39.689806, -76.781472
GRAVE RUN NEAR BECKLEYSVILLE, MD: 39.654806, -76.780917
GEORGES RUN NEAR BECKLEYSVILLE, MD: 39.625889, -76.772528
GUNPOWDER FALLS NEAR PARKTON, MD: 39.618889, -76.690306
BEETREE RUN AT BENTLEY SPRINGS, MD: 39.673083, -76.675194
LITTLE FALLS AT BLUE MOUNT, MD: 39.604083, -76.620472
GUNPOWDER FALLS AT GLENCOE, MD: 39.549694, -76.636111
PINEY RUN AT DOVER, MD: 39.520611, -76.766889
WESTERN RUN AT WESTERN RUN, MD: 39.510778, -76.676500
POND BRANCH AT OREGON RIDGE, MD: 39.480306, -76.687500
BAISMAN RUN AT BROADMOOR, MD: 39.479472, -76.678028
BEAVERDAM RUN AT COCKEYSVILLE, MD: 39.485583, -76.645722
LONG QUARTER BRANCH AT LUTHERVILLE, MD: 39.425528, -76.596500
MINEBANK RUN NEAR GLEN ARM, MD: 39.410107, -76.556078
LONG GREEN CREEK AT GLEN ARM, MD: 39.454694, -76.478889
LITTLE GUNPOWDER FALLS AT LAUREL BROOK, MD: 39.505361, -76.431778
FOSTER BRANCH NEAR JOPPATOWNE, MD: 39.408528, -76.342639
WHITEMARSH RUN NEAR FULLERTON, MD: 39.379583, -76.495806
WHITEMARSH RUN AT WHITE MARSH, MD: 39.370528, -76.445917
HONEYGO RUN NEAR WHITE MARSH, MD: 39.383000, -76.432972
WEST BRANCH HERRING RUN AT IDLEWYLDE, MD: 39.373639, -76.584333
HERRING RUN AT SINCLAIR LANE AT BALTIMORE, MD: 39.318000, -76.555472
MOORES RUN TRIB. NEAR TODD AVE AT BALTIMORE, MD: 39.336694, -76.540611
MOORES RUN AT RADECKE AVE AT BALTIMORE, MD: 39.330083, -76.534889
CRANBERRY BRANCH NEAR WESTMINSTER, MD: 39.593333, -76.967528
NORTH BRANCH PATAPSCO RIVER AT CEDARHURST, MD: 39.503667, -76.884861
BEAVER RUN NEAR FINKSBURG, MD: 39.489444, -76.902944
MORGAN RUN NEAR LOUISVILLE, MD: 39.451889, -76.955306
PATAPSCO RIVER AT HOLLOFIELD, MD: 39.310306, -76.792417
PATAPSCO RIVER NEAR CATONSVILLE, MD: 39.251250, -76.763778
PATAPSCO RIVER NEAR ELKRIDGE, MD: 39.227333, -76.723000
EAST BRANCH HERBERT RUN AT ARBUTUS, MD: 39.240000, -76.692194
GWYNNS FALLS AT GLYNDON, MD: 39.471694, -76.816889
GWYNNS FALLS NEAR DELIGHT, MD: 39.442944, -76.783417
GWYNNS FALLS TRIBUTARY AT MCDONOGH, MD: 39.400444, -76.770444
SCOTTS LEVEL BRANCH AT ROCKDALE, MD: 39.361717, -76.761446
GWYNNS FALLS AT VILLA NOVA, MD: 39.345889, -76.733194
POWDER MILL RUN NEAR LOCHEARN, MD: 39.335111, -76.710833
DEAD RUN NEAR CATONSVILLE, MD: 39.295889, -76.744083
DEAD RUN AT WOODLAWN, MD: 39.313250, -76.732111
DEAD RUN TRIBUTARY NEAR WOODLAWN, MD: 39.318917, -76.750694
TRIBUTARY TO DEAD RUN TRIBUTARY AT WOODLAWN, MD: 39.327000, -76.745139
DEAD RUN TRIBUTARY AT WOODLAWN, MD: 39.318056, -76.735778
DEAD RUN AT FRANKLINTOWN, MD: 39.311222, -76.716639
GWYNNS FALLS AT WASHINGTON BLVD AT BALTIMORE, MD: 39.271500, -76.648556
JONES FALLS AT SORRENTO, MD: 39.391722, -76.660944
SAWMILL CREEK AT GLEN BURNIE, MD: 39.170000, -76.630611
SOUTH FORK JABEZ BRANCH AT MILLERSVILLE, MD: 39.068250, -76.651528
PATUXENT RIVER NEAR UNITY, MD: 39.238250, -77.055722
CATTAIL CREEK NEAR GLENWOOD, MD: 39.255972, -77.051056
PATUXENT RIVER BELOW BRIGHTON DAM NEAR BRIGHTON,MD: 39.192194, -77.004389
HAWLINGS RIVER NEAR SANDY SPRING, MD: 39.174667, -77.021583
PATUXENT RIV NEAR LAUREL, MD: 39.115722, -76.873750
L PAX RIV TRIB ABOVE WILDE LAKE AT COLUMBIA, MD: 39.225778, -76.870056
L PAX RIV TRIB ABOVE LAKE ELKHORN NR GUILFORD, MD: 39.187889, -76.830722
LITTLE PATUXENT RIVER AT GUILFORD, MD: 39.167750, -76.851250
LITTLE PATUXENT RIVER AT SAVAGE, MD: 39.134417, -76.816167
PATUXENT RIVER NEAR BOWIE, MD: 38.955917, -76.693694
WESTERN BRANCH AT UPPER MARLBORO, MD: 38.814222, -76.748722
MCMILLAN F NEAR FORT PENDLETON, MD: 39.276694, -79.390306
NYDEGGER RUN NEAR GORMAN, MD: 39.297528, -79.350167
NORTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER AT STEYER, MD: 39.301889, -79.306889
NORTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER AT KITZMILLER, MD: 39.393889, -79.181694
SAVAGE RIVER NEAR AVILTON, MD: 39.643194, -79.020028
SAVAGE RIVER NEAR BARTON, MD: 39.570056, -79.101944
CRABTREE CREEK NEAR SWANTON, MD: 39.501389, -79.158750
SAVAGE RIV BL SAVAGE RIV DAM NEAR BLOOMINGTON, MD: 39.502750, -79.123972
NORTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER AT LUKE, MD: 39.478972, -79.063778
SAND SPRING RUN AT FROSTBURG, MD: 39.647472, -78.936222
GEORGES CREEK AT FRANKLIN, MD: 39.493917, -79.044694
WILLS CREEK NEAR CUMBERLAND, MD: 39.669611, -78.788028
NORTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER NEAR CUMBERLAND, MD: 39.621806, -78.773417
TOWN CREEK NEAR OLDTOWN, MD: 39.553222, -78.555000
SIDELING HILL CREEK NEAR BELLEGROVE, MD: 39.649528, -78.344139
POTOMAC RIVER AT HANCOCK, MD: 39.697556, -78.177889
TONOLOWAY CREEK NEAR HANCOCK, MD: 39.706361, -78.152750
LICKING CREEK AT PECTONVILLE, MD: 39.676278, -78.042528
CONOCOCHEAGUE CREEK AT FAIRVIEW, MD: 39.716389, -77.824778
MARSH RUN AT GRIMES, MD: 39.514556, -77.777222
ANTIETAM CREEK NEAR SHARPSBURG, MD: 39.449778, -77.730194
CATOCTIN CREEK NEAR MIDDLETOWN, MD: 39.427250, -77.556167
POTOMAC RIVER AT POINT OF ROCKS, MD: 39.273583, -77.543111
MONOCACY RIVER AT BRIDGEPORT, MD: 39.678833, -77.234500
BIG PIPE CREEK AT BRUCEVILLE, MD: 39.612361, -77.237444
MONOCACY RIVER AT MONOCACY BLVD AT FREDERICK, MD: 39.443435, -77.382485
MONOCACY RIVER AT JUG BRIDGE NEAR FREDERICK, MD: 39.402833, -77.366083
SOPER BRANCH AT HYATTSTOWN, MD: 39.275306, -77.303667
BENNETT CREEK AT PARK MILLS, MD: 39.294139, -77.407083
POTOMAC RIVER AT EDWARDS FERRY NEAR POOLESVILLE,MD: 39.098639, -77.471250
LITTLE SENECA CREEK TRIBUTARY NEAR CLARKSBURG, MD: 39.231495, -77.255817
LITTLE SENECA CREEK TRIBUTARY AT BRINK, MD: 39.222884, -77.249150
LITTLE SENECA CREEK TRIBUTARY NEAR GERMANTOWN, MD: 39.198995, -77.274984
CABIN BRANCH NEAR BOYDS, MD: 39.206611, -77.288583
TEN MILE CREEK NEAR CLARKSBURG, MD: 39.223389, -77.312250
TEN MILE CREEK NEAR BOYDS, MD: 39.216000, -77.316417
SENECA CREEK AT DAWSONVILLE, MD: 39.128083, -77.335778
POTOMAC RIVER NEAR WASH, DC LITTLE FALLS PUMP STA: 38.949778, -77.127639
TURKEY BRANCH NEAR ROCKVILLE, MD: 39.068472, -77.081750
PAINT BRANCH TRIBUTARY NEAR COLESVILLE, MD: 39.088497, -76.989282
PAINT BRANCH NEAR COLLEGE PARK, MD: 39.033139, -76.964278
NORTHEAST BRANCH ANACOSTIA RIVER AT RIVERDALE, MD: 38.960250, -76.925972
NORTHWEST BRANCH ANACOSTIA RIVER NR COLESVILLE, MD: 39.065667, -77.029333
SLIGO CREEK NEAR TAKOMA PARK, MD: 38.986222, -77.004861
NORTHWEST BR ANACOSTIA RIVER NR HYATTSVILLE, MD: 38.952333, -76.966056
PISCATAWAY CREEK AT PISCATAWAY, MD: 38.705778, -76.966194
MATTAWOMAN CREEK NEAR POMONKEY, MD: 38.596139, -77.056028
ZEKIAH SWAMP RUN NEAR NEWTOWN, MD: 38.490583, -76.927083
ST CLEMENT CREEK NEAR CLEMENTS, MD: 38.333306, -76.725000
ST MARYS RIVER AT GREAT MILLS, MD: 38.241750, -76.503667
YOUGHIOGHENY RIVER NEAR OAKLAND, MD: 39.421583, -79.423639
CHERRY CREEK AT STATE PARK ROAD NEAR MCHENRY, MD: 39.538000, -79.315778
YOUGHIOGHENY RIVER AT HOYES, MD: 39.525806, -79.410750
YOUGHIOGHENY RIVER AT FRIENDSVILLE, MD: 39.653611, -79.408306
BEAR CREEK AT FRIENDSVILLE, MD: 39.656139, -79.394111
BUFFALO RUN NEAR FRIENDSVILLE, MD: 39.688692, -79.421706
MILL RUN AT MINERAL SPRING, MD: 39.708944, -79.364361
CASSELMAN RIVER AT GRANTSVILLE, MD: 39.702194, -79.136389
FARM CREEK NEAR TODDVILLE, MD: 38.318472, -76.088556
CHES BAY AT MOUTH OF SUS R AT HAVRE DE GRACE, MD: 39.537750, -76.089583

You probably know that Maryland is home to the United States Naval Academy, and that the nation’s capital is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. But did you know that the state is made up of nearly 22% water? And that this tiny piece of land offers fly fishermen both saltwater and freshwater angling experiences? Next time you’re going to be in the area, you might want to cast a line in some of the unique waterways that make Maryland special.

Where to Go?

Whether you’re looking to land your first big striper on the fly, or seeking serenity and seclusion on the banks of a wooded trout stream, you’ll find a plethora of options tucked away throughout the state, from the rivers of the far northwest corner to the famous Chesapeake Bay. In addition, the Maryland DNR works hard every year stocking dozens of streams and ponds with trout, which further enhances the fly fisherman’s experience.

Chesapeake Bay

At the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay lie the legendary Susquehanna Flats. This grassy shoal harbors clear, shallow waters and is a favorite feeding hole for the prized monster stripers. The area – which is situated at the mouth of the Susquehanna River – measures under 10 miles long, but can yield some truly incredible fish.

The important thing to remember when fishing the Susqy Flats is that water temperature plays a huge role, and a change of just a couple of degrees can mean the difference between nothing biting and regular hits. Move around, using a water temp gauge if possible, and be persistent. When one area is fruitless, another slightly warmer spot may very well be productive.

You also want to be very careful and if you’re not confident in your ability to read the bottom, take an experienced Bay fisherman with you. The edges of the flats tend to consist of deep ditches, whereas the shallower areas – which serve as roads for baitfish – are toward the middle. The water can go from four feet to ten in a very short distance, so you want to remain extremely alert and cautious. Wading is difficult in the flats but floating can be a very rewarding experience.

The Savage River

Up in the far northwest corner of the state you’ll find the Savage River State Forest. The Savage River runs through this wilderness area, and while the 20-mile long upper freestone section is difficult to access, there is a tailwater created by the dam at the Savage River Reservoir. This branch flows for five miles before emptying into the Potomac River. The upper portion is stocked with rainbows, just above the reservoir, and this is the only put and take area in the watershed.

The lower section of the Savage – the tailrace – contains some impressive wild browns, a few rainbows that spill over from the upper river and swim up from the Potomac, and stunning (protected) brookies. There is good access to the tailwaters along Savage River Road, just be careful not to wander in behind houses – this is private property and the landowners also own the river bottom behind their houses.

The first one and a quarter miles below the reservoir are managed as a Fly Fishing Only Trophy Trout Management Area. From the end of this area at the Allegany Bridge all the way to the mouth of the river two and three quarters of a mile downstream is a Trophy Trout Management Area in which you can only use artificial flies. These areas have year-round fishing with a 12-inch minimum for brookies, 18-inch minimum for browns, no size minimum for rainbows, and a two trout creel limit.

Not only will you enjoy stellar trout fishing on the Savage, but the scenery is worth the trip all by itself. The surrounding hardwoods and hemlocks flood the hillsides, while azaleas and rhododendron dot the borders.

The Potomac River

Along the Potomac, in the southern central part of the state, you’ll find access to excellent opportunities for smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, musky, carp, and panfish. Riverbend Park offers access to the river, where wading and floating are both effective. The river features pools, runs, boulders, and submersed trees which give shelter to the fish.

There are restrictions for the North Branch of the Potomac, from Lostland Run to the upper border of the Potomac State Forest is catch-and-release and artificial lure only from October 1 until June 15.

Big Gunpowder Falls River

This area is attractive because it’s located not far from Baltimore, giving urban dwellers the chance to cast a line without traveling a great distance. Technically a tailwater, the river begins at Prettyboy Dam and empties into the Loch Raven Reservoir. The laurels and ferns that line the riverside trails make this a favorite scenic destination of fishermen and hikers alike.

The first 7.5 miles of the river are catch-and-release only, while the area below that is a “wild stream” which allows anglers to keep two fish. Further downstream is a put-and-take that is stocked with 7000 rainbows per year – you can keep five fish daily out of this area. Access is available via Masemore Road.

​When to Go?

Maryland offers year-round fishing but there are definitely some times that are better than others. Early spring is best for stripers on Chesapeake Bay – from April to May is when you’ll have the best chance. Again in October and November the fish start to come back into the shallow tributary waters – early in the morning is the best time to hit these areas, using surface flies.

April to mid-June is a good time for dry flies along the Upper Savage. Wading the Lower Savage is most doable in the low water levels of mid-summer.

Hit the Potomac in the early morning or evening, especially from early April through September.

​What You Will Need When You Get There

Pack your usual gear – waders, vest, hat, rain jacket, boots, insect spray, sunscreen, water, fingerless gloves, nippers, measuring tape, and other accessories. In addition, you’ll want a wading staff and possibly cleats for your boots. Because the terrain in many of these waters is so swiftly changing, and boulders and slick rocks line the bottoms of the rivers, safety equipment is a must.

A note of caution – Maryland is one of the growing list of states who have banned felt-soled waders due to the danger of spreading didymo (rock snot) and other invasive nuisances which endanger aquatic habitats. Leave the felt soles out of your pack this trip.

The recommended rig for the Potomac is a 9-foot 7 weight with 0X tippet and 9-foot leader, with freshwater bass fly line. Fly patterns to have on-hand include crayfish, large streamers, woolly buggers, and large poppers.

For the Savage you’ll want a 9 or 10-foot 4 weight with 5X or 6X tippet and 9-foot leader, with double taper trout fly line. Flies should include caddis, duns, parachutes, woolly buggers, midges, nymphs, copper johns, and sculpins. Pre-June on the Lower Savage you’ll get good action from quills, midges, BWOs, and small stoneflies. Once summer hits try sulphurs, caddis, and yellow sallies.

The Chesapeake Bay calls for a 9-foot 9 weight with 20 lb. tippet and density compensated full sink fly line. Bait here will be different from the rivers – you’ll want imitators for eels, crabs, shad, menhaden, herring, crease flies, half and half sinking clousers, and other similar baitfish.

At Gunpowder River you’ll want about an 8.5-foot 4 weight with a 5X tippet and 9-foot leader. Effective flies vary from midges to woolly buggers, hare’s ear nymphs, blue-winged olives, streamers, BWOs, ants, and spiders.

​Fishing License Requirements

People age 16 and older will need to obtain a fishing license from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. A non-tidal, freshwater license costs $20.50 for residents, and $30.50 for non-residents – or the reciprocal fee of the state of residence, whichever is higher. Residents can get a one-week license for $7.50 while non-residents can get one for a fee equal to that charged by your home state for a non-resident license. Three-day licenses are only available to non-residents and are charged at the rate the your home state charges for non-residents.

Fishing for trout requires a trout stamp, which costs residents $5 and non-residents $10. This stamp allows you to fish in catch-and-release areas as well as to possess trout within the legal limits when fishing non-tidal waters.

You’ll need a separate recreation fishing license if you plan to hit the Chesapeake Bay. An annual resident license costs $15, while non-residents pay $22.50. Residents age 65 and older can purchase a consolidated freshwater and coastal license for the cost of $5. Virginia and Maryland have a number of reciprocity agreements for the use of either state’s licenses when fishing the Chesapeake Bay or Potomac River saltwaters. Be sure the check out the details before casting in a different state than the one that issued your license.

The stunning scenery and variety of fishing opportunities that Maryland has to offer make this state a winner for fly fishermen looking for a challenge. From the saltwater stripers in Chesapeake Bay to traditional cold water tailrace trout angling, you’ll find an exciting array of species, landscapes, and techniques required across the Free State. If you haven’t yet put this beautiful east coast fly fishing destination on your list, it’s time to do so.