Fly Fishing in Maryland

Key Takeaways:

  • Maryland’s fly fishing regulations are in place to ensure sustainable fishing practices and protect fish populations.
  • Anglers aged 16 and older typically need a valid fishing license for fly fishing in Maryland.
  • Understanding catch limits and size restrictions for the specific species and areas you are fishing is essential.
  • Selective harvest is encouraged, meaning you should avoid keeping fish that don’t meet size or species requirements.
  • Safe handling techniques, such as proper hook removal and keeping fish in the water for as little time as possible, help increase the chances of survival for catch-and-release fish.
  • Maryland’s waters are home to protected and endangered species like sea turtles, whales, seals and sturgeon. Maintain a safe distance and report any animals in need of assistance.
  • Responsible waste disposal is essential, including recycling monofilament fishing lines and avoiding littering, especially with plastics.
  • When requested by fisheries officials, providing accurate fishing data contributes to conservation efforts and better fishing practices.
  • Always check with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources or local authorities for the latest and region-specific fishing regulations before fly fishing in Maryland.

List of the Best Places to Fly Fishing in Maryland

List of the Best Places to Fly Fishing in Maryland

Maryland is home to some of the best fly fishing in the United States, with bass, trout, pike, and other species accessible throughout the state. Fly fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to catch a big one on any of these 13 Maryland rivers.

  1. Allen Pond
  2. Beaver Creek
  3. Big Hunting Creek
  4. Chesapeake Bay
  5. Gunpowder River
  6. Morgan Run
  7. North Branch Potomac River
  8. Patapsco River
  9. Patuxent River
  10. Potomac River
  11. Savage River
  12. Youghiogheny River
  13. Swallow Falls State Park

Let’s explore each of these destinations in more detail.

No 01: Allen Pond

  • An unincorporated community and census-designated place in Wicomico County, Maryland.
  • The 55-acre artificial pond stocks Largemouth bass, Rainbow trout, and Bluegill for perfect fly fishing opportunities.
  • Allen Pond is a fantastic choice for beginners and avid fly anglers alike. The pond’s calm waters offer a relaxing fly fishing experience, with minimal crowds to disturb your peaceful session.

No 02: Beaver Creek

  • It is also an unincorporated community in eastern Washington County, Maryland.
  • Beaver Creek is well known for its year-round, spring-fed water that provides great opportunities for fly-fishing trout.
  • Nature enthusiasts will love the serene and peaceful experience of Beaver Creek. Surrounded by gorgeous hills and lush greenery, this little gem is one of Western Maryland’s best-kept secrets.

No 03: Big Hunting Creek

  • Easily accessed from Route 77 west of Thurmont, Maryland.
  • This is a smaller freestone stream with a robust population of Brown trout, perfect for fly-fishing-only enthusiasts.
  • As one of Maryland’s first creeks stocked with trout, Big Hunting Creek offers fly-fishing-only and catch-and-release rules to preserve its beauty and natural fish resources. A must-visit location for serious trout anglers.

No 04: Chesapeake Bay

  • Located on the Mid-Atlantic region of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
  • In the Chesapeake Bay, you can fly fish for striped bass, bluefish, and other saltwater species.
  • Fly-fishing on the Chesapeake Bay provides an incredible experience, featuring panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Most prominent and revered are the striped bass fishing opportunities and picturesque sunsets during an evening fly fishing session.

No 05: Gunpowder River

  • The Gunpowder River is a 6.8-mile-long tidal inlet on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
  • This river features Brown, Rainbow, and Brook trout, with strict catch-and-release rules for trout lovers.
  • Fly fishing on the Gunpowder River is ideal for enthusiasts looking to wind down and relax on the water. The picturesque scenery and strict rules preserve the river’s beauty and provide the perfect ambiance for a fruitful fly fishing session.

No 06: Morgan Run

  • Located south of Westminster, Maryland and flows southeast through Carroll County before pouring into Liberty Reservoir.
  • This catch-and-release trout stream has accessible fishing platforms for a more convenient fly fishing experience.
  • Morgan Run is particularly suited for families, beginners, and relaxation seekers. Access to diverse fishing platforms makes it convenient for all levels of fly fishing enthusiasts. The park also offers campsites, restrooms, and picnic areas for anyone needing a break between sessions.

No 07: North Branch Potomac River

  • The North Branch Potomac River starts in Garrett County at the Fairfax Stone, situated at the state’s southwestern corner.
  • This location offers smallmouth bass, trout, and panfish fishing, making it a favorite among anglers.
  • Besides its abundant freshwater species, this river’s picturesque views in Western Maryland make it an excellent spot for a fly fishing expedition.

No 08: Patapsco River

  • The Patapsco River mainstem begins at the confluence of its North and South Branches near Marriottsville, Maryland, roughly 15 miles west of downtown Baltimore.
  • This unique urban fly-fishing experience provides access to trout, smallmouth bass, and other species that attract anglers to the area.
  • The area offers scenic beauty and a mix of freshwater species that can provide an enjoyable day of fishing.

No 09: Patuxent River

  • Patuxent River’s source lies 115 miles from Chesapeake Bay’s mouth and flows through Howard, Frederick, Montgomery, and Carroll counties before reaching its destination.
  • A popular choice among fishing enthusiasts, this river hosts catch-and-release sections and is stocked with rainbow and brown trout.
  • With its crystal-clear waters and tranquil surroundings, the Patuxent River is an ideal place for fly fishermen to catch various fish.

No 10: Potomac River

  • It stretches 405 miles from the Allegheny Plateau in West Virginia to Point Lookout, Maryland, and covers 14,679 square miles.
  • The Potomac River is best known for its bass, catfish, and other species, making it a popular choice among anglers.
  • With diverse angling opportunities along its course, the Potomac River provides fishing enthusiasts with an exceptional experience they are sure to enjoy.

No 11: Savage River

  • The Savage River is a 29.5-mile-long river in Garrett County, Maryland, and is the first major tributary of the North Branch Potomac River.
  • This location allows fishing enthusiasts to enjoy trout as it is a home for brown, rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout.
  • With a convenient location accessible along Savage River Road, this location is a favorite spot for anglers in Maryland who want to catch beautiful trout species.

No 12: Youghiogheny River

  • The 134-mile-long river stretches through West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
  • Features a Catch and Release Trout Fishing Area.
  • Guided by Heavy Water Anglers and emphasizes catch-and-release practices. The river is also fed by the cold waters of Deep Creek Lake, providing abundant fishing opportunities year-round.

No 13: Swallow Falls State Park

  • The public recreation area is located in Garrett County, Maryland, on the west bank of the Youghiogheny River.
  • Provides trout fishing in a beautiful wooded setting.
  • A serene location for anglers who appreciate a natural and peaceful environment. The river’s waters are calm and clear, offering ideal conditions for fly fishing enthusiasts seeking a tranquil fishing experience.

When Is the Best Time to Fly Fish in Maryland?

The best time to fly fish in Maryland can vary depending on the location and the type of fish you’re targeting. Generally, there are two prime periods for fly fishing in Maryland:

1. Late March to Early June

Fly fishing is excellent throughout Maryland, especially on the Gunpowder River, Morgan Run, Savage River, and Big Hunting Creek.

  • Gunpowder River offers the best fly fishing for brown, rainbow, and brook trout during spring.
  • Morgan Run is a catch-and-release trout stream with abundant hatches during spring, making it a crowd favorite.
  • Big Hunting Creek offers anglers ample opportunities for fly-fishing, while Savage River has a variety of trout species.

2. September to Mid-October

This period is another favorable time for fly fishing in Maryland, especially for trout and other species.

  • The North Branch Potomac River is ideal for smallmouth bass, trout, and panfish angling during the fall season.
  • Simultaneously, the CCR Trout Fishing Area on Youghiogheny River offers amazing fly fishing experiences in the late summer and early fall.
  • On top of that, urban fishing opportunities become more enjoyable for trout and smallmouth bass during this season in the Patapsco River.

Keep in mind that while these periods are generally ideal, fishing conditions can be influenced by weather, water temperatures, and other factors.

What Fish Species Are Available for Fly Fishing in Maryland?

What Fish Species Are Available for Fly Fishing in Maryland

You can catch a variety of fish species in Maryland using fly fishing. Here are some of the key species and a short overview of each:

  • Largemouth Bass fish is known for its size and powerful strikes, providing a thrilling experience for fly anglers of all levels.
  • The feisty and energetic Smallmouth Bass is a favorite among fly anglers, offering an exciting and rewarding catch.
  • Rainbow Trout’s stunning creatures are known for their vibrant colors and acrobatic leaps, making them an excellent target for fly fishing enthusiasts.
  • A fly fishing experience with Brown Trout offers a thrilling and exciting experience because of their wiles and challenges.
  • Brook Trout are native to Maryland’s pristine streams, making them a great choice for fly anglers seeking an unusual and memorable catch.
  • Bluegill is a common panfish found in ponds and smaller bodies of water, providing excellent sport on the fly for anglers of all levels.
  • Striped Bass is a popular saltwater species in Maryland, striped bass offers exciting fly fishing opportunities in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Both channel and flathead Catfish can be targeted with fly fishing techniques in various locations throughout the state.
  • The Panfish category includes species like Sunfish and Crappie, which are abundant in Maryland waters and can provide excellent sport on the fly.
  • Walleye are exciting and rewarding fly fishing targets due to their sharp eyesight and preference for low-light conditions.
  • As Maryland’s elusive apex predator, Musky is known for its large size and aggressive strikes, making it an exciting challenge no matter your level.
  • Any angler seeking to test their skills on the fly will enjoy catching Carp due to their size and strength.

How Do Fly Fishing Regulations Work in Maryland?

Like any other type of fishing, fly fishing regulations in Maryland are essential to preserve fish populations and ensure sustainable angling. Here are some general guidelines and regulations that apply to fly fishing in Maryland:

Fishing License: Every angler age 16 and older needs a valid fishing license to fish in Maryland, including fly fishing.

Catch Limits and Size Restrictions: Maryland has specific catch limits and size restrictions for various fish species, including trout, striped bass, and smallmouth bass. Make sure to check the latest regulations to avoid any violations.

Fly Fishing Gear: You can use a fly rod and reel when fishing in Maryland, but regulations prohibit spinning gear in some areas. Make sure to check local regulations to avoid any penalties.

Selective Harvest: It’s crucial to handle all fish safely and avoid killing any fish you don’t intend to keep. Selective harvest helps conserve fish populations.

Safe Handling: When catching and releasing fish, use safe handling techniques. This includes using the right tools for hook removal, minimizing the time fish spend out of the water, and releasing them to maximize their chances of survival.

Protected and Endangered Species: Maryland waters are home to protected species like sea turtles, seals, whales, and sturgeon. If you encounter these species and they need assistance, it’s important to call the appropriate authorities for help. Maintain a safe distance from these protected species and avoid any unnecessary disturbances.

Proper Waste Disposal: Be responsible for your waste. Recycle monofilament fishing line in designated bins. Avoid spilling or dumping anything into the water, and do not litter, especially with plastics.

Data Collection: Your fly fishing trip data can be crucial for fisheries science and management. If a fisheries official asks, provide accurate information to support better fishing practices and conservation efforts.
With these regulations in mind, you can enjoy your fly fishing experience in Maryland while helping to conserve the state’s fish populations. Keep in mind to always check the latest regulations and be a responsible angler.