Maryland is made for Recreational Fishing!
We write this blog for all the anglers out there who, at the end of a fishing season, wish it could have lasted longer. Well, in Maryland, it can. Fishing its creaks, rivers, streams, and thriving bay and ocean shoreline can be enjoyed year-round. And the superb and generous list of fish species that call these waters home, mean there are endless fresh and saltwater fishing opportunities. For all these reasons and more, fishing in Maryland is an incredibly popular outdoor activity for fisherfolk of every age. To help you exercise your bragging rights, we’ve pulled together some valuable information to assure that you make the most of your recreational fishing in Maryland.
Maryland was made for fishing! As a matter of fact, more than a fifth of it is comprised entirely of water – producing superior freshwater and saltwater fishing. The Chesapeake Bay is renowned for its striped bass. Maryland’s rivers, creeks and streams offer up boundless trout, and, of course, there’s the Atlantic Ocean. With so many options, it can be hard to decide where to start exploring. No worries! We’ve put together a list of some of the best spots to cast a line in Maryland’s waters.
Deep Creek Lake : Welcome to Maryland’s largest freshwater lake! It’s 3,800 acres of fishing pleasure. It’s home to a large variety of fish species including bass, crappie, walleye, catfish, chain pickerel, rainbow trout and sunfish.
Youghiogheny River Reservoir : This is another behemoth body of water at 2,800 acres. Fish love the habitat, with its submerged timber, rocky shorelines, boat docks, and shallow weed beds. Walleye and smallmouth bass are the major game fish here, but you’ll find a variety of other fish as well, including crappie, catfish, sunfish, muskie, hybrid stripers, and chain pickerel.
Potomac River : This glorious river travels from its source in the Appalachian Mountains, runs 405 miles, until it feeds the Chesapeake Bay. Fisherfolk say that it offers the best fishing on the Atlantic Coast. That’s quite an accolade! We suggest you try it yourself. From its rich waters you can pull numerous fish species such as yellow perch, largemouth bass, striped bass, white perch, chain pickerel, bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, blue catfish, and carp.
Looking for a place to stop over while experiencing the great Potomac?
Check out these hot spots:
National Harbor Marina is part of the amazing National Harbor community, just south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in DC. This is a great option for boaters in need of fuel, and wish to stay close to the nation's capitol but still out of the hustle and bustle of the city.
Coles Point Marina and RV Resort is right at the base of the River, where the Potomac meets the Bay, and the property is an outdoor adventurists dream! With cottages, a tiki bar and restaurant, this marina is perfect for fisherfolk when relaxing between fishing trips.
Patapsco River : Running through central Maryland for about 39 miles, nearly 35 miles flowing through the Patapsco Valley State Park, the Patapsco River has great opportunities for fishing from your boat, and for wading. The species of fish that flourish here are bluegill, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and trout.
Deer Creek : This 52.9-mile-long river runs through the Hidden Valley Natural Area and Rocks State Park until it empties into the Susquehanna River. Fisherfolk know you can’t go wrong with Deer Creek. You’ll always find it teeming with rainbow trout, brown trout, and smallmouth bass.
Chesapeake Bay : No list of Maryland fishing hot spots would be complete without the celebrated Chesapeake Bay. This immense body of saltwater offers up, among others, rockfish, flounder, croaker, and bluefish. Whether fishing from your boat or off a pier (always a fruitful fishing spot), you won’t head home empty handed.
Oasis Marinas has a few excellent options when making stops on the Bay…
Rod ‘N’ Reel Marina is known for it’s sportsmen and tradition of fishing! This marina and resort is ideal for boaters cruising around the Bay and maybe even out to the ocean.
Cambridge Yacht Basin on the Choptank River, is not far off the Bay and can accommodate vessels both large and small.
Norview Marina is Deltaville, Virginia's largest full-service marina with plenty of wet slips, land storage and fuel right on-site!
Sunset Harbor Marina just north of the Patapsco River in the Upper Chesapeake Bay, provides perfect access to Kent Island, Baltimore and Dundalk. The marina has a service team on-site to accommodate almost any need.
Can you fish in Maryland without a license?
We’re going to say “no”. You’ll need a license if you want to spend some time fishing Maryland’s waters, but it’s quick and easy to get a license when you visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule! Maryland has what they call “free fishing days”, when no license is required. Those days are the first two Saturdays in June and July 4. Also, there are actually a few “license free fishing areas” sprinkled around the state. And, keep in mind that all anglers under 16 years of age are allowed to fish without a license anytime.
Maryland’s fishing regulations
Because we know you’re a responsible angler, you’ll want to check with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website for the rules of Maryland fishing before you cast. It’s where you’ll find helpful information like catch limits, minimum sizes, safe handling techniques, and how to protect the habitat you’re fishing in.
Maryland freshwater fishing seasons, sizes and limits
Did you know you can fish for carp and crappies year-round? Did you also know you can only fish for largemouth and smallmouth bass between March 1 and June 15? Well, you don’t have to keep all that information in your head! The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has a handy dandy chart that lets you know all the fish out there and just when you can, and can’t, fish for them.
Free Maryland fishing and shellfish maps
From the hiding places of yellow perch and largemouth bass, to the tidewater quality and artificial reef locations, you can plan your ultimate fishing trip ahead of time. You only need to go onto the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website to find this free and timely information.
We can’t name them all!
There are so many excellent and exciting fishing hot spots in Maryland that we couldn’t possibly name all of them. We’ve shared just some of our favorites. Every angler has their own picks, and every spot has something unique to offer. However, from what we’ve seen, there isn’t a bad fishing spot in Maryland. So, what are you waiting for?
Let us know on social media where your favorite tried and true fishing holes, and send us your pictures of the fish you catch (legally) in these hot spots!
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Written by: Jo Montgomery