Maryland is an angler's paradise with over 3,000 miles of shoreline and more than 2.6 million acres of forestland. There are plenty of places to drop a line, whether you’re after bass, trout, catfish, or something else altogether.
Some of the best places to fly fish in Maryland include:
- Allen Pond
- Beaver Creek
- Big Hunting Creek
- Chesapeake Bay
- Gunpowder River
- Morgan Run
- North Branch Potomac River and more
Maryland offers cool waters, scenic landscapes, and a variety of fish species, making it a great destination for fly fishing. Saltwater or freshwater, there’s a spot for everyone. So grab your gear and head out to one of these top 12 places to fly fish in Maryland.
Best Freshwater Fly Fishing locations in Maryland
Not to be outdone by its saltwater fishing selection, Maryland offers plenty of ideal freshwater fly fishing spots. There's a little bit of everything from small mountain streams to large rivers.
1. Allen Pond
Allen Pond is a 55-acre artificial pond located just .5 miles from Mitchellville in Prince George's County. Allen Pond has a 10-acre stocked pond, and you'll need a Maryland fishing license with a trout stamp to fish there (available at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources).
Largemouth bass, Rainbow trout, and Bluegill are the most common species caught in the still waters at Allen Pond.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Allen Pond, Maryland:
2. Beaver Creek
The community of Beaver Creek is located in eastern Washington County, Maryland. It is southeast of Hagerstown and north of Boonsboro, near US Route 40 and Maryland Route 66.
As a result of the spring-fed, cold water that supports year-round trout fishing, Beaver Creek is one of Maryland's best freestone fly fishing locations. Water temperature does not limit trout survival in this fishery since it is supplied by springs adjacent to the Albert Powell Trout Hatchery, which bubbles up with plenty of clean, alkaline water.
The stream flows through agricultural land with a minimal drop in elevation; there are no roaring rapids or plunge pools to add sparkle and interest to the creek.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Beaver Creek, Maryland:
- Kaufmanns Stimulators in Orange - Size 16
- Zebra Midge in Red - Size 16
- Prince Nymph Beadhead - Size 14
3. Big Hunting Creek
Big Hunting Creek, despite its name, is a smaller, freestone stream. Anglers will discover varied habitats shaded by big hemlocks and hardwoods in the headwaters above Cunningham Falls, which are only ten feet broad at their widest point.
Shallow riffles, tiny plunge pools, long drifts, and pockets of fast-flowing water with lots of large boulders provide continuous challenges to fly casters.
The Brown trout population in Big Hunting Creek is one of the most robust in the state. The watershed from headwaters downstream through Thurmont, Maryland's smallest incorporated city, supports a diverse population of wild brown trout.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Big Hunting Creek, Maryland:
- Copper John Beadhead in Black - Size 18
- Kaufmanns Stimulators in Orange - Size 16
- Parachute Adams - Size 12
4. Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary, which is a body of water where fresh and saltwater mix. It's the United States' largest and third biggest in the world. The Bay itself is about 200 miles long and stretches from Maryland's Havre de Grace to Virginia Beach. The width of the Bay varies from four miles near Aberdeen, Maryland, to 30 miles near Cape Charles, Virginia.
The bay receives 50 major tributaries, including the Susquehanna, Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James. Each year, it produces more than 500 million pounds of seafood harvest. The Chesapeake Bay is home to more than 3,600 species of plants and animals. The most popular fish include striped bass, bluefish, flounder, and croaker. The best time to fish in the Bay is from April to November.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland:
- Clousers Minnows - Size 4 to 1/0
- Surf Candy - Size 2/0 and 3/0
- Lefty Deceivers - Size 4 to 1/0
5. Gunpowder River
The Gunpowder River is a tidal river on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland that runs for 6.8 miles (10.9 kilometers). It is formed by the confluence of the freshwater rivers Gunpowder Falls (also known as "Big Gunpowder Falls") and Little Gunpowder Falls.
The upper Gunpowder Falls tailwater comprises 97% brown trout, with rainbow and brook trout making up the remaining three percent. The rainbow trout are most commonly found in the 1.2 miles of river between the dam and Falls Road.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Gunpowder River, Maryland:
- Zebra Midge Curved Silver - Tungsten - Barbless - Size 20
- Spanish Bullet Quill Nymph - Tungsten - Barbless - Size 14
- Barr Emerger BWO Beadhead - Size 20
6. Morgan Run
The Morgan Run Natural Environment Area, located in Carroll County and covering 2,000 acres of natural area, is one of the most popular attractions. Hiking and equestrian trails are well-known. Morgan Run is a catch-and-release trout stream with multiple deep plunging pools and obstacles. It also features a spot where anglers may fish from a wheelchair-accessible platform.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Morgan Run, Maryland:
- Dave's Hopper Green - Size 8
- Copper John Beadhead in Red and Black - Size 18
- San Juan Worm - Size 12
7. North Branch Potomac River
The North Branch Potomac River begins in Fairfax Stone, West Virginia, and follows an approximately 27-mile course to its confluence with the South Branch Potomac River near Green Spring, West Virginia.
From Fairfax Stone, the North Branch Potomac River travels 27 miles (43 km) to Jennings Randolph Lake, a man-made impoundment intended for flood control and emergency water supply.
The winding path of the North Branch is carved through the eastern Alleghenies below the dam. Fishing in the North Branch of the Potomac River is good for smallmouth bass, trout, and panfish.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the North Branch Potomac River, Maryland:
8. Patapsco River
The Patapsco River is a 39-mile-long (63 km) river in Maryland's central region that empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The river's tidal section serves as Baltimore's harbor. The Patapsco, with its South Branch, forms part of Howard County, Maryland's northern border.
Numerous parks, marinas, fishing piers, boat ramps, and other fishing resources are located on the tidal Patapsco River near Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Various sites on the tidal Patapsco River provide facilities for urban fishing, and fly fishing is accessible at several locations along the Patapsco.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Patapsco River, Maryland:
9. Patuxent River
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The Potomac River flows to the west, passing through Washington, DC, while the Patapsco River travels to the northeast and passes through Baltimore. The Patuxent is Maryland's largest and longest river, as well as its watershed.
The Patuxent River State Park is a 6,700-acre natural area and farm located in Howard and Montgomery counties on the upper 12 miles of the Patuxent River. A portion of the park is a state wildlands area.
Hunting, fishing, trekking, and horseback riding are popular recreational activities at the facility. The park has a catch-and-release trout stream with designated hunting areas and unmarked hiking and equestrian paths.
The closest fishing access is along the Howard/Montgomery County border, between Maryland Routes 27 and 97. Parking areas at Long Corner, Mullinix Mill, Route 94, Hipsley Mill, Howard Chapel, and Route 97 road crossings over the river provide pathways to various locations.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Patuxent River, Maryland:
10. Potomac River
The Potomac River drains the Mid-Atlantic United States and enters the Chesapeake Bay. It is 405 miles long (652 km) and has a drainage area of 14,700 square miles (38,000 km2), making it the fourth-largest river on the East Coast of the United States and the 21st-largest in the country.
The Potomac River is the largest tributary of the Chesapeake, with only the Susquehanna River emptying into the northernmost point at Havre de Grace, Maryland, being a larger tributary.
The river has cultural diversity, historical significance, and wildlife value as it meanders along the boundary line between Virginia and Maryland before flowing into Washington, DC, on its 380-mile journey to the Tidewater at Point Lookout, Maryland.
Fishing the Potomac River is a popular pastime, with good catches of bass, catfish, and other species possible. There are many public boat ramps, access points along the shoreline, and piers and docks at some of the marinas. The river can be fished from the shoreline or from a boat.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Potomac River, Maryland:
11. Savage River
The Savage River is a 29.5-mile (47.5 km)long river in Garrett County, Maryland, and the first significant tributary of the North Branch Potomac River from its source. The name was given to the river by John Savage, an 18th-century surveyor.
Tributaries of the Savage River above the reservoir include:
- Carey Run
- Mudlick Run
- Little Savage River
- Bluelick Run
- Blacklick Run
- Warnick Run
- Poplar Lick Run, and
- Bear Pen Run.
The US Army Corps of Engineers maintains the Savage River Dam at its southern end for flood control and recreational purposes. Fishing in the Savage River will yield brown, rainbow, brook, and sometimes cutthroat trout.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Savage River, Maryland:
- Elk Wing Caddis in Tan - Size 16
- Autumn Splendor - Size 4
- Copper John Jig Beadhead in Copper - Size 12
12. Youghiogheny River
The Youghiogheny River, also known as the Yough, is a tributary of the Monongahela River in West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The river drains an area on the western side of the Alleghenies north into Pennsylvania and provides a small watershed in extreme western Maryland to tributaries of the Mississippi River.
The 4-mile long Catch and Release Trout Fishing Area begins at the Deep Creek Lake Power Plant and finishes at the Sang Run Bridge. The brown and rainbow trout stockings in the Youghiogheny River Catch and Release Trout Fishing Area are maintained annually. The rainbows stocked are a warm-water strain that can tolerate greater temperatures than most other trout.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Youghiogheny River, Maryland:
What Gear do I need to Fly Fish in Maryland?
When it comes to fly fishing, gear is just as important as the location. Maryland fly fishing can be done in a variety of ways, so the best way to find out what gear you need is to determine where you'll be fishing and what species you're after.
In Maryland, you'll need your usual equipment for fly fishing - waders, vest, hat, rain jacket, boots, insect spray, sunscreen, water, fingerless gloves, nippers (and perhaps cleats for your boots).
A wading staff and possibly cleats are also required. Because the topography of many of these waterways changes rapidly and boulders and slippery rocks line the rivers' bottoms, a wading staff will help you maintain your balance. You should also consider getting a pair of wading boots with felt soles or rubber cleats to help keep you from slipping and falling.
Felt-soled wading boots are now illegal in some Maryland waters, so be sure to check the regulations before heading out.
Additional Facts about Fly Fishing in Maryland
Is there fly fishing in Maryland?
Fly fishing in Maryland is a great way to enjoy the state's many waterways and catch a variety of fish, including trout, bass, catfish, and panfish.
Free-flowing streams with tons of fish are abundant throughout Maryland, making it a top destination for fly fishing. Anglers from Maryland are spoiled with easy access to any part of the state's free-flowing waterways packed with fish.
Is there Trout Fishing in Maryland?
Maryland is home to several types of trout, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. The state also has a few wild populations of cutthroat trout.
Brook trout streams are concentrated in central and northern Baltimore County, the Catoctin Mountains of Frederick County, and far Western Maryland, with most of the stocking in Garrett County. In over 100 streams and lakes across the state, rainbow trout are introduced.
What is the best time of year to fly fish in Maryland?
In Maryland, the best time to fly fish is usually from late March to early June or September to mid-October. Saltwater fishing is good year-round, with the best months being May, June, and September.
The best time of year to fly fish across the US varies depending on the location and type of fish you're after. In general, spring and fall are considered the best times to fly fish because the weather is milder and the water levels are lower, making it easier to spot fish.
Does Maryland have good fishing?
Maryland offers some of the best fishing in the country. The state is home to a variety of fish, including trout, bass, catfish, and panfish.
Maryland's fishing is spectacular, whether you're interested in freshwater or saltwater. The state is home to a large number of Striped Bass in the Chesapeake Bay, many Trout streams, and even the Atlantic Ocean. It's difficult to figure out where to begin when there are so many different kinds of fishing available.
Maryland is a great state for fly fishing, offering anglers the chance to catch a variety of fish in a number of different locations. With trout fishing open year-round except during stocking periods, there's never a bad time to fly fish in Maryland. Be sure to check the regulations before heading out, as some equipment, such as felt-soled wading boots, is now illegal in some Maryland waters.