The Best Fishing Spots in Maryland

••• Jochen Sand/Photodisc/Getty Images

Explore America's Campgrounds

Although Maryland may not be one of the largest states, it certainly has its share of top fishing waters. In addition to the bounteous resources of the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, the state also offers excellent fishing in countless inland waters. Among the best are Youghiogheny River Reservoir, Deer Creek, Centennial Lake, Tuckahoe Lake, and Johnson's Pond. Fishing licenses are required to fish in Maryland, though, and these can be obtained at bait and tackle shops across the state.

Youghiogheny River Reservoir

Straddling the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, 2,800-acre Youghiogheny River Reservoir is one of the top fisheries in both states. The reservoir was created in 1944 with the damming of the Youghiogheny River. Today, the reservoir has a variety of fish habitat, including submerged timber, rocky shorelines, boat docks, and shallow weed beds. Water levels fluctuate greatly, especially in fall when the reservoir is nearly drawn down. Walleye and small-mouth bass are the major game fish here, and large-mouth bass are rare. Youghiogheny also produces trophy-sized pike and crappie.

Deer Creek

Deer Creek, which flows through Rocks State Park, Hidden Valley Natural Area, and Eden Mill, has a long history of trout stocking. Rainbow trout from 9 to 20 inches, stocked from Albert Powell State Fish Hatchery in Hagerstown, and brown trout are occasionally stocked from private hatcheries. Small-mouth bass are also found in the creek but are limited in size and numbers, most being found in deeper pools. Averaging 50 feet wide, the upper creek has a low gradient and is shallow with rocky riffles and runs and deep pools scattered in between. Look for trout around rocks and boulders, in pools, and around wood cover and undercut banks.

Centennial Lake

At only 50 acres, Centennial Lake is a relatively small impoundment located in Howard County. The lake was first stocked in 1985 and has since become a thriving large-mouth bass fishery. Managed under Maryland's Big Bass Program, the lake has an abundance of 12- to 14-inch fish, and bass over six pounds have been found during population surveys. Rainbow trout were also stocked, beginning in 1992, and the lake has quality-size panfish and channel catfish. Tiger muskellunge can also be found here. Vegetation grows rapidly in summer, which can be a nuisance to shore anglers, but canoes and rowboats are allowed, as well as boats of 16 feet or less with electric motors.

Tuckahoe Lake

Tuckahoe Creek was dammed in the 1970s to create this small, shallow lake. Large-mouth bass and bluegill thrive in Tuckahoe Lake, reaching fairly impressive sizes and numbers. Pickerel, bullhead, and black crappie may also be caught. Flooded stumps and roots, as well as undercut banks, are the main fish-attracting habitat, with most of the lake being a consistent six feet deep. Electric trolling motors are allowed, but gas-powered motors are prohibited.

Johnson's Pond

Johnson's Pond is the largest reservoir in Eastern Maryland at 104 acres, as well as one of the oldest, having existed since it was created as a mill pond in colonial times. The pond's east fork is relatively shallow and featureless, but the main pool is deeper, with a variety of vegetation, wood cover, boat docks, and other habitat. Johnson's Pond is fed by several tributaries. A Special Bass Management Area, the pond is home to some excellent large-mouth bass fishing, along with plentiful bluegill and smaller populations of black crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish, pickerel, and yellow perch. There is no horsepower limit on boats.