Top Places For

Fly Fishing the Rivers of the Chesapeake

For anglers young and old, fly fishing is the ultimate combination of strategy, excitement, and beautiful tranquility. At these spots around the region, you’ll discover rivers and streams that are the perfect setting for a fly fishing adventure.

Cast a line at places like Holliday Lake State Park, Green Ridge State Forest, and Caledonia State Park, where fly anglers can enjoy a relaxing day fishing with friends, family, or in peaceful solitude. With the woods at your back and a cool mountain stream by your feet, you’ll experience a side of the Chesapeake like no other.

Before you go, make sure you have the proper licenses necessary to fish in your state. Follow all local rules for limits on catch, size, and gear. Some waterways are “put-and-take” fisheries, which means they’re stocked with fish that you can take home; others are “catch-and-release” to preserve wild fish stocks.

  • For abundant trout populations nestled in the stunning natural scenery of western Maryland, head to Savage River State Forest. The tailwater section of the river offers some of the best wild trout fishing in the state. Other trout hot spots in Maryland include the Gunpowder Falls tailwater, Big Hunting Creek in Cunningham Falls State Park, and the Patapsco River put-and-take fishery at Patapsco Valley State Park.
  • In Virginia, head to scenic Shenandoah River State Park or the upper James River to seek smallmouth bass hiding among the rivers’ riffles and submerged logs. Care for a guided adventure? Book a session at Shenandoah National Park with a local outfitter who’ll help you and your friends find a few trout.

Get your rod and waders ready for a thrilling Chesapeake adventure at the top places for fly fishing.

Hikers at Caledonia State Park

Caledonia State Park

Caledonia State Park is in the northernmost section of the Blue Ridge Mountains known locally as South Mountain, near Gettysburg. The park provides picnicking, fishing, hiking, golfing, and camping opportunities.

Fayetteville, PA

Casselman River Bridge

Casselman River Bridge State Park

Casselman River Bridge and the surrounding 4 acres are preserved as Casselman River Bridge State Park. The bridge is open to pedestrians, and there are fishing opportunities in Casselman River. Historic Stanton's Mill is adjacent to the park.

Grantsville , MD

Tree Lined Road Through Catoctin Mountain Park

Catoctin Mountain Park

With 25 miles of trails winding through Catoctin Mountain Park, a variety of experiences are available ranging from easy to strenuous, many leading to outstanding scenic vistas.

Thurmont, MD

Bridge at Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park is located in the picturesque Catoctin Mountains, opportunities including swimming, hiking, fishing and canoeing are available.

Thurmont, MD

Douthat State Park

Douthat State Park

Douthat State park is nestled in the Allegheny Mountains and features some of Virginia’s most outstanding scenery. In addition, a 50-acre lake offers swimming, boating and seasonal trout fishing.

Millboro, VA

Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area

Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area

Fair Hill is a 5,656 acre Natural Resources Management Area, is known for its pristine fields, woodlands and natural beauty. Fair Hill's attractions include the turf course, where horse races are held.

Elkton, MD

Green Ridge State Forest

Green Ridge State Forest

Green Ridge State Forest is the second largest of Maryland's State Forests consisting of a 46,000-acre oak-hickory forest. It is located in eastern Allegany County, approximately eight miles east of Flintstone off I-68 at Exit 64.

Flintstone, MD

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Gunpowder Falls State Park protects the stream valleys of the Big and Little Gunpowder Falls and the Gunpowder River. The long, narrow 18,000 acre park ranges from tidal marshes and wetlands near the Bay to steep, rugged slopes upstream.

Middle River, MD

Beach at Holliday Lake State Park

Holliday Lake State Park

Deep in the heart of Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, Holliday Lake State Park is a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast.

Appomattox, VA

Kayakers on the Upper James River Blueway

James River Water Trail - Upper

The Upper James River Water Trail meanders through beautiful Botetourt County. You'll experience the unspoiled beauty of the river as you paddle through scenic valleys and past rolling farmland while keeping a watchful eye out for wildlife.

Botetourt, VA

Lake Anna State Park

Lake Anna State Park

Boating and fishing are the major attractions at Lake Anna, but the park also offers lakefront picnicking, swimming, wooded hiking trails, and seasonal interpretive programs on local history and nature.

Spotsylvania, VA

Maury River Water Trail

Maury River Water Trail

The Maury River Water Trail runs from Cedar Grove down to the James River along 34 of the Maury's 42 mile length. The Maury River is considered one of the most beautiful whitewater rivers in Virginia.

Lexington, VA

Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley includes five developed recreational areas, providing hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback and mountain bike trails, as well as picnicking for individuals or large groups in the park's many popular pavilions.

Ellicott City, MD

Rivanna River Water Trail

Rivanna River Water Trail

Canoe or kayak through historic landscapes and natural areas where once Thomas Jefferson roamed. The 38 mile Rivanna River Water Trail gives you the chance to explore this historic landscape by canoe or kayak.

Charlottesville, VA

Savage River State Forest

Savage River State Forest

Savage River State Forest's more than 54,000 acres of rugged terrain challenges hikers, hunter, anglers and mountain bikers alike. The secluded forest provides shade during warm months and a cool place to camp at night.

Barton, MD

Scenic Overlook of Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is your escape to recreation and re-creation. Cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas, quiet wooded hollows—plan a hike, a meander along Skyline Drive, or a picnic with the family.

Front Royal, VA

Shenandoah River State Park

Shenandoah River State Park

Located just down stream from Bentonville, the park boasts over five miles of frontage on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The park consists of pastures, forests and vistas of the mountains and the river.

Bentonville, VA

Spruce Knob/Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area - Lonecellotheory/Flickr

Spruce Knob - Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area

Enjoy spectacular scenery and outstanding outdoor recreation at the headwaters of the Potomac River.

Seneca Rocks, WV

October 20, 2015

Main image: Get your rod and waders ready for a thrilling Chesapeake adventure at the top places for fly fishing. (Image credit: Project Healing Waters Flyfishing / Flickr)
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