BALTIMORE, MD (April 8, 2014) – Harvest oysters firsthand. Board a waterman’s vessel, cast your line and experience life on the water. Enjoy a sunset sail aboard an historic skipjack or trotline for your own crabs. There are countless ways to experience adventure this spring, and it all starts on the water, where visitors can take a tour, fish or sightsee Maryland’s waterways.
Maryland’s waterways are vast: There are 31 miles of Atlantic Ocean coast, including Assateague Island; the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries; and 400 man-made lakes. Similarly, Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay and its iconic watermen have influenced the state’s history, culture and economy for years. With this in mind, the Maryland Office of Tourism has designated April as a time to highlight local fishing, watermen, and charter operations.
Margot Amelia, executive director of the tourism office, says: “Whether you’re a novice angler or an experienced waterman, Maryland’s waterways present plenty of options for fishing trips – one of the best ways to experience the state. Fishing guides and charter captains can help you get the most out of your fishing trip on the Bay, along Maryland’s seacoast, or in any of the state’s rivers and lakes. With 7,000 miles of Maryland coastline, there's always an adventure within reach.”
Here is a sampling of locations around Maryland that offer fishing and charter boat excursions:
Hook a Maryland trophy trout in Western Maryland during a fly fishing excursion. A variety of outfitters including Savage River Lodge on the Savage River or Tight Lines Unlimited, which offers float trips on any Garrett County river including the Casselman and Potomac, will offer guides, equipment and more for a fishing adventure.
Head to Broadford Lake, a 140-mile reservoir, near Oakland, Md., and catch large or smallmouth bass (which can be found near the dam breast and rocky areas of the lake), sunfish, bluegill and yellow perch.
The Youghiogheny River, which is designated a Wild and Scenic River, straddles the Pennsylvania – Maryland border, and offers more than 2,800 acres of fresh water with plentiful smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleye.
Several waterways in Frederick including Urbana Lake, Whiskey Springs Pond and Hunting Creek Lake are ideal for trout and fly fishing. In fact, Big Hunting Creek is designated as a fly-fishing and catch-and-return trout stream.
Enjoy Chesapeake Bay sport fishing aboard the Lady Luck, a 46’ bay built boat with Captain Don Marani. Departing from Baltimore’s Fell’s Point, Captain Don specializes in family fishing trips, Inner Harbor cruises, kids sport crabbing, and dinner cruises.
Travel slightly north of Baltimore to the Susquehanna Flats in Harford County, where charters search for striped bass (rockfish) in the spring. The quaint town of Havre de Grace, built along the Susquehanna River on the bay, is home to a decoy museum, a maritime museum and the Concord Point Lighthouse.
Take a Waterman’s Heritage Tour from Annapolis and get an inside look at what it’s like to work the water, meet the watermen and go on an adventure. Tours take place throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
Sail into the Bay on an historic skipjack with Chesapeake Bay Skipjack Sailing Charters with Captain David Whitelock in Deale Island, Md. Invite friends and order fresh crabs directly from the Captain.
Small battery-powered boats are allowed on Liberty Reservoir in Baltimore County, which offers warm, cool, and cold water fish species including large and smallmouth bass, along with bluegill, crappie, and white perch. White crappie and bass often reach trophy size.
Patapsco Valley State Park, which encompasses 16,043 acres, offers plenty of fishing opportunities for smallmouth bass, rock bass, redbreast sunfish, hickory shad, American shad, and rainbow trout, among other activities such as hiking, camping and horseback riding.
Don’t miss the scenic waterfront village of Solomons Island, where the Patuxent River meets the Bay, and a popular destination for fishing, dining and relaxation. Charter a boat for fishing or a cruise with Solomons Island Heritage Tours or Captain Charles and Mary Beth Brown. The Calvert Marine Museum and Annmarie Garden Sculpture Park are also both here. Additional outfitters can also be found here.
Reserve a six-hour trip, an eight-hour trip or go full party boat fishing with Rod n’ Reel Charter Fishing at Chesapeake Beach, home to the largest charter fishing fleet on the Chesapeake Bay for more than 60 years. Captain Ed O’Brien of Semper Fidelis is actively involved with the recreational fishing industry by holding leadership positions with the National Charter Boat Association and considers the Chesapeake Bay to be a top destination for anglers.
Step aboard with one of the experienced captains in St. Mary’s County and you are right where the Potomac and the Chesapeake meet. Fish aboard the Chesapeake Charm, a 40 ft. charter boat, or aboard the Lisa S, a 48 ft. heritage charter/tour boat. Additional tours include Chesapeake Cruises and Fish the Bay Charters. Historic St. Mary's City, St. Clement's Island Museum and Sotterley Plantation are also nearby.
Known as "The Crab Capital of the World,” Crisfield is the southernmost town in Maryland – located on the Delmarva Peninsula – and built on oyster shells. Head out on the water with a charter boat captain, rent kayaks and canoes from Janes Island State Park or Crisfield Kayak and Canoe to fish from them yourself. A new DNR mobile app also allows you to find the many boat ramps around the county to launch your own vessel.
Drop your line in Ocean City, also known as the White Marlin Capital of the World. Anglers of all skill levels will find big eye, yellow fin tuna, bluefish and wahoo in the Gulf Stream, along with abundant mahi-mahi, trout, flounder and sea bass. “Head boats” (boats that charge individuals per head) are available for boarding. Ocean City also hosts a number of fishing tournaments. Sightseeing excursions are available too.
The Upper Chesapeake Bay town of North East hosted anglers for the 2013 Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Chesapeake Invitational. The mission of FLW, a tournament fishing organization, is to provide “unparalleled fishing resources” to anglers and this area of the Bay delivers. Shove-off on your pro-level fishing adventure from the top-of-the-line boat ramp at Elk Neck State Park.
Located between Kent Island (largest island in the Chesapeake Bay) and the Eastern Shore, the Kent Narrows is the waterway that connects the Chester River with the Eastern Bay – a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay with additional tributaries flowing from it. The area harbors a variety of seafood eateries and charter boats.
Close to St. Michaels, Oxford and Easton, Tilghman Island is a working-watermen's village on the Chesapeake Bay and Choptank River. Harrison House Charter, at Dogwood Harbor, operates 16 charter boats (two for sightseeing) a country inn and restaurant, the largest fleet of sport fishing vessels in Talbot County. Tilghman is also home to the only commercial sailing fleet in the U.S., the Chesapeake Bay skipjacks.
Known for its marinas, charter boats and seafood restaurants, the Colonial-era town of Rock Hall has a long history as a center for fishing and crabbing, and hosts a tournament for rockfish fishing in June and several festivals each year. End your day by indulging in a seafood feast at one of their waterside crab houses.
About Maryland Tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.7 billion on travel-related expenses in 2012. During 2012, the Maryland tourism industry also generated $2 billion in state and local taxes, and provided more than 135,000 jobs for Maryland residents.