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Take Me Fishing: Maryland's Free Fishing Days

Take Me Fishing
Maryland's Free Fishing Days

During a free fishing day, a person may catch and possess finfish in the tidal and nontidal waters of the State for recreational purposes without an angler's license, Chesapeake Bay sportfishing license, or any fishing stamp normally required by the State, but shall otherwise observe all fishing laws and regulations. Maryland's free fishing days are June 7 and 14 and July 4, 2008.
Anyone under 16 years of age is allowed to fish without a license.
Place to Fish
Cunningham Falls Lake (Hunting Creek Lake), Cunningham Falls State Park. Parking is available in the William Houck Area and on Catoctin Hollow Road. A boat ramp is located on Catoctin Hollow Road. There will be a service charge in effect for William Houck Area and the boat ramp. Fishing here is suitable for families. There are restrooms and portable water on the premises in the William Houck Area. Species of fish include: Rainbow trout, bass, bluegills, crappie and catfish. Call 301-271-7574 for more information. Cunningham Falls State Park is located at 14039 Catoctin Hollow Road in Thurmont, MD.
Greenbrier State Park
The 42-acre freshwater lake is stocked with trout, largemouth bass and bluegill. A Maryland Angler's License is required for all fishermen 16 years of age or older. All Maryland fishing laws apply. Fishing with live minnow bait is not permitted. Great for families. Call 301-791-4767 for more information. Greenbrier State Park is located at 21843 National Pike in Boonsboro, Maryland.
Blairs Valley Lake
Blairs Valley Lake is located in both Washington County, Maryland and Franklin County, Pennsylvania. To permit a five-foot winter drawdown for fish and wildlife management activities, the dam was designed and built with a valve at five feet and one at the bottom to permit draining if necessary.
The lake is thirty-two acres at normal pool, twenty-two acres at winter pool. A maximum depth of eighteen feet can be found near the dam riser while the upper half of the lake is generally less than ten feet. The Fisheries Service of DNR manages the sportfish populations in the lake to provide public angling opportunities. The lake is managed primarily as a warmwater fishery for largemouth bass, tiger muskie, and bluegill and anglers can expect good fishing for these species. In recent years the bass population has shifted from a population dominated by a high density of nine to eleven inch fish to one with a balanced size structure and a desirable percentage of large bass present. Anglers have landed tiger muskie to forty-four inches from Blairs Valley Lake. Anglers may also catch black crappie, redear sunfish, yellow perch, brown bullhead and carp. Golden shiners and young panfish species are the primary forage for predator species. Adult rainbow trout are stocked during the spring and fall to provide a popular put-and-take fishery.
A free boat ramp and parking lot are available.
To get to the lake from Hagerstown take Route 70 West to Route 68 North (Clear Spring Exit) to Clear Spring. Proceed straight through intersection on Route 68 North turning right on to Broadfording Road. Make a left on to Blair Valley Road and follow to the Indian Springs Wildlife Management Area. Turn left into parking lot and ramp area.
Fort Frederick State Park
America's premier stone fortification from the French and Indian War, boat launch, cross country skiing, camp sites, camp store, food and beverage, fishing, flat water canoeing, hiking trail, historic interest, picnic, playground, shelters, visitor's center. Call the park for fort hours.
The visitor center offers a 10 minute orientation film, "Legacy of Fort Frederick," upon request. Exhibits highlight aspects of the park's history.
Concession items, including souvenirs and food, are offered at Captain Wort's Sutler Shop. Call the park for shop hours.
Fort Frederick State Park offers an easy trail for hikers. The Wetlands Trail, .3 miles in length, passes along a wetlands area behind the campground. Hikers can see several species of turtles, waterfowl, birds, as well as white-tailed deer and other wildlife.
Located just one-half mile west of Fort Frederick is the Western Maryland Rail Trail, a 23-mile long paved path that follows the former Western Maryland Railway line. The Rails to Trails Conservancy, a non-profit organization, recently chose the Western Maryland Rail Trail as one of the top 12 trails in the United States for viewing fall foliage. The peak foliage season in Western Maryland begins in mid October, and provides an excellent opportunity for picturesque photography along the trail. The Western Maryland Rail Trail can be accessed from I-70, from either exit 12 (Big Pool), exit 3 (Hancock), or from I-68 at exit 77 (Pearre Station).

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