Freshwater Program - Eastern Region

Freshwater Program - Eastern Region

Inland Eastern Region MapEastern Region's responsibilities include fisheries management of all non-tidal and tidal freshwater fisheries east of Chesapeake Bay, and includes the Susquehanna River and Conowingo Reservoir. The region manages the following counties: Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester.

Regional Manager: Brett Coakley
Unicorn Lake Fish Hatchery
P.O. Box 326
110 Fishing Lake Lane 386
Millington, MD 21651
Phone: 410-928-3643

 

Eastern Region is Inland Fisheries largest, and perhaps most diverse management region. In its northern areas there are rock-studded, coldwater streams with thriving wild trout populations and larger, fast moving rivers with smallmouth bass and walleye. In the southern portion, there are lazy “blackwater” streams, rivers and ponds lined with majestic cypress trees and support dense populations of largemouth bass, chain pickerel and black crappie.

DNR biologist holding a large brown trout.Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hatcheries division has a prolific trout stocking program that provides thousands of trout each year to stock throughout the Eastern Region. Stocked trout add remarkable diversity to our fishing opportunities. In fact, no Eastern Shore angler lives more than an hour’s drive from a put-and-take stocking location. Locations, directions and other information on trout stocking can be found at trout stocking page.

Eastern Region also boasts currently the best tidal largemouth bass fishery in Maryland, the Upper Chesapeake Bay. Our staff works closely with the Tidal Bass Program to manage bass populations there and in the many other tidal bass fisheries located in Eastern Region. We are blessed with so many tidal rivers that provide opportunities to small boat, large boat, and shoreline anglers. Don’t have a glittery, go fast bass boat? No problem. Some areas are actually fished more effectively by small craft like kayaks and canoes. Good bass fishing can be had from shore in some locations. Access to these areas is excellent and finding a ramp or access point has never been easier thanks to our new angler access map.

Biologist deployinh old Christmas Trees intt the water.Along with tidal bass management activities, Eastern Region Staff spends a lot of time managing all the public impoundments located here. These systems are extremely diverse, ranging from Conowingo Reservoir (the largest in MD @4,000 acres) where anglers can encounter smallmouth bass, catfish, and walleye, to small one-acre millponds, where sunfish and largemouth bass are plentiful.

The Eastern Shore has much to offer anglers, and our staff does its best to maintain and enhance these fisheries and provide unique angling opportunities. We hope to use this new site to provide our anglers additional information on the work that we do, and highlight the resources and opportunities available in our region. Please check in often, we hope to keep it updated seasonally.

Fall 2016:

DNR biologist holding a chain pickerel.

Fall is when we complete the majority of our fieldwork. Among those surveyed in 2016, one location that stood out clearly from all the rest is Conowingo Reservoir. In short, our data suggests that Conowingo Reservoir may currently be the best smallmouth bass fishery in the State. The number and size of smallmouth bass collected were truly impressive; smallmouth between 15”-18” were very common in most samples. The largest smallmouth bass collected was 18.9 inches and 3.4 pounds, and the largest largemouth bass was 15.8 inches and 2.6 pounds. Additionally, all bass collected were in excellent condition and feisty. Lower than expected numbers of walleye were collected, however the week of warm water temperatures just prior to the survey may have affected their catchability. Large numbers of panfish, specifically large bluegill sunfish, were also encountered frequently, and should provide excellent fishing. 

As with many large bodies of water, Conowingo Reservoir is not an easy place to fish. However anglers should consider giving it a try if they have never done so. Conowingo Reservoir can be very busy on weekends, but pleasure boating traffic and weekday fishing pressure is very light.

Access points are marked on the Fisheries access webpage.
Biologist holding a bluegill.