Freshwater Program - Southern Region

Regional Manager: Mary Groves

Manning Fish Hatchery Visitor Center
Rural Route 4 Box 106E
Brandywine, MD 20608
Phone: 301-888-2423

Southern Region crew of four biologists are responsible freshwater fishing areas of Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties. In addition, the WSSC reservoirs of Rocky Gorge and Triadelphia are managed by this Region. Numerous ponds are stocked with trout in the spring offering a fishing opportunity that otherwise would require a several hour drive to find. Click here for the trout stocking schedule.

Greenbelt Lake Largemouth Bass fall 2015Fish surveys on area ponds take place in the summer to fall months and one such survey on Greenbelt Lake showed that some impressive fish may be found even in small impoundments.

The Southern Regional office also has the tidal freshwater portion of the Potomac River under its management area and offers a large area and diverse studies on fish such as Largemouth Bass, Northern Snakehead, and Blue Catfish. These three species take up a disproportionate amount of work effort compared to other species. Ongoing studies of Blue Catfish and Snakehead are looking at their diet, population size, and growth.

Applying tag to Snakehead in Nanjemoy Creek. The Potomac River holds the dubious distinction as the starting point for the Northern Snakehead in 2004. One study, completed in 2013 indicated a population size 21,279 for 44 major tidal freshwater tributaries of the Potomac. See the study at: Southern Region had participated in capturing and marking Snakehead for this study.

Because Smallwood State Park is a major destination for Largemouth Bass tournaments, the Southern Region is involved in Bass fishing quite often. There is a biologist at the Regional Office assigned to monitor these tournaments and the fish being caught and released there. The Southern Region also works with Dr. Joe Love, the Tidal Bass Manager, quite extensively on annual fall electrofishing surveys, attending large tournaments, hatchery brood collection, and tagging studies. See the Tidal Bass Program for more information.

Taking a fish measurement for the annual fall survey of Largemouth Bass . 

Map showing 6 mph zone.Southern Region biologists checked on the placement of the 6 mph buoys in Mattawoman Creek upstream of Smallwood State Park after receiving complaints from anglers that they were in the wrong place. The correct buoy placement is listed in COMAR (Maryland Code of Regulations) . Biologists used a handheld GPS unit and checked the coordinates of the buoys in Mattawoman Creek. It was determined that the current placement of the buoys is correct. Unfortunately, they had been misplaced in past years and many boaters became used to the 6 mph area starting almost a half mile farther upstream.

Blue Catfish have increased their presence in Maryland Rivers by leaps and bounds over the last several years. The Southern Region has been working with other agencies to assess the population size, monitor movements, and determine growth of Blue Catfish within the Potomac River. A recent tagging program furthers the information known about the species in our waters. The tagging program was initiated in 2012 by Virginia Institute of Marine Science and was carried out in cooperation with Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Electrofishing for Blue Catfish on Mattawoman Creek.A 36 lbs. 40 inch Blue Catfish, an invasive species, was caught in Triadelphia Reservoir in May, 2016. The department would like to remind everybody that Blue Catfish may not be transported alive, otherwise they are violating the law. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be paying particular attention to this impoundment to see if more are found there. A new population starting in the WSSC Reservoir system would be very unfortunate, as Triadelphia is known for big Striped Bass, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, and other species not common in the Southern Region. The impact on these species by the Blue Catfish is not known, but it is known that the catfish feeds heavily on many kinds of fish, grows extremely fast, and has reproduced extremely well in other areas.