Monocacy River

Located in Frederick and Carroll Counties​

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Monocacy River

Smallmouth_Kayak.jpgPhysical/ Habitat Description - The Monocacy River was designated by the State of Maryland as a State Scenic River in 1974 following the adoption of the Maryland Scenic and Wild Rivers Act of 1968. Originating near the Pennsylvania line the Monocacy ​River forms at the confluence of Marsh Creek and Rock Creek and forms the boundary between Frederick and Carroll Counties. From this point the Monocacy flows for 58 miles to the Potomac River. The Monocacy River watershed encompasses 974 square miles including portions of Frederick County, Carroll County, and Adams County, Pennsylvania and is the largest Maryland tributary to the Potomac River. Varying in width from 40 feet to 375 feet, the Monocacy flows gently with an average gradient of 3 percent. During runoff events turbidity becomes very high. The watershed contains a mix of urban (11%), agriculture (58%) and forest cover (31%). Nutrients such as phosphorus are a significant problem.

Smallmouth BassFish Species - Smallmouth and largemouth bass are the most targeted sportfish within the Monocacy River. However, sunfish and catfish are also pursued. Redbreast sunfish are the predominant panfish species collected during surveys, however, black crappie, rock bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, longear sunfish and green sunfish are also present. Channel catfish inhabit most sections of the river but are most likely encountered and popular with anglers in the lower reaches. Angler reports of invasive species such as flathead catfish and northern snakehead have become more common; the division has not collected these species from the Monocacy River in standardized surveys to date.​​

Restrictions - All gamefish and panfish are managed under statewide regulations except for a Catch and Release Regulation for bass from Buckeystown Dam downstream to the confluence with the Potomac River.

Boating Access - Numerous boating access points are available for a variety of boats. In general, water depth and flow limit users to paddle craft for much of the year. A detailed map of public access points can be found at the link above.

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The Monocacy River is the perfect venue for a scenic float and fishing trip.


Contact Us - Comments and questions regarding fishery management of the Monocacy River can be directed to:​

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Fishing and Boating Services
10932 Putman Road
Thurmont MD 21788