Owens Creek

Located in Frederick County

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Physical/ Habitat Description - Owens Creek is a fairly high gradient stream with a boulder and cobble substrate throughout. Occasional large pools separate extensive fast runs and pocket water. Undercut banks and woody debris provide additional habitat. Summer and fall flows can be very low. The headwaters of Owens Creek are within Catoctin Mountain National Park. However, the majority of the lower stretches flow through private property. Landowners graciously allow public fishing on much of the property between the park and the Roddy Road Covered Bridge.​

Fish Species - Anglers can fish over wild or hatchery trout in Owens Creek. Native brook trout dominate the headwaters while a small population of wild brown trout can be found throughout. Hatchery rainbow and brown trout are stocked each spring from the bridge on Foxville/Deerfield Road downstream to the covered bridge on Roddy Road with the exception of privately owned and posted sections. The degree of over-summer survival will vary with conditions; exceedingly hot and\or dry summers will result in reduced habitat and survival.​

Restrictions - From the headwaters downstream to Buck Lantz Road a two trout per day creel limit is in effect with no tackle restrictions. No brook trout can be harvested. This area is managed for wild trout and no trout are stocked. From Buck Lantz Road downstream to Roddy Road, Put-and-Take/Catch-and-Return regulations are in effect. Under these regulations, anglers fishing from June 1 through the end of February must use artificial lures and release all trout caught. During March, April and May, Put-and-Take regulations, closures and creel limits apply. Fly-fishing during April, May and June can be particularly productive. These trout are not usually very selective, but they will spook from a noisy approach.  Please consult the Maryland Guide to Fishing and Crabbing​ for details. Fishing within the special regulation area by the generosity of the landowners. Please respect the access given for angling. This is not a right but a privilege!​


History - Owens Creek has traditionally been managed as a put-and-take resource, one of the most popular in Frederick County. The upper reaches within Catoctin Mountain National Park downstream to Buck Lantz Road were removed from the list of put-and-take areas in 1990 to allow the native brook and wild brown trout populations to expand and due to the stream's small size. With the urging of local anglers to increase year-round trout fishing opportunities, the Fisheries Service​ instituted a new and unusual Put-and-Take\Catch-and-Return Trout Fishing Area from Buck Lantz Road downstream to the Roddy Road covered bridge in 1994. Although Owens Creek would work well as a Delayed Harvest Area, it was felt that the spring put-and-take fishery was far too popular to eliminate. The Put-and-Take\Catch-and-Return regulation was born out of a compromise to maximize recreation while taking into account the popularity and tradition of the spring put-and-take season.

Contact Us - Comments and questions regarding the fishery management of Owens Creek can be directed to:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Fishing and Boating Services

10932 Putman Road
Thurmont MD 21788