Freshwater Program - Western II Region

Inland Western Region II MapWestern II  Region's fishery responsibilities include non-tidal Potomac River and the Monocacy. The region includes the following counties: Frederick and Washington.

Regional Manager: Michael Kashiwagi
10932 Putman Road
Thurmont, MD 21788
Phone: 301-898-5443

Freshwater Fisheries is planning to start a new smallmouth bass supplemental stocking program in sections of the upper Potomac River that have been experiencing recent low levels of juvenile fish recruitment.  If you are interested in seeing more information on the project plan, would like to provide comments, or have questions, please go to the smallmouth bass stocking webpage​.

Fisheries biologist using a sein net.Western II Region staff of three biologists are responsible for fishing areas in Washington and Frederick Counties and the nontidal Potomac River and tributaries. The nontidal Potomac River, or “upper Potomac” as it is usually referred, provides excellent fishing opportunities for smallmouth bass, walleye, muskellunge, and channel catfish. Annual surveys of adult and juvenile fish provide the basis for management actions such as regulations and stocking.

Smallmouth bass is arguably the most sought after sport fish throughout more than 160 miles of the upper Potomac. A seining survey has been conducted since the 70s to assess reproduction while fall electrofishing surveys are used to characterize the adult population.

Biologists also use information provided by anglers using volunteer angler surveys to monitor angler success and trends.

Fisheries biologist holding up a Muskie.Maryland’s only muskellunge fishery is found in the upper Potomac River. Although encountered throughout the Potomac, muskie are most abundant in the Washington County segment of the river where they receive the most attention from dedicated fishermen. Fishermen participating in the Potomac Muskie Creel Diary Program are an integral part of muskie management in Maryland by providing important catch information to biologists. Interested muskie anglers can download a creel sheet​ to record basic information about each muskie fishing trip. Anglers that return a completed creel sheet at the end of the season receive a Muskie Program Volunteer cap and are entered, along with other volunteer angler survey participants, into a drawing for prizes.

Numerous small impoundments in Western II provide largemouth bass, crappie, and sunfish as well as seasonal fishing for stocked trout in Cunningham Falls Reservoir, Greenbrier Lake, and Blairs Valley Lake. Although only around 35 acres in size, these State owned lakes can produce excellent fishing. Biologists construct habitat and deploy fish attractors to improve angler success.

Bioloigst putting old Christmas trees in the water.Western II biologists are responsible for a number of stream trout resources, including wild and stocked trout. The most productive wild trout resources are managed by special regulations that limit harvest and tackle used. Beaver Creek and Big Hunting Creek are both limited to Fly Fishing Only, Catch and Return fishing. Electrofishing surveys are conducted on these very popular streams each year to monitor adult and young of year trout abundance and trends. Numerous streams, lakes, and ponds are also stocked with rainbow trout seasonally​ to expand trout fishing opportunities.

Establishment and expansion of invasive species such as flathead catfish and northern snakehead are putting an increasing demand on staff time and resources to determine their distribution and potential impacts to the ecosystem and existing popular sport fisheries. Flathead catfish populations are rapidly expanding in the middle Potomac River in Washington and Frederick Counties.

A picture of a juvenile northern snakehead.Northern snakehead have been documented in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal system from Georgetown to Violets Lock. The establishment of a snakehead population in the canal upstream of the natural barrier provided by Great Falls, has allowed this injurious species to access the nontidal Potomac River watershed. Anglers are encouraged to kill any snakeheads that are caught and to report the catch of snakeheads from the C&O Canal and the nontidal Potomac River to The National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are working together through management actions and outreach events to help control the spread of this invasive species.

Selected Reports