Trout Stocking Frequently Asked Questions - Get the FAQs!

When does Maryland start stocking trout?

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Fishing and Boating Services begins the pre-season stocking in December. Although fish are smaller than those stocked in March, this is necessary to provide ample rearing space and continuous growth of recently hatched production fish. The first preseason stockings will be allocated to impoundments, special management, and delayed harvest streams providing ice fishing and catch-and-release fishing opportunities through winter and into the spring. ​Check the Department of Natural Resources website and/or our toll free number at 1-800-688-3467 to get the latest information. Once the "Official" Spring Trout stocking begins, the website will be updated daily and the toll free phone line will be updated every Friday afternoon.

How many trout does Maryland stock?

Albert Powell Hatchery personnel hatch more than 600,000 trout eggs annually to meet the trout production requirements of numerous Fishing and Boating Services goals such as internal facility fish transfers, both spring and fall “Put and Take" stocking seasons, Youth Fishing Rodeo Program and “Put and Grow" juvenile stocking requests from Freshwater Fisheries Division biologists. Production (weight of trout produced) will vary some from year to year and is dependent on the flow of the source spring.

When do I need a "Trout Stamp"?

You need A trout stamp is required for anyone 16 years of age or older that catch, attempt to catch or possess trout in nontidal waters. Maryland residents with a valid Consolidated Senior Resident Sport Fishing License are exempt.

Does Maryland have an "Opening Day"?

Yes. Maryland's opening day for trout fishing begins at 6:30 am on the last Saturday in the month of March.

Do you stock on Sunday?

No. All stocking is completed Monday through Friday

Where do the trout stocked in Maryland come from?

Maryland has four coldwater trout hatcheries. Albert Powell Hatchery and Cushwas Hatchery located in Washington county, and Bear Creek Hatchery and Mettiki Hatchery located in Garrett county

What do you feed the trout in your hatcheries?

The fish are fed a diet of commercially pelleted fish food.

How soon will the trout start biting after they are stocked?

There is a common misconception that trout are fed prior to stocking…and this is a common excuse when fish aren't biting! Truth is, fish are removed from feeding many days prior to their stocking date to reduce hauling stress and maintain water quality in the hauling tanks. Although there is a level of stress involved with the handling, loading and hauling of trout in crowded tank compartments, there are additional factors that can determine the aggressiveness of a trout to eat once stocked. Most importantly is the difference in water source/quality and water temperature between the stocked location and the hatchery. Once acclimated to their new home, fish will slowly begin to behave normally and feed.

Why are trout tossed from buckets and not released more gently?

To get trout from the stocking truck to the stream/impoundment, 15 - 20 fish are quickly carried in a bucket. Oxygen is depleted quickly and trout that are slowly poured from the bucket frequently lay on the bottom near shore respiring. A gentle toss encourages them to swim moving more and better quality water/oxygen over their gills. Remote locations in western states are frequently stocked using aircraft.

Do the fish move upstream or downstream after stocking?

Yes and yes. Keep in mind that fish swim, sometimes long distances. It is not uncommon during stocking efforts to observe fish that were stocked 50-100 yards away arrive at the next stocking location before we do! Trout will eventually settle into the locations that are most comfortable for them. Don't expect to always find fish only where the stocking signs are located along the stream. Remember, part of fishing is identifying and searching for the habitat trout prefer, then fishing those areas.

How old and how big are the trout being stocked?

Most trout that are stocked will average slightly larger than one half pound each. These fish are approximately 14-17 months old. A small percentage of holdover fish which exceed 24 months of age are also added to designated locations. These fish will average slightly larger than one pound each. And finally, a few hundred trophy trout are also raised which are 3-4 years old weighing between 5 to 8 lbs each. Most streams will receive 1 or 2 of these trout.

Exactly where do you put the fish?

Streams and stocking locations where trout are stocked can be found on the online interactive Trout Stocking Activities Map​.  We stock at access points within the colored areas on those maps. Always be mindful of posted property and avoid trespassing.​

What makes the golden trout golden?

These fish are actually Rainbow Trout with a golden pigmentation.

Why are there fewer brown trout stocked as compared to rainbow trout?

Our mission is to provide high quality, diverse, and accessible fisheries for Maryland residents and visitors. This requires a balance of recreational opportunities through the stocking of adult hatchery trout and conservation of wild trout populations, both naturalized populations of brown and rainbow trout as well as our native brook trout. Brown trout are popular with many anglers pursuing stocked trout as they tend to persist longer into the season and extend trout fishing. However, the water bodies and locations where they are stocked are chosen carefully so as not to jeopardize existing wild populations through competition for habitat and potential loss of genetic integrity of wild stocks. The department is particularly careful to avoid stocking hatchery brown trout into watersheds that support brook trout. Therefore, hatchery brown trout are generally not stocked in watersheds where they have access to wild populations. As noted, this is sometimes a balance of recreational opportunity and conservation of wild populations. As a result, the number of suitable waters for stocking brown trout is somewhat limited. Further, all brown trout are currently reared at the Cushwa Hatchery, which is presently at capacity for brown trout production.

Why don't you stock Brook Trout?

We do not raise or stock Brook Trout because we do not want to mix other genetic strains with our naturally reproducing native Brook Trout.

What about Fall Stocking?

Fall stocking is usually conducted during October. Although there is no set stocking schedule, updates are posted on the website daily and on the phone line (1-800-688-3467) weekly. A press release will be issued to notify anglers when fall stocking is complete. ​