Trout Fishing

Trout News

Updated 3/06/2024
Maryland Spring 2024 Trout Fishing Season Opens March 30

Updated 2/13/2024
Montgomery County Angler Catches Maryland State Record Rainbow Trout

Updated 1/11/2024
Maryland Holding First Youth-Only Trout Fishing Day on March 23


Maryland features premier angling opportunities throughout the state for brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. These resources are managed to offer a variety of experiences for our diverse angling community in a range of settings. Whether you prefer to pursue stocked rainbow trout in your local stream, try your chance at a trophy tailwater brown trout, or hike into the backcountry to catch wild native brook trout, Maryland has a fishing experience for you. 

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TroutStockingButton.jpg ​Get Your License.jpg ​​Fishing Rules and Regulations

Click here to explore trout fishing locations and other fisheries resourc​es near you:


Trout Fishing and Special Management Areas

Maryland’s trout fisheries are managed with regulations that are tailored to both the fish population and the water body. The regulations provide a range of fishing experiences that appeal to the many different angler constituencies and communities. Statewide regulations permit year-round trout fishing with a 2 fish per day creel limit and a possession limit of four fish. Varying management strategies are applied to special management areas for Catch-and-Return angling, gear limited areas, delayed harvest areas, and trophy trout fishing. ​

Catch-and-Return Trout Fishing Areas

These areas require anglers to immediately return all trout to the water where they were caught. Gear restrictions may apply so please consult the Maryland Fishing Guide for details on regulations and for a list of all Catch-and-Return Trout Fishing Areas. Additional locations may be found on our regional fisheries webpage.

Featured locations:
Gunpowder Falls BlairsValleyLakeButton.jpgUpperPotomacButton.jpg​​

Trophy Trout Fishing Areas

Maryland’s only trophy trout fishing areas are located in the Savage River Tailwater below the Savage River Reservoir. These areas provide anglers with an opportunity to catch and harvest trophy sized brown trout and brook trout. Management areas that allow the use of artificial lures and flies and fly-fishing only are included. The creel limit is two trout per day with an 18 inch minimum size limit for brown trout and a 12 inch minimum size limit for brook trout. Consult the Maryland fishing guide for additional details.​​


Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Areas

These special management areas provide anglers with a unique opportunity to target stocked trout during an extended period of time. Trout are stocked into streams that may not have the habitat or temperatures to support populations year-round. By limiting harvest during cooler weather, opportunities to fish are extended to the late spring and early summer. Harvest is permitted as water temperatures start to warm and become unsuitable for sustaining trout.

Featured locations:

Fishing for Brook Trout

Eastern brook trout are Maryland's only native trout and an important part of our heritage. Brook trout specific regulations will help protect these unique resources for current and future generations of anglers. These regulations prohibit harvest of brook trout in all water bodies east of I-81, in all Put-and-Take areas throughout the state, and in the Upper Savage River watershed. For more information about brook trout, visit the Maryland Brook Trout webpage.

Protecting and Managing Maryland’s Trout Fisheries

Trout are highly sensitive to water quality and require cold water temperatures with minimal silt and sedimentation to thrive. Responsible land use practices and the maintenance of a forested landscape are critical for protecting and maintaining these valuable public resources.

Department biologists are active with multiple coldwater and trout conservation, science and technical committees and organizations including the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (EBTJV), American Fisheries Society Southern Division Trout Technical Committee, and Chesapeake Bay Program's Brook Trout Work Group. Anglers and interested parties can get involved in protecting trout populations by engaging in the following best management practices and activities.​​​​

Land use practices

Degraded habitat caused by elevated stream temperatures and sedimentation is one of the most important influences on trout resources. Land owners in trout watersheds can help protect trout populations and other aquatic life by maintaining trees and other tall vegetation within 100 feet of streams. Tall vegetation in close proximity to streams can provide shade to keep water temperatures cool and stabilize soil to reduce erosion. Where possible, planting trees within 100 feet of streams can improve in-stream habitat. Clearing vegetation on stream banks should be avoided and livestock should be kept out of streams. Discharges from ponds can be a major source of warmer water in streams. Minimizing warm pond discharges to streams can help maintain the cold water temperatures that trout prefer. ​​

Fishing and fish handling practices


When angling under Catch-and-Return regulations, there are a few simple practices that can greatly reduce fish mortality.

  • Consider the temperature! As temperatures get warmer, conditions become stressful for trout.
    • Consider avoiding trout and target other species when water temperatures exceed 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Catching trout at these temperatures can be lethal.
    • At temperatures between 65 and 67 degrees, minimize handling, and keep the fish in the water as much as possible.
    • Water temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit are optimal for trout fishing. Handle with care and return them to the water as soon as possible.
  • Handle fish with landing nets and wet hands. Avoid using cloth. Fish have a mucus layer that provides an important layer of protection. Handling with dry hands or cloth can remove that layer.
  • Remove hooks as quickly as possible and minimize injuries to the fish. If possible, use forceps or pliers to improve efficiency.
  • Be respectful of both public and private property. Treat fishing areas as you would treat your own property and leave no trace.

Trout management and rule making

Anglers and fish enthusiasts can get involved with managing and protecting these resources. Interested parties can reach out to members of the Coldwater Fisheries Advisory Committee and Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission to discuss ways to improve trout fishing resources and opportunities in Maryland.​

Know Your Trout

Download and print your own Trout Identification Sheet. Fold it in half and take it with you.​

New brook trout regulations are now in effect requiring catch and release only in all put-and-take trout areas and all waters east of Interstate 81. Anglers should take time to properly identify brook trout - wh​ich are not stocked by the department, - when fishing in catch-and-release waters.​