With almost 29,000 acres of fully protected marshlands, forests and tidal waters, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge offers very unique opportunities for fly fishing for northern snakeheads, striped bass, speckled trout, redfish, flounder and bluefish.
You will need a boat with a shallow draft to take full advantage of all that these seemingly endless tidal creeks, open waters and marshlands have to offer. From the soft launch, you can head west and fish the marsh edges and shallow waters or head up into the many smaller creeks and embayments which branch off of Button Creek. Heading under the bridge brings you to open waters of the Refuge filled with small marsh islands along the south shore. And given that the Refuge along with the adjacent Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park are co-located at the Trail site, there is enough here to keep you and your family or fishing partners busy for an entire weekend.
Located south of Cambridge, Maryland, the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge extends over most of the western half of Dorchester County.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Soft Launch: 4072 Golden Hill Rd, Church Creek, MD 21622
How to Get There
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Soft Launch on MD 335/Golden Hill Road, Church Creek, MD near the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center. Heading south on Route 50 on the Eastern Shore heading towards Cambridge, take a right turn onto Woods Road once you have crossed the Choptank River bridge and have entered the City of Cambridge. Then take a right turn onto Route 16 and follow it to Church Creek where you will take a left turn onto MD 335/Golden Hill Road. Once you pass the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, look for the parking area next to the soft launch on your right hand side just before the bridge.
Parking & Launching
There is a paved parking area for a maximum of 15 vehicles. You can launch your boat at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge MD soft launch located at 4072 Golden Hill Rd, Church Creek, MD.
You can rent kayaks at Blackwater Adventures, located at 2524 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, MD 21613.
Where to Fish
From the soft launch, you can head west and fish the marsh edges and shallow waters or head up into the many smaller creeks and embayments which branches off of Button Creek. Heading under the bridge brings you to open waters of Blackwater National Wildlife which is filled with small marsh islands along the south shore. Fish sod and grass banks in creeks and tributaries and around bridge pilings and other structures.
What to Catch
Spring: Yellow perch, white perch, hickory shad and striped bass
Summer: Snakeheads, white perch, largemouth bass, crappie and sunfish
Fall: Largemouth bass, white perch, snakeheads, crappie and sunfish
Winter: Yellow perch, crappie, largemouth bass
What to Fish & How
Recommend bringing 5 to 8 weight fly rods with floating, intermediate or sinking fly lines. Fly fish with no. 4 or no. 6 Clousers Minnows or shrimp patterns with 10'–12’ fluorocarbon leader on floating line or shorter leader with intermediate or sinking lines.
Fly Fishing Organizations
Connect with local fly fishing organizations to learn about mentoring opportunities and to connect with others interested in fly fishing.
Purchase A Fishing License
Check Tide Conditions
Fish Consumption Advisories