Catfishing in Maryland offers anglers the exciting opportunity to hook some of the largest freshwater fish in the state. Maryland's diverse waterways are home to various catfish species, including the invasive blue catfish and flathead catfish, as well as the native channel catfish. If you're looking to target these aquatic giants, here are some prime locations, all located along Maryland’s Catfish Trail,  and recommended rigs, baits and techniques to increase your chances of success.


 Prime Locations for Catfishing in Maryland

 1. Potomac River: Renowned for its abundant blue catfish population, the Potomac River stretches along the border between Maryland and Virginia offering numerous hotspots, particularly around the Washington, D.C. area and down to the Chesapeake Bay. The deep channels and slow-moving currents create an ideal habitat for large catfish.


 2. Susquehanna River: Flowing from Pennsylvania through Maryland into the Chesapeake Bay, the Susquehanna River is another excellent destination for catfishing. The lower Susquehanna, near Conowingo Dam, is particularly famous for its big flathead and channel catfish.


 3. Tidal Rivers of the Chesapeake Bay: Maryland's tidal rivers, including the Patuxent, Chester, and Nanticoke Rivers provide prime catfishing opportunities. These waterways are home to significant populations of blue and channel catfish, especially in the brackish waters where these species thrive.


 4. Liberty Reservoir: Located near Baltimore, Liberty Reservoir is a favored spot for targeting channel catfish. The reservoir's deep waters and abundant forage make it a perfect environment for large catfish.


 Rigs and Baits for Catfishing in Maryland

 1. Basic Slip Sinker Rig: This versatile rig is suitable for most catfishing situations in Maryland's waters. To set up a slip sinker rig, you'll need a sliding sinker, a swivel, a leader line, and a strong hook. The sliding sinker allows the catfish to take the bait without feeling much resistance, increasing your chances of a solid hookset.


Recommended Baits:

  • Fresh-cut bait (shad, bluegill, or other local fish)

  • Live bait (nightcrawlers, minnows)

  • Stink baits and chicken liver


 2. Carolina Rig: The Carolina rig is another effective setup, particularly for fishing in deeper waters with strong currents, such as those found in the Potomac and Susquehanna Rivers. This rig keeps the bait close to the bottom, where catfish are often feeding.


Recommended Baits:

  • Fresh-cut bait

  • Live bait (large minnows, small bluegills)

  • Prepared baits and chicken gizzards


 3. Float Rig: For targeting catfish in shallow waters or around structures like submerged logs and rocks, a float rig can be highly effective. This rig keeps the bait suspended above the bottom, making it more visible and accessible to catfish.


Recommended Baits:

  • Fresh-cut bait

  • Live bait (small fish, crawfish)

  • Dip baits and hot dogs


 Tips for Successful Catfishing in Maryland

  • Time of Day: Catfish are most active during the early morning and late evening hours. Night fishing can also be particularly productive, as catfish tend to feed more aggressively after dark.
  • Season: While catfish can be caught year-round, the warmer months of late spring through early fall are typically the best times for targeting giant catfish in Maryland.
  • Location: Focus on areas with deep holes, submerged structures, and slow-moving currents. Catfish are ambush predators that often hide in these spots waiting for prey.
  • Patience: Catfishing requires patience and persistence. Be prepared to wait for the big ones to bite and always be ready for a strong fight.


Maryland's waters offer some of the best catfishing opportunities on the East Coast. With the right locations, rigs, and baits, you'll be well on your way to landing a giant catfish and experiencing the thrill of the hunt. Need more information to help you reel in these giants, visit Maryland’s Catfish Trail