Maryland's Spring Trout and Perch – Fish & Hunt

Maryland’s Spring Trout and Perch

Posted on: March 19, 2018 By: FHMD

All of Maryland’s natural beauty springs open for the enjoyment of sportsmen and women with the coming of spring. As the days grow longer and the temperatures warmer, it’s time to grab your fishing gear and head out to take advantage of the abundance of perch and trout stocks throughout the state.

Three Fish to Chase this Spring

Yellow Perch:

Yellow perch are a favorite sportfish in Maryland – especially in the Chesapeake Bay area and Deep Creek Lake – because they inhabit a vast territory, a wide variety of habitats, are a schooling fish, and congregate near the shore in the spring. Adult yellow perch inhabit slow-moving, nearshore areas where moderate amounts of vegetation provide cover, food and protection. In early spring throughout the Chesapeake, adult yellow perch migrate from the lower parts of the tributaries to the upper regions in search of suitable spawning habitat. This process starts in the Chesapeake and its tributaries in late February; in Deep Creek Lake, around April.

Trout and Perch

Yellow Perch

White Perch:

White perch are considered a delectable game fish – they’re closely related to rockfish – and can be taken in by nearly all types of fishing gear typically used on the Chesapeake Bay. They are available to anglers from shore and from boats because they are widely distributed among a variety of habitats, including inshore waters. White perch are one of the most abundant fish in the Bay, and will spend their entire lives here.


Maryland Department of Natural Resources stocks more than a quarter-million brown, golden, and rainbow trout for the spring trout season. Stocking this year actually began in late December and will continue until the beginning of June, ensuring a thriving population throughout the spring and summer months.

The fish are always biting and the chance for adventure and fun are never-ending throughout Maryland. Be sure to check out the full list of Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Areas before heading out.

Where to Go

Western Maryland:

  • The Youghiogheny River in Garrett County is a tried-and-true trout haven. It’s located just below Friendsville and when the fish stop biting, this charming town offers plenty of other amusements, including rafting and hiking.
  • Deep Creek Lake Natural Resources Management Area  – one of Maryland’s favorite fishing and hunting havens – is located in Garrett County, encompasses the 3,900-acre man-made lake known as Deep Creek Lake. Nearby Deep Creek Lake State Park made up of more than 1,800 acres and includes the Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center , which houses hands-on exhibits that highlight the natural resources of Western Maryland and show how the flora, fauna, cultural and historical heritage turned this former logging and coal mining region into a popular modern day vacation destination.
  • Cassleman River Bridge State Park, also in Garrett County, is a 4-acre parcel located east of Grantsville on U.S. Route 40. It is a popular area for fly fishermen, photographers and history enthusiasts.
  • Owens Creek in Frederick County is another great trout spot in Maryland. The headwaters are contained by Catoctin Mountain National Park and a portion of the lower special regulation area flows through state and county-owned property; the remainder lies within private property. Fishing is permitted within the special regulation area by the generosity of the landowners.

Central Maryland:

  • Howard County is home to the Middle Patuxent River where you can reel in your share of brown, golden and rainbow trout this spring – perfect for the serious angler. Once you’ve secured your Angler Award Certificate, check out Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, a preserved parkland with miles of nature trails.
  • Gunpowder Falls is comprised of more than 18,000 acres in Harford and Baltimore counties. Gunpowder’s narrow corridors host a varied topography ranging from tidal wetlands to steep and rugged slopes. The park features more than 120 miles of multi-use trails, protected state wildlands, historic sites, kayaking, canoeing, a swimming beach, a marina, and some of the best stock trout fishing in Maryland.
  • Great Seneca Creek in Montgomery County is comprised of 6,300 acres, and extends along 14 scenic miles of Seneca Creek – perfect for trout – as it winds its way to the Potomac River.

Southern Maryland:

  • All along the Chesapeake Bay you’ll find charters and guides to take you out on the Bay and its tributaries in search of perch. Centrally located in Anne Arundel County, Annapolis offers charter options to get you out on the Bay. There’s also a wealth of history, tours, dining, shopping, lodging, and entertainment options available in Maryland’s capital city.
  • Mattawoman Creek in Charles County includes extensive wetlands and the large beds of submerged aquatic vegetation, which are critical nursery and feeding grounds for yellow perch. These areas are attractive to anglers for national fishing tournaments, as well as to large fish-eating birds like herons, egrets, and bald eagles.

Trout and Perch

Eastern Maryland:

  • Rising Sun Pond in Cecil County stocks trout during the spring, and is a great place for beginners to learn before taking on bigger water.
  • Kent Narrows, located just across the Bay Bridge in Queen Anne’s County – offers a ton of charter options for groups. Aside from great fishing, this area of Maryland also affords visitors a wide range of things to do, from shopping and dining to a number of golf courses.

Plan Your Trip

If the arrival of springtime has you itching to get out and reel in some trout or perch, start planning your fishing trip in Maryland today. No matter where you decide to go in Maryland this spring, you’re sure to net a great memory. Click here to choose which county you’d like to visit, and here to find charters, retailers, places to stay, and marinas.

Make it a Road Trip:
Many of Maryland’s top fishing spots are located along Maryland’s scenic byways, which are great way to turn a fishing trip into a road trip.

Get a License:
If you’re coming from out of state, or looking to renew your license, be sure to visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website HERE to acquire your license before heading out. To get a license in person, you can visit our service centers HERE.

Put-and-take areas have a five-trout limit and specific spring closures depending on location. White perch season is open year-round with no creel limit (be sure to check for size and lure restrictions). Yellow perch season is also open year-round, with a minimum size of 9 inches, and a daily creel limit of 10. Consult the Maryland Fishing Guide for closure dates and special management area restrictions.

Share Your Experience:
Anglers are encouraged to follow the action and share their experiences on the  Maryland Department of Natural Resources Angler’s Log, a public information sharing board..