Best Places to Go Fishing in DC Region

WASHINGTON — From year-round fishing spots near Maryland’s biggest city to miles of shoreline around the Chesapeake Bay, the greater D.C. area is rife with opportunities for angers to cast their rods.

Click through the gallery below for some of the best places to go fishing in the D.C. metro area, and read up on local rules and regulations before aiming for your next catch.

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Anacostia Park\n

1900 Anacostia Drive SE, Washington, D.C. 20020\n

Anacostia Park is an optimal recreational fishing destination, especially among anglers who don’t mind the catch and release. However, D.C.’s Department of Energy and Environment advises against eating fish from the Anacostia River, due to chemical contaminants found in certain fish species. But the park, one of the District’s largest recreational areas, and the river, which is in the process of being restored, is an urban oasis offering space to unwind and take a breather.\n

(Courtesy of Anacostia Watershed)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"


Fletcher’s Cove\n

4940 Canal Road, NW, Washington, D.C. 20007\n

A paddling and fishing destination since the mid-1800s, Fletcher’s Cove provides access to both the Potomac River and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Visitors can purchase fishing licenses at The Boathouse, as well as tackle, bait and refreshments. Boats are also available for rent.\n

(AP Photo\/Carolyn Kaster)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"


Potomac River \u2014 Tobytown boat launch\n

12420 Pennyfield Lock Road, Tobytown, Maryland\n

The Potomac River doesn’t just serve as a fine fishing hole. It also offers some of the finest crabbing and shellfishing on the eastern seaboard. Over 400 miles long, the Potomac is the fourth largest river along the Atlantic Coast. Within the waters, you’ll find tasty seafood including bass, pike and walleye.\n

(AP Photo\/J. David Ake)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"


Chesapeake Bay\n

Pooles Island Lighthouse, Chestertown, Maryland 21620\n

The Chesapeake Bay is a huge draw for tourists as well as fishermen, with regional bay hot spots including Annapolis, Baltimore, Chesapeake City and Kent Island in Maryland, to Virginia Beach, Hampton, Portsmouth and Tangier Island in Virginia. About an hour from D.C. by car, and two via public transit, the bay has a wealth over 350 species of fish. Find more information on the Chesapeake Bay Program’s website.\n

(AP Photo\/Jacquelyn Martin, File)\n"},{"type":"ad","media":"


Deep Creek Lake\n

898 State Park Road, Oakland, Maryland 21561\n

If you’re planning on a multiday fishing trip, Deep Creek Lake might be just the area to explore. Located about 180 miles from D.C., Deep Creek Lake offers about 3,900 acres to explore, as well as several fly fishing opportunities in the nearby\u00a0Youghiogheny, Casselman, Potomac and Savage Rivers. The lake is known for its large and smallmouth bass, but is also home to walleye, trout, pickerel, northern pike and yellow perch. Visitors can take their boats out on the lake, or fish from the shore within Deep Creek Lake State Park.\n



Centennial Lake\n

10000 Clarksville Pike (Main\/South), Ellicott City, Maryland 21042\n

Centennial Lake is a man-made lake in Howard County stocked by the State Department of Fisheries. Anglers may find bass, trout, sunfish and tiger muskies in the water, and wildlife including foxes, white-tailed deer and herons in the park around the lake. There are miles of paved paths for visitors to stretch their legs, and rental facilities and picnic pavilions for the public. See the Howard County government page for more information.\n

(AP Photo\/Al Goldis)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"


Tuckahoe Lake\n

13070 Crouse Mill Road, Queen Anne, Maryland 21657\n

Twenty acres of Tuckahoe State Park’s 60-acre lake are available for fishing and boating. The rest is flooded woodland, where you might see wildlife including beavers, muskrats, ospreys and great blue herons. Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Tuckahoe Lake is about 65 miles or about a 1.5-hour drive by car, from D.C.\n

(AP Photo\/Robert F. Bukaty)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"


Johnson’s Pond\n

Rose Street boat ramp, Salisbury, Maryland\n

What used to be a mill pond in colonial times is now mostly used as a recreational lake for fishing, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Conditions are ideal for bass and bluegill, but other fish species including black crappie, yellow and white perch, chain pickerel and catfish live in the pond. Johnson’s Pond is located about 116 miles from D.C., on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Find more information on the Department of Natural Resources website.\n



Liberty Reservoir\u00a0\n

5685 Oakland Road, Eldersburg, Maryland 21784\n

Located about 50 miles from D.C., Liberty Reservoir was initially created for Baltimore to use as a public water supply. Now, the reservoir is home to warm, cool and cold water fish species including bass, bluegill, crappie and white perch. It’s not a lake for the timid\u00a0\u2014 fish in these waters are known to reach trophy size, with some of the fish in the 40-pound range, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Find more information on the department’s website.\n



Riverbend Park\n

8700 Potomac Hills Street, Great Falls, Virginia 22066\n

Aptly named for its location on a bend in the Potomac River, Riverbend Park offers fishing opportunities for anglers both off and on the water. The park has a launch ramp for small boats and provides boat, canoe or kayak rentals. Fishing equipment is also available to rent at the rental site. The waters teem with smallmouth bass, sunfish and channel catfish. Young fishers or beginner anglers can learn fishing basics with a park naturalist from May through September. The park also allows fishing-themed birthday bashes that include bank fishing, games and activities. Find more information on the Fairfax County Park Authority website.\n

(WTOP\/Kristi King)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"


Burke Lake\n

7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, Virginia 22039\n

About 25 miles from D.C., Burke Lake is a state-owned public fishing lake in Fairfax County. Because of the reservoir’s popularity as a fishing destination, it’s stocked annually with walleye, muskellunge and channel catfish. Anglers may also find\u00a0largemouth bass, bluegill, perch and sunfish in the water. Two boat ramps, fishing piers and unlimited bank fishing around the lake provide numerous opportunities to cast a rod. Additional recreational opportunities around the lake include a hiking\/biking trail, picnic area, campgrounds, golf driving range and golf course. Find more information on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.\n

(AP\/Carolyn Kaster)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"


Lake Fairfax\n

1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston, Virginia 20190\n

Visitors can go fishing in Lake Fairfax all year round, but spring is when the lake is stocked with thousands of pounds of rainbow trout. The trout, which are safe to eat, are stocked consistently from February into April. The lake also has bluegills, largemouth bass, channel catfish and crappies. Visitors must purchase a one-day or seasonal trout fishing pass, to fish in Lake Fairfax. Both are available for purchase on site. Find more information on the Fairfax County Park Authority website.\n



Lake Brittle\u00a0\n

4354 Lake Brittle Road, Warrenton, Virginia 20187\n

Built in the 1950s for public fishing, the 77-acre lake supports a warm water fish community. Largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, black crappie and channel catfish swim in the waters. Lake Brittle has also been stocked with walleye every year since 1979. The lake is about 45 miles from D.C. Find more information on the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.\n



Lake Curtis\n

58 Jesse Curtis Lane, Stafford, Virginia 22554\n

Stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish, Lake Curtis has ample shoreline access for prime fly fishing conditions. The lake is about 53 miles from D.C. It sits near Curtis Memorial Park, which has picnic tables, tennis courts, a swimming pool and golf course for additional recreation. Find more information on the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.\n

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The District’s fishing regulations help preserve and increase fish diversity in D.C. waters, home to more than 67 fish species. A fishing license, which costs $10, is required for anyone between the ages of 16 and 65 to fish in D.C. A District Fishing License can be purchased online or at the following vendor locations:

The Boathouse at Fletcher’s Cove
4940 Canal Road, NW, Washington, D.C. 20007

Fragers Hardware
1115 Penn. Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. 20003

Dicks Sporting Goods (#1276)
2470 Market Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20018

Cheverly Sports Fair
5621 Landover Road, Hyattsville, Maryland 20784

Fred’s Sports & Furniture
2895 Crain Highway, Waldorf, Maryland 20601

National Bass Guide Service
8619 Camden Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22308

The licenses are valid from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of the calendar year marked on the license, and must be displayed while the permit holder goes fishing. Find more information on the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment website.


Anyone over the age of 16 who plans on fishing in Maryland waters must have a license. Anglers can purchase a license online through the Department of Natural Resources website. The licenses are valid for 365 from the date of purchase.

Annual non-tidal licenses that allow fresh water fishing in the state cost $20.50 for residents. Nonresidents can purchase licenses at a minimum of $30.50. Short-term licenses are also available. Seven day non-tidal licenses cost $7.50 for residents. Out of state anglers can purchase a license for a fee equal to that a Maryland resident is charged in the visitor’s home state. Three day licenses are only available for nonresidents to purchase.

Find more information on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.


Virginia requires various fishing licenses depending on location and type. More information on the licenses can be found on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website. Anglers can purchase their licenses online, by calling 1-866-721-6911 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or in person from licensed agents around the Commonwealth.

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