North Branch of the Potomac

Guided: Yes Fish Type: Trout, Smallmouth, Tiger Musky
State: MD Current Rating: Good
County: Garrett Last Updated: May 22, 2017

Flows are great at 300-500 depending on the river section and larger fish are on the feed. It's streamer time of year on the NB. Big and articulated especially on the lower river can give you the largest brown's in the river. 1x-0x is your tippet size. Articulated "mops" in white, olive and black are good bets along with crayfish colors. Kreelexes in #2-#1/0 will bring both browns and rainbows to your fly. #2-#1 Clawdads and 6th men are a great way to throw double streamer rigs to the banks if you are wading or floating. Smallmouth in the lower section are in pre spawn mode and are setting up in 2-6 feet of water. We will lay off them for a few weeks so they can do their thing. Email us for available dates for float trips. For all Chuck Kraft fly patterns and paterials to tie all of his flies go to For our Youtube site for Chuck Kraft's instructional videos and more go to
A clean-up and the construction of the Jennings Randolph Dam in the early 1980's has resulted in one of Maryland's and West Virginia's finest trout fisheries. A number of tributaries of the North Branch now have lime-dosing structures to counter acidic water conditions. The North Branch now offers temperature and PH conditions conducive to Browns, Rainbows, Brook and Cutthroat trout. Much of the North Branch is wadeable. It should be fished with chest waders, cleated wading shoes and a wading staff. As with other Garrett County waters, it is important to remember that stream flows are controlled by dam releases, and can change suddenly. Caution and local guide advice are highly recommended to newcomers to the North Branch.
Because of its status as a border stream, and its limited accessibility, both Maryland and West Virginia licenses are recognized. There are two catch and release (artificial flies and lures only) sections of the North Branch. The first is a 3/4-mile catch and release section in Mineral County near Barnum. This upper section begins about 100 yards above concrete bridge pilings, where a wire hanging across the river with a wooden sign marks the actual line. It ends with another wire and wooden sign below the reservoir dam. The second is a 4-mile catch and release section just below Blue Hole and extending downstream to the confluence of Piney Swamp Run.

 Catch & Return Map
 Projected Releases
 USGS Water Data
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