North Branch of the Potomac

Guided: Yes Fish Type: Trout, Smallmouth, Tiger Musky
State: MD Current Rating: Good
County: Garrett Last Updated: Sep 12, 2017

Flows are at Fall levels around 250-350 depending on the river section and the fishing has been very productive. Rainbows and Browns in the 12"-22" range have been landed this week and things will stay productive through November. Larger browns are starting to show more and more as we move into late Fall for their spawning to begin. 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 streamers like Dungeons and Bottom's Ups 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. On our floats we tend fish the following flies and rigs 90% of the time; #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 still hitting topwater and are catch #'s are still above 50 fish per day. Email us for available dates for float trips this Fall. We have a few openings available. For all Chuck Kraft fly patterns and materials 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.

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