Savage River

Guided: Yes Fish Type: Trout
State: MD Current Rating: Fair
County: Garrett Last Updated: May 22, 2017

Great flows at 80-120 for the week. Nymphing is a great way to hook up good numbers of trout in the runs and pockets. Hares Ears. Pheasant Tails, Stoneflies, San Juan Worms and such either beaded or as themselves in #12-#18 will work well. Keep an eye out for Gordons, caddis, and midges on top. You can't go wrong with a Parachute Adams or an RS2 to match those bugs on the surface. Email us for available dates for float trips. 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
The tailwater section of the Savage River became into existence with the completion of the Savage River Reservoir Dam in 1952. In 1982, MD DNR documented the presence of a naturally reproducing brook trout population. Soon thereafter, new water release guidelines were implemented from the dam to improve year-round habitat conditions for trout survival. In 1987, fishery management diverged from Put and Take stocking of hatchery rainbow trout to wild trout management in a portion of the river. Wild trout management was so successful that stocking ceased and the entire 4 miles of the tailwater river was managed as a wild trophy trout fishery by 1991. Today the overall quality of the wild brook and brown trout fishery is truly extraordinary; no other trout fishery in Maryland provides a comparable level of wild trout abundance in such natural surroundings.

The natural beauty of the land bordering the Savage River Tailwater adds to the fishing experience. Heavily forested hillsides of hardwoods and hemlocks along with thick stands of rhododendron and mountain azaleas border this river. The river averages about 55 feet in width, and has a moderate to steep gradient. The river's substrate is composed mainly of boulders and cobble, providing and abundance of pocket water habitat for trout. There are many deep pools and the stream bottom can become quite slippery due to algal growth, so felt or studded soled waders are a must. Flows can vary depending on the release from the dam so please check the website or call 410-962-7687 before a fishing trip. Flows between 50 and 100 cfs are considered good fishing flows.
Fly Fishing Only Trophy Trout Management Area located in the section of the river from the Savage River Reservoir downstream 1.25 miles to the Allegany Bridge. A Trophy Trout Management Area, restricted to the use of artificial lures or flies, is located between the Allegany Bridge and the mouth of the river, a distance of approximately 2.75 miles. Regulations for both Trophy Trout Management Areas include a year-round open season, a 12-inch minimum size limit for brook trout, an 18-inch minimum size limit for brown trout, and a two-trout daily creel limit. There is no minimum size limit on rainbow trout in either area. The stocking of hatchery trout in the SRT was discontinued after 1990. Please consult the Maryland Freshwater Sportfishing Guide for complete regulation details.

Native brook trout and wild brown trout are found in abundance in the Savage River Tailrace. During the 2002 trout population survey, we estimated there are more than 1,000 wild adult trout per mile (combined species). The survey also showed that there are about 150 brown trout greater than 12 inches per mile, and 37 brook trout greater than nine inches per mile! Rainbow trout can also be caught routinely in the Savage River Tailwater; they either swim over the Savage River Reservoir Dam spillway or swim up from the North Branch Potomac River.
From I-68 take Exit 22; turn left onto Chestnut Ridge Road. Continue to stop sign and turn left onto New Germany Road. Travel about 5 miles and turn left onto Big Run Road. Travel to the end of Big Run Road and turn right onto Savage River Road. Continue around the Savage River Reservoir to the Savage River Tailwater below the dam.

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