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Five Great Fishing Spots for Families

With COVID-19 changing the way we work, live and learn, many are finding that their favorite forms of entertainment are off-limits. Team sports and many summer camps are on hold as families find new ways to relax. One favorite pastime that has increased in popularity during the pandemic: fishing.

Every year more than 50 million Americans will go saltwater or freshwater fishing, and the sport is gaining in popularity as more families see the mental and physical benefits of fishing.

Charlie Ebersberger, owner of Anglers Sports Center, one of the area’s largest outfitters for fishing and boating, has seen a noted increase in traffic since reopening on May 1. “We’ve seen at least a 30-percent increase in interest from beginner anglers and families that want to teach their kids to fish,” Ebersberger says.

“Families are tired of being cooped up in the house all day and they want something that they can all participate in, but also remain socially distant. Fishing is the perfect activity for that.”

As fishing is mainly a solitary or small group pursuit, it is ideally suited for social distancing. In order to cast a rod, anglers will naturally need to be spaced apart, and a tranquil, peaceful spot may bring greater odds of a good catch. With more than a fifth of Maryland made up entirely of water, there are dozens of great saltwater and freshwater fishing options. These five fishing spots boast natural beauty, tranquility and the possibility of a big catch.

1. Loch Raven Reservoir

12101 Dulaney Valley Road, Phoenix | 410-887-7692

This 2,400-acre reserve just outside of Towson is teeming with large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, white perch, crappie, pickerel, walleye, catfish, yellow perch and northern pike. At the fully equipped fishing center, anglers can rent rods, tackle, kayaks and small boats. Food and sundries are also available.

2. Centennial Lake

Centennial Lake

10000 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City | 410-313-7303

This 50-acre impoundment of the Little Patuxent River is popular with families due to its accessibility, variety of fish, and amenities at Centennial Park. The lake has large mouth bass, tiger muskie, panfish, channel catfish, and rainbow trout, and is regularly stocked each season from area hatcheries. Centennial Lake also hosts summer programs including ‘learn to fish’ workshops for kids and adults, fishing tournaments, and a popular ‘Nite Bites’ fishing program in the summer that allows anglers to fish up until 11 p.m.

3. Wye Mills Lake

14214 Old Wye Mills Road, Wye Mills | 410-820-1668

Wye Mills Lake

Just fifteen miles from the Bay Bridge, this 50-acre lake in Wye Mills is one of the largest freshwater ponds on the Eastern Shore. Established in colonial times in order to divert water for power at a grain mill, the lake’s bucolic setting and nearby attractions like the historic Wye Mill, make this a great destination for families. With largemouth bass, bluegill, white and black crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish, brown bullhead catfish, common carp, yellow perch, gizzard shad, and golden shiners, anglers can catch a variety of fish all year long. Parts of the lake abut private property, but kids can find room to fish along the shore near the Old Wye Grist Mill and Museum.

4. Waterworks Park

260 Defense Highway, Annapolis | 410-263-7958

waterworks 2

Just a mile from Annapolis mall on Defense Highway, Waterworks Park is one of the area’s best-kept secrets and a great spot for beginner anglers. The three freshwater fishing ponds are stocked with bass, and are catch and release only. A permit, which can be purchased through the Annapolis Department of Parks and Recreation, is required for entrance to the park, and anglers must bring their own rods and tackle. A nature-lover’s paradise, visitors regularly spot beavers, heron and other wildlife near the ponds and the 600 acres of biking and hiking trails make it a great choice for families looking for a tranquil escape.

5. Kings Landing Park

3255 Kings Landing Road, Huntingtown | 410-535-2661

Kings Landing Park

With a two-hundred-foot fishing pier that stretches into the Patuxent River, Kings Landing Park in Calvert County is a picturesque spot to cast for bass, catfish, chain pickerel and bluefish. A former YMCA camp, Kings Landing has amenities like canoe and kayak access, a boardwalk that meanders through marshland, hiking trails through meadows and forests, and full picnic facilities.

For tips and fishing reports, check out these sources:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Find information on state fishing laws, purchase permits or research state parks with fishing options.

Anglers Sports Center
One of the area’s largest outfitters, the site contains fishing tutorials, weekly reports, and online seminars for the beginning and expert fisherman.

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation nonprofit whose mission is to promote fishing and boating, the site has dozens of videos, articles and fishing maps by state.

Tips for Fishing Beginners

Safety first. Always be sure to space yourself accordingly from other anglers, wear PFDs near the water, and have adult supervision nearby.

Start off simply. “You don’t need fancy equipment to try your hand at fishing,” says Charlie Ebersberger, owner of Anglers Sports Center. “You can get a starter rod and reel set for $25.”

Check fishing reports. Sites like the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, fishing blogs, and area sports centers like Anglers post regular daily fishing reports.

Choose your bait. Bait can be as simple as worms dug from the yard or grass shrimp caught from pilings with an inexpensive shrimping net.

Educate yourself. Learn the ins and outs of tying, casting, and reeling through websites like Takemefishing.org which feature tips, videos and online seminars for beginners.

Be patient. Fishing is a process and part of the fun is trying something new while enjoying the great outdoors.

Do I need a license?

Individuals under the age of 16 are not required to obtain a license to sport fish/crab.
Adults, however, most likely need one. Here’s where to find all the details, depending on where you’re heading: 

By Katie Riley

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