Maryland DNR
Fishing Deep Creek Lake can be a cool down from what you're normally used to in the summertime

MCHENRY, Md. — The first thing you notice is the cool air. Nestled in the western mountains of Maryland, not far from the West Virginia border, is a unique lake which can be a gem for a summer retreat.

Deep Creek Lake is a highland reservoir that features attributes normally confined to the deep south.

“It has characteristics of each,” said Brent Nelson, a longtime guide on the lake. “You go really far south into Turkey Neck and Green Glade you feel like you’re in a southern impoundment. there’s a lot of meadow grass, lily pads, and cattails. Then you get down to the dam you get that rocky shoreline and it looks like a highland reservoir. We have two very different types of habitat on the lake.”

The deepest point in the area near the dam is about 90 feet. Nelson said however, anything deeper than 30 feet is a waste of time. A thermocline keeps the fish in more shallow depths with a lack of oxygen in the deepest portions. However, fish at Deep Creek have no need to go very deep, the surface temperature through July and August stays in the 60 to 70 degree range. Nights and mornings are the magical times.

“They are all crawfish oriented and the crawfish become active as night time approaches. So the bass in turn come up into the shallows, especially smallmouth to feed on crawfish,” Nelson said. “Then we have a great top water bite early in the morning. The zooplankton rise to the surface at night and the tiny fish feed on those, then the larger smallmouth and largemouth start feeding on those and take the upper end of that food chain.”

Nights also become much calmer on this popular water. The area is a haven for pleasure craft. Personal water craft, water skiing, speed boats,and pontoons ply the waters during the day, but in the evening the activity dies down dramatically and offers calmer and quieter conditions to search out hidden pockets which hold fish.

“The menagerie of fish we have in the lake is phenomenal. We have some of the biggest bluegills in the eastern United States, jumbos 10 or 12 inches. We have tremendous walleye population, a lot of yellow perch, nice crappie,” Nelson said. “It’s just a nice lake featuring a wide range of species.”

He left out the northern pike and chain pickerel which also thrive in the cooler waters at the higher elevation.

“A lot of things have changed in the last few ears or so, our aquatic vegetation has really become prolific out in the lake.  A lot of the bass have changed up and they’re not under the docks, they’re out in that deeper grass,” Nelson said. “The savvy anglers are figuring it out, it’s not an easy deal, but once you figure it out you can catch some nice ones.”

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  • logan co boy

    I love reading how other state lakes offer great fishing. What about our lakes if u question the dnr they blame the us army corp which is true. Yes im one of those bass guys who runs down the lake with my hair on fire. But does anyone realize how much money we spend on what we love. I would love to stay home and catch quality fish but no I must drive 4hrs to another state. Stonewall is nice but if im driving 3hrs im going to va or tn

  • Killabee

    Great job Chris! Please keep reporting on these great fisheries. If you go to Deep Creek Lake, you will find as many people from WV as you will MD. It is a beautiful place and western MD is truly a treasure, it doesn't matter what state it is in!

  • Greg

    Thanks for the article on a new spot to fish.

    One thing that I was hoping to see is price of a non-resident license in the story.

  • Jim

    If WV would only put the time and effort in that MD does then we would have very good fishing like MD. I'm a WV resident but Trout fish MD all the time. The streams are excellent and the trout stocking program speaks for itself. Thanks for posting Chris L.

  • fayette

    You People are great. Keep up the good work chris. Its a great day to be a mountaineer even if you are from out of state reading this.

  • Adam

    I wonder if the Sports section is going to start writing stories about the upcoming Terp's football season rather than the Mountaineers, or possibly the News section will start covering the political happenings of Annapolis instead of Charleston.

  • northforkfisher

    I feel that if your going to do a show called WV outdoors then you are a spokesman for the state. Sorry but you are consider the voice of all of us where the outdoors are concerned.

  • Marion

    Deep creek is an awesome fishery . Another is North Branch below Jennings Randolph dam. Some awesome trout fishing. !

  • Adam

    The slogan of the site is "The Voice of West Virginia". While Deep Creek may have good fishing, so do many waters in WV. Stonewall Jackson and the New River gets some press, as well as a couple others, but many do not.

    The article was a good read, but I read stories on this site to get news and current events inside the Mountain State.

  • Chris Lawrence

    Perhaps. But good fishing is good fishing regardless of where it is. Making sure folks come to WV isn't necessarily my job, we have a tourism office for that. I try to write topics which would interest sportsmen.....mainly in WV....but not exclusively. Stay tuned in the days ahead...I'll take it international.

    Thanks for reading.

    • leroy

      +1 chris

  • northforkfisher

    Why are posting a lake outside of the State, instead of something within our own borders. I'm glad to read about it don't get me wrong, but I think that a nonresident was checking out this site they would be compelled to go there. That means no revenue for us in the sell of licensing, bait and tackle, boat rentals, and more.