The Savage River watershed is located in the mountains of Western MD in Savage River State Forest and Big Run State Park. This area of Maryland Presents several different opportunities to fish for Brown, Rainbow, Brook, and even some Cutthroat Trout mixed in.
The upper reaches of the Savage River is manage as a put and take fishery that also maintains a healthy population of Brook trout. There is however, a zero creel limit on Brook Trout here, so all Brook trout must be returned to water immediately. There is a five trout per day limit on any other trout caught in this section.
As you travel downstream towards Savage River Reservoir, you enter Big Run State Park where Savage River gets some extra cold water influences from the Poplar Lick, Monroe Run, and Big Run mountain trout streams. Though these streams are small, they do tend to hold some very feisty and beautiful wild mountain Brook Trout.
Savage River road borders along the Savage River reservoir crossing Dry Run, Middle Fork and Crabtree Creek along the way. These all provide much needed cold water from high mountain runoff into the reservoir. Following along Savage River road, you will approach the Savage River Dam that is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Below the Savage River Dam, the river, and the fish, take on a whole different character. Due to the consistent flow agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the trout in this section of river, which extends for about five miles to the confluence with the North Branch of the Potomac river, tend to be larger and very strong.
This section of the river is made up of pocket water with the very occasional deep pool. It fishes much like the smaller mountain Brook Trout Streams with a lot more water. Caution should be exercised when wading this river no matter the flow of water. The rocks in this river are very round and slippery. Studded wading boots are recommended to cut thru the slime and provide a little more bite on the rocks. Wading with a buddy is always a good idea on this river since it can be so tricky to gain solid footing.
Flows in this river can vary depending on the releases from the Savage River Dam so its best to call ahead or check streamflows before attempting a trip out west. Minimum flows can be as low as 45 CFS while high flow or “whitewater flows” can produce flows well above 1000 CFS. Fishable flows for the lower savage tend to be around the 75-200 CFS mark with water temps in the mid 50’s.