Best Patuxent River Fishing Spots

The main tributaries that feed the Patuxent River include Mattaponi Creek, Little Patuxent River, Western Branch, and the Davidsonville Branch. The Patuxent River bisects the shore of the State of Maryland south to the north. If you're passionate about angling, you can find many catfish, bluefish, pickerel, largemouth bass, snakehead, and bass in this river. The Patuxent is ranked seventh of the bay tributaries of freshwater that feeds the Chesapeake Bay. This article covers some of the best Patuxent River fishing spots you should focus on when planning your next fishing trip at this expansive river.

Where can I fish in the Patuxent River? 

Here are the most popular Patuxent River fishing hot spots:

1. Upper Patuxent near Damascus 

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The stretch between Rts. 27 & 97 of the Patuxent River offers 12 miles of fishing for fish species you catch and release. This spot is full of rainbow trout and brown trout stocked by the DNR. However, it's critical that you read about the trout regulations before heading out.

This a great spot to catch stockies on with an ultralight spinning reel and rod set up. 

Also, note that it can be difficult to find a bank level enough to walk on at some point in the river. If you are fly fishing, we have had great success with a prince nymph and also a san juan worm. Spring stocking is the best season to visit this spot.

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Patuxent River Park

Patuxent River Park

2. WSSC Reservoirs 

The best time to visit this Patuxent River fishing spot is when the boating season starts in May. Rocky Gorge and Triadelphia are two of the many reservoirs managed by the Washington State Sanitary Commission (WSSC). Fishing at both reservoirs is enjoyable from May to November, but you need to purchase a permit to get fishing privileges. Visit the WSSC office at Brighton Dam to buy a pass to use the reservoirs daily or yearly. 

Although you need to pay for a boating pass, it's worth the cost because you can fish for crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluefish, northern pike, yellow perch, tiger Muskie, and striped bass. Jerkbait will guarantee you great action at the Patuxent River.

3. Wooton's Landing Park 

Go fishing at the Wooton's Landing Park, well-armed with Minnows as your primary bait. The best time to try this spot is during spring. You shouldn't overlook the wetlands and ponds on the property. Remember, this is a gated park due to its size and the way the Patuxent River runs. You can get free access by completing a form at the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks. A kayak launch area allows you to fish for largemouth bass, snakehead, white and yellow perch, pickerel, and catfish.

Wooton's Landing is an excellent place to take beginners when teaching them how to fish.

4. Nans Cove 

If you prefer fishing early or late in the day, this is a perfect fishing spot in the Patuxent River. The best time to visit the spot is from June to August. Beetle spins are the best baits for this spot. This cove is located on the banks of the Patuxent River, and a large parking lot is located just off Broomes Island Road. There is a small kayak launch at the end of the road. This cove is also great for fishing for white perch and catfish. This is a great spot to go paddling with the family and enjoy some calm waters.

5. Waysons Corner 

The best time to try this fishing spot is during spring. Ensure you bring along Beetle Spin with a twister tail for the best results. The spot is best for yellow perch as they can be found feeding here in plenty at this time of the year. But, since the run may last only a few weeks, you should read the reports so that you don't miss out. There is so much fish in the nearby river; the water here is much deeper, and much smaller fish are spawning in the nearby creeks. 

There is a pier just a short walk from the Waysons Corner parking area, and there is a lot of good fishing access from the shore south of the Route 4 Bridge. If you plan to take a kayak or canoe, there's a launch area in the parking lot where you can park. 

Cast spinners and other small worms along the sides of fallen trees to catch largemouth bass. And don't forget to set topwater frogs in the grass to catch snakeheads. There is also plenty of northern pike and blue catfish in the area.

6. Kings Landing 

This is a great fishing spot for anglers who love timing the incoming tide. With fresh bunker chunks, you can rest assured of enjoying great action in the Patuxent River. You can keep visiting this spot all year long and be guaranteed to catch plenty of fish. Catfish love the waters just beyond Kings Landing. You can fish from the pier or put your kayak in the water to launch a kayak. If the pier is very crowded, drive a few miles upriver to Lower Marlboro, where you will find a small fishing pier on the other side of the river. There is plenty of parking at both locations, and people mainly fish for catfish at this spot.

What Kind Of Fish Are In The Patuxent River?

Here are some of the fish species you should expect at the Patuxent River:

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1. Bluefish

Patuxent River Bluefish

Bluefish are blue-green fish with silvery sides and have a dark spot on their pectoral fin. They have a strong,  rigid body resembling a torpedo and can travel long distances. They are powerful predators with large mouths and sharp teeth that are able to slice through meat. This fish eats large and small fish such as squid, crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. They are known to be very aggressive when slashing at small prey and killing them quickly. 

Bluefish have been found with up to 70 different species of fish in their guts, including juvenile bluefish, alewives, butterfish and. They are very active during the early years of their lives and grow rapidly. They grow quickly and become larger as they age. Juveniles are attracted to water in estuaries and salt ponds because they are near suitable areas to get food and because they are protected from predators. Bluefish can grow up to 25 pounds and can reach up to 45 inches long.

Anglers catch bluefish near the mouth of the Patuxent River, in sheltered areas such as shoals or in rips where large schools of fish congregate to feed on bait fish. Bluefish have very sharp teeth and they are tremendous fighters, so you should use lines that are at least 20 pound test mono or braid and a wire leader. Single hook topwater plugs fished with a small plastic trailer work the best. Bluefish are usually smoked or grilled fresh for a great flavor.

2. Largemouth Bass 

Patuxent River Largemouth Bass

These are the most popular fish to catch in the United States, and for a good reason! They can grow to healthy sizes in the Patuxent River. Largemouth bass reach an average length of 6 inches in their first year of life, and then it can reach 14 inches or more in their second and eventually reach 18 inches or more in their third year of life. The largemouth bass is very light to dark green in color and is usually taken around some kind of cover, whether it is rocky shoreline or awuatic vegetation. They are a prey species and like to ambush their victims.

Dark blotches form in a horizontal line that runs along the length of the fish. The fish's underbelly is typically light green to white. The largemouth bass has a divided dorsal fin, with nine spines on each side and 12-13 soft rays on each side. Their upper jaw extends way beyond the back of their eyes. 

3. Snakehead

Patuxent River Snakehead

Snakeheads belong to the fish family of the same name. Snakehead fish are recognizable by their long bodies and very pointed heads. The fish has a head that is long and somewhat pointed, reminiscent of a snake. 

Scientists recognize snakehead fish as a family of over 50 different species. But for this guide, we will focus on the well-known Northern Snakehead. They are very similar to most other snakehead fish and have a long, elongated body that looks like a snake. The scales of this fish have a distinctive pattern that appears to be a mix of light and dark brown.

Snakeheads are long fish that grow about three feet long when fully grown. Some of them can reach more than five feet long.

Snakeheads are an invasive species and anglers are encouraged to shoot or catch and eat them in order to keep the population in check and minimize the damage to native species of fish. 

4. White and Yellow Perch

Patuxent River Yellow Perch

Patuxent River Yellow Perch

White perch have smooth, shiny bodies with no distinct markings or dots on them. Yellow perch are brownish-yellow and have distinct dark vertical stripes on their bodies. White perch are some of the best fish to eat in the Patuxent River. Some argue that yellow perch are better, but yellow perch are not nearly as plentiful as whites.

5. Catfish

Patuxent River Catfish

Patuxent River Catfish

Catfish have served as a delicacy in many different cultures. Not only are they good eating, but they are also fun to catch.

You can tell a catfish by the cat-like barbels that can be seen on the sides of their mouth.

Be careful when handling catfish. They have a very sharp spine on their dorsal fin that can cut you, if you are not careful.

Catfish are readily available to catch in the Patuxent river and one of the most sought after species by bank fisherman.

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Wrapping Up

The Patuxent River is free-flowing and supplies the greater Washington Metropolitan area with drinkable water.

It is loaded with many different species of fish. 

The best Patuxent River fishing spots for you  will depend on the type of fish species you're targeting, the time of the year, and the type of bait you want to use.

So, grab some bait and head out to one of these spots and catch some fish for dinner!

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Photo of author

Clarence "Fish" Fishburne

Fish grew up in the south fishing for catfish, bream, bass and anything else he could get to bite his bait or lure. After college he moved to Maryland and now fishes the Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay and other waters in the surrounding area. He frequently travels to other parts of the country in search of his favorite gamefish, the elusive catfish.

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