Savage River Tailwater Trophy Trout Fishing Area

Located in Garrett County


Physical/ Habitat Description - 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 the use of a wading staff or studded soled waders is greatly advised felt soles are currently banned in Maryland 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.

Savage Brook Trout

Fish Species - 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.

Restrictions - The regulation strategy includes a 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 was discontinued after 1990. Please consult the Maryland Guide to Fishing and Crabbing​ for complete regulation details.

History - The tailwater section of the Savage River became into existence with the completion of the Savage River Reservoir Dam in 1952. In 1982, Maryland Department of Natural Resources 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.


Contact Us - Comments and questions regarding fishing the Savage River Trophy Trout Fishing Area can be directed to:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Fishing and Boating Services
1728 King's Run Road, Oakland, MD 21550
301-334-8218 or  customerservice.dnr@maryland.gov