Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Big Hunting Creek Maryland
Big Hunting Creek was the first stream in the state of  
Maryland to be stocked and the first stream to have a
"Fly fishing only" section. Later, a "Catch and Return"
section was added. Today, the stream above
Cunningham Fall Reservoir is maintained entirely as a
wild trout fishery. Only a small number of rainbow and
brook trout are stocked in the tailwater section below the
reservoir. The brown trout in the tailwater are wild,  
stream-bred trout. Both sections are managed under "fly
fishing only - catch and return only" regulations.

Big Hunting Creek flows through the Catoctin National
Park and Cunningham Falls State Park. Since 1974,
both parks have been managed under "Catch and
Return, Fly Fishing Only" regulations.

This is a relatively small stream starting out only about
ten feet in width and growing to a maximum of about
thirty. The section above the lake consist mostly of
pocket water with some runs and riffles. Below the dam,
the tailwater is moves along rather slowly but the rate of
flow picks up further downstream and the declination of
the stream increases. There's a relatively deep George
section that although near the road, isn't exactly easy to
get to or fish. Because of the more difficult access and
the fact it hold a good population of wild brown trout,
altogether, it is probably the best section to fish.

The Potomac Valley Fly Fishermen and the Maryland Fly
Anglers, raise or purchase rainbow and brook trout and
stock the Big Hunting Creek tailwater each spring as
part of the Co-operative Trout Rearing Program. Many
of these weight up to a pound and offer anglers a shot
at larger trout.

Brown trout dominate the population of wild trout in both
sections. There are both wild browns and brook trout in
the non-stocked upper section above the lake but
browns still represent the majority of the trout population.

You can access Big Hunting Creek is from state route
#77. The road closely follows the creek upstream from

Keep in mind the newly stocked trout will take about any
fly because they have been hatchery feed but after two
or three months they get use to eating the natural foods
and insects and become more selective. Also, the stram
has a good population of wild trout and holdover trout
that have been stocked for over a year that are very
selective. For that reason, your odds will be increased if
you use specific imitations of the most plentiful and
available for the trout at the specific time you are fishing.
Perfect Fly is the only fly company in the World with
specific imitations of all the major species of aquatic
insects in all stages of life that trout eat.

The fishing season is open year-round
Springtime is the best time to fish Big Hunting Creek due
to the numerous aquatic insect hatches.
The water can get a little low and warm in July and
August but fly fishing opportunities still exist.
Fall is an excellent time to fish the river. The wild browns
spawn in the fall months.
It is possible to catch trout throughout the winter months.
Type of Stream
Freestone and tailwater

Brown Trout (wild)
Rainbow Trout (Wild and stocked)
Brook Trout (wild and stocked)


Western Maryland

Nearest Towns


Easy to difficult

Non-Resident License
State of Maryland

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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
Priority Mail.