Potomac River and Tributaries

Information gathered from Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Maryland Side of the River

Ft. Washington / Piscataway Creak (Prince Georges County)

Description and Fish Species

The water off of Ft. Washington varies from shallow areas above and below the lighthouse, to fairly deep water just at the point itself. The point has been rip-rapped with boulders to help keep erosion at bay, so fish accordingly. If you are able to fish from a boat in Piscataway Creek, be mindful of the channel markers. Much of the Creek itself is very shallow, but it is worth working your way through the flats to fish along the structure near shore. The grass beds are great places to catch bass and perch, and the deeper holes hold some really big catfish. Fish species found at Ft. Washington/ Piscataway Creek include large catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass (few), bluegill sunfish, pumpkinseed, white and yellow perch, eel, carp and crappie.

Water Access

Ft. Washington Park – Allows fishing at the base of the lighthouse where Piscataway Creek meets the Potomac River. The park covers 341 acres and has picnic areas, hiking, biking, and playgrounds for the kids. There is a fee for entering the park, but annual passes can also be purchased. For more information on Ft Washington Park, call (301)763-4600.

Ft. Washington Marina - Boat access to Piscataway Creek and the Potomac River are available at Ft. Washington Marina for a fee. The Marina also has a restroom and some vending machines.

Piscataway Park (National Park Service) - There is some bank fishing available at Piscataway park at Farmington Landing and the National Colonial Farm. Farmington Landing is on the South side of Piscataway and can be reached via Wharf Rd. National Colonial Farm is located just south of Piscataway and is on the mainstem of the Potomac. Inquiries as to places to fish can be obtained at the Park Visitor Center (phone: 301-283-2113).

License Requirements

A Virginia Freshwater Fishing License or a Maryland Chesapeake Bay Sportfishing license is required to fish the tidal portion of Piscataway Creek and the tidal Potomac. On Piscataway Creek the dividing line between fresh and tidal waters is the bridge on Maryland Rt. 224 (Livingston Rd.). Above the bridge a Maryland Freshwater License is required.

Directions

To Ft. Washington Park – From Rt. 210 south of the Beltway take either Fort Washington Rd. or Old Fort Rd. west to the Park Entrance. Fees apply to park admittance. Call (301)763-4600 for more information.

To Ft. Washington Marina - From Rt. 210 south of the Beltway take either Fort Washington Rd. or Old Fort Rd. west to Warburton Dr. (turn left), follow to King Charles Drive and turn right. There is a fee to use the boat ramp at the marina.

To Piscataway Park – From Rt. 210 south of the Beltway take Farmington Rd. (west) to either Wharf Rd., if you want to fish Farmington Landing in Piscataway, or Bryan Pt. Rd. if you want to fish at National Colonial Farm on the Potomac.

Mattawoman Creek (Charles County)

Description and Fish Species

Mattawoman Creek is primarily a shallow tributary to the Potomac River, but does have a defined channel for most of its navigable length. There is a 6 mph speed limit on the north side of the creek where the channel is close to the US Naval Surface Warfare Center. Boat speed is enforced by the military. Vegetation is thick at certain times of the year in Mattawoman with both SAV and lily beds being abundant throughout much of the creek. Other good fishing structures include downed trees, overhanging brush, concrete rip-rap, old barges and pilings. Largemouth bass is the most sought-after species, but Mattawoman also has catfish, carp, bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish, perch, pickerel, crappie and longnose gar. An occasional striper is not out of the question either.

Mattingly Park and Boat Ramp (Upper Mattawoman Creek)

Mattingly was formerly known as Slavens Ramp. It is now run by the Town of Indian Head and is adjacent to Mattingly Park on the upper end of Mattawoman Creek. A small pier is available for fishing and there is limited shore access. The boat launch is best suited for small bass boats or similar watercraft. A launch fee applies. Inquiries should be directed to (301) 743-5511.

License Requirements

A Virginia Freshwater Fishing License or a Maryland Chesapeake Bay Sportfishing license is required to fish the tidal portion of Mattawoman Creek and the tidal Potomac. The dividing line for Mattawoman Creek is Md. Rt. 225. Above the bridge a Freshwater Fishing license is required.

Directions to Smallwood State Park

From Rt. 301 south off the Beltway - Take Rt. 225 west in LaPlata, then take a left onto Rt. 224 to the Smallwood State Park Entrance on your right.

From Rt. 210 (Indian Head Highway) south of the Beltway – Take Rt. 225 east in Indian Head, then make a right onto Rt. 224 and follow the signs to the Smallwood State Park Entrance on your right.

Directions to Mattingly Park Ramp

Take Rt 210 (Indian Head Highway) south of the Beltway. In the town of Indian Head make a left onto Mattingly Ave. just before the base gates. The ramp is at the end of the road.

Marshall Hall (Charles County)

Description and Fish Species

This ramp enters the mainstem of the Potomac River so varying depths and fishing conditions exist, depending on whether you fish from shore or boat. From shore, there is a wide “flat” on this part of the river, commonly referred to as “Greenway Flats”. Water depth is shallow and the flat often is covered with vegetation. Fish commonly found here are catfish, largemouth bass, different kinds of sunfish, and an occasional smallmouth bass. Because of the flat shelf and solid bottom wading may also be a productive way to fish south of the ramp. The area adjacent to the north side of the ramp has a lot rip-rap rocks and boulders. If fishing from a boat, there are many channels and coves to fish but be mindful of the channel markers and look out for the larger boats that travel up and down the river.

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