Area Spotlight – Casselman River

The Casselman River is a long, low gradient river that runs through Garrett County Maryland and ends in the Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania.  It is managed as a delayed harvest stream, with all fishing catch-and-release from October 1st through June 15th each year.  After June 15th, the shallow rocky water becomes too warm for trout, and regulations shift to allow harvest of the stocked rainbows.

Stocking occurs multiples times during the year, typically in the fall, spring, and winter. Peak season is from April through May, and depending on the weather, into early June. Once stocked, the fish can be targeted with typical nymphs, size 14-18, like Hare’s Ears and Princes.  These can be fished with an indicator or straight-line, as the water depth is no more than 2-3 feet usually and the fish are willing to hit a swung fly.  Many people fish this river with Woolly Buggers and other small streamers and do well.  As the water warms, standard dry flies like Parachute Adams and Elk Hair Caddis work very well, and are the most fun way to work the river.

Fish here are almost all Rainbow Trout, with fish in the 10″ to 14″ range dominating the catch.  There are bigger fish here, some up to 20″, and these are stocked with the smaller ‘bows.  In addition, and as a tributary to the Yough, some warm-water fish will show up, including bream and Smallmouth Bass.

A nice Casselman River Smallmouth Bass that took an Elk Hair Caddis.

I think of the Casselman as a great river for the first-time trout fisherman.  The currents and seams are fairly predictable, the fish forgiving and in some cases large, and the wading easy.  And with it’s proximity to the Savage River, it’s a short drive away from trophy Brown Trout and Brook Trout fishing if you get bored with the Casselman’s acrobatic stocked Rainbows.

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