The DNR created the Battie Mixon fishing ponds by flooding the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal between locks 69 and 70. They are inside the C&O National Historic Park with the C&O towpath running along the southern edge. We owe a debt of gratitude to Battie Mixon who was the Allegany County Game Warden who conceived of the idea to restore this section of the canal, re-water it and open it for fishing. Volunteers implemented the idea in 1945, and now we can enjoy a mile of fishing adjacent to Oldtown, Maryland.
There is plenty of parking on the north edge of the canal with portable toilets if you need them. Do not drive across the canal because the road leads to the tollbooth and the Potomac River. In addition to the trout stocked during the season, cranky smallmouth bass cruise around looking for a fight. The western pond, near the building, has a fishing ramp that extends approximately 20 feet along the edge of the canal and overlooks a deep spot. It is accessible to wheelchairs and is a good place to sit and fish. Above the pier, farther to the west, the trail along the northern bank becomes less obvious and eventually disappears. The northern side of the canal is muddy and full of silt with no “fish holding” depth within 15 feet of the shore. Couple that with the fact that the trail disappears into a muddy shoreline makes fishing from the towpath on the other side the best approach.
East: From I-81 south of Winchester, VA take exit 310 onto VA 37 N. Merge onto US 522 N towards Berkeley Springs. Turn left onto VA 127 W/Bloomery Pike. Turn right onto WV 29 N. WV 29 eventually becomes WV 9 south of Woodrow. Continue on WV 9 to the Maryland border north of Paw Paw. WV 9 becomes MD 51. Continue on MD 51 N/Oldtown Road SE. Turn left on Oldtown Road followed by an immediate right on Opessa Street. Turn left onto Green Spring Road and follow it to the parking area on the right.
West: From I-68 in Cumberland, MD take exit 43 for MD 51 S/S Mechanic Street. Turn right on Oldtown Road followed by an immediate right on Opessa Street. Turn left onto Green Spring Road and follow it to the parking area on the right.
Access Point: Parking lot on north side of the canal (39.540344,-78.612524)
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the Maryland DNR stocking plan.
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Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore