Smallmouth – Patapsco River Bass Fishing (MD – Ellicot City – River Road Junction)

It had been a long time since I fished the Patapsco downstream of Ellicott City. The last time, I drove a significant distance along River Road and parked at the last turnout I could find. The water was clear and deep, and it was challenging to find a place to wade. This time, I parked at the second turnout after veering onto River Road and walked down a broad trail to the sandy riverbed. As I rigged up, two pretty young ladies showed up and popped lawn chairs into the middle of the shallow river to sunbathe. Looking up!

After getting ready, I realized that the river looked remarkably different from my earlier visit. More rocks were showing. It looked awful shallow. Maybe this is just the way it was closer to the city. After one last look at the ladies, I headed downstream, fishing surface poppers and attracting plenty of attention from small sunfish. At the first deep spot I found (and It is relative to the rest of the river – only about 2 feet), I finally hooked a 10-inch smallmouth bass. So, they must be here.

I continued fishing downstream with no further bass action. After walking across a broad rocky beach, I flipped my nymph into a riffle and was immediately rewarded by a strong tug. I was totally surprised when I brought the fish to hand to discover I had caught a trout! This section is not stocked, so this guy had to migrate from many miles upstream. Although he was doomed to die in another week or two when the water warms up, I released him back to live a few more days.

Another quarter mile downstream, the mystery of the shallow water was solved. A sign hanging from a tree warned anyone who used the river that further progress was prohibited since the dam had been removed. I took a look downstream, and the water looked even shallower than what I had experienced so far. With that, I trudged back up my vehicle.

Glancing at my watch, I realized I had another half hour before I needed to leave. Therefore, I did a recon upstream and was startled to discover a remarkably different vista. The river lost the visible rocks in exchange for deep, almost unwadeable depth. This must be where the fish are! The good section stretched for approximately 100 yards and maybe more. I’ll have to check that out on my next visit.

Bottom Line: Don’t fish downstream. Stay close to the city.

Getting There: From 29 northbound, take exit 24A onto Rt 40 eastbound. Turn right at Rogers Ave and then left onto Rt 144. Follow it and turn right onto River Road (it is a Y intersection across from a small gas station where you can get a sandwich). Pull off and park anyplace that is legal along River Road.

Secrets Revealed? No. The Patapsco is a well known fishing river that is documented on the Maryland DNR website.

Date Fished: 06/17/2012Tell a friend about this article by clicking on this link

Downstream from parking

Upstream to the sunbathing spot

Broad rocky beach

A trout!

Downstream to the old dam

Warning sign

Upstream into the nice area

The good water looks like it continues all the way to the riffle

Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore

Articles on this site are out of date since some go back to 2006. Regulations and property ownership may have changed since publication. It is your responsibility to know and obey all regulations and not trespass on private property.

Disclaimer and Warning:  The contents of this site reflect the opinion of the author and you, the reader, must exercise care in the use and interpretation of this information.  Fishing is a dangerous sport.  You can slip and fall on rocks and sustain severe injury.  You can drown.  You can get hooks caught in your skin, face, eyes or other sensitive places.  All sorts of bad things can happen to you when to go into the woods to visit the places documented here.  Forests, streams and lakes are wild areas and any number of bad things can happen.  You must make your own judgment in terms of acceptable behavior and risk and not rely on anything posted here.  I disclaim all liability and responsibility for any actions you take as a result of reading the articles on this site.  If you do not agree with this, you should not read anything posted on this site.

Disclaimer and Warning:  The contents of this site reflect the opinion of the author and you, the reader, must exercise care in the use and interpretation of this information.  Fishing is a dangerous sport.  You can slip and fall on rocks and sustain severe injury.  You can drown.  You can get hooks caught in your skin, face, eyes or other sensitive places.  All sorts of bad things can happen to you when to go into the woods to visit the places documented here.  Forests, streams and lakes are wild areas and any number of bad things can happen.  You must make your own judgment in terms of acceptable behavior and risk and not rely on anything posted here.  I disclaim all liability and responsibility for any actions you take as a result of reading the articles on this site.  If you do not agree with this, you should not read anything posted on this site.

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