One of the more popular areas on the Casselman River is the improved access point under the I68 bridge. Given the disappointment of the midsection of the Casselman, I was hopeful that this area would result in a better experience.
There is an improved parking area and disabled fisherman access point/deck under the I68 bridge. The local Trout Unlimited chapter teamed with a number of other organizations to do bank improvements and build the structure. Additionally, during the low water conditions I experienced, this section was the only place where I saw all a pool deep enough to hold fish. In fact, as I looked down from the deck, I could see some trout finning in the water below.
If you do not want to fish right off the deck, walk upstream a few yards and clamber down the rock bank to get into the water. However, since this is the lower limit of both the stocked and delayed harvest area, it will not serve any purpose to fish farther upstream (note that the river flows from north to south). The Casselman warms in the summer and all trout die by the time July rolls around. In addition, it’s noted for the low water levels that it experiences during the hot summer months– so don’t bother to go farther upstream. I’m not sure, but I do not believe the river supports any smallmouth bass either. If you want to attack the deck pool from a downstream position, just walk a few yards downstream and you’ll see the beaten trail that other fishermen have used to access this pool in the past.
The water was a chilly 44° on the day in early October when I fished. While the trout were there, they were not interested in anything that I had to throw at them. I tried both terrestrial and streamer patterns to no effect. Uncharacteristically, I continued to work my way downstream instead of upstream. Given that hindsight always results in 20/20 vision, I wish I had driven to the historic bridge on the other side of Main Street and fished upstream towards the I68 bridge structure. This would’ve allowed me to approach the fish from a downstream position and have a better chance of not spooking them. But, I was here, already committed and also feeling a bit frustrated from what I experienced downstream in the middle section. So I continued to fish my way down with no results.
Granted, there was a lot of construction underway near the bridge that was kicking up quite a commotion. The construction guys were hitting the section underneath the Main Street bridge heavily (must have been a long, long break). With all that, I guess I got the best that could be expected. At least I was able to confirm that at low water conditions this is a likely destination for the stock truck. In fact, I bet that most of the 500 fish deposited here in the 2008 fall stocking ended up in the deeper pools between the two bridges.
Since this is so built up and easily accessed, I assume it gets the most pressure. The banks on the north side of the Main Street bridge are all improved and feature mowed grass. It’s not scenic here at all – you get to see three different bridges, hear traffic and know that on a warm day, there will be crowds enjoying the park.
Bottom line: No real change from my assessment of the midsection. I am convinced that this is a spring destination. In spring, the higher flows will produce better conditions for stocked trout dispersion which will spread the pressure and make for more enjoyable experience. You will be able to fish more of the river with the greater likelihood of catching fish. I’m still amazed that a river like the Casselman is only a stocked trout destination. This means that it is totally subject to the vagaries of stocked trout production and, more importantly, trout stamp sales.
To enjoy a good fishing experience here in the spring, we all have to support trout license sales – which in turn supports hatchery production. So, for our mutual benefit we need to do what we can to encourage people to take up the sport, buy the licenses and have a good time. Along those lines, I encourage everyone to freely share advice on publicly known fishing locations. As you can see from the trip reports on this web site, there are certainly plenty of public spots to spread the pressure across — making for a more enjoyable experience for all of us.
Along those lines, you can fish the Casselman, Bear Creek and the Yough all on the same day – they are close enough together. So, if it is too busy here, just run down I68 a few more miles and you have other options.
Getting There: Take exit 19 from I68 north onto Rt 495. Turn right on Main street and follow the road down to the river. After you cross the river, turn right on the dirt road that leads to the base of the bridge.
Google Local Coordinates: 39.695234,-79.139585
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Guide to Maryland Trout Fishing
Main parking area and developed access point under I68
Looking upstream from the I68 bridge
Looking downstream from the I68 bridge
Looking back towards I68 from the end point.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore