The Casselman River delayed harvest area stretches north from I68 all the way to the Pennsylvania state line. River Road parallels much of the river and establishes the logical boundaries for stocking. I visited the Casselman in early October; about two weeks after the fall stocking. Since this was the first time I’d finished this river, I drove along River Road to get an eyeful and see what was here. The first problem I observed was that the water was exceptionally low. Unless the stock truck was augmented by a significant number of volunteers to haul fish from the road to widely dispersed pools, I am sure that their cargo was unloaded at the convenient spots next to the road.
Since it all looked pretty much the same, I pulled over at a convenient turn out and walked down to the river in search of some action. The area between the river and the road was almost parklike. It had a number of tall trees and random undergrowth scattered around. The bank of the river was protected by a band of taller undergrowth that did not present any problem to the small clippers I carry with me.
As I pushed my way through to the river, I was impressed with potential that was not being fulfilled on this day. The river bottom is wide, rocky and has good structure that would hold fish if only the water were higher. Looking at the slow dribble of flow that existed, I was not optimistic that I would find anything in this stretch. I was here, so I walked upstream looking for a deeper hole or any signs of fish skittering away upon my approach.
I danced and balanced my way across the rocks for over a quarter of a mile without encountering either a pool deep enough for fish or fish stranded in unfavorable water by the vagaries of the stocking truck. I realized that this was not a place where I was going to catch anything or even find anything, so I walked back to the truck and left.
The Casselman River is one of the notable trout rivers in Maryland. However, it gains its reputation from the quality of the experience it provides during the high spring flows. The Maryland DNR reinforces that reputation by providing a good number of fish, many of them large, during the spring stocking season. While they loaded it with 500 fish in the fall stocking, they clearly did not put them in the middle section of the river. There was just not enough water here.
Bottom line: This is not a fall destination without the preparation provided by heavy rains. Looking at where the road parallels the river, I’m sure that this body of water gets its reputation from fish being able to disperse quickly from the stocking points next to the road in a higher spring flows. Without enough water to permit this, the fall stockers were probably deposited in a few deeper sections – none of which I encountered. The Casselman does have a delayed harvest regulation, so theoretically the fish should still be there minus any removed by predators.
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 left onto River Road. River Road follows the river for the entire length of the delayed harvest area. At times, it veers away from the river and it did not appear that there were any access points across the farmland once the road left the river. If there is a good rain in the spring, I bet the area between the last turnoff and the state line (about 3000 ft of river) would be great to fish – the walk will discourage many folks. But – the fish have to have the water to disperse into this area.
Google Local Coordinates: 39.705338,-79.136238
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Guide to Maryland Trout Fishing
Looking upstream from the entry point. You can see the potential. This is a wide river, fairly flat with plenty of good structure for the fish.
Given the gentle gradient and the low banks, it should be reasonably easy to wade in the spring. In addition, the trees are out of the way! You will not lose many flies here!
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore