Fishing on The C&O
Hook, Line and Sinker
Finding a great fishing spot in DC and Maryland is a walk in the park, literally. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal has a lot of great fishing spots alone it's 184.5 mile journey from Washington DC to Cumberland Maryland.
Fishing the C&O Canal takes little more then a fishing pole, some bate, a bucket and a local fishing license. It's a great place to take the kids or to relax after a day in the office. The quiet atmosphere and beautiful scenery make the idea of actually catching a fish almost secondary. But catch fish you can. Blue and channel catfish alone with carp, pickerel and bluegill sunfish are predominate along the canal along with small and large mouth bass, white and yellow perch, crappie and pumpkinseed.
There is over 35 miles of watered canal where fishing is allowed during normal park hours. The largest section runs from tidewater at the mouth of Rock Creek to Lift Lock 24 (Riley's Lock) just before mile marker 23. Other areas are Big Pool near mile marker 113 and Little Pool seven miles upstream at mile marker 120. There is also a 4-mile section in Oldtown starting at mile marker 163.
Fishing is regulated by the local Fish & Wildlife Department. Here is a list of the regulations that apply to the C&O canal.
Canal Hot Spots
Violette’s lock (22.1): Small-mouth bass, sunfish and pumpkinseed.
Riley’s Lock (22.8): Small-mouth bass and sunfish.
Widewater (12.2): Largemouth bass, sunfish, pumpkinseed, yellow perch and crappie.
Big Pool (113): Largemouth bass, sunfish, yellow perch and crappie.
Little Pool (120): Largemouth bass, sunfish, yellow perch and crappie.
Tips & Tricks
*Fish like to hang out in shady areas where they can see the surface. Try casting across the canal into shady spots but pay attention to the trees or you could loose your favorite lure.
*Drifting a bob will produce good results but you should learn to use a canal bob for better results