Last week, Maryland launched the first statewide US program Fly fishing trail, a collection of 48 sites including two in each county and two others in the city of Baltimore. The trail is a product of Maryland Fishing and Huntinga partnership between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Department of Commerce which “promote fishing, hunting, and shooting sports…to increase the economic impact of tourism in Maryland through the state’s abundant natural resources.” The Path is divided into five regions, Western Maryland, Central Maryland, Capital Region, East Coastand Southern Maryland.
Maryland’s Trail focuses each site on a unique fly fishing experience, “from native brook trout in western Maryland’s small streams to largemouth bass in east coast ponds to striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay”. It not only affects these species, but also more than a dozen others, including even northern snakeheads and channel catfish. A unique and diverse team of dedicated fly anglers have developed the Trail over the past two years. Chairman Rich Batiuk, retired chief science officer of the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program and a pillar of Free State Fly Fisher Clubexplained to bay bulletin why he signed on for the project.
“I have been a fly fisherman for 50 years. We become passionate; we like to help, share flies, techniques, and yes, even spots. We also want to expand our sport widely, break stereotypes about elitism and expense, encourage women, people of color, young anglers. Fly fishing has so many aspects: thinking about waves, winds, structures, thinking like a fish, having something to do so you don’t look stupid standing in a stream, just watching. That’s the whole process, and it’s a lot easier than most people think. This feeling, the tug, the hold, the release. We call Maryland “America in Miniature”, with so many opportunities in such a small area.
Batiuk says the trail aims to connect people to local businesses – guides and instructors, flight shops, related businesses and clubs. “The Trail brings it all together and makes it accessible. Additionally, we want people to be aware of the fly fishing opportunities on the Trail throughout all four seasons. The menu changes every week, like a good French restaurant, and it’s open 24/7/365.
Visit the Fly fishing trailfor more information and blog posts from writers that capture the quiet charm, accessibility, and even sometimes adrenaline-filled excitement of fly fishing in Maryland.
-John Page Williams