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March 29, 2010 2:21 PM   Subscribe

What are great places to fish, boat and camp driving distance from central Maryland?

Father-in-law got a new, small fishing boat, and we can use it whenever we want! But we need to find good places to go a reasonable distance from MD. Could be day trips, or overnight/weekend camping trips. I can find lots of places online but it is hard to know how great they are, and what people like about them. Our kids are 12 and 15, so good travelers up for fun.
posted by maxg94 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The answer depends somewhat on exactly what kind of a boat/motor rig you have.

The upper Potomac River is largely shallow and rocky, but the fishing for large and smallmouth bass and catfish is traditionally pretty good. The best boats for this part of the river are shallow draft jon boats; ideally with a small outboard with a jet drive instead of a propeller.

If memory serves me, Deep Creek Lake is the only Maryland Lake where gas powered outboards of any kind are permitted. All of the others are electric trolling motors only.

Back when I was fishing, we camped out at Cunningham Falls State Park and used, on various occasions, a canoe and a jon boat with a rolling motor and had fun catching bass and sunfish.
posted by imjustsaying at 4:33 PM on March 29, 2010

Best answer: Cheat Lake in WV is pretty nice---it does get a mite crowded in the dead of summer, but it provides GREAT catfish/smallmouth/perch fishing as well as GREAT opportunities for snorkeling/swimming/scuba/etc, especially as you go up into the headwaters. On top of the adjacent mountain you have Coopers Rock State Forest and Chestnut Ridge Park. CRF offers hiking (some AWESOME trails and a BRAND NEW trail guide available), rock climbing, more fishing, mountain biking, bird watching, lots of stuff. If you go in the summer, you can probably watch people rock climb if that's not your thing. Bouldering options also exist. I believe all the CRF sleeping sites are tent sites and pads. Showers are available, grills, etc. It's QUITE possible to get QUITE far from humanity. The park is very awesome and was built largely by the CCC in the 30's. It's got a kickass, it's awesome. Virgin Hemlock stand, some plants that exist only in the microclimates offered by the highland forest...several endangered species...just...coolness.

Also, Cheat Lake is almost entirely surrounded by a rail-trail, so bike rides or whatever are fun and easy, and they offer fish cleaning stations and such. The lake's big enough you can spend some time getting into the less trafficked areas and really enjoy the slowness of summer. (Lots of stupid jetskis and skiiers, you get in the shallower or narrower sections and you don't need to deal with them.)

I will personally give you a tour if you come, because it's that awesome. Actually, I'll extend that offer to any MeFite who might like to come visit.

Chestnut Ridge offers more fishing (including 2 lakes that requires no permit), some really sweet cabins (rustic and modern), swimming, pick-a-nicking, and some really pretty awesome summertime concerts in the park; traditionally bluegrassy or folksy but a great family experience.

Full Disclosure: I am no longer on the CRF board, but I once was, and still maintain close ties with them. Yes, the website is a little deplorable right now, but the guide info is there!
posted by TomMelee at 5:04 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Cheat Lake sounds great. Just the type of info I was looking for. The boat is about 16 ft, inboard motor with propeller. So probably not good for very shallow areas with rocks. Thanks for the help.
posted by maxg94 at 5:50 AM on April 1, 2010

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