Owner - Deep Creek Lake is owned by the State of Maryland and managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).
History - Deep Creek lake was impounded on Deep Creek in the 1920's and was filled by 1929. It was constructed to power a small-scale hydroelectric plant, but later became a vacation destination with many amenities for tourism. Deep Creek Lake still provides water to generate electricity but is managed to maintain lake level for an array of recreational opportunities including boating and fishing. Deep Creek Lake State Park is located on the shore of the lake and offers fishing piers, a swim area and beach, boat ramp, picnicking, covered pavilions, and camping opportunities.
Physical/ Habitat Description - Deep Creek Lake is unique in that it lies within the Ohio River Drainage west of the eastern continental divide. Ultimately it's waters flow to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River. Deep Creek Lake is Maryland's largest impoundment at 3900 acres at a full pool elevation of 2462'. The lake is 13 miles long with 69 miles of shoreline and drains a watershed of 140,000 acres. Maximum depth is about 75' near the dam breast area with an average depth of about 25'. It's supports a variety of fish habitat from steep rocky shorelines near the dam breast to silt bottomed shallow coves in the southern end. Deeper areas of the lake maintain cold water for trout year-round. Submerged stumps and the many floating docks along the shoreline provide excellent cover for both largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as sunfish species.
Fish Species - Deep Creek Lake supports a wide variety of desirable gamefish species. It may be best known for it's bass fishery. Although smallmouth bass are the most common species, largemouth bass generally anchor the catches of winning anglers during the frequent bass fishing tournaments. The quality of the bass fishery and the fact that gas powered boats are permitted on Deep Creek Lake makes it a popular site for bass fishing tournaments. Walleye are also common but always require dedication on the angler's part to locate and catch. A close relative to the walleye, the yellow perch, is also abundant in Deep Creek Lake and attracts a lot of attention from fishermen, particularly through the ice in winter. Although northern pike are not common, they create a specialized trophy fishery for those anglers who target the species. Chain pickerel are common and aggressive and often provide action under weather conditions when other species are inactive. Deep Creek Lake supports a true trophy fishery for bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish. Many citation sunfish are caught each season in the 9 to 11" size range. The current Maryland bluegill record of 3 lbs 7 oz was caught in Deep Creek Lake as well as the current northern pike record of 24 lbs 12 oz. The long time Maryland record yellow perch of 2 lbs 6 oz was also caught in Deep Creek Lake. Previous Maryland record fish from Deep Creek Lake have included walleye and brown trout.
Restrictions - See the current Maryland Freshwater Sportfishing Guide for fishing regulations. Virtually the entire shoreline of Deep Creek Lake is owned by MDNR and access for fishing is permitted. Shoreline anglers must avoid private boat docks. With the exception of a small buoyed area at the lake outlet structure, boat fishermen can access the entire lake. However, beaching a boat is not permitted except in emergency situations.
Directions - From I-68, take Exit #14 (US 219) S for 14 mi. to McHenry and beyond. 10 mi. NE of Oakland
Contact Us - Comments and questions regarding fishing in Deep Creek Lake can be directed to:
Department of Natural Resources
1728 King's Run Road
Oakland, Maryland 21550
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401