Owens Creek

Owens CreekLocated in Frederick County

Owner - Unlike ponds and impoundments, which are generally owned by one entity, most of Maryland's streams flow through many properties; Owens Creek is no exception. The headwaters are contained by Catoctin Mountain National Park and a portion of the lower special regulation area flows through State and County-owned property, the remainder lies within private property. Fishing is permitted within the special regulation area by the generosity of the landowners. Please respect that privilege to keep Owens Creek open to public fishing. Camping is available at Catoctin Mountain National Park and Cunningham Falls State Park as well as the privately owned Crows Nest Campground in Thurmont.

History - Owens Creek has traditionally been managed as a put-and-take resource, one of the most popular in Frederick County. The upper reaches within Catoctin Mountain National Park downstream to Raven Rock Road were removed from the list of put-and-take areas in 1990 to allow the native brook and wild brown trout populations to expand and due to the streams small size. With the urging of local anglers to increase year-round trout fishing opportunities, the Fisheries Service instituted a new and unusual Put-and-Take\Catch-and-Return Trout Fishing Area from Raven Rock Road downstream to the Roddy Road covered bridge in 1994. Although Owens Creek would work well as a Delayed Harvest Area, it was felt that the spring put-and-take fishery was far too popular to eliminate. The put-and-take\catch-and-return regulation was born out of a compromise to maximize recreation while taking into account the popularity and tradition of the spring put-and-take season.

Physical/ Habitat Description - Owens Creek is a fairly high gradient stream with a boulder and cobble substrate throughout. Occasional large pools separate extensive fast runs and pocket water. Undercut banks and woody debris provide additional habitat. Summer and fall flows can be very low.

Fish Species - Anglers can fish over wild or hatchery trout in Owens Creek. Native brook trout dominate the headwaters while a small population of wild brown trout can be found throughout. Hatchery rainbow and brown trout are stocked each spring from the bridge on Foxville/Deerfield Road downstream to the covered bridge on Roddy Road with the exception of a posted section above and below the intersection of Eylers Valley Flint Road with Route 550. The degree of over-summer survival will vary with conditions; exceedingly hot and\or dry summers will result in reduced habitat and survival.

Restrictions - From the headwaters downstream to Raven Rock Road a two trout per day creel limit is in effect with no tackle restrictions. This area is managed for wild trout and no trout are stocked. From Raven Rock Road downstream to Roddy Road put-and-take/catch-and-return regulations are in effect. Under these regulations anglers fishing from June 1 through the end of February must use artificial lures and release all trout caught. During March, April and May, put-and-take regulations, closures and creel limits apply. Fly-fishing during April, May and June can be particularly productive. These trout are not usually very selective, but they will spook from a noisy approach. Please consult the Maryland Freshwater Sportfishing Guide for details.

Directions
From Frederick:
Take Route 15 North to Thurmont. At Thurmont take Route 550 West. Route 550 parallels Owens Creek, look for parking areas posted with regulation signs.

Contact Us - Comments and questions regarding the fishery management of Owens Creek can be directed to:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Fisheries Service
Lewistown Work Center
10932 Putman Road, Thurmont, Maryland 21788
customerservice@dnr.state.md.us

Information regarding fishing and camping in Catoctin Mountain National Park can be obtained by calling 301-663-9388.