Self-Guided Opportunities
Location Put and take trout fishing on the upper Big Gunpowder Falls River
Gunpowder Falls State Park Hereford area, Baltimore County, 410-592-2897
From the downstream side of the Bluemont Road Bridge to a mile below Phoenix Road parking lot.
Access Parking is located where the following roads cross the stream: Bluemont Road, Sparks Road, Phoenix Road and Monkton Road from the Northern Central Railroad Trail. Bluemount Road is reached via I-83 exit 27 onto Route 137 east, right on York Road and left onto Monkton Road. The other roads are reached via York Road. The Northern Central Railroad Trail follows the stream for most of its length from Phoenix to Bluemount Road.
Suitable For Families? Yes, for older children
Difficulty Advanced
Hazards/Restrictions Anglers aged 16 and over need a freshwater fishing license and trout stamp. There are no tackle restrictions. There is a two fish limit from Bluemount Road to Corbett Road, and a five fish limit from Corbett Road to the downstream side of the Phoenix parking lot on the Northern Central Railroad Trail. Check the Maryland Freshwater Fishing Guide for current creel limits and size.

Use caution when wading, because there are some deep holes. The water temperature never exceeds the low 60's. Wear chest waders with felt-soled boots. Be aware of tubers, canoeists and kayakers who also share the stream. Be sure to access the stream from park property (the Northern Central Railroad Trail) on the east side of the river and avoid private property.
Potable Water Water is available at Freeland, Monkton (seasonally) and Sparks. Spot-a-pots are located along the Northern Central Railroad Trail at Phoenix, Sparks and Whitehall Roads.
Natural Features The river has views of pastoral settings and farm fields. Nearby wetlands teem with spring peepers (a tiny frog) and other amphibians. Beaver activity is obvious by the gnawed trees along the river. Wildflowers are plentiful, including spring beauty, goldenrod, asters, and others.
Historic/Cultural Features The Northern Central Railroad Trail is a former railroad bed (c. 1840) that once transported milk from local farmers into the city of Baltimore. President Lincoln traveled on it to deliver the Gettysburg Address. The rail line later served as a commuter train until the early 1970's when Hurricane Agnes destroyed the railroad. The trail visits quaint farm towns and passes by historic train stations at Monkton, Maryland and Hanover Junction, Pennsylvania.
Rentals/Guide Services Backwater Angler on Monkton Road (410-329-6821) rents boots, rods and reels. They also have flies available for purchase and provide the latest updates on river conditions. Backwater Angler provides guided flyfishing for trout, smallmouth bass and panfish (bluegills).

Food is available at several restaurants along York Road in the Hereford Area.

Camping Organized youth group camping is available at Camp Wood on Bunker Hill Road. A private recreation park and campground is located in Freeland.
Other Points of Interest Put and take fishing is also available on the Little Gunpowder Falls and Beetree Run nearby. Within an hour's drive are several other streams with put and take fishing, including Little Gunpowder Falls, Deer Creek, Big Elk Creek and Principio Creek. Twenty miles of hiking trails line the river gorge in the Hereford Area. The Northern Central Railroad Trail is a favorite for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Bike and tube rentals are available locally. Families enjoy tubing and canoeing the river.
Other Accommodations Bed and breakfast facilities are located in Parkton. Hotels are located in the Hunt Valley area. The Mill Pond Cottage, a quaint park-owned home located on Masemore Road, has been renovated for overnight rental accommodations. Call 410-592-2897.
Service Charges or Permits A fee is required for the Maryland Freshwater Fishing License and the trout stamp. Both can be purchased at the Bel Air Regional Service Center or some area sporting goods stores.
Description This put and take fishing opportunity for trout is available using bait, flies and artificial lures. Those with fly tackle have the most luck. Anglers catch predominantly rainbow trout, but also some brown trout. Wading into the stream is necessary due to limited access on the banks. The fast moving water requires some caution. The stream has some deeper pools with sandy and silty bottoms.

Fishing is permitted year-round, except during closure periods for stocking. Check current fishing regulations for specific dates. Current information on stream conditions and hatching activity can be obtained from On The Fly in Monkton at 410-329-6821.

Resources Recommended Gear and Safety Tips
  • A wading staff, fly rods from 7 to 8 feet in length for a #3-#5 line, or ultra light spinning tackle with 1 to 4 pound test line and small spinners
  • Wear good sturdy hiking or wading boots (no felt-soled waders or boots)
  • Be prepared for the extremely cold water temperature
  • First aid kit
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen