Favorite Spot Near Frederick: C&O Canal

by Jon Thames

This is my favorite spot that is less than an hour from Frederick: the C&O Canal starting at Lock 27 and fishing down to the the Dickerson power Plant.

The big advantage is I can leave downtown Frederick and be fishing within an hour. There is about a mile of fishing and you are mostly in shade and walking on the towpath.

There are lots of bluegill, sunnies, and small mouth bass.

Directions from Frederick: Take Md 85 south to Md 28 take a left, cross the Monocacy River, turn right on Mouth of the Monocacy Road to the park, bear to left at the fork (not toward the boat launch), and park in the designated lot. Use the bathroom there because it’s your last chance. Walk to the tow path and head left away from the aqueduct, about 1/3 mile to lock 27. You can start fishing here and it’s an easy mile walk to the power plant of good fishing.


  • 4-5 weight works great.
  • Tenkara is good — the photo above was taken last May on a club outing using Tenkara gear.
  • Flies: small wooly buggers (any color). Mop flies, larger nymphs, crystal buggers, poppers and shower shoe poppers are my choice. Also try the squirmy wormie.

I usually fish with Tommy Marks and we have found a hop scotch method that works well. We fish about 3 car lengths apart and he walks past me down and I do the same. We usually fish five minutes in a spot then move down. This way we cover the mile — and remember you are on a canal with no real current so you also fish back. You are fishing for bass and sunnies so if you don find them move on and good luck.

We usually change flies frequently until something works in both size and color. If you fish more then 15 minutes with no result, try something different.


  • It’s a good walk, but easy walking.
  • No need to take waders. Comfortable walking shoes are good.
  • You will be on the C&O canal, so you will likely encounter bikers and other walkers. Share the trail.
  • Take water, as its a nice walk. It’s a federal park so leave the beer at home.
  • Drive separately and stay six feet apart and fish with a friend. You’ll forget most of your worries and get outside. This is also a great place to take your young fishers.

Good fishing!