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A scenic drive to pick up grub is nice, but an afternoon catching your own dinner is even better. Fishing for food is still allowed in the state of VD and MD, so grab your poles and the kids and enjoy an afternoon outdoors. We soused out the best family-friendly places to reel in a meal. Read on for where to cast off near Washington, DC.

photo: The Marylander via FishingBooker

Sandy Point State Park
If you want to dig your toes in the sand, head to this beach tucked under the Bay Bridge. The beach is currently closed to recreational visitors, but if you fish, you’re in luck! You can launch a boat from this beach for a day of fishing or crabbing (you must pay for a fishing license in MD if you are over the age of 16). If you don’t have a fishing license, you can rent a commercial charter that handles all of your needs, from licensing to rods and gear.

Sandy Point State Park
1100 East College Parkway
Annapolis MD
Online: dnr.maryland.gov/sandypoint

photo: Sheri Hooley via Unsplash

Pine Lake
The path around Pine Lake offers an easy hike for little legs. It’s a great place to introduce kids 4 & up to fishing. The pond is stocked with trout and bass; you can also find sunfish, a tiny fish perfect for pint-sized anglers. There are also plenty of turtles and frogs to keep little ones amused while you reel in dinner. Your little one can cast off for free, but those 16 & up must obtain an MD fishing license. If you fish the first two Saturdays in June or July, you don’t need a license.

Wheaton Regional Park
2000 Shorefield Rd.
Silver Spring, MD
Online: montgomeryparks.org

photo: Demond S. via Yelp

Clopper Lake
This reservoir deserves a “Best Kept Secrets” award. Often overlooked by fishermen, fish here are known to be good biters (they haven’t learned to steer clear of lures). You’ll find bass along with catfish and northern pike. Beginners have a pretty good chance they’ll leave with a fish, but even the empty handed will enjoy the view. Clopper Lake is a part of Seneca Creek State Park; MD fishing licensing rules and regulations apply.

Seneca Creek State Park
11950 Clopper Road
Gaithersburg, MD
Online: maryland.gov/seneca

 

photo: Ben Wilkins via Unsplash 

Lake Centennial 
There is a lot to love about this fishing spot, located in Centennial Park in Elliott City. For starters, you don’t have to fish on the shoreline (although you can); boats are available to rent so you and your little ones can find the perfect spot on the water. You can also bring your own boat (the boat launch is free to use, but you must have a boating permit which can be bought on-site for $5).  You’ll find everything from panfish and catfish to rainbow trout and tiger muskies in this body of water. Most of the fish are small here, which makes them safer to handle for the youngest of anglers. This community park also features four playgrounds on site. Some fish are catch-and-release, some are not; for Maryland’s fishing regulations and licensing requirements here.

Centennial Park
1000 Maryland Route 108
Ellicott City, MD
Online: dnr.maryland.gov

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
Fishing the waters in and around Dyke Marsh offers an opportunity to get up close to the area’s wildlife. You may see eagles and beavers when you set your line in these waters. Head to Belle Haven Marina (off the GW Parkway) to rent a boat. Jon boats seat 2-people; perfect for a parent-child excursion. You must have a VA fishing license (unless you are under the age of 16). Those looking to stretch their sea legs after fishing will enjoy the boardwalks that cover the marshland.

Belle Haven Marina
GW Parkway
Alexandria, VA
Online: saildc.com

photo: Meritt Thomas via Unsplash

Olde Izaak Walton Park  
This pond on the edge of Leesburg, VA boasts a fishing pier but the real fun is stomping over brambles and shrubs to find the perfect spot along the water’s edge. Catching fish here is hit-or-miss, but it makes the list for it’s ample room to socially distance and it’s shallow waters (perfect for little anglers).

Olde Izaak Walton Park
850 Davis Ct SE
Leesburg, VA
Online: visitloudoun.org/olde-izaak-walton-park/

—Meghan Meyers

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