Savage River Angler - Fly Fishing Guide, MD

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Garrett County, Maryland

Savage River Angler - Fly Fishing Guide, MD


Savage River Angler offers float and wade services for wild and stocked trout, as well as smallmouth bass in far western Maryland. We practice catch and release with barbless flies. The Savage and North Branch Potomac are tailwater wild trout fisheries that offer outstanding angling all summer long. During spring, spend a lot of time guiding the Casselman, upper Savage, and upper North Branch of the Potomac. Most guiding takes place in catch and release or trophy trout management areas.

Date Range

There is no closed season for trout season, but our busiest time of year guiding is April-October.

What is Provided to Customer

Flies and water are always supplied on half day outings. On full day outings flies, lunches and beverages are supplied as well. We will also provide transportation. A fly rod and reel can be arranged at no extra charge.

Region/Terrain Where You Fish

Appalachian Mountains, Garrett County, MD

Typical Weather by Season

The winter months in Garrett County are cold and snowy. Temps often get stuck in the teens or colder for highs for long periods. Spring can be wet and cool with warm weather not arriving until May. Temperatures vary greatly during spring, running from mid 40's to mid 70's and snow in April is not uncommon. During the summer, expect mid 70's to upper 80's. Summer can be dry in this region, as storms moving in from the south often get absorbed by large mountains in WV. Fall is short lived with cold fronts pushing through leaving cool, crisp, dry air in their wake. Highs range from mid 50's to mid 70's in the fall.


Sample of Typical Itinerary

Clients will meet their guide at a predetermined location. From there we will supply transportation on our way to wade the lower Savage or float the North Branch of the Potomac during the summer months. In spring when these two tailwater fisheries can often be high, we may wade the upper Savage, upper North Branch of the Potomac, or the Casselman.


Species You Fish for by Season

Rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat trout as well as smallmouth bass.


What Should Customers Bring?

Hat, sunglasses, waders with rubber soled boots, and a camera is nice to have. Felt soled wading boots are now illegal in Maryland. A Maryland freshwater fishing license with a trout stamp is also your responsibility.

PLEASE NOTE: Studded boots are not allowed in the boat on float trips!


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I wear felt sole boots in Maryland?
A. No. They are illegal. Rubber soles only. We recommend studs on your rubber soled boots to give you extra traction. No studded boots will be allowed in the boat!

Q. Should I bring a wading staff?
A. Yes! The wading here is considered very difficult by many.

Q. Can we bring along beer?
A. Please, no. There will be time for the cold beer afterwards.

Q. Can I purchase a license and trout stamp when we meet you?
A. No. Your best bet is to purchase your license and trout stamp before your outing so it’s one less thing to worry about.

Q. What size and weight fly rod should I bring?
A. An 8 ½ or 9’ 4 or 5 wt. rod will do for any of our fishing situations.

Q. What size leader will we be using?
A. A 9’ 5x Orvis super strong leader is a pretty good place to start.

Q. Can we keep fish?
A. No. The fish are my bread and butter. We practice catch and release with barbless flies or lures. In fact, we rarely guide on water where people can keep them. I will be happy to give you a map of streams where you can go to keep trout.

Q. Do you offer spin fishing guide services?
A. Yes we do. I can include good spin fishing equipment, however, clients will be responsible for purchasing their own lures. I can supply you with a list of the lures you will want to bring along.

Q. Should I wear waders on the float trips?
A. I recommend against waders. If an angler falls out of the boat, it gets very dangerous very quickly. Due to time, there is not much opportunity for wade fishing on the floats anyhow.

Q. Do you allow pets?
A. For the safety of your pets and the courtesy of our guests, pets are not allowed in the lodge. Dogs are not to be left unattended in the canyon and no pets are allowed to accompany guests while fishing. We have four outdoor kennels available for hunting dogs.

Q. Do you have a place to buy equipment?
A. Our Pro-Shop at the lodge stocks fly-fishing equipment, flies, fishing shirts, sweatshirts, caps, and other logo apparel. Most guests choose to place their store purchases on account and pay at the close of their stay. We also stock basic convenience and sundry items.

Q. Do you have phone and internet connections in rooms?
A. Rooms do not have telephones, there are phones available in the library and entryway, these phones require collect calls or phone cards. A wireless internet connection is available throughout the lodge. Cell phones work in the canyon, but not really well.

Q. Do you recommend purchasing travel insurance?
A. We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect you in case of cancellation, payments are non-refundable. The cost for travel insurance is generally quite reasonable.

Q. Are there ever schedule changes?
A. We reserve the right to change the day-to-day itinerary due to bad weather, guest’s ability and unforeseen circumstances beyond our control.

Q. What is the typical weather like?
A. Average high temperatures during the summer months are in the mid 80's and overnight lows in the upper 50's. Precipitation is always a possibility; we suggest guests carry a waterproof rain jacket. Be prepared with clothing layers for varying temperatures and cool evenings. The elevation at the lodge is 6500 feet.


Overall: Show Rating Distribution 5.0 / 5 based on 27 reviews


27 of 27 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5

    Great fishing day! - 10/30/2014
    By: from Baltimore, MD, USA

    Late October float trip was great. We had an opportunity to fish multiple types of rigs. We even experimented with Tenkura from the float boat!. had a great time ..... caught healthy fish .... Developed a new friend.

  • 5/5

    Enthusiatic, helpful guide - 10/17/2014
    By: from Williamsburg, Virginia

    I recommend P J Daley highly as a flyfishing guide. He is thoughtful, patient and full of insights improving not only your day on the water with him, but all of your future trips. His enthusiasm for fishing, and care for the resource are impressive. I am excited to return!

  • 5/5

    Excellent Day Fly Fishing - 9/20/2014
    By: from cuurently N Virginia

    This was my second time fly fishing. PJ was an exceptional teacher with years of experience and lots of patience. He provided an incredible day of fishing while teaching me how to present the fly and setting the hook...that was the hard part. Caught and released beautiful browns. I could not have asked for a better day. You'll be lucky if you get him as a guide. Thanks PJ, Al

  • 5/5

    Persistence Pays Off - 9/18/2014
    By: from Creola, OH 45622, USA

    I went out with PJ on 9/17. It was a beautiful day but we just couldn't get a fish interested. PJ pulled out all the stops to make sure we got on some fish. He exhausted all of the "usual" offerings and went to streamers as a last ditch effort. BAM! They went for it on almost every cast. instead of getting discouraged PJ kept at it and used all of his knowledge to make the day a success. I am a long time fisherman but beginning fly fisherman so I had some bad habits to correct. PJ was able to get me up to speed quickly and i felt I learned in 4 hours what would have taken me a year on my own. I hope to book him again soon and would recommend him to anyone..

  • 5/5

    Rainbows on the Potomac - 9/9/2014

    My friend and I fished with PJ yesterday on the Potomac and we were on fish pretty much all day. We landed quite a few very nice Rainbows in the 12" to 18" range. PJ was very personable, knowledgeable and he's got a good sense of humor. He knows the river and the fish and works hard to keep his customers engaged. He was eager to point out natural features along including fish habitat, insect eco systems and wildlife. PJ also has a good teaching style, offering pointers on technique all in an effort to improve our fishing experience.

  • 5/5

    Trout Master - 9/7/2014
    By: from Baltimore, MD

    This is my third trip with PJ: a wade trip on the Lower Savage, a float last Summer on the upper section of the North Branch, and a float yesterday on the lower section of the North Branch. PJ has shared generously both his extensive knowledge of fly fishing and the techniques that work best on these two wonderful rivers. Yesterday was a perfect example. Late Summer conditions were less than ideal, but PJ had us on fish with the correct flies throughout the entire day--some of whom he seems to know on a first name basis! PJ is also personable and incredibly hard-working in his efforts repeatedly to put the boat in the correct position so that we caught a large number of sizable, health fish. Both the Lower Savage and the North Branch are outstanding fisheries, and, if you choose to visit, PJ should be your choice to guide your Western Maryland fishing experience. It is difficult to imagine that anyone could do this any better. PJ is a worthy candidate for Orvis Guide of the Year.

  • 5/5

    Fly fishing fun! - 9/1/2014
    By: from Savage River, MD

    P.J. was an excellent guide, fun, and very instructive. Me and a friend caught some beautiful brown and rainbow trout. If you want to have a good fly fishing trip you can't do better.

  • 5/5

    Great Experience - 8/13/2014

    I had the pleasure of fishing with PJ. I am a beginner and was looking for someone who could assist me and I found someone who in my opinion was the best. PJ was fun, patient and taught me more in a few hours than. I had learned in 2 years of being on the water alone. He knew where to find the fish, how to approach them, how to present the fly and also offered great advice on the how's, why's and small details that are essential to a good fly fishing experience. I would HIGHLY recommend PJ regardless of your skill level you will have a great experience. I will definitely be using him in the future and would recommend him 100%.

  • 5/5

    great morning on the Savage River - 8/12/2014
    By: from Pittsburgh, PA, USA

    I had a terrific morning on the Savage River with PJ. Terrrific dry fly action all morning . PJ knew where the fish were, what they were eating and where to position me to get a good drift . It was a 1st rate experience on beautiful water .

  • 5/5

    Dry flys on the Lower Savage - 8/10/2014
    By: from Pittsburgh, PA, USA

    It was my first dry fly trip on the Lower Savage River yesterday (Aug 9) with PJ and all of my expectations were exceeded. With the guidance of PJ I was able to land a few native brownies and bookies on this technical river while learning the ins and outs of dry fly fishing. He was very patient and encouraging throughout my half day wade and his enthusiasm for this river is very evident. I highly recommend hiring him as your guide. I am already planning a float trip on the north branch of the Potomac next month.

Savage River Angler
Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide
PJ Daley

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