Though the Potomac River is often associated with top-notch bass fishing, the river’s North Branch is better known for trout. Forming the border with the West Virginia panhandle, the North Branch is a productive coldwater fishery for 10 miles below the dam at Jennings Randolph Lake. Several sections of this stretch are governed by special tackle restrictions. In addition to boasting healthy populations of naturally reproducing trout, the wide, rocky waterway is heavily stocked in parts with browns, rainbows and even a few cutthroats. Summer and early fall are the best times to fish the North Branch, because flows from the dam are lower and fishing pressure is less intense. A good locale is the three-mile catch-and-release section upriver from Bloomington. Fly rodders should note that the river’s mayfly, caddis fly and stonefly activity has rebounded dramatically in recent years. Lure fishermen do well with dark-colored Mepps Thunderbugs. Contact: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Service (Tawes Building, B-2 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, MD 21401; 410-260-8320;; for river flow conditions, 410-962-7687.