The Conowingo Reservoir is a section of the Susquehanna River that flows from the Holtwood Dam to the Conowingo Dam.
The reservoir spans a length of approximately 14 miles, with a little more than nine miles in Pennsylvania and five miles in Maryland.
The areas immediately south of Holtwood Dam have a river-like quality, with significant rocks near the surface that require care for navigation in that section.
Many creeks offer quiet locations for anglers to try their luck while fishing.
Those who drive along US Highway 1 between Darlington and Rising Sun in northern Maryland cross a narrow bridge atop Conowingo Dam.
This art deco dam was commissioned by the Philadelphia Electric Company in 1925. Construction began in March 1926 and finished within 21 months.
The dam is named for the former settlement of Conowingo that once sat along the eastern shore of the Susquehanna River by Conowingo Creek. The town was submerged as the dam’s floodgates closed in January 1928.
The final hydroelectric dam on the Susquehanna, this was Maryland’s first impoundment along this vital waterway.
At the time the dam entered service, it provided the second-largest output of hydroelectric power in the United States after Niagara Falls.
Shared by both Pennsylvania and Maryland, this impounded section of the Susquehanna River is a popular fishing destination, with state parks, trails, and other outdoor recreation opportunities that attract visitors from these states and much of the Mid-Atlantic region.
- Swimming within the Conowingo Reservoir generally does not occur from the shoreline, though no restrictions prohibit a dip in the water.
- Conowingo Swimming Pool on Conowingo Road, near the Dam, offers community swimming opportunities. (Late May through September)
- Boating is permitted on the lake, including sailboats.
- Jet skis and other personal watercraft are permitted.
- Water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing are allowed on Conowingo Reservoir.
- Gas engines are permitted on the lake.
- Certain watercraft will require a Pennsylvania or Maryland registration sticker.
- Boaters should always check for dam updates at the Holtwood Dam and Conowingo Dam from the National Weather Service.
- Canoeing and kayaking are permitted on Conowingo Reservoir.
- Certain watercraft may require a Pennsylvania or Maryland registration sticker.
- Trailer parking is available at many sites.
- Residents of Maryland and Pennsylvania who possess a valid fishing license may fish within the boundaries of the Conowingo Reservoir of both states without the need to purchase a license from the other state from the water’s edge.
- This reciprocal agreement between the states does not include shore fishing or fishing in the tributaries.
- This is one of the best places in Maryland to fish for smallmouth bass.
- Largemouth bass are abundant throughout the reservoir and grow to impressive sizes.
- Black and white crappie numbers have declined in recent years, but these species are still found in Conowingo Reservoir.
- The best fishing in the Conowingo Reservoir occurs from a vessel since opportunities for casting a line from the shore are limited.
- Anglers should check regular fishing reports released by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
- Susquehanna State Park, Havre de Grace, Maryland (located a short distance south of the Conowingo Dam)
- Susquehannock State Park, Drumore, Pennsylvania
- Ferncliff Wildflower & Wildlife Preserve: Hiking is the only activity permitted in this preserve. It is managed by Lancaster County Conservancy.
- Mason-Dixon Trail: Portions of the trail are found in areas near the lake, including a trail to Peavine Island.
- Mill Creek Falls Trail: Short trail to a waterfall in York County, Pennsylvania, just south of Holtwood Dam.
- Susquehanna State Park: Visitors may enjoy more than 15 miles of trails within this Maryland state park, which is a short drive south of the lake and the Conowingo Dam.
- Susquehannock State Park: Visitors may enjoy 5.6 miles of trails within this Pennsylvania state park.
- Conowingo Dam is popular with nature photographers and birding enthusiasts.
- Dozens visit the dam area on weekends.
- Common species include Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, American Black Vultures, Common Goldeneyes, and many more.
- The best time to spot Bald Eagles hunting for fish is between October and February.
- Broad Creek Public Landing, Darlington, Maryland
- Conowingo Creek Landing, Conowingo, Maryland
- Dorsey Park Access, Delta, Pennsylvania
- Glen Cove Marina, Darlington, Maryland
- Line Bridge Landing Fishing Access, Maryland
- Muddy Creek Access, Airville, Pennsylvania
- Peach Bottom Marina Access, Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania
Lakes in Pennsylvania:
Lakes in Maryland: