Loch Raven Reservoir is 'natural gem in Baltimore County'

The Loch Raven Reservoir, north of the Baltimore Beltway in Baltimore County, was created in 1881 to serve as a larger source for drinking water for the growing Baltimore County. Today, over 100 years later, it provides millions of gallons of drinking water to Baltimore County and Baltimore City residents. The reservoir was named Loch Raven during its creation after a local resident, Luke Raven, using his last name of Raven, and adding the word Loch before it, which means lake in Scottish.

With the reservoir's main purpose of supplying water to the area comes the added benefit of a large body of water spanning 2,400 acres for Maryland residents to enjoy. Not only does the reservoir have some amazing trails and picnic spots, but it is also a wonderful place for fishing. The lake is known for its largemouth bass population, but bluegill, smallmouth bass, pickerel, pike and perch have been caught in the reservoir waters, as well.


A great way to access areas populated with fish in the reservoir is by boat.

The Loch Raven Fishing Center, managed by the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks, provides boat access and rental for the reservoir so local residents can drop a line in and enjoy nature's bounty. The fishing center had been around since the 1950s and is located on Dulaney Valley Road in Phoenix, less than a 30-minute drive from Reisterstown.

The Loch Raven Fishing Center offers several amenities for visitors, including boat rental, private boat launching with permit, and selling bait and other fishing supplies.

The fishing center is also the only area on Loch Raven Reservoir that will allow boat access to the water. There are several types of boats available for visitors to rent and explore the waters. You can rent a 14-foot Jon boat with a 30-pound electric motor for $30 a day, or a 14-foot Jon boat that has a 50-pound thrust motor for $50 a day. Both boats come with oars, an anchor and life preservers. The 50-pound thrust motor boat also comes with an extra battery. If you are looking for a bit more adventure, there are canoes for rent, each of which includes paddles and life jackets, for $19 a day.

The Loch Raven Fishing Center's opening day is April 3 — just in time for the warmer spring weather and budding trees.

The center opens at 6 a.m. every day until Labor Day. Its closing time may vary and will be posted at the center each day.

After you decide what boat suits your needs and stock up on bait, the options for exploring Loch Raven Reservoir are endless.

Once you are outfitted with a boat, the exploration can begin. With the large expanse of the reservoir, it could take several day trips to cover all of the sights. Near the shorelines in many parts of the reservoir, there are grassy beds that are great habitats for fish. The fish like to swim in the grasses because it camouflages them from preying birds.


There are also many deep fishing spots of the reservoir that are good if you do not get out on the water until later in the day, especially in the warm summer months. Fish tend to shy away from the warm, shallow areas when the sun is hot.

Loch Raven Reservoir also has many small islands that formed from rock piles, as well as some islands formed from boulders. These are fun to explore and are often remote, attracting fish and other wildlife.

No matter what part of Loch Raven Reservoir you decide to visit, you will not be disappointed with the expansive views, beautiful rocky cliffs and a bucket full of bass. This area is truly a natural gem in Baltimore County.

Kelly Scible is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at kellyscible@gmail.com.