The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is expanding its popular loaner tackle program to Rocky Gap State Park, offering park patrons free use of fishing gear and tackle. Eight youth-sized fishing rods have been refurbished and several tackle boxes have been donated to help promote youth fishing at the popular Allegany County park.
Rocky Gap is home to Lake Habeeb, one of Western Maryland’s most fishing-friendly destinations. The 243-acre lake is routinely stocked with trout and has sustaining populations of catfish, panfish, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. Lake Habeeb also has a public boat ramp, and canoe and kayak rentals are available during the summer months.
The loaner tackle program at state parks kicked off last year at Janes Island State Park in Somerset County.
“We’ve been thrilled at the success of the loaner tackle program,” Recreational Fishing Outreach Coordinator Erik Zlokovitz said. “We knew Rocky Gap State Park is a fishing destination and wanted to encourage new and inexperienced anglers to give fishing a try.”
“Rangers are enthusiastic about the new program,” Rocky Gap State Park Manager Sarah Milbourne said. “We have a lot of our own staff who are passionate about fishing and now we can share it with our visitors.”
The loaner fishing rods and gear are available at the park’s camp store. The department is also exploring expanding the program to additional state parks as well as enhancing gear and tackle options.