Savage River Reservoir, Maryland, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - Maryland - Western -

Fresh, crystal clear mountain water makes Savage River Reservoir a beautiful destination in northwestern Maryland. Located in a canyon of the Savage River State Forest, the 360-acre reservoir is an ideal spot for outdoor adventure seekers. Created by construction of the Savage River Dam in 1952, Savage River Reservoir in Garrett County provides drinking water, flood control, and recreation for the area. The lake is owned and operated by the Upper Potomac River Commission with the guidance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The waters of Savage River Reservoir are clear enough to provide 15 feet of visibility. The huge rocks and boulders create mesmerizing underwater scenes. There are several coves waiting to be explored. Almost the entire rocky shoreline is richly forested. The seasons bring vibrant colors as well as varied activities for all age groups.

The Savage River Reservoir offers world class trout fishing for brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout and sometimes cutthroat trout. The quality of the wild brook and brown trout fishery is truly amazing. Spring brings forth loads of native brook trout, wild brown trout and stocked rainbow trout. Catches also include large and smallmouth bass, walleye, black crappie, bluegill, catfish, bass and tiger muskie.

After a day of fishing, several wonderful choices await. Opportunities include mountain biking, paddling, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, cross-whitewater paddling, nature study or rustic camping. More than 12,000 acres of forest at Savage River Reservoir have been designated as State Wildlands. The region remains refreshingly free of development.

Savage River Reservoir is a wonderful treat for outdoor enthusiasts. Savage River State Forest offers a variety of exciting recreational activities. Within the forest lie two beautifully wooded state parks, Big Run and New Germany. Hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, off-road wheeling, hunting, fishing, and paddling are favorite activities. New Germany State Park visitors find a shimmering 13-acre expanse of water. A peaceful beach, rowboats, and plenty of fishing opportunities are a true treat. Nestled among tall trees are 39 campsites and miles of ski trails. New Germany Park offers nature talks, and a historian conducts entertaining tours. New Germany’s primitive log cabins are fully winterized. Abutting the forest is stunning 300-acre Big Run Park. The park is brimming with fun-filled activities.

Heavily forested hillsides along with vibrant pastures of rhododendron and mountain azaleas surround the reservoir. The more than 54,000 acres of rugged terrain at Savage River State Forest never ceases to challenge long-time hikers, hunters, paddlers, anglers and mountain bikers. Rhododendron thickets and hickory and oak trees provide a comfortable habitat to a great variety of wildlife species. The forest comes to life with black bears, white-tailed deer, bobcats and raccoons to name a few. Chances of sighting ducks, great blue herons, king fishers, vultures, beavers, mink, water snakes, turtles, frogs and salamanders are very high. Ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, a plethora of songbirds, and amphibians and reptiles flourish throughout the Savage River area. Various species of hawks, owls and songbirds flit through the air. Guided canoe trips, offered by experienced forest interpreters or private nature tourism vendors are a good thing for visitors.

Several trails near Savage River Reservoir are worth exploring. Big Savage Trail consists of a 17 miles that wind through forests of oak and hickory, farmsteads and terrain covered with an array of wild azaleas and rhododendron. Margraff Trails is a series of gravel roads for more advanced cyclists. Mt. Aetna Tract Trails is an astoundingly scenic 700-acre area with loop trails that offer chances for bird watching, mountain biking and hiking. Along the Asa Durst Trails expect to see a plethora of pine and spruce and stream valleys layered with rhododendron and hardwood forests. For those looking for tranquility, New Germany offers peaceful snowshoe or cross-country ski experiences. Poplar Lick Trail is a popular trail that begins at New Germany State Park, and Meadow Mountain is a motorized vehicle route. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular throughout these trails.

Enjoying plant life comes as second nature to outdoor enthusiasts at Savage River Reservoir. The State Forest is brimming with hemlocks, hickories, oaks, beech, poplars, black cherry, colorful wildflowers and more. The blankets of spectacular pink azaleas and rhododendron are truly breathtaking. A wildflower walk and wildlife viewing should be included in your “To Do List.”

Skilled canoeists and kayakers find Savage River Reservoir to be a real treat. The area proudly hosts whitewater challenges and championships. Nearby is the Casselman stone arch bridge, the site where Washington and Braddock traveled to Fort Duquesne in 1813.

A short or long trip to Savage River Reservoir offers plenty of payback no matter what your age or interests. Often the only sound you can hear at the reservoir is the babble of water over rocks and the wind through the trees. However, the opportunities to engage in the myriad of water and outdoor activities are endless. So whether you want to rest and relax or enjoy an exciting, one-of-a-kind vacation, Savage River Reservoir offers it all.

Things to do at Savage River Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • State Forest

Fish species found at Savage River Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Savage River Reservoir Photo Gallery

    Savage River Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Upper Potomac River Commission

    Surface Area: 360 acres

    Shoreline Length: 16 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,540 feet

    Maximum Depth: 151 feet

    Water Volume: 20,000 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1952

    Drainage Area: 105 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Oliogotrophic-mesotrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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