Smallwood State Park is managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Parks Division. It covers 628 acres and is named after General William Smallwood, the fourth Governor of Maryland and a Revolutionary War officer. History enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the site of his home and surrounding area. The plantation home is open on Sundays with limited hours so call the park first if the plantation house is your destination. The park was dedicated in 1958 and hosts a marina, seasonal concession stand, boat ramps, picnic and camping areas, pavilions, a playground and nature trails.
Some shore fishing from Park property is allowed in Mattawoman creek and there are several piers located at Sweden Pt. Marina that are also open to fishing. Please inquire at park office as to areas open to fishing. The marina has accommodations for large boats and six boat ramps (fees apply). Small boat rentals are also available.
Mattingly Park and Boat Ramp (Upper Mattawoman Creek)
History and Water Access - Mattingly was formerly known as Slavens Ramp. It is now run by the Town of Indian Head and is adjacent to Mattingly Park on the upper end of Mattawoman Creek. A small pier is available for fishing and there is limited shore access. The boat launch is best suited for small bass boats or similar watercraft. A launch fee applies.
Mattawoman Creek is primarily a shallow tributary to the Potomac River, but does have a defined channel for most of its navigable length. There is a 6 mph speed limit on the north side of the creek where the channel is close to the US Naval Surface Warfare Center. Boat speed is enforced by the military.
Largemouth bass is the most sought-after species, but Mattawoman also has catfish, carp, bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish, white and yellow perch, pickerel, crappie and longnose gar. An occasional striper is not out of the question either.
Directions to Smallwood State Park
From Rt. 301 south off the Beltway - Take Rt. 225 west in LaPlata, then take a left onto Rt. 224 to the Smallwood State Park Entrance on your right.
From Rt. 210 (Indian Head Highway) south of the Beltway - Take Rt. 225 east in Indian Head, then make a right onto Rt. 224 and follow the signs to the Smallwood State Park Entrance on your right.
Directions to Mattingly Park Ramp - Take Rt 210 (Indian Head Highway) south of the Beltway. In the town of Indian Head make a left onto Mattingly Ave. just before the base gates. The ramp is at the end of the road.
Vegetation is thick at certain times of the year in Mattawoman with both SAV and lily beds being abundant throughout much of the creek.
Good fishing structures include downed trees, overhanging brush, concrete rip-rap, old barges and pilings. While dominated by emergent and more recently, submersed vegetation, fallen trees, feeder creeks, old man made wooden structures, excavated coves, marsh grass, boat docks, rocky bottoms and deep water near shore offers options to aquatic inhabitants and causes anglers to choose there fishing spot.
Eddy pools are your best bet!
Mattawoman Creek is the most productive tributary of all the fine Potomac River branches. Electro shocking studies by MDNR biologists reinforce my statement as does my 30-some years of
fishing this estuary, the past 20 years as a full time, professional guide. No other Potomac tributary, no other Chesapeake Bay river, receives as much fishing pressure. Just last summer during the Bassmasters Top 150 Tournament, first, second and third place weights came from Mattawoman, totaling approximately $150,000 in prize money to the proud participants.
During the spring of 1997 Bill Nearhoff and I caught (and released) five bass that weighed a little more than 31 pounds.