Maryland Overview | April 14, 2010

This coming Saturday is the big day of anticipation for many fishermen on the Chesapeake Bay; the opening day of the spring trophy striped bass season. Like any opening day there will be the last minute preparations, more than a few glances over at alarm clocks in the pre-dawn darkness and lots of morning coffee. Trolling the shipping channel with large bucktails and parachutes will be the order of the day and planer boards will be widely used. Many of the large striped bass will be swimming near the surface so planer boards help get the lures away from the engine noise. This overhead picture shows just how well they can accomplish this.

Using Planer Boards. Photo Courtesy Keith Lockwood

There was a significant striped bass spawn in the Potomac, Patuxent, Nanticoke and Choptank River last week from Sunday to Wednesday and another reoccurrence this past Sunday. These fish will be headed out into the bay and one can count on the fact that they’ll be hungry after the stress and energy of spawning in the upper reaches of the tidal rivers; so good luck to you all. Fishermen will no doubt encounter some fish traveling up the bay that have not spawned yet; someone is always late for the party. Be sure to handle them carefully and send them on their way to ensure that we have plenty of fish in the coming years.

White perch have been moving down into the middle regions of the bay’s tidal rivers and creeks and fishermen have been catching them on a variety of small jigs and spinners. Small shad darts tipped with grass shrimp or a piece of bloodworm are an excellent choice for jigging in some of the deeper holes. Be sure to check the report from fisheries biologist Chris Mason in the Angler’s Log under the title of Anadromous Fish Restoration Update.

The catch and release hickory shad fishery at Deer Creek has been running hot and cold this past week due to water flow variations. Catch and release fishing for striped bass in the lower Susquehanna River and flats area has also been variable.

Freshwater fishermen continue to enjoy trout fishing in the put and take waters throughout the state that are being stocked fisheries crews. More than a few fishermen have found themselves in a situation lately with rainbow trout in excess of 6lbs or more on the other end of their line. Some of these large rainbow trout have been in the variety of what many people call golden trout; which is just a color variation of a normal rainbow trout.

Fisheries biologists report that the walleyes and muskies in the upper Potomac River have finished spawning and water temperatures have been unseasonably warm. They recorded a water temperature of 65-degrees earlier this week.

Photo Courtesy James Rickman

Fishing for largemouth bass is perhaps at its zenith due to ideal water temperatures and the fish pouring on the feed to prepare for spawning; the fishing is of course catch and release until June 15th . Last week’s hot weather drove up water temperatures as high as 70-degrees recently and although they are settling down; fisheries electro-fishing survey crews reported that they actually encountered female largemouth bass that were spawned out. Fishermen have been finding largemouth bass holding near emerging grass beds and spatterdock fields as well as sunken wood and the mouths of feeder creeks. James Rickman holds a beautiful 8lb. largemouth bass he caught and released near Mattawoman Creek this past weekend.

Photo by Ruth Baumert

Fishermen in the Ocean City area are catching a few nice tautog at the inlet at the bottom end of the ebbing tide; anticipated warmer water temperatures in the near future should spur this fishery on. A few flounder have been caught and released at the inlet and after the 17th fishermen will be able keep them if they are over 19” long. Surf fishermen are reporting plenty of skates in the surf and a couple of striped bass were reported this week. Offshore the boats headed out to the wreck sites have been finding good fishing for tautog. Every year a few visitors come to the sedge islands inside the Ocean City Inlet to loaf around in the sun for a while before the tourists arrive for the summer season. This group enjoys some mid-day sun before heading to more northern waters for the summer.

"The life of every river sings its own song, but in most the song is long since marred by the discards of misuse."

-- Aldo Leopold


Keith Lockwood has been writing the Maryland Fishing Report for over 6 years. Keith is an avid angler and hunter, and He makes some of the best deer jerky this side of the blueridge.

Keith Lockwood
-- Fisheries Biologist