Maryland Overview | April 21, 2010

Anyone who was out trolling for striped bass this past weekend doesnít need to be reminded about the wind conditions. Those that caught their limits early and returned to ports on the western side of the bay were lucky in more ways than one. Many fishermen reported finishing up early before the wind picked up; especially those on charter boats. Trolling the shipping channel edges was the name of the game and planer boards were the winning strategy to keep lures up and away from the boat. The first two days of the season and the wind conditions that prevailed were just that and now that the winds have lain down, everyone will have a chance to catch a big fish; even small boat captains. Dustin Wimsatt was fishing with his dad, brother and friends on a Solomonís charter boat when he reeled in this beautiful 44Ē striped bass while trolling between the Gas Docks and the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant. Be sure to check out the Anglerís Log for the rest of the story.

Dustin's Big Striped Bass. Photo Courtesy Kevin Wimsatt

There has been a lot of spawning activity in the Choptank, Nanticoke, Potomac and Patuxent Rivers and these fish are entering the bay and heading south. Theyíre hungry so large parachutes, bucktails, spoons and Storms should do the trick. There are large menhaden in the bay so that will be on the menu for these fish as they head out into the ocean on their way north. There was also some spawning activity reported in the Elk River last week.

Fishermen have been reporting slow catch and release fishing up in the Susquehanna Flats region for the last couple of weeks. Fish are being caught on cut bait and lures but the action does not seem to be living up to what fishermen expected. The water is clear and flows from the Conowingo Dam have been minimal. The hickory shad run continues at Deer Creek and Octararo Creek and should continue till the end of the month. Fishing for hickory shad in the Susquehanna has been good and there are also plenty of white perch and channel catfish to be caught.

Freshwater fishermen continue to focus on the excellent largemouth bass and trout fishing opportunities this week. The largemouth bass are feeding heavily near the mouths of feeder creeks in the tidal rivers, emerging grass beds, sunken wood and flats have also been good places to cast lipless or shallow running crankbaits and soft plastic craw baits. Impoundments ranging from the largest reservoirs to small farm ponds are all offering good fishing for largemouth bass. Emerging grass beds, steep edges and sunken wood such as fallen tree tops are good places to cast a variety of baits such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastics.

Western Region fisheries biologist Alan Klotz reports that they have been busy stocking trout recently and that the western streams are running low and clear due to the lack of rain. Fisheries biologist John Mullican reports the upper Potomac River is in beautiful shape and fishing well. Walleye have begun to go back on the feed and anglers have been catching them on jigs and crankbaits; the best action has been at dusk. Smallmouth bass fishing has improved as well. Jerkbaits, deep-diving crankbaits, and tubes have been effective. Fisheries biologist Jody Johnson reported that he officiated at a walleye tournament at Deep Creek Lake this past weekend. He mentioned that about 150 walleyes were checked in with 20Ē or so being the largest. Most fishermen reported trolling Rapalas as a favorite method of fishing during the tournament but drifting live minnows at dusk is a more successful way to fish for walleyes.

Put and take trout fishermen continue to enjoy the fruits of a very generous stocking program by the Fisheries Service in selected trout stocked waters throughout the state. A lot of Fishing Challenge award sized trout are being submitted for certificates and the sizes of some of them are daunting. Several rainbow trout have approached state record size and fishermen are telling stories of catching the fish of a lifetime and getting wobbly in the knees at the sight of a 6lb rainbow trout on the end of their line. Fishermen should take note that any fish meeting the minimum size for an award certificate for the Maryland Fishing Challenge from last Septembers awards ceremony until this years awards ceremony will be eligible in this years contest and prizes. Rules for entering your fish can be found at Maryland Sportfishing Page.

Ocean surf temperatures at Ocean City finally hit the 50-degree mark this week and fishing is improving everyday. The seasonís first large flounder were caught this past weekend now that the 2010 Flounder Season is officially open. The area around the Route 90 Bridge is always a good place to drift this time of the year since the water is generally a little warmer there. Striped bass are being caught in and around the inlet as well as along the beaches. Swim shads and bucktails are the ticket in the inlet and large cut menhaden baits in the surf.

Tautog are being caught in the inlet area, with the best catches coming from the deeper holes and on an ebbing tide. The wreck sites are producing some nice tautog for anglers on the party boats with limits often being the norm.

"There is something about a boat that is powerful soothing to springtime hysterics; you can also learn a whole lot about yourself. Ainít nothing like a boat to teach a man the worth of quiet contemplation."

-- Robert Ruark, The Old Man And The Boy


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