Maryland Overview | May 19, 2010

Maryland fishermen who fish freshwater or saltwater know that our fisheries are always in a flux due to the changing of the seasons. In many ways it’s nice to have fishing not be static, there is always something new happening and May is certainly a month of transition for Maryland fishermen. Trout fishermen that enjoy their fly fishing are seeing various hatches of aquatic insects, put and take fishermen are still enjoying the May trout stockings. Largemouth bass are beginning to enter the post-spawn phase in many areas and are feeding aggressively. Chesapeake Bay fishermen are getting in their last licks of the Spring Trophy Striped Bass Season and are now seeing summer migrants such as croaker, bluefish and flounder moving into the regions waters. Along the coast a much anticipated sea bass season opens this Saturday and fishermen are intercepting large striped bass moving northward along the beaches as well as seeing increasing numbers of flounder and bluefish moving into the area. So embrace the changes and don’t miss one opportunity, life is too short. It would be safe to say that there is not one person on this planet who is facing the end of their life’s journey that would say they wasted too much time fishing and should have spent more time at work.

Photo Courtesy Rich Watts, click to enlarge.

Rich Watts is one such person who does his best to spend as much of his free time as possible enjoying fishing and crabbing near his home on Kent Island. Whatever season it is Rich is out there fishing with family and friends. His daughter Angelina (view anglers log) often accompanies her father and has become an accomplished fisherman herself. Recently she got to go trolling near Thomas Point with her dad and got to reel in this whopper of a striped bass.

Water temperatures in the Chesapeake Bay this week are ranging from the middle to upper 60’s and the large post-spawn striped bass are departing or are already heading up the Atlantic coast. Fishermen are picking away at the last of the big fish as they move down the bay and out of Maryland waters. The steep edges of the shipping channel in the 45’ to 55’ range and trolling lures at about 20’ below the surface is still the best choice for catching a tail-end Charlie striped bass. The best catches this week have been in the southern region of Maryland waters at traditional spots such as Cove Point and the western edge of the shipping channel from the Gas Docks to Breezy Point. Mid – bay locations such as Thomas and Bloody Point have been good and Love Point in the upper bay continues to produce fish. Fishermen can now keep 2 striped bass between 18” and 28” if they can’t find a big one over 28” so it pays to put some smaller offerings out in the trolling spread.

Fishermen are reporting catching and releasing some small striped bass in the very uppermost parts of the bay near the Susquehanna River but most fishermen are focusing on the exceptional fishing there for large white perch and channel catfish. In fact the white perch fishing in all of the tidal rivers and creeks of the Chesapeake has been very good this week. Croakers are making their presence known in many of the larger tidal rivers in the southern region of the bay such as the Nanticoke, Wicomico, Patuxent and Honga Rivers. Fishermen have been reporting rather lack luster action at the mouth of the Wicomico River and Potomac this week but have been reporting good fishing at Cornfield Harbor near Point Lookout for croakers.

Photo Courtesy Alan Klotz, click to enlarge.

Freshwater fishermen are finding largemouth bass are in an aggressive post-spawn mode in many areas and topwater lures such as buzzbaits and poppers are providing some explosive action. Grass beds and the edges of spatterdock fields are good places to stir up a largemouth bass. Soft plastics and spinnerbaits are perhaps the top choices to use near underwater structure such as sunken wood, rocks or dock pilings. Fisheries biologist Alan Klotz reports that the crappie are spawning in western Maryland lakes such as the Youghiogheny Reservoir, Deep Creek and Broadford Lakes. His son Kyle Klotz (view anglers log) holds up a nice stringer of a walleye, bluegill and yellow perch caught on nightcrawler pieces and a bobber. Check out his report on the Angler’s Log.

Fisheries biologist John Mullican also sent in a report on trout fishing opportunities in the western region; so be sure to check out his Angler’s Log entry also. He mentions that they have stocked some brown trout in some northern Frederick County streams and due to the fact that they are a little harder to catch than rainbows they should be around for a while (View Log Report).

Fishermen in the Ocean City area have been experiencing some banner fishing this week. Flounder and striped bass are being caught inside the inlet and back bay areas and particularly in Sinepuxent Bay. Striped bass, flounder and tautog are being caught in and around the inlet. Surf fishermen are enjoying excellent fishing opportunities for large striped bass moving northward along the beaches and small bluefish are also moving into the area. There are plenty of tautog on the artificial reef and wreck sites and everyone is looking forward to the sea bass season opening on the 22nd.

The Maryland Fishing Hot Spots Map has been updated to a zoom-able, pan-able Google map and is available here. New Angler's Log Reports are added daily and available here.

“'One thing you will learn,' the Old Man said, talking at me, 'is that you must never be lazy in front of anybody, Loafing is fine, but energetic people get mad at you if you take it easy in front of them. That is why fishing was invented, really. It takes you away from the view of industrious people. Lazy men make the best fishermen and they usually amount to something in the end, because they have time enough to unclutter their brains and get down to flat basics.'”

-- Robert Ruark, The Old Man And The Boy


Keith Lockwood has been writing the Fishing Report since 2003 and has had a long career as a fisheries research biologist since 1973. Over the course of his career he has studied estuarine fishery populations, ocean species, and over a decade long study of bioaccumulation of chemicals in aquatic species in New Jersey. Upon moving to Oxford on the eastern shore of Maryland; research endeavors focused on a variety of catch and release studies as well as other fisheries related research at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory. Education and outreach to the fishing public has always been an important component to the mission of these studies. Keith is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, bird dogs, family and life on the eastern shore of Maryland.

Keith Lockwood
-- Fisheries Biologist