Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | November 10, 2010
November is a splendid time of the year for fishermen that love their freshwater fishing or some of the cold water ocean species such as tautog and sea bass and of course this is one of the best times of the year to pursue striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean. The water temperatures are now in the 50's in the most waters in the state and fish are moving freely wherever they care to go and this time of the year that movement concerns food. All fish are building up body stores for the winter and fish are feeding aggressively; which can be a great advantage to fishermen.
The change of seasons also unfortunately brings a change in the weather and it is often a tug of war between being nice or nasty. Strong winds can really put a damper on fishing the more open waters of the Chesapeake and Atlantic and last weekend was a perfect example. Searching for a leeward shore and some protection can be a tough nut to crack at times and the classic predicament of getting caught in the wind against the tide situation or crossing a long fetch can ruin anyone's day. Although we all hope for calm days; if fishing is what is important, the more protected upper reaches of tidal rivers and favorite freshwater fishing holes are the place to be.
Water temperatures are now in the mid 50's throughout all regions of the bay. Striped bass are being caught from the Virginia Line north to the Conowingo Dam. Casting and jigging soft plastic jigs such as BKD's, curly tails and swim shads will often bring good results. Check one of the recent Angler's Log entries about casting for striped bass at the Conowingo Dam.
Fishermen are finding striped bass holding over deep structure in the upper bay region near channel edges, around shallower structure such as old piers, rocks and the bridge piers of the Key Bridge. The channels around Hart-Miller Island and the mouth of the Chester River are also good places to jig for suspended fish when you can find them on a depth finder. Trolling is a popular way to fish this time of the year and umbrella rigs and soft plastics can now be used without fear of bluefish chewing things up. The Bay Bridge piers and rock piles are holding a wealth of striped bass and white perch for fishermen and jigging has been the most productive method of catching them lately.
Farther down the bay fishermen will be finding striped bass in the bay and tidal rivers by either spotting breaking fish or by detecting suspended fish with a good depth finder. Bait in the form of small menhaden continues to pour out of the tidal rivers and fishermen may also see juvenile river herring and hickory shad running the gauntlet. Jigs such as a Crippled Herring or some of the soft plastics such as BKD's are "go to" lures and braided line can help with sensitivity. The mouth of Eastern Bay, the West, Severn and Choptank Rivers are good places to look for action. The western side of the shipping channel is always a good place troll and the Diamonds False Channel area has also been offering good fishing for jigging and trolling. Trolling has been a good way to fish lately; especially when the water is rough and now that the bluefish are gone, soft plastic swim shads as well as bucktails and parachutes dressed with sassy shads are good bets. The first of the large fall migrant striped bass are being caught along the edges of the shipping channel so it pays to have some large sized offerings in a trolling spread. Large spoons such as Crippled Alewives are also a good bet since there are fair sized menhaden around.
Lower bay region fishermen were of course the first to get their licks in on the large fall migrant striped bass; the recent Monster Rockfish Tournament held in the Solomon's area had several winners that measured above 46" in length. Medium sized striped bass have been showing up all over the lower bay region from Tangier Sound to the Potomac River above the Route 301 Bridge. Often they can be found roaming the shallows in low light condition and casting lures from boat or shore is a fun way to catch them. They will also be found holding near deep structure such as reef sites, channel edges and prominent points. Jigging with metal or soft plastics to suspended or breaking fish is a fun way to catch them. The western side of the shipping channel, the Middle Grounds, the Puppy Hole area of Tangier Sound and the lower Potomac area channel edges are all great places to jig or troll.
White perch are being found in the lower sections of the tidal rivers holding near oyster reefs and some of the deeper areas. Fishing with bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or jigging with metal and a dropper fly are good ways to catch them.
Cooler water conditions in western Maryland are pushing some fish such as smallmouth and largemouth bass to be roaming waters less than 15'. Shallow grass beds are diminishing and bait in the form of baitfish and crayfish are finding themselves more exposed and the bass are taking advantage of the situation. Schools of yellow perch and walleye are also on the prowl close to these shallower waters and can be caught on various lures and live minnows. The western regions trout waters are running clear and a little low and there are plenty of trout and elbow room for fishermen. John Mullican reports that the upper Potomac River is running low and clear. He also mentioned that he talked to an angler that said he did pretty good on smallmouth. John also advised fishermen to look for smallmouth in the slower, deeper stretches and make long casts.
Trout fishermen can find plenty of fishing opportunities in many of the stocked Put and Take areas in the western, central and southern regions. Fisheries crews were able to stock generous numbers of trout provided by the Albert Powell Hatchery in October. Check out the trout stocking schedule to see what waters near you were stocked. http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/stocking/index.asp
A variety of freshwater species such as yellow perch, bluegills, crappie, largemouth bass and chain pickerel are all feeling the need to actively feed and build up body stores for the coming winter. Crawfish and small baitfish are heading towards deeper water and cover and the largemouth bass are waiting for them. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs are all good choices to entice a strike. Crappie are schooling up near deeper water often near bridge piers and marina docks and yellow perch are active in the upper sections of many tidal rivers. Fishing for channel catfish can offer a lot of fun and some good eating this time of the year. The lower Susquehanna, elk, Northeast and Chester Rivers all hold good populations of channel catfish. The Potomac River above and below Great Falls also have plenty of channel catfish to entertain fishermen. Fishing for blue catfish has been very good in the Fort Washington area of the Potomac this month.
Fishermen are enjoying good fishing for tautog at the Ocean City Inlet at the Route 50 Bridge and the south jetty. The best action has been occurring during the ebb tides and frozen sand fleas and pieces of green crabs have been the choice baits. A few striped bass are being caught in the inlet by fishermen casting swim shads, bucktails or by drifting live spot and eels. The first large fall migrant fall striped bass are beginning to show up along the beaches and large bluefish, sea bass and tautog are being caught offshore.
There comes a time in every man's life when he is either going to go fishing or do something worse. -Havilah Babcock