The water releases from the Conowingo Dam have been minimal for some time now with power generation releases in the afternoon hours and the rest of the time not much of anything in the way of water is coming through the dam. Water temperatures have risen into the low 80ís and fish such as striped bass have moved out of the area for the most part. There are always some striped bass that will hunker down in some of the deeper pools of the lower Susquehanna for the summer. Locals will often cast topwater lures, crankbaits or swimming shad lures near the dam spillway pool or live line small white perch and they will catch a few striped bass in the evening hours during a water release. Most of the fishing in the very upper bay area will now tend to center around the plentiful channel catfish and white perch in the Elk, lower Susquehanna and surrounding areas. White perch can also be found in most of the tidal creeks and rivers in the upper bay region as well as numerous lumps, knolls and shoal areas. Small jigs, spoons or bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or peeler crab will do the trick.
The NOAA Buoy at the mouth of the Patapsco has been revealing some low surface dissolved oxygen readings lately; most ranging from 3.7 to 7 mg/l. Surface water temperatures are pushing the 80-degree mark. Fishermen will most likely find fish such as striped bass moving into areas with good dissolved oxygen and cooler water temperatures. Fishermen have been trolling in the area east of Baltimore Light to the Bay Bridge and catching fish on a good tide in the early morning and evening hours. At times the action is a pick but more often it all happens at once when a school of fish is located.
The chumming fleet has been seen anchoring up at the Love Point Rocks and the Mudís and the word is that they are catching fish on the morning tide. The steep channel edge from Baltimore Light to Sandy Point Light has also been getting some attention as has the Sewer Pipe. A lot of fishermen have now switched to live lining spot and are doing well. The channel edge off Podickory Point, the Sewer Pipe, Bay Bridge Piles, Kent Narrows and most any place that has deep structure with current are all good places to try live lining. The spot are mostly being caught in the shallows near Podickory Point or Hackettís Bar but fishermen will find them in shallow reefs most anywhere in the lower section of the upper bay region. Brendon Molsen from North Carolina got to do some fishing with relatives here and caught this nice striped bass just north of the Bay Bridge while live lining a small white perch.
Fishermen are reporting finding breaking fish or good marks in the areas south of Rock Hall and particularly below Love Point in the evenings and enjoying good light tackle jigging. Recreational crabbing has picked up in the region in a few selected tidal rivers. Good reports came in from The Patapsco, Chester, Magothy and Kent Narrows; not everyone caught a bushel of crabs but most were happy to catch the seasonís first.
Mid Bay Region:
There have been a number of changes occurring in the middle bay fishing scene in the last week. The first thing most fishermen and boaters have been noticing are the fewer numbers of boats out on the bay but also what type of fishing they are engaged in. The number of boats chumming has dropped off perhaps partially due to the drop off in success but also perhaps due to the success of live lining spot. The spot have settled into the region and fishermen are finding they can readily secure a dozen or so for their live well and anchor up over a likely looking location and catch some nice striped bass. The spot are being caught on a small piece of bloodworm or similar baits in the lower section of most tidal rivers in the region. Sometimes finding baits small enough is the toughest part of the equation. This 8Ē spot from the Choptank would be a mouth full for most resident striped bass.
The striped bass in the region are beginning to hold deep during the day now that water temperatures have hit the 80-degree mark. A few boats continue to chum but most are trolling, jigging or live lining spot. The best trolling reported has been around the Hill and particularly the western edge of the shipping channel from Breezy Point south. That steep edge has also be getting some attention from fishermen live lining spot as well as the Diamonds and channel edges throughout the region. The False Channel area has not shown the quality fishery for striped bass that it did last year so far this season. Light tackle fishermen have been finding schools of striped bass on the surface or showing up as marks on their depth finders in a number of areas in the evening hours.
Croakers have spread throughout the entire region now and have been offering good fishing in a number of areas. Eastern Bay and the Choptank River have been good places to fish but fishermen have also been catching them in the evenings near the channel edges such as the lower area of the Summer Gooses. The croakers are holding deep during the days heat and traveling up into the shoal areas to feed in the evenings. Peelers are the traditional bait to use but crab flavored Gulp baits, fresh (wild variety) shrimp and razor clams are also effective. Tyrell Jackson and Robbie Greenwood caught these nice croakers in the lower Choptank River over the weekend.
Shoreline fishermen have been getting in on the croaker action along with white perch at landings and piers such as the Matapeake and Choptank Fishing Piers. Fishermen have been catching good numbers of white perch in the tidal rivers and creeks in the region and also fishing the shallows in the early morning and late evening for striped bass. Recreational crabbers did well in most tidal rivers and creeks over the weekend. Most were able to get a bushel on the eastern side of the bay and those crabbing on the western side did nearly as well. A number of local crabbers were quick to mention about the influx of crabbers this past weekend and the somewhat crowded conditions in many of the prime locations. Warm water means crabs are growing and too grow they must shed and once they have a new shell it takes a while for them to fill it out. My own personal crabbing observation this weekend showed that most all of the jumbo and large sized crabs I encountered were fairly light and I wound up throwing back more than I kept.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
The NOAA Buoy at the mouth of the Potomac is currently showing a surface water temperature over 80-degrees; the warming of the bay waters continues to cause the fishing in the bay to change also. Charterboat captains reported that their chumming success dropped off on Friday and has not recovered yet. Several of them blamed double tides and the fact that water temperatures are too warm for the striped bass to be active enough for chumming. Several captains reported that they have switched to bluefish which can be found in good numbers near the Southwest Middle Grounds and Buoy 72.
Those charter and private boats that are live lining spot have been doing well. The spot are plentiful in tidal rivers such as the Patuxent and the striped bass have been holding at locations such as the channel edge outside the Gas Docks. Many fishermen have been turning to live lining because it is an effective way to catch a good grade of striped bass and they can save on fuel and bait costs. Striped bass can be found in a number of locations with good bottom structure and sufficient current from the Power Plant south to Point Lookout. The channel edge near Hooperís Island Light is another good spot to check on the eastern side of the bay. A number of fishermen are still trolling for their striped bass and an increasing number are beginning to troll surge tube lures for bluefish. In the late evening hours fishermen have also been spotting a mix of small bluefish and striped bass chasing bait on the surface and have been jigging underneath for a better grade of fish.
Croaker fishing in just about every corner of the lower bay/Tangier Sound region has been excellent. The croakers are still being caught up the Potomac River past the confluence with the Wicomico and up the bay to the middle bay region. The fleet coming out of Crisfield has been fishing the deeper waters of the Puppy Hole and similar channel areas during the day and loading up on croakers and a mix of spot, small sea trout and small bluefish. Those fishermen that are targeting them are finding good flounder along the channel edges of Tangier and Pocomoke Sound as well as locations as Cornfield Harbor on the western side of the bay. Recreational crabbers report good crabbing in most all tidal creeks and rivers on the western shore and eastern shores of the bay.
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