The Conowingo Dam has suspended water releases for the last couple of days so fishermen will have to watch to see if afternoon releases return. Underwater photographer Michael Eversmier reported that while he was diving in the Susquehanna recently he spotted a number of striped bass and walleye holding in the river at the mouth of Deer Creek. The fish were most likely drawn there by the cool water coming out of Deer Creek. Fishermen have been catching large numbers of channel catfish in and around the lower Susquehanna and Elk Rivers as well as the channel areas in the very upper reaches of the bay.
The action for striped bass starts to pick up in the Pooles Island area where fishermen have been catching striped bass by trolling, chunking and chumming as well as live lining spot and small white perch along the channel edges. Roxanne Stumpf from Middle River celebrated her wedding anniversary with her husband Paul with a fishing trip to the Pooles Island area. Roxanne holds up a nice 36” striped bass she caught on a chunk of menhaden; while chumming along a channel edge.
Fishermen have been reporting good fishing opportunities for striped bass, small bluefish and white perch around some of the lumps and shoals such as Snake Reef, the knolls between the Brewerton and Craighill Channels and Belvidere Shoals. Most fishermen have been trolling or bottom bouncing with medium sized bucktails and Storm typed swimming lures. The white perch are being caught on small jigs and spoons. Fishermen are generally trolling along channel edges and various lumps and shoals throughout the upper bay region and are using small umbrella rigs with bucktails or swimming shads as trailers, spoons and surge tube lures. Because of the bluefish the soft plastic lures have been taking a beating but they do catch fish.
In the early morning and evening hours fishermen have been reporting breaking fish composed of small bluefish and striped bass at various locations. Fishermen have been taking advantage of the situation when they spot it by jigging or trolling. Boats have been chumming in the Pooles Island area, Swan Point, Love Point and over by Podickory Point with good results, especially on a good tide. Live lining spot continues to be very popular this week and fishermen have been catching striped bass around the Bay Bridge, Podickory Point, Love Point and any number of locations with structure.
Recreational crabbers report good crabbing in the Elk, Sassafras, Bush, Gunpowder, Chester and Magothy Rivers. We are into the last week of August which tends to provide the best crabbing in the upper bay tidal rivers and creeks. It seems hard to believe that September is almost here; it’s time to start stocking up some crab meat for winter crab dip and soup.
Mid Bay Region:
There has been a lot of good fishing going on this week in the middle bay region and word got out judging by the number of boats on the bay this past weekend. Fishermen have been live lining spot at the eastern rock pile at the Bay Bridge and the bridge piers with fairly good success with striped bass. The area bracketed by the Gum Thickets and Thomas Point has been a popular location to live line spot this past week as has the eastern side of the channel from Bloody Point to Buoy 84. Fishermen are also unfortunately finding a number of bluefish in the 2lb – 4 lb size range eager to take a clip at their live spot. Carson Rottgering is certainly happy with his first ever striped bass that he caught near the Gum Thickets on a live spot with a little help from his granddad Warren Yattaw.
There are plenty of good opportunities for live lining spot at most locations near structure of channel edges to the southern limits of the region such as the Breezy Point area and the False Channel. Fishermen are also trolling small umbrellas, medium sized bucktails, spoons and surge tube lures for a mix of striped bass and bluefish throughout the region. Since the Spanish mackerel invasion last week a number of fishermen have switched to trolling small spoons on inline weights and planers and also kicked the throttle up a bit. Fishermen have been rejoicing of the fortunes of having Spanish mackerel all the way to the Bay Bridge; although most of the action has been occurring from Poplar Island south; such as this one held up by John Dulemba.
Fishermen have been encountering breaking fish that are made up of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and striped bass throughout the region. The striped bass have been holding deep to stay away from the melee on the surface for the most part and can be caught by jigging deep. On the surface fishermen are seeing fast moving schools of blues and Spanish and the familiar “Run and Gun” routine of chasing these fish was quite evident over the weekend. This is not for the faint of heart when a lot of boats are involved that is for sure and when viewed from afar is actually quite amusing. On the surface fishermen are casting heavy spoons and jigs and speed reeling them in an attempt to elude the bluefish and entice the Spanish mackerel. As we approach September and water temperatures begin to drop; which they will start to do in a couple of weeks many fishermen will see the resurgence of the light tackle shallow water fishery they love in the tidal rivers. Striped bass will enter the rivers and spread out over the shallows offering good fishing opportunities in the early morning and evening hours of the day. At present there are plenty of white perch in the shallows and offering some good fishing with ultra light tackle and small spinners, beetle spins or spoons.
Fishermen have been reporting a lot of small croakers within the region and keeper’s at barely 10”. They also report that large spot are scarce in many areas and that the best croaker fishing is occurring in very deep water during the day. The evening migration of croaker to the neighboring shoal areas along some of the deeper channels has been spotty and occurring very late at night. The Summer Gooses and Sharps Island Flats have been getting a lot of attention form late night croaker fishermen that are anchoring up. Those fishermen that have been targeting them have been finding a few flounder on the Taylor’s Island and James Island Flats and to a lesser degree Stone Rock and Sharps Island Flats.
Recreational crabbers continue to report good crabbing within the regions tidal rivers and creeks. Some of the better crabbing has been reported far up the tidal rivers as the salt wedge moves farther up the rivers due to the lack of rain. Crabbers also report a lot of small crabs, doublers and light medium sized crabs.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Fishermen continue to enjoy good fishing opportunities for a wide range of fish species this week. Fishermen are finding a mix of striped bass, bluefish and Spanish mackerel spread throughout most of the region. Bluefish, striped bass and Spanish mackerel are being caught in the mouth of the Potomac, the Middle Grounds/Target Ship area and north to the middle bay region. The largest bluefish are being found in the bay proper and smaller “snapper sized” bluefish in the tidal creeks and rivers. The Spanish mackerel are being caught by fishermen trolling small spoons with inline or planers or by casting to breaking fish. A few fishermen have also been surprised lately by Spanish mackerel taking live spot baits meant for striped bass.
The bluefish are being caught in a number of ways including chumming, trolling and casting or jigging to breaking fish. The best chumming for large bluefish tends to be in the mouth of the Potomac River and the Middle Grounds/Target Ship area. Those boats trolling are catching them on surge tubes in red or green or on spoons.
The striped bass fishing has been good in a number of areas with the live lining of spot outside the Gas Dock area taking center stage. Striped bass are being caught by chumming at the Southwest Middle Grounds, the mouth of the Potomac River and the rock piles just north of Point Lookout. Fishermen are also catching striped bass underneath the breaking bluefish and Spanish mackerel by jigging; with some of the bluefish exceeding 6 lbs it is no wonder that the striped bass are staying deep.
Fishermen continue to fish deep for croakers during the day often in 60’ of water or more in the Tangier Sound area at locations such as the Puppy Hole and the deep edge south of Tangier Light. They are also being caught near the mouth of the Honga River, the mouth of the Patuxent and lower Potomac as well as deeper areas in the bay. Boats fishing late at night have been catching croakers at the Southwest Middle Grounds and Mud Leads area and to a lesser degree near Buoy 72. Large spot have been tough to find in many areas and the best spot fishing tends to be lower Tangier Sound and in the Patuxent River. Bottom fishermen are also seeing a few small sea trout and a number of small bluefish while fishing. Flounder fishing has been good at Cornfield Harbor, Point Lookout and the channel edges in Tangier Sound. Recreational crabbers report good crabbing in the upper sections of the tidal rivers and creeks.
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