Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are seeing fishing for walleyes, yellow perch and smallmouth bass improving as water temperature decline. Fishing along 15’ to 25’ edges with crankbaits or jig and minnow combinations has been a popular way to fish. Northern pike and chain pickerel are very active now near the mouths of many of the cove areas.
Regional fisheries manager Alan Klotz sent in this report from the western region. Fall trout stocking has almost been completed In Western Maryland – the Delayed Harvest Areas of Town Creek, Youghiogheny River, Casselman River, and the North Branch Potomac River have all received trout. In addition, the Put and Take Areas of Evitts Creek, Wills Creek, Bear Creek, and the Savage River have been stocked. With the recent rains, all streams have good fishing flows. There was plenty of elbow-room and the fall foliage was at its peak, and stream flow was perfect.
Fisherman Roby Hurley sent in this report from a fishing trip to western Maryland. Thanks for your advice and hard work for the trout in Maryland. I loved my first trip ever to Bear Creek, catching brightly colored brown and rainbow trout. I also had good success on the North Branch Potomac River Catch and Release Area with nice wild browns and decent rainbows. Both Bear Creek and the North Branch Potomac produced with Madam X, small hoppers, and occasionally a dropper nymph.
Fisheries biologist John Mullican also sent in a report from the upper Potomac. The Potomac watershed, at least the lower reaches, received some much needed rain last weekend. Unfortunately, the western stretches were not so lucky and the river remains extremely low and clear west of Hagerstown. Water temperatures have dropped into the upper 40s to low 50s. We have begun our annual fall electro-fishing surveys in the middle and lower Potomac, but the western sites will have to wait for higher flows. Anglers can expect good numbers of walleye and smallmouth bass this fall. Though the survey is still in the early stages, the catch rate for 12 to 15 inch smallmouth has been very good. Walleye numbers have dropped a little as a result of poor reproduction during the past two springs. Nevertheless, walleye are still abundant with nearly all fish exceeding 18 inches.
Fishermen can look forward to the stocking of trout this week as part of the Fisheries Service’s fall trout stocking program. Be sure to check out the trout stocking website at: www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/stocking/springtroutstock.html
Cooler water temperatures in the regions lakes, reservoirs and ponds are causing grass beds to begin to diminish and prey species such as crawfish are searching for cover in deeper waters. Fish species such as largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are waiting near the deeper edges and sunken wood for any crawfish caught out on open bottom. There are few things that bass favor more than crawfish so any crankbait or soft plastic that resemble a crawfish are a good bet to use this time of the year. Quite often fishermen will see bass with scuffed up noses and upper lips from feeding on crawfish scurrying along the bottom; a sure sign they are feeding on crawfish.
The regions tidal rivers are also offering good fishing for largemouth bass this week. Andrew Ma sent in this report and picture from the upper Patuxent. My friend Paul David Pryzgoda, Paul Gadiock, and I were fishing on our trusty inflatable boat, the Potamus, for what could be one of our last trips together this year. We were on the Patuxent River in Montgomery County, MD, just southeast of the Browns Bridge Road in the Howard Ducket Watershed.
We started fishing at noon and caught some nice looking yellow perch and blue gill trolling with crawdad cranks until we started fishing around any shore structure we could find.
We came across a few fallen trees in a cove and at this point had almost given up on catching any bass. Around 4 PM my friend Paul pulled in a nice size bass from under a fallen tree using yellow spinner bait. For good measure I threw my mini bomber crank bait back towards the same fallen log, gave a few slow reels, and hooked and pulled out this lunker. We didn't get a length measurement, but we managed to grab this photo (David and I) with the 4.5 lbs largemouth that we weighed with our hanging scale.
Water temperatures in the tidal Potomac are running in the middle 50’s this week with tributary creeks running a little cooler. Largemouth bass are being found in about 10’ of water near sunken wood and similar structure. The bass are beginning to act a little sluggish and fishermen are finding that slowly working soft plastics such as craws and grubs are a good bet. Water temperatures should rise this week as warmer weather moves in and fish should become more active.
Crappie are beginning to school up near deep structure such as bridge piers, brush piles and tree tops that have fallen in deep water. Small minnows, small tube lures and jigs are good choices for baits. Chain pickerel and northern pike are becoming more active due to cooler water temperatures and can offer some exciting fishing.
Last weekends Northeaster brought a lot of rain to the eastern regions tidal rivers and dropped water temperatures to the mid-50’s and largemouth bass fishing slowed down. Fishermen reported that largemouth bass were sluggish in their feeding behavior and holding close to deep sunken wood. Soft plastics and small crankbaits worked very slowly through the deep cover seemed the only way to entice any action for largemouth bass. Conditions are improving this week as a warm front moves into the region and day time temperatures are expected to reach a high of 70-degrees. Warmer water temperatures will do much to get the largemouth bass fishery back into gear.
The tidal rivers have been experiencing higher than normal tides early this week but conditions will settle out by the end of the week. Fishing for channel catfish can offer some very good fishing opportunities in most of the regions tidal rivers. The channel catfish are holding in the channels and deep holes and can be caught on a variety of baits such as nightcrawlers, chicken liver, or cut fish baits.
Click here to view recent bay satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm
Reservoir Bathymetry information:
The Maryland Geological
Survey has bathymetry maps on their website:
Links to freshwater flows:
Latest real time stream flow for
Gunpowder Falls near Parkton.
Latest real time stream flow for
Gunpowder Falls At Glencoe.