Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | March 28, 2012

It would seem old Mother Nature decided to take a few steps backward in regard to the advance of spring this week and they may be a good thing in regards to adjusting nature's clock. Perhaps this cold front that is sitting upon us will set things straight with spawning runs of striped bass and other andromous fish such as hickory shad and river herring and things will get back to a more normal schedule. One fishery that is certainly on schedule is the traditional opening day of trout season this coming Saturday in the put and take areas. Fisheries crews and the volunteers that help spread the fish out have been busy stocking trout in your favorite fishing waters.

Photo Courtesy of Keith Lockwood

Water temperatures in the lower Susquehanna River and flats area are holding around 50- 55-degrees depending where one is. Local fishing guides report that a group of striped bass arrived a little more than a week ago and seemed to have nosed into the Elk River where water temperatures may have been suitable for spawning and catch and release fishing is off limits. Fishermen have been trolling with crankbaits, casting jigs, crankbaits and bottom fishing with cut bait in the lower Susquehanna and flats area without much success lately, very few striped bass have been caught and released to date. Usually not all the fish in a spawning population arrive at the same time so there certainly is hope that more striped bass are headed up the bay and due to arrive shortly.

The white perch have been thinning out in the lower Susquehanna River and upper bay tributaries and moving out into the upper bay area. Channel catfish are plentiful in the region and hickory shad have begun to show up in sufficient numbers to provide some good catch and release fishing late in the afternoons at the Deer Creek area. Chances are that this weekend will be a good time to catch them.

In general white perch are moving down the tidal rivers of the Chesapeake to settle in to areas that traditionally hold them in late spring and summer. White perch are still being reported at Fletcher's on the Potomac near Washington D.C. but fishing with bloodworms in the lower sections of most other tidal rivers may get you into some nice perch. Fishermen are catching them at Sandy Point State Park and other areas around the bay such as this one caught by Richard Wright at the Bill Burton Fishing Pier on the lower Choptank River.

Photo Courtesy of Richard Wright

Water temperatures in the mid-bay area are running around 50-degrees this week and fishermen have been practicing a little catch and release out along the shipping channel edges by trolling large parachutes and bucktails. The warm water discharge at Calvert Cliffs Power Plant has also been drawing light tackle fishermen to try their luck at jigging near the discharge for striped bass.

Freshwater fishermen who love their largemouth bass could hardly have better catch and release fishing than right now. Conditions seem to be perfect; largemouth bass are in an aggressive and hungry pre-spawn mode of activity and are hitting just about anything from topwater lures to grub jigs. The bass are cruising near all kinds of cover ranging from underwater ledges and drop-offs to emerging grass beds. Robert Bruce sent us this picture of a real nice largemouth bass he caught and released and an angler's log of his fishing trip on the tidal Potomac River.

Photo Courtesy of Robert Bruce

Trout fishermen are getting geared up for the big opener this Saturday in the Put and Take areas where fisheries biologist have been busy stocking trout. All manner of fishermen from the fly fishermen in waders to the young fishermen in sneakers will be trying their luck in the hopes of taking a few trout home with them. Powerbait is perhaps one of the best baits for fishing for stocked trout; it seems like candy to them, they just can't resist. Most trout fishermen spent quite a bit of time enjoying the pre-season stockings at many of the put and take waters earlier in the month and late February. The special catch and release trout management areas continue to provide wonderful catch and release opportunities for fishermen not concerned about taking fish home.

Fishermen in the Ocean City area are beginning to see some surf action as a few bluefish and striped bass are being caught this week by fishermen using bait. Skates and dogfish are out there also ready to chew up baits. Tautog continue to move inside the inlet and fishermen are finding fishing improving as water temperatures reach 54-degrees. Offshore the boats heading out to the inshore wreck and artificial reef sites are finding large tautog for their customers.

To say opening day of trout season is usually crowded is the ultimate understatement. It is as much a social event as it is a fishing outing. - Author unknown


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.

Latest Angler's Log Reports

Blair Todd
Recreational Angler
Salisbury, MD
Total Reports:
Sent in on: September 30, 2014 Permalink

Blues and a Nice Rock

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid Bay
Location: Thomas Point
Tags: bluefish, striped bass

Lots of blues before catching this 31 inch rock trolling surgical tube behind a number 2 planner. The weather was good, no wind, some cloud cover.


Wayne Young
Recreational Angler
Annadale, VA
Total Reports:
Sent in on: September 30, 2014 Permalink

34 Inch Striper South of Plum Pt

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid Bay
Location: south of Plum Pt reef site
Tags: striped bass, bay anchovies, menhaden, bluefish

Chesapeake Beach, south of Plum Pt reef site, east of Summer Gooses, Sharps Is Light.

Fished the edge NE of Chesapeake Beach inlet aboard 20' FISHHAWKS NEST. 2 fishers (senior day!). New CHIRP sonar and Navionics sonar map greatly aided working the edge. The high profile unit was hard to fit into the electronics box but well worth the effort. Schools of Bay Anchovies in area. Caught 18" striper on a hand tied bunker fly used as a trailer. Some taps and hits but no more hookups.Then worked inshore area south of Plum Pt reef site. Neighbor Art Howard caught a 34" striper in 27' on my 45 year old Penn Senator 4/0 combo with lead core rigged with a red surgical tube 5 colors back. Many schools of menhaden. Then worked many large menhaden schools east of Summers Gooses where fish were slashing through. Kept right at the schools with my trolling motor. Threw all sorts of rigs including live bunker with no hits. Looked like small bluefish slashing the schools. Tossed metal at Sharps Is Light on the way back in with no luck.


Raymond Drayer
Recreational Angler
Nanjemoy, MD
Total Reports:
Sent in on: September 30, 2014 Permalink

Moon Jelly

Type: Tidal
Region: Southern
Location: Newtowne Neck State Park
Tags: moon jelly, jellyfish

This isn't exactly a fish, but are you able to identify what species of jellyfish that this is? It was on the rocks on the Potomac River at Newtowne Neck State Park.

DNR Response: It looks like a moon jelly. Here is a link with more information about moon jellies: