Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | May 07, 2014
Most river systems have recovered from last week's big rains and the weather forecast for this coming weekend looks very promising. Last weekend's strong winds made fishing a little bumpy to say the least for fishermen fishing on the open waters of the bay and larger reservoirs; hopefully calmer conditions will prevail this weekend. Striped Bass continue to spawn in the spawning reaches of several tidal rivers this week so perhaps a surge of post-spawn fish will arrive in the bay just in time for the weekend. In season trout stockings continue to offer fun fishing opportunities and a host of other species such as White Perch, catfish, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass and several species of panfish are biting so don't miss out on fishing with family and friends this weekend. Don't forget mom on Sunday and what better Mothers Day present could there be than to take her fishing?
Water temperatures in the lower Susquehanna River are holding around 53ºF this week and water flows from the Conowingo Dam are above normal. Deer Creek was running muddy over the weekend but has cleared up; fishermen report that Octoraro Creek is still running muddy today making for stained conditions on the Cecil County side of the river. The White Perch continue to be thick in the river and fishermen are catching them on almost every cast on small lures as long as the water clarity stays relatively clear. The throwback ratio is high but there certainly is plenty of action. The Hickory Shad runs at Deer Creek are in a downward swing at this time due to cold water. The catch and release season for Striped Bass is now closed until the 15th of May on the Susquehanna Flats and will open as a catch and keep fishery on May 16th for fish from 18" to 26".
White Perch are beginning to show up in the lower sections of the upper bays tidal rivers around the Baltimore area and the eastern shore rivers. Bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworms tend to be one of the favored baits at this time but lures and grass shrimp are beginning to become successful also. There are plenty of hungry Channel Catfish in the upper bay and its tidal rivers to entertain fishermen and Flathead Catfish at the Conowingo Dam pool.
The Striped Bass trolling action in the upper bay has slowed down this week as most Striped headed up the bay are now holding in the Susquehanna Flats area waiting for warmer water temperatures so they can spawn. The steep channel edge in front of Podickory Point and the channel edges at Love Point and the Triple Buoys remain some of the better places to troll. Large bucktails, parachutes, mojos and swim shads trolled as a single line, in tandem or behind an umbrella rig continue to be the top producers in chartreuse and white. Doug Wallace Jr. is a very happy fisherman with this 41" Striped Bass he caught in the upper bay recently.
Photo Courtesy of Doug Wallace Jr
Most fishermen in the middle bay region have been describing the trolling action as a slow pick as the Striped Bass have been slow to complete their spawning in the Choptank and Nanticoke Rivers. There was some spawning activity this past weekend and Tuesday evening in those rivers so another group of fish should be headed down river later on this week. Cold water temperatures have delayed the Striped Bass spawning in all regions of the bay so fishermen will have to be patient and adjust to what the fish's schedule is. The False Channel and the western side of the shipping channel from Breezy Point south should offer some action and perhaps this weekend will offer some banner fishing. Bloody Point will hold some fish also as strong currents wrap around the steep edges there. Surface water temperatures in the middle bay area are running around 59ºF this week which is about 5ºF warmer than bottom temperatures.
Striped Bass fishing in the lower bay has been a bit of a disappointment for more than a few captains recently trying to hook up fish for their crew in the past week. The action for the most part had been described as a slow pick along the western edge of the shipping channel, the HI Buoy and Buoy 72A. The word has been getting out about the successful fishing in the lower Potomac this week and more than a few boats out of bay ports have been making the run around Point Lookout to troll the channel edges of the lower Potomac. The steep edges out in front of St. Georges Island, St. Clements Island, Piney Point and Buoys 7 and 9 on the Virginia side of the channel have been producing good catches this week. The Striped Bass are finishing up their spawning farther up the Potomac and these fish should provide continued good fishing opportunities this coming weekend.
Fishermen are now catching croakers in the mouth of the Patuxent River, in the lower Potomac and the Tangier/Pocomoke Sound region on baits such as bloodworms and squid. White Perch have been moving into their summer season areas in the lower regions of the bay's tidal rivers and creeks and are beginning to provide good fishing in traditional areas on bait and lures. Fishermen are also catching a lot of medium sized Blue Catfish at the mouth of the Wicomico River on the lower Potomac while fishing for croakers there.
Freshwater fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are enjoying good fishing this week for Largemouth Bass in the upper lake and coves where the waters are shallower as the bass begin to move into shallower and warmer waters in preparation for spawning. Smallmouth Bass are also beginning to stage along rocky shorelines and points and crappie continue to offer good fishing around structure such as bridge piers and sunken wood and tend to be holding a little shallower than later on in the season. Ryan Cooper broke out his fly rod after work recently and cast an articulated streamer fly around the docks at the state boat ramp where he caught and released this nice Smallmouth Bass.
Photo Courtesy of Ryan Cooper
The upper Potomac River is calming down this week and although the waters are a bit high and stained, fishermen report good fishing for Smallmouth Bass. As water temperatures warm up the smaller Smallmouth Bass are now becoming more active and making up a larger portion of what fishermen are catching and releasing. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and suspended jerkbaits are popular baits to use now as are the typical tubes and 4" stick worms.
Trout fishermen are enjoying good fishing opportunities this week in the trout management waters of the state. The put and take areas continue to receive in season stockings and fishermen are enjoying the results of the generous stockings. Other management areas that are tuned to catch and release or fly fishing only for example are providing fun and productive fishing opportunities for fishermen.
Largemouth Bass in many areas of the state are shifting from their pre-spawn mode of behavior to actually spawning. The males have been busy carving out nests in the shallower areas of lakes, ponds and tidal waters and the larger females are beginning to move into those areas. Fishermen report that the tidal Potomac is still showing stained water conditions and a lot of debris from last week's heavy rains. Ivan Koretic was fishing with his dad on the Middle River when he caught and released this fine looking Largemouth Bass.
Photo Courtesy of Zeljko Koretic
Fishermen continue to enjoy a variety of other freshwater fishing options this week for other species such as Crappie, Bluegills, Chain Pickerel and Channel Catfish. Crappie can be found holding near structure such as fallen tree tops, sunken wood or docks and piers; small minnows or jigs under a bobber are a favorite way to catch them. Bluegills can be caught on a simple worm and bobber rig and is a favorite way to introduce children to some fun fishing action. Chain Pickerel often fill in for the entertainment factor for fishermen casting a variety of lures and always tend to charge lures with abandonment. Fishing for Channel Catfish has been very good in the tidal rivers of the bay and Potomac River and fishing for Blue Catfish in the tidal Potomac has been very good. Northern Snakeheads are being found in shallower waters now as they begin their pre-spawning behavior of hanging out in thick shallow grass in the upper areas of the tidal Potomac's tidal creeks and coves. Chatterbaits is a great way to get their attention when retrieved over or near edges of grass. The Department encourages anglers to catch and remove Blue Catfish and Northern Snakehead at any size and in any season in order to avoid their spread.
Fishermen in the Ocean City area are beginning to see new species of fish move into the area as water temperatures move over the 50ºF mark. Kingfish and Northern Puffers showed up in the surf this week and even a couple of Bluefish and croaker were reported. As would be expected there are plenty of Clear-Nosed Skates and small sharks in the surf areas also. Inside the inlet fishermen are finding a few flounder biting usually on the bottom of an ebb tide and also Tautog along the rock and bulkhead areas close to the inlet. Offshore there are Tautog to be caught on many of the wreck and artificial reef sites.
"...the fisherman fishes. It is at once an act of humility and a small rebellion; and it is something more. To him his fishing is an island of reality in a world of dream and shadow." - Robert Traver