Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | August 01, 2012

The weatherman promises us stable weather conditions this week with light winds; let us hope it is true and we all find good fishing opportunities this week. Although freshwater fishing remains in a classic summer pattern, there are exciting changes occurring in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal fisheries. More and more bluefish are moving up the bay along with the vanguard of the Spanish mackerel that have been holding in Virginia waters. Offshore species such as yellowfin tuna and marlin have arrived just in time for the Ocean City White Marlin Open next week.

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Fishermen continue to pick away at striped bass at the Conowingo Dam pool and are also catching some impressive flathead catfish. Farther down the Susquehanna fishermen are catching channel catfish and white perch; the Elk River is also providing similar action. Fishermen are reporting small striped bass chasing bait from Poole's Island south and also in the tidal rivers; most of these fish are in the 15" range but occasionally fishermen can find striped bass over 18" by jigging underneath the surface fish.

The action tends to pick up in the Rock Hall area down to the Bay Bridge with locations such as Love Point, Podickory Point, the sewer pipe and Bay Bridge piers being good locations to have on your upper bay check list. Trolling the channel edges and watching the depth finder for good marks is a good tactic and others are marking fish and setting up chum slicks. The early morning hours tend to hold the most promise for the larger striped bass when it comes to chumming; captains report a high throwback ratio in their chum slicks along with good numbers of bluefish. There are good numbers of spot in the shallower waters and live lining them at the bridge piers of the Bay Bridge or steep channel edges are a good way to catch a nice grade of striped bass. Jim Small was casting to breaking fish in the Love Point area when he caught this nice striped bass.


Photo Courtesy of Jim Small

Below the Bay Bridge the Hill has been one of the most consistent locations in the mid-bay area to live line spot; a few other locations worth checking out are Thomas Point, the Diamonds and the western edge of the shipping channel below Breezy Point. There are plenty of spot to be found in the shallower areas of the regions tidal rivers. Trolling has been a productive way to catch striped bass this week and plenty of medium sized bluefish. Most are trolling bucktails, spoons and surgical tube lures. Breaking fish are being seen over much of the region chasing bay anchovies and often they are striped bass in the neighborhood of 15" mixed in with bluefish and just this week Spanish mackerel began to be part of the mix. A better grade of striped bass can often be found by jigging underneath the surface melee.

Fishing for white perch in the middle bay region continues to be very good and fishing the shallows in the early morning or late evening hours will put most fishermen into a mix of white perch, striped bass, small red drum and the occasional speckled trout. Croaker fishing generally remains an evening game as darkness falls and croakers move from the deep channels to shoal areas with catches often being described as fair at best.

Lower bay region fishermen are finding increasing numbers of bluefish in the region and Spanish mackerel this week. Bluefish are very common now and can tend to overwhelm anyone trying to live line spot of chum in the region. Bluefish are being caught at the Mud Leads, Middle Grounds, the mouth of the Potomac and up past Calvert Cliffs. Live lining spot outside of the Gas Docks continues to be a hot ticket depending on the tide.

Large red drum are being caught and released near the Target Ship, the Mud Leads and Buoy 72; medium sized spoons have been one of the favorite offerings for the drum and also bluefish and striped bass. Trolling along the edges of the shipping channel and the lower Potomac River channel has been productive for a mix of bluefish and striped bass.

Bottom fishing for a mix of croakers, spot, bluefish, and speckled trout has been very good in the lower Potomac River, the Patuxent and the Tangier Sound areas. The best fishing for croaker tends to be in the evening and the first hours of darkness depending on the tide along shoal edges leading to the channels. Flounder are also being caught on these same shoal/channel edges.

Recreational crabbing remains steady in the Chesapeake Bay with catches improving significantly in the upper bay tidal rivers. Middle and lower bay region crabbers report good crabbing with many throwbacks consisting of undersized and female crabs.

Freshwater fishermen throughout Maryland are finding most fish holding to a summer pattern of basically hunkering down during the day as fish try to find the coolest water available. Trout fishing remains good in the western region streams and rivers in the early morning and evening hours despite skinny water conditions. Trout are holding deep near the dam face at Deep Creek Lake and fishermen are finding them by slow trolling baits at about 25' to 30' depths. The upper Potomac River is running low and water temperatures are relatively warm this week. Fishermen are finding smallmouth bass in some of the deeper areas and there are always plenty of channel catfish for entertainment.

Freshwater fishermen throughout Maryland are finding most fish holding to a summer pattern of basically hunkering down during the day as fish try to find the coolest water available. Trout fishing remains good in the western region streams and rivers in the early morning and evening hours despite skinny water conditions. Trout are holding deep near the dam face at Deep Creek Lake and fishermen are finding them by slow trolling baits at about 25' to 30' depths. The upper Potomac River is running low and water temperatures are relatively warm this week. Fishermen are finding smallmouth bass in some of the deeper areas and there are always plenty of channel catfish for entertainment. Mike Leiter was fishing above Dam #4 when he caught and released this smallmouth bass.


Photo Courtesy of Mike Leiter

Ocean City fishermen are finding that the best surf fishing opportunities are often in the early morning hours before the sun rises high in the sky. Surf water temperatures are holding around 78-degrees. A summer mix of kingfish, spot, croaker, small bluefish and flounder are being caught in the surf. In and around the inlet fishermen are catching bluefish and striped bass at night and a mix of flounder, croaker, small sea bass and bluefish during the day. Fishing close to the jetties can also put you in touch with triggerfish and sheepshead which are being caught on sand fleas.

Flounder fishing is good when clear water conditions prevail in the back bay areas and fishermen are catching some impressive flounder by using live spot for bait. A mix of croakers, small bluefish and small sea bass have been chewing up squid baits.

Offshore fishermen continue to do well chunking yellowfin tuna at locations such as the Hot Dog, Jack Spot and Lumpy Bottom. The tuna are beginning to show signs of being leader shy and many fishermen are trading break offs for more bites when switching to 25lb and 30lb fluorocarbon leaders. Dave Beach hugs a nice 50lb yellowfin he caught at the Hot Dog while chunking.


Photo Courtesy of Dave Beach

Farther offshore in the Canyon areas fishermen are catching and releasing white and blue marlin while trolling; along with a mix of yellowfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo. Deep drop fishermen are finding a mix of snowy grouper and tilefish. The boats going out to the inshore wreck sites have been treating their customers to good fishing for sea bass and flounder with triggerfish becoming a more common addition to the mix.

"The finest gift you can give to any fisherman is to put a fish back, and who knows if the fish that you caught isn't someone else's gift to you? " Lee Wulff

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.



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Bill Boteler
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New Market
Total Reports:
6
Sent in on: November 21, 2014 Permalink

November is the Time for Big Blue Cats

Type: Tidal
Region: Southern
Location: Lower Potomac
Tags: blue catfish, invasive

Pat the Cat Baseler, Craig Harlow, and myself fished for the big blue cats on Sunday morning. We anchored up at just the start of the flood tide. It was a little slow at first, but once the tide got going it was non stop action. We had to quit after 2 hours as we filled 2 120 qt coolers with cats ranging from 5 to 40 lbs. Pat made the comment that it was his best fishing trip ever. Make sure you use fresh cut bait as is necessary for the blues.

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Jim Gronaw
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Total Reports:
40
Sent in on: November 21, 2014 Permalink

Big Sunfish in the Cold

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Local Pond
Tags: pumpkinseed, pumkingill hybrids, bluegill

The recent onslaught of cold weather has almost put the skids on the Mason Dixon panfish bite. However, we did manage some good fish this past week to include some impressive pumpkinseed sunfish and pumpkingill hybrids along with a lot of hen bluegills in the 9 inch category. Best seed was 10.25 inches...a personal best for me. All released.

We floated 1/200th oz Trout Magnet heads tipped with bait about 6 feet below a sensitive 1.5 in Comal weighted float to catch these fish. A few took Gulp! 1 inch minnows. Hoping for warmer weather!

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Matt Baden
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Annapolis, MD
Total Reports:
3
Sent in on: November 21, 2014 Permalink

Severn Pickerel

Type: Tidal
Region: Southern
Location: Severn Tributaries
Tags: chain pickerel

Catching a bunch of pickerel in the Severn tributaries. Including a 24.5" citation on 11/15/14.

Catching the fish on Hard Head Custom Baits Weighted Hooks w/ spinners and 4" Bass Assassin Paddle Tails. Minnow colors, got everything at All Tackle in Annapolis.

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