Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | September 18, 2013

Fishermen and outdoorsmen can't help but feel a stirring inside as cooler weather has moved into our region; this coming Sunday will officially herald in the first day of autumn. That same stirring will begin to occur in fish and other wild creatures as everyone begins to get the signal that summer is coming to an end and autumn is just around the corner.

Fishing for Striped Bass in the area of the lower Susquehanna River and Susquehanna Flats continues to be productive for fishermen casting topwater lures, jerkbaits and a variety of other lures, including flies such as Deceivers and Clousers. Water temperatures in the bay are steadily declining and are approaching the 70-degree mark. A fair portion of the Striped Bass are less than 18" but there are plenty of fish up to 30" in length. Fishing in the river tends to be best on water releases from the dam and they usually occur late in the day for power generating. The fishing on the Susquehanna Flats is often governed by tide and sun light intensity. A high flood or high ebb tide tends to be favored and lately evening fishing has been the most productive. Fishermen may also have Largemouth Bass and Channel Catfish show interest in their lure presentations as well.

Farther down the upper bay region fishermen are finding a mix of small Striped Bass and Bluefish mixing it up with bait schools in areas of swift current in tidal rivers and in the bay. Many fishermen are casting to the surface action or jigging deeper underneath in hopes of finding larger fish. Light tackle casting near shoreline structure and prominent points has been productive for a mix of Striped Bass and White Perch. Fishermen using bait from shore have been also getting in on the action with a mix of Channel Catfish, White Perch and Striped Bass.

The traditional fishing areas around Swan, Love and Podickory Points continue to attract live lining and chumming fishermen but as water temperature decline; Striped Bass are beginning to move more freely throughout the region. Casting to breaking fish, jigging and trolling are becoming more popular with increased success. Small Bluefish and Striped Bass are chasing bait and often but not always fishermen can spot the action by diving gulls. Trolling has been good with small spoons and planers along channel edges and jigging over suspended fish has also been good. Boats continue to back down close to the Bay Bridge piers and fishermen are either jigging near the pier bases or drifting live spot back to the piers or chumming and chunking. No matter which method you choose; it always pays to keep a lookout for breaking fish that can pop up at any time.

One would suspect that as long as small Spot are available fishermen will continue to live line at popular locations such as the Hill. Cooler water temperatures have caused Striped Bass to move freely throughout the region so many fishermen are live lining along other productive channel edges, often with good results and less boat traffic. Live lining Spot along channel edges leading up to shoals or flats areas has been paying an added bonus of some nice Red Drum that are within the slot margin of 18" to 27". The Sharp's Island and the James Island Flats are two locations that have been holding some nice Red Drum along with Striped Bass and of course did we mention Bluefish.

Fishermen are encountering breaking fish throughout the region this week and as water temperatures steadily decline they will become more common. A mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish with a few Spanish Mackerel have been chewing up schools of Bay Anchovies and the action will only intensify as bait begins to exit the regions tidal rivers and creeks. Jigging under the surface action will often provide a larger grade of Striped Bass and speed reeling small spoons along the surface may elicit a strike from a Spanish Mackerel. Trolling spoons behind planers along channel edges has also been a productive way to put this mix of fish in the boat. Mark Hadra was trolling a deep running crankbait when he caught this nice Spanish Mackerel in Eastern Bay.



Photos by Mark Hadra


Fishing for a mix of large Spot, medium sized Croakers and White Perch continues to offer excellent fishing opportunities for fishermen looking to put some fish in the freezer for the winter months ahead. The Spot can hardly get much larger before they start to head south so this is a good time to take advantage of the fishery. Bloodworms or the Fishbites version are a proven winner on a two hook bottom rig. Channel edges in the lower regions of the tidal rivers or shoal areas in the bay are a good place to begin looking.

Shallow water light tackle fishermen are seeing their fishery improve with cooler water temperatures as fish such as Striped Bass move more freely. Casting a variety of lures in the early morning and evening hours is a wonderfully peaceful type of fishing that is only interrupted by explosive surface strikes by a mix of Striped Bass, Red Drum, Speckled Trout and Bluefish. Topwater lures are by far the most fun but Gulp swim shads and shrimp work great as do spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Spinners and small jigs and tubes work well for White Perch.

Lower bay region fishermen are reporting breaking fish made up of Striped Bass, Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel becoming more common place throughout the region. Fishermen have been trolling small spoons behind planers with good success and those going to large spoons and planers have been catch and releasing some huge Red Drum. There have been reports of very good trolling for Striped Bass in the lower Potomac near St. George's Island this week. Live lining Spot outside of the Gas Docks and Cedar Point has been productive for fishermen looking for Striped Bass. Chumming for Bluefish has been very good at the mouth of the Potomac and Middle Grounds. This fisherman has his hands full trying to hold this big boy up for a photo before releasing it back into the bay.



Courtesy of Gary Smith


The shallow water fishery in the lower bay region continues to be very good and it is especially good on the eastern side of the bay. Fishermen are catching a mix of Striped Bass, Speckled Trout and Red Drum on a variety of lures but Gulp Mullets and Shrimps seem to be a standout with fishermen.

Bottom fishermen are enjoying some of the season's best fishing opportunities for a mix of large Spot, croaker and White Perch in tidal rivers such as the Patuxent and places like Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. Fishermen in the lower Potomac are also catching a lot of medium sized Blue Catfish in the mix.

Recreational crabbers continue with fair success in most areas of the bay. The only thing that has changed is the quality of the crabs as they put on meat as the season begins to progress towards fall.

Cooler weather means cooler water temperatures for freshwater fishermen and fish respond favorably as they become more active. In the western region trout are becoming more active and can provide some fun fishing in many of the trout management areas. Fishermen report that fish such as Walleyes are still holding deep but Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass and Bluegills are moving into shallower water. Chain Pickerel and Northern Pike are always ready to mix it up at Deep Creek Lake and Michael Peters shows off a beautiful 40" Northern Pike he caught and released recently.



Courtesy of Michael Peters


Fishing for Smallmouth Bass in the upper Potomac has been good this week and will only get better as water temperatures cool. Fishermen are casting tubes, crankbaits and swim shads to ledges and large rocks with good success. They also report lots of thick grass that is so far holding tight. The grass breakup in the fall often makes for a lot of fouled lines and lures as does the leaf drop.

Largemouth Bass fishermen will be welcoming cooler water temperatures as cooler nights that are predicted for this week help lower water temperatures. Largemouth Bass and other species should start to become more active as they begin to feel the urge to feed. Plastic frogs, buzzbaits have been working well over grass and stick baits in the grass. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits around the outside edges of grass and spatterdock fields as well as near sunken wood are a good strategy as the mornings wear on.

Bluegills are certainly active this time of the year and provide plenty of action for young fishermen as well as older ones. A bobber and bait is hard to beat for anyone but small poppers and flies can be a real treat for fly fishermen. Fishing for Channel Catfish is a great option for this time of the year; the days are much cooler and make it a lot more pleasant when sitting in a small boat or river bank waiting for Mr. Catfish to come along.

Coastal fishermen continue to see a nice summer mix of small species in the area surf. Fishermen are catching large Spot, Croakers, small Bluefish, some Kingfish and blowfish. There are also plenty of sting rays and inshore sharks in the evenings for those wishing for more pull. At the inlet the same list of species is available during the day with Red Drum, flounder and Sheepshead tossed in. In the back bay areas flounder fishing has been good and fishermen are also catching some nice Red Drum. Brandon Morton holds up a nice 22" Red Drum that is typical of what is being caught in and around Ocean City.



Courtesy of Brandon Morton


Outside the inlet; the boats heading out to the wreck and reef sites are reporting limit catches of large flounder and very few Sea Bass being caught. Farther offshore fishermen are bringing in double digit catches of Yellowfin Tuna and Skipjack Tuna. Skipjack are often overlooked when Yellowfin, Longfin or Bigeye are available but they make fine canned tuna if you have a large pressure cooker. Skipjack is what you will find in the canned tuna at the grocery store and home canned tuna will make that stuff taste like wood chips. White Marlin and a few Dolphin are rounding out the offshore mix and fishermen have been also chunking up Yellowfin on overnight trips.

"Young anglers love new rivers the way they love the rest of their lives. Time doesn't seem to be of the essence and somewhere in the system is what they are looking for." - Thomas McGuane

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.



Latest Angler's Log Reports


Wayne Young
Recreational Angler
Annadale, VA
Total Reports:
16
Sent in on: December 18, 2014 Permalink

Calvert Cliff Speckled Trout

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid-Bay
Location: Breezy Pt south to Calvert Cliffs
Tags: spotted seatrout, speckled trout, striped bass

Monday, 12-15-14

20' Walkaround

Nature blessed the last day of striper season with a flat calm, making a nice day for me and my two guests. I planned to try deep trolling in 50-65 feet of water through some holes on the west side of the channel. We marked a few fish at 55-60 foot depths, but were unable to work the deep holes because several watermen were set up there. It appeared that they had crab pots set deep right in the holes and were standing by to retrieve them. Trolling east of the pots in 70 feet, we marked a few more fish deep, but no takers.

There was a fleet over behind Summer Gooses, but after moving over that way for a look see we found they were watermen, maybe mechanical oyster dredge rigs. I picked up gear in time to try the Calvert Cliffs power plant warm water discharge an hour before the predicted ebb. We marked many baitfish and eventually my Dragonfly downvision marked a school of fish on the bottom to no more than 3' off the bottom about 600-700 yards east of the discharge in about 20-25' of water. By this time, we had an 18" speckled trout on a 7" yellow hot-rodded Hogy bait, and a 15" speckled trout and a 17-1/2" striper (released) on a purple 6" BKD (blue and sliver BKD covered in red garlic dye) with a hot-rodded 1-1/2 oz jig head. A light southerly breeze had picked up creating a rip on the south side of the stream, and the fish we caught were generally over on that side of the stream. The school we marked was probably specs given fishing results. Several other boats were fishing the discharge stream with no luck.

Thanks again to Shawn Kembro's light tackle fishing tips (new book is great!) and also Walleye Pete Dahlberg for teaching me how to fish the discharge stream. Shawn's and Pete's tips made the difference today. I was using my left-handed baitcaster with braid and a short shock leader, thinking down the line technique wise. The left-handed baitcaster feels natural to this righthander after years of using spinning reels.

 PHOTOS 

Caz Kenny
Recreational Angler
NA
Total Reports:
6
Sent in on: December 18, 2014 Permalink

Bite Out of Control on the Gunpowder

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Gunpowder
Tags: largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappie, bluegill

So the bite is incredibly out of control on the Gunpowder...I took two friends out today and we absolutely hammered the fish...we caught easily over 300 fish between us...bass...crappie...yellow perch...bluegill...the fish are smoking our baits...small jigs under a float are the ticket...every single place we fished held fish...the fish are healthy and fat...the water temp is a measly 38 degrees...and they are biting like piranhas...this has been an exceptional year for all places I've had the opportunity to fish...I love fishing in Maryland!

 PHOTOS 

David Carrodine
Recreational Angler
Annapolis, MD
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: December 18, 2014 Permalink

My Big Catch

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid Bay
Location: Gum Thicket
Tags: striped bass

42" rockfish caught on 4 arm umbrella rig, trolling east side of the shipping channel - Gum Thickets- in 80 feet of water. Rainy days are better! Caught around 1:30 pm on Sat Dec 6.

 PHOTOS