Some parts of Maryland were pounded last night with heavy rains and flooding while other areas dodged the bullet. Blue skies and temperatures in the mid-80’s are predicted for the rest of the week so prospects for some fun fishing are good. Water temperatures are still favorable for all types of fishing so do your best to make time to head out and enjoy our fishing bounty in Maryland.
Fishermen in the lower Susquehanna River and surrounding areas in the very upper reaches of the bay continue to enjoy excellent fishing for White Perch in most areas. Casting and jigging a variety of small jigs, tubes, Beetle-Spins, spinnerbaits and spinners is a fun way to put a nice catch of White Perch together. There is good fishing for Striped Bass also along channel edges and deeper pockets of the Susquehanna; swim shads, crankbaits and live bait are all good choices to try. There are of course lots of Channel Catfish in the area and Flathead Catfish in the Conowingo Dam pool.
Water temperatures are still in the mid 70-degree range so shoreline fishing for a mix of Striped Bass, Channel Catfish and White Perch is a good option for shore bound anglers from Havre de Grace to the Bay Bridge. Casting small spinners or jigs such as shad darts is a fun way to catch perch on light tackle but bait fishing with grass shrimp or bloodworms is a good bet also. Svjetlanna Koretic was fishing at Fort Howard when she caught this whopping 14-1/4″ White Perch recently.
Courtesy of Zelijko Koretic
Upper bay fishermen have been very fortunate and grateful to be enjoying such good Striped Bass fishing for the last couple of weeks and that good fishing continues this week. Striped Bass are being caught by a variety of methods including trolling, chumming, live lining spot, jigging and casting. Trolling small spoons and bucktails along channel edges has been good and chumming in particular has been one of the most productive ways to put some nice Striped Bass in the fish box. Many of the traditional locations have been good such as Swan, Love and Podickory Points but channel edges have also been good. Most fishermen are spotting fish on their depth finders and then setting up on them. Live lining spot is of course one of the best ways to catch Striped Bass and the 30′ channel edges and the Bay Bridge piers are a good bet for trying your luck.
Below the Bay Bridge the fishing action can best be summed up in three words, “Life is good”. The fishing at Hackett’s has been good for a mix of croaker, Spot and White Perch and the outside edge has been a good place to chum or live line for Striped Bass. Other traditional spots such as Thomas Point, the Hill off Poplar Island and the Clay Banks have been great places to live line spot for a wonderful grade of Striped Bass in the 22″ to 28″ size range. Jigging can also be a good way to catch some Striped Bass and the channel edges in Eastern Bay and locations such as Thomas Point and out in front of Breezy Point are good places to scan with depth finders. Striped Bass fishing is fair to good in the lower bay region as fishermen report lack luster live lining action outside of the Gas Docks but good chumming action in the lower Potomac River. Fishermen wishing to troll for their Striped Bass are certainly not left out and most fishermen trolling are reporting catching a beautiful grade of fish along the edges of the shipping channel. Most are either trolling medium sized bucktails or swim shads behind umbrella rigs or in tandem or small spoons such as Drone and Crippled Alewife Spoons. Rick Mauk caught this nice 30″ Striped Bass while trolling a Drone Spoon near Thomas Point recently with friends.
Photo By Rich Watts
Fishing for a mix of croakers, White Perch and Spot has really picked up in the last week or so and fishermen are reporting some fun and productive fishing in the middle and lower bay regions and most of the tidal rivers. The croakers are being caught in the channels during the day on baits such as shrimp, squid and peeler crab, Spot tend to like bloodworms and White Perch seem to like it all. The tidal rivers on the western and eastern side of the bay down to Tangier Sound and up the Potomac are providing good to excellent fishing opportunities for fishermen.
Light tackle fishermen are having a ball this week casting along the shorelines of the bay and tidal rivers in the morning and evening hours catching a mix of White Perch, Striped Bass, small Red Drum and Speckled Trout. Most fishermen are using small spinners, spinnerbaits and tubes for White Perch and poppers and swim shads for the Striped Bass, Speckled Trout and Red Drum. A surprising number of the Red Drum this year are over the 18″ minimum size. There have also been reports of large Red Drum in the 40″ size range being caught and released in the general area above the Target Ship. Fishermen need to remember that the slot size for Red Drum is 18″ to 27″, one per day and the minimum size for a catch and release award certificate and entry into the Maryland Fishing Challenge has been changed to 36″ this year.
Recreational crabbers in the middle and lower bay regions are reporting fair to good crabbing in the regions tidal rivers and creeks. Most report that they are able to catch a full bushel per outing and some of the best crabbing success is being reported on the lower eastern side of the bay. Recreational crabbers are also reporting that they have been busy measuring crabs since many are barely legal or just under.
Freshwater fishermen in the western region are enjoying good fishing for Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass in the regions lakes such as Deep Creek Lake. These fisheries are drifting closer to a summer pattern of fishing so fishermen are targeting cover such as grass and floating docks with soft plastic baits. The Youghiogheny River Catch-and-Return Trout Fishing Area was recently stocked with 10,750 Brown Trout fingerlings. This trout fishery is supported with put-and-grow fingerling trout stockings, and has produced some exceptional trophy sized trout.
Owens Creek Catch-and-Return Area was stocked with 500 Brown Trout. Special regulations restrict fishing to artificial lures only. Fly fishing is particularly productive on Owens Creek during June and July using caddis and terrestrial patterns. Frequent rainfall has maintained excellent stream conditions.
In the central, southern and eastern regions of the state Largemouth Bass have been in a post-spawn feeding behavior for several weeks now and as water temperatures steadily rise they will begin to slip into a summer pattern of behavior. Topwater lures such as frogs, buzzbaits and poppers are good choices over grass and soft plastics such as craws and tubes around docks, sunken wood and bridge piers are a good bet. Spinnerbaits work well around the outside of grass beds and spatterdock fields and crankbaits along deeper channel edges. Richard Norris holds up a nice Rocky Gorge Largemouth Bass he caught on a spinnerbait recently.
Photo Courtesy of Richard Norris
Fisheries biologists recently stocked small (0.5-1.0 inch) Striped Bass from Cedarville Hatchery into Liberty Reservoir (~8,000) and Piney Run Reservoir (~2,000). The put-and-grow Striped Bass program at Piney Run and Liberty Reservoirs has been a big success over the years as stripers up to 40 inches and 24 pounds are being caught using chicken livers and large Golden Shiners as bait.
Ocean City area fishermen are finding good fishing in the surf for a mix of Kingfish, Spot, croaker, blowfish and a few small Bluefish. There are still a few large Striped Bass being caught but inshore sharks, dogfish and sting rays tend to make up the bulk of the action on larger cut baits fished in the surf.
Inside and around the inlet fishermen are catching mostly flounder during the day with a few Tautog now and then. Live lining Spot is a popular way to target larger flounder and fresh sand fleas are tempting bait for Tautog. At night the action tends to switch to fishing for Striped Bass and Bluefish as fishermen cast swim shads or drift live Spot. In the channels of the back bay areas flounder are being caught and fishermen report a lot of throwbacks of undersized flounder when using traditional squid or minnow baits. There are also croaker, Speckled Trout and Spot in the back bay areas and recreational crabbers are seeing an improvement.
Offshore fishermen are enjoying double digit catches of sea bass and a few ling and flounder around the wreck sites. Farther offshore some small mako sharks have been caught and some impressive catches of medium to large Yellowfin Tuna are coming in from the canyon areas.
“The confirmed man of trout should resolve to get along with wood ticks. Any other procedure would fail because the wood tick is determined to get along with trout fishermen.” – Gordon MacQuarrie 1947
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.