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Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | June 23, 2010

Chesapeake Bay

The summer heat is here and it just seemed to descend upon us with little fanfare but plenty of influence. Fishermen and fish are adjusting to the summer heat in very similar ways and it all centers around avoiding the mid-day heat. Chesapeake Bay water temperatures are now in the mid 80’s. Those fishermen who are chumming for striped bass in the upper bay report the best fishing tends to be in the early hours and the larger fish are being caught on baits on the bottom. A strong tide of course the biggest factor in successful chumming so keeping an eye on tide charts is an important element in planning a fishing trip where chumming is involved. In the upper bay the areas around Love Point, Swan Point and the channel edge near Sandy Point Light have been the better locations to chum. Most of the fish being caught in the slicks are in the 19” to 20” size range with an occasional 30” fish coming off the bottom. There are a lot of throwbacks so be prepared for careful releases. Trolling around the Triple Buoys and the Mud’s has been the most successful area to troll umbrella rigs with swimming shad trailers or tandem rigged spoons and bucktails.

Fishermen in the mid-bay region have been concentrating on trolling for their striped bass mostly from Breezy Point to Cove Point with the Parker’s Creek area being ground zero. There continues to be a lot of bait in the form of small menhaden and bay anchovies in that area and the fish are where the food is. The northeast edge of the Hill has also been a popular place to troll lately as strong currents going in and out of Eastern Bay tend to flush bait along the channel edge there. Fishermen are having success chumming on the outside edge of Hackett’s Bar and jigging near the Bay Bridge piers can be fruitful at times.

Southern region fishermen have been trolling for their striped bass around Cove Point up to the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant. Chumming has been good in the lower Potomac near channel edges such as Buoy 7. The rock piles just north of Point Lookout have also been producing some fish for the chumming fleet. Jigging and casting near Cedar Point on a strong early morning and late evening tide has been successful for area fishermen as has working channels over on the eastern side of the bay near Hooper’s Island.

Many fishermen are thinking spot for live lining these days and the search is on in the tidal rivers. Some suitable sized spot are being found in the lower sections of tidal rivers such as the Choptank and Patuxent but many of them are small. A few fishermen have been trying 9” croakers and small white perch with some success. Tangier Sound fishermen report plenty of spot moving into that area.

Croaker fishing continues to improve in most areas but croakers over 12” have been hard to find. The largest croakers are reported to be coming from the southern region of the bay at dusk on channel edges such as Buoy 72. Croaker fishing has been steady in the Tangier Sound area as well as the lower Potomac River. The lower Choptank River has been good in the evenings along channel edges with 30’ being the sweet spot. Flounder continue to be found in good numbers on lower bay shoals from Point Lookout to Tangier Sound. Recreational crabbers are enjoying good crabbing from the Bay Bridge south and bushel limits are common.

Freshwater

Photo Courtesy Dan Thrift, click to enlarge.

The summer heat has been pushing largemouth bass into an early morning and late evening mode of activity. Fishermen are reporting plenty of action by casting small poppers near shallow grass and pads. Chatterbaits and frogs have also been working well over grass. As the morning wears on many fishermen have been switching to soft plastics and either penetrating the thick grass or fishing near the edges. Whacky rigged worms with or without weight is often a top choice for enticing sluggish bass to strike. Dan Thrift caught and released this nice crappie while fishing a 2” Gulp minnow in Triadelphia Reservoir.

Trout fishing in the western and central regions can offer some cool shade and plenty of action this time of the year. Other fishermen are just about nonexistent so there is plenty of room, along with peace and quiet. Fishermen will need to keep an eye on flow conditions for the best fishing opportunities but the trout are there it is just a matter of presenting what they want and in a manner that looks natural to them.

Ocean

Fishermen in the Ocean City area are also seeing the effects of the summer heat with water temperatures near the beaches reaching over the 73-degree mark this week. Flounder are being caught in the back bay areas and near the inlet. Tautog, triggerfish, small bluefish and small sea bass are being caught in the inlet area. Surf fishermen continue to catch and release large sharks and sting rays on chunk baits. Small bluefish are being caught on finger mullet; kingfish on bloodworms. Offshore, mako and thresher sharks are being found from the 30-fathom line out into deeper waters and some nice sized yellowfin tuna and dolphin are coming in from the canyon areas. Sea bass fishing has been steady on the wreck sites with a few tautog still coming over the rails.

2010 Maryland Fishing Challenge Featurign Diamond Jim

The Maryland Fishing Challenge continues and fishermen are sending in their applications for an award certificate and automatic entry into the contest which will end on September 6th. Fishermen are eligible for a variety of prizes at the awards ceremony drawing on September 11th at Sandy Point State Park. Top prizes are to include a boat, motor and trailer provided by Bass Pro Shops. The first round of the Diamond Jim Striped bass will pass at the end of the month and round two will begin on July 1st. If caught by a lucky fisherman the tagged striped bass nick named Diamond Jim could be worth $25,000. For contest rules and how to enter check out the Fishing Challenge website. DNR.MARYLAND.GOV/FISHINGCHALLENGE


“The nicest thing about June is that the awful memories of school are behind you and September is so far away that it doesn’t even count. The summertime belongs to boys. Grown-up folks might play around at the beaches and the country clubs and take vacations but summer truly belongs to kids. It’s sunburn time, barefoot time and fishhooks-caught- in-your-ear time.”

-- Robert Ruark, The Old Man And The Boy

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.

Keith Lockwood
-- Fisheries Biologist