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Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | October 6, 2010

Freshwater

Fishermen throughout Maryland have only had a few respites from uninviting weather in the form of heavy rain and strong winds recently. Last weeks deluge muddied up many of the tidal rivers and creeks empting into the bay and upper watersheds received a big flush. No one will argue the point about needing some rain to replenish dry conditions; it just didn't need to come all at once. Weather conditions are predicted to improve this week with a beautiful forecast for the weekend.

Fishermen did get a short break in the weather last Saturday and it was a beautiful day whether one was working in the yard, watching a kid's soccer game or perhaps fishing. It was a perfect day for a youth fishing event and the newly dedicated Bill Burton Fishing Pier on the Choptank River was the perfect spot for such an event. As the kids spread out along the old bridge with cups of bloodworms and all manner of fishing outfits, a mix of spot, white perch and small striped bass began to swing over the bridge railings. Everyone young and old had a great time and are surely looking forward to next year's event. Be sure to check out the Anglers Log for the full story.

The Conowingo Dam is still releasing water that is well above average flows so fishermen in that area should be careful of floating debris. Striped bass were starting to show up at the mouth of the Susquehanna before the big rain and with water temperatures holding at around 64-degrees; they should be there for this weekend. Cooler water temperatures will also spur the smallmouth bass into feeding, so when jigging and casting for striped bass, fishermen might just be treated to a large Susquehanna smallmouth. Fishing for channel catfish should be excellent in the uppermost parts of the bay and the region's tidal rivers such as the Chester and Elk.

No doubt fishermen will be looking for surface action this coming week for striped bass and the few bluefish that are left chasing bait. Vertical jigging with metal will be the preferred strategy next to trolling when concentrations of bait and striped bass can be found. As the bluefish depart those fishermen that are trolling will begin to bring out the sassy shads and swim shads once more; but for now most are sticking to spoons and bucktails when trolling.

Fishermen have been enjoying good fishing at the Bay Bridge Piers by live lining spot and jigging. Bluefish have been pesky but their numbers are beginning to diminish with cooler water temperatures. The rock piles at the Bay Bridge are also a good place to fish for striped bass and white perch will begin to congregate there soon if not already. White perch are also being found in the tidal rivers and out in the bay on various reefs and shoals.

As fairer weather moves in this week, fishing for striped bass should greatly improve in the middle bay region. The fish are there but rain and wind have made for very poor fishing conditions for the past week. Last Saturday fishing was good and a mix of striped bass and bluefish were found at a number of traditional locations such as the mouth of Eastern Bay, the Choptank, Severn and West Rivers and the shipping channel edges. Fishermen will also be casting to striped bass in the tidal rivers and bay as the fish move freely in 67-degree water. Bait continues to move out of the tidal rivers and is running a gauntlet of hungry striped bass and bluefish. Steep channel edges where strong tidal currents sweep schools of bait along will be very good places to look for fish. Vertical jigging or trolling will be good options for deeper fish and of course casting to surface action is always exciting. There is still plenty of small spot in the regions tidal rivers so live lining spot on the channel edges continues to be a good option for striped bass despite the presence of bluefish in the region.

Photo Courtesy Rich Watts. Click to Enlarge.

Fishing for white perch in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers continues to offer good fishing near prominent points, shoreline structure and reefs. Jigging with a dropper fly or bottom fishing with bait are proven methods of catching a cooler full of fat perch for the freezer. Recreational crabbing has had its ups and downs in the last week but should pick up as the light crabs from the last full moon shed fatten up. Rich Watts shows us a nice mess of crabs he caught this past weekend in the Miles River.

Lower bay region fishermen are finding good fishing for a mix of striped bass and bluefish throughout most of the region. Fishermen are finding them by chumming, trolling, jigging or casting to breaking fish. The bluefish are reported to dominating the scene at times and taking advantage of the large concentrations of bait in the area. The mouth of the Potomac River, the Middle Grounds and Cove Point are just a few of the areas where the action is.

Photo Courtesy Alan Klotz. Click to Enlarge.

Fishermen are reporting that the large spot are on the move and that this weekend may offer the last opportunity for fishermen to stock freezers with this tasty fish. The Tangier Sound area and the Patuxent River have been offering some of the best fishing. White perch are plentiful in the tidal rivers and will continue to offer good fishing through the month.

Freshwater fishermen are enjoying the good fishing that comes about when water temperatures drop and many species of fish become more active as they begin to build up fat reserves for the long winter. Fishing for yellow perch for example in Deep Creek Lake has been very good lately and fishing for walleye and smallmouth bass is quickly improving. Alan Klotz sent in a short report and picture from Sunday.

Perch fishing is really picking up. Kyle and I fished DCL on Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours and caught about a dozen perch on worms and golden shiners using slip bobbers in 6 to 8 feet of water.

Fisheries crews have been busy stocking trout for the traditional fall trout stocking program. Alan Klotz sent in this short report of stocking activities in the western region and his report tends to mirror what is taking place in other regions throughout the state.

We should have all the Western Region Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Areas stocked by the end of this week. We stocked Town Creek and the North Branch Potomac River Delayed Harvest Areas yesterday. The Casselman and Yough Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Areas will be stocked later this week. The brown and rainbow trout were nice averaging about a foot long. Streams did increase in flows last week, but came down quickly, but plenty of fishable water.

Be sure to check out the trout stocking at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/stocking/index.asp to see where trout are being stocked near you.

Photo Courtesy Alan Klotz. Click to Enlarge.

The recent rains have caused a surge of high water in many of the rivers and creeks that are of interest to fishermen such as the upper and tidal Potomac and lower Susquehanna. The strong currents will do much to loosen mats of grass and spur fish into a more active feeding mode. The upper Potomac water temperature is now about 64-degrees and the lower Potomac is about 10-degrees warmer than that. Tubes and swim shad jigs will be good choices for smallmouth bass and spinnerbaits and soft plastic creature baits will be good baits to cast around grass bed edges for largemouth bass.

The recent storm activity along the coast has put a damper on some types of fishing in the Ocean City area recently but with improving weather, conditions should be good for this coming weekend. Water clarity inside the inlet will improve and with that flounder fishing will also improve. Live lining spot near the inlet has been very popular for a mix of large flounder and a mix of speckled trout, striped bass and bluefish. Tautog and sheepshead are being caught in the inlet on sand fleas and pieces of green crab.

Surf fishermen enjoyed a nice run of large red drum last week despite rough surf conditions. Bluefish are being caught on finger mullet and a few kingfish and large spot are being caught in the surf. Sea bass fishing is improving on the wreck sites as water temperatures drop and the offshore fleet is seeing scattered catches of yellowfin tuna. White marlin releases and bluefin tuna are becoming more common.

"Somebody just back of you while you are fishing is as bad as someone looking over your shoulder while you write a letter to your girl."

Ernest Hemingway

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.