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Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | December 08, 2010

"Baby its cold outside"; a familiar verse to a favorite Christmas song that certainly addresses the current conditions across Maryland. Winter is not knocking at the door; but pounding and can not be ignored. Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake can hardly wait for their "hard water" fishery to begin. Creeks and coves are freezing up along the edges and if you have rain water in your boats live well; you might be looking at one significantly sized block of ice. Many have put their boats to sleep in the backyard, next to the garage or tucked away to sleep the winter away in boatyard storage. Maryland's Chesapeake Bay striped bass season ends next Wednesday so for those who don't mind frozen braided line or icy rod guides; you've got one more week to try for a large fall migrant striped bass. This is a very good time of the year to have plenty of hull underneath you and a heated cabin is pretty nice also; so think about a bay charter or better yet take a trip down to Ocean City and catch some of those big blues and striped bass just outside of the inlet.

Chesapeake Bay

Bay temperatures are now down into the mid 40-degree range and it is not going to get warmer anytime soon. Most fishermen are focusing on trolling this week when the wind subsides. Conditions look favorable towards the end of the week but another front appears to moving through the region on Sunday with strong winds predicted once again. Many boats have been put to sleep for the winter but fishermen are still trolling the edges of the shipping channel for a crack at a large fall migrant striped bass. When the weather has permitted, boats have been catching a mix of large fish and those under 28". Large bucktails and parachutes; whether rigged as trailers behind an umbrella rig or in tandem have been the choice lures for the large fish and medium sized offerings for the smaller fish. Some of the best fishing success has been coming from the Buoy 86/ Bloody Point region in about 50' to 75' of water. Planer boards are being used and those fishing flat lines are reporting the best success with heavy inline weights with a lot of line trailing off the stern. Gil Briggs of Olney was out fishing with friends between Thomas Point and Bloody Point when he caught this nice 50" striped bass.

Photo Courtesy of Gil Briggs. Click to Enlarge.

Light tackle jigging enthusiasts are having a tough time finding school-sized striped bass to respond to jigging as water temperatures take a nose dive. Cruising the deeper and steeper edges of the shipping channel or other major channels in some of the major tidal rivers with a good depth finder may put you on fish. School-sized striped bass are getting sluggish now with cold water temperatures and will stay bunched up in deeper waters. It is not uncommon to be totally focused on striped bass when watching a depth finder's screen. Just remember that there are other fish out there schooling up in deep waters as well; such as gizzard shad and white perch.

Fishermen have been reporting diving gannets along the western side of the shipping channel from Thomas Point to Point Lookout. They have also been reporting floating debris, such as tree limbs, logs and timbers so be careful out there. Yellow perch are moving towards the Susquehanna/Northeast River complex so fishermen can look forward to some good fishing there soon for these tasty fish.

Freshwater

Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are anxiously watching water temperatures drop and ice forming in some of the more sheltered cove areas. Walleye and yellow perch are schooling up and crappie have already done so underneath the bridge piers. Recent rains have raised water levels in local rivers and creeks so fishing for trout should be good this week. The high waters in the upper Potomac are receding and water temperatures are hovering around 40-degrees. Fishermen report the water is a little off color but should clear up by the weekend. Walleye can be caught on small crankbaits and plastic bodied jigs in the 1/8th oz to 3/16th oz range. Smallmouth bass can be caught on tubes, hair jigs and grubs. Eric Stewart sent in this photo for a catch and release certificate and entry into the Fishing Challenge; of a beautiful 43" musky he caught and released back in October on the upper Potomac.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Stewart. Click to Enlarge.

Largemouth bass are holding close to deep sunken wood and structure such as bridge piers and steep channel edges. Small, slow and close to the bottom is the mantra of cold weather largemouth bass fishermen and jigs, blade lures and small crankbaits are what they often reach for in their tackle boxes.

Fishing for blue catfish in the tidal portion of the Potomac in the Fort Washington area has been good recently. Fishermen are using fresh gizzard shad baits and some pretty significantly heavy blue catfish were caught and released in a recent tournament in that region of the river.

Oceanside

Current surf temperatures are hovering around 53-degrees this week and steadily dropping. Tautog season is closed so the only action on terra firma is surf fishing for the large bluefish and striped bass that are moving down the coast. This tends to be he-man fishing with large surf sticks, big sinkers and a large chunk of fresh menhaden chucked out into the surf. Washes and sloughs are often the best places to try and patience and a thermos of hot coffee are part of the game.

If you can get out on a charter or suitable boat of your own, the fishing for large bluefish and striped bass is still excellent just off the beaches. Trolling large parachutes, bucktails, plugs and spoons is the way to go and at times jigging can be exciting under diving birds. Sea bass fishing continues to be good with some of the boats for hire going the extra distance to put their fishermen on limit catches of sea bass.

"Hear! Hear!" screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where I had heard a tittering for some time, "winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it."
-Henry David Thoreau, 28 November 1858 journal entry

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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Tags: striped bass, chain pickerel

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Tags: largemouth bass

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Good Day at Loch Raven

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Loch Raven Reservoir
Tags: bluegill, bass, shad

Went out on Loch Raven yesterday, probably the last ever time since Iím moving to Warrenton, VA for a new job, and I thought Iíd try to go out doing something that Iíve always loved: fishing. The fishing was slow, but that didnít stop me from having a good time. Iíve been trying to keep away from live baits and go all artificial, not an easy habit to kick as any angler knows! Well, the lake didnít disappoint. Was sunny, high of 81 degrees and a slight breeze, no more than a couple mph, fished from around 7:30AM to 1:30PM. Grass was thick, only a couple feet if that below the surface along most of the shoreline. Went topwater with a couple torpedoes, yellow perch colored and styled to be similar to the natural prey. Had a few very humbling misses, didnít manage to get a hook in the fish.

Note to self: buy new hooks! Switched over to a Rapala floating jerkbait to keep it out of the weeds. It was also yellow perch colored, one of the smaller sizes since the fish seemed finicky. Ended up with 2 bluegill, a baby bass and some kind of shad, I want to say gizzard shad but Iím not sure. Really should have taken a picture for ID on here.