Catch and release fishermen at Deer Creek are reporting this week that the hickory shad run has tapered off but they are still catching them in the Susquehanna River below the Conowingo Dam. They are also catching a few American shad and walleyes in the process. So far the American shad run this season has been a bit disappointing in the Susquehanna; but the channel catfish and white perch fishing has been excellent in the river. Fishermen are still playing out the last few days of the striped bass catch and release season extension which ends midnight on Friday May 9th. Most fishermen have been casting topwater lures in the shallower waters for their fish. The size of the fish has been dropping as the last spawning groups tend to be the younger first time spawners. There are still some whoppers out there and Herb Floyd holds up one for the camera before slipping it back into the water.
Fishermen continue to troll the edges of the shipping channel south of the Brewerton Channel for spring striped bass. Fish are being caught; one just has to stick with it. It has been best described as a pick by fishermen with the fish appearing to be spread out. The Dumping Ground above the Bay Bridge, the channel near the Bay Bridge itself and the sharp edge from Baltimore Light down to Sandy Point Light being a few of the more talked about locations. A number of the fish being caught in the upper bay region are coming from the 20’ to 35’ depth level on a variety of lures; such as umbrella rigs, spoons and swim shads. The swim shads have really been producing well over the last couple of years as their design continues to improve. Parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads tend to be the most popular offerings with the darker colors such as purple getting more attention from fish and fishermen when trolling deeper.
Shoreline fishing with bait for large striped bass is still an option for fishermen from prominent points and fishing piers. Smaller striped bass are becoming more prevalent as they move into the region. White perch have descended to the lower regions of the tidal rivers and are starting to move out into the bay; channel catfish are also being caught in the very upper sections of the upper bay region.
Mid Bay Region:
Fishermen continue to enjoy good fishing for large striped bass in the middle bay region at a number of locations. The steep channel edges from the Gum Thickets, Bloody Point and south to Buoys 83 and 84 continue to produce excellent opportunities for catching some big striped bass. Thomas Point has also been a standout for several weeks now but one needs to understand that the fish are moving through the area so the fish that were there yesterday are most likely 10 miles or more south by the next day. Trolling is just that, one covers a lot of water in the hope of running into fish that are usually spread out. At times fishermen have reported fish being bunched up on steep edges and they’ll get multiple knock downs in that situation but remember those fish are on the move. Large fish are still trickling down from the Susquehanna Flats and will continue to do so for the next week or so but smaller fish; some which might not even be 28” will begin to make up more and more of the fish that are moving down the bay. Quite often the male fish in the 28” size range will stick around for at least a couple of months till the extremely warm water temperatures during the summer push them to cooler waters; either in the region or farther south towards the mouth of the bay. Randy Eads, Kenny Boyds and Tom Christopolous are all smiles with this nice striped bass they teamed up on near Bloody Point.
A number of other locations in the middle bay region have been producing good fishing for the larger striped bass. The steep channel edge on the western side of the shipping channel which extends from Chesapeake Beach south to Cove Point and the False Channel around Buoys 3, 4 and 5 at the mouth of the Choptank has also be a good place to troll. Fishermen are reporting that they are catching a higher percentage of fish now on the deeper lines that are running in the 25’ to 35’ depths and that darker colored bucktails and parachutes have been catching fish over the traditional white and chartreuse. Large swimming shad lures such as the Storm lures have also been accounting for a number of fish and as long as the bluefish are not around they are a good choice. Stephanie D’Anna was trolling with her dad off of Matapeake when she caught this nice 40” fish.
The white perch have moved into the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and are offering good bottom fishing out in the more open waters and near the larger docks and piers in the region. Grass shrimp on a bottom rig are hard to beat as are bloodworms. A few croakers are being caught in the middle bay region but just that, only a few. The larger concentrations of croakers still remain in the lower Potomac and Tangier Sound areas.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Trolling the shipping channel edges and the channel in the lower Potomac continues to be the best show in town for fishermen hoping to catch a large spring migrant striped bass. The charter boat fleets have been leaving the dock every day loaded with fishermen full of dreams of catching one of these impressive fish; the private boats which now are outfitted with planer boards and weighted lines or diving planers have become a more efficient fishing machine also and have been racking up some impressive catches. Large spoons, swimming shad lures, bucktails and parachutes dressed with sassy shads have all been good choices of lures to drag behind a boat. The fish are being caught off of the planer boards in the top 25’ of the water column but also at deeper depths recently along channel edges. Cove Point, Cedar Point, Point-No-Point, Hooper’s Island Light, Buoy 72, the mouth of the Patuxent and Potomac have all been good places to find fish. Eight year old J.T. Lewis caught this 40” striped bass near the mouth of the Patuxent and checked it in for a citation at Angler’s with both his grandfathers by his side.
Fishermen have been reporting that they are seeing more bait in the region lately and a number of times breaking fish have been reported. This kind of action is pretty significant when you consider the size of the fish involved. This kind of situation would fit a dream sequence for just about any angler on the Chesapeake; 30”+ striped bass on light jigging tackle. Fishermen are well advised to now carry a set up suitable for jigging when they go out to troll and have it rigged ahead of time so you don’t miss out on the action.
Croaker fishing at the mouth of the Wicomico River in the lower Potomac continues to be the place to be if you really want to get into some good croaker fishing. Bloodworms, shrimp and squid as well as Gulp and Fishbite artificial baits have been working well on bottom rigs. Buoy 7 on the Virginia side of the main channel has also be a recent hotspot for croaker. White perch have moved down into the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers such as the Patuxent, Nanticoke and Pocomoke Rivers. Bloodworms and grass shrimp have been the best baits lately on a simple bottom rig. Croaker fishing has been relatively slow at the mouth of the Honga River this past week but should pick up soon. Croakers are being caught in the waters of Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds and also around Point Lookout on the western shore.