Fishing Report Overview Maryland Dept of Natural Resources
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Latest Update: October 8, 2008 Next Update: October 15, 2008

Freshwater Fishing Reports

Western Region:

Colder water temperatures are beginning to have a profound effect on the fishing in Deep Creek Lake. Largemouth and smallmouth bass seem to be constantly on the move now looking for food. Fishermen are catching them near the shallower grass beds during the low light conditions of the early morning and evening hours plus cloudy days by using various topwater lures. During brighter light conditions the bass are cruising near deeper grass lines and rocky points. Fishermen have been using crankbaits, spinnerbaits and any kind of jig that resembles a crawfish. Chain pickerel are also holding close to these deep grass lines as well as some large yellow perch. Walleye can now be found in some of the shallower waters along the shorelines and crappie are schooling up near deep bridge piers.

The grass in the upper Potomac is starting to break up; recent rains had the river up for a while and some of the heavy grass has flushed out making for better fishing conditions. The water levels are down once again and fishing for smallmouth bass has been good and fishermen are also catching a few walleye. Tubes, soft plastic jigs and small crankbaits continue to be at the top of the list of lures being used.

The fall trout stocking is well underway in many of the regions streams and rivers and fishermen are enjoying some excellent fishing. The trout stocking information telephone line, 1-800-688-3467, will be updated weekly beginning Oct. 1 so that anglers may find out if their favorite area has been stocked. After daily stocking is completed, a list of stocked areas will be posted online at

Central/Southern Region:

Fishing for largemouth bass is in full swing in most any of the large reservoirs such as Loch Raven, Piney Run, or Rocky Gorge to name a few. Cool water temperatures have caused largemouth bass to go on a very active feed and there are few times of the year that fishing is as good as this. Smallmouth bass are also very active now in reservoirs such as Liberty, Prettyboy and Rocky Gorge. Most fishermen are fishing topwater lures in the early morning and evening hours and switching to deeper running lures during the bright daylight hours. Small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and various soft plastic jigs, worms and grubs work well near deep grass lines, sunken wood and drop-offs.

Fishermen have been catching a mix of smallmouth bass and walleye in the lower Susquehanna River now that water temperatures are dropping. Often a late day water release will spur things up a bit causing the fish to be more active. Fishing for channel catfish has also been very good lately in the lower Susquehanna. The numerous tidal rivers and creeks of both regions are offering good fishing for largemouth bass and chain pickerel. The thick grass beds typical of many tidal river areas such as the Potomac are beginning to break up; concentrating largemouth bass near the remaining beds. Most tidal waters are seeing water temperatures now dipping below the 70-degree mark. A falling tide still remains one of the best times to fish any of the tidal rivers; especially near the deeper edges of grass beds. Deep water around old docks, bridge piers and sunken wood are all good places to find largemouth bass holding and a variety of soft stickbaits, spinnerbaits or small crankbaits are good choices to evoke a strike.

Regional fisheries manager Mary Groves sent us this wonderful report from the southern region. We’ve been on the tidal Potomac conducting our annual fallBlue Catfish electro-fishing surveys and have seen many juveniles which have done well this year due to the extensive grass beds along much of the river. The number of fish in the upper portion (Oxon Creek to Ft. Foote) is still poor due to the lack of submerged aquatic vegetation in the area, with the exception of the Spoils and similar structures. We’ve also been seeing a fair amount of blue catfish in the shallow water. Ryan Murphy is pictured holding a 30 lb. blue catfish that was found in less than 5 feet of water in Swan Creek. Finding these big fish in shallow water is relatively new for us but the blue catfish population has been expanding in the tidal Potomac. They appear to be in the shallows to utilize the forage that is still holding tight to the grass.

Mary also sent in this report of a fish removalGrass Carp case they recently encountered. On another note, we were called to remove fish from a pond that was being drained in Anne Arundel County and during this process found that the pond also contained grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). Grass carp are illegal in Maryland due to their destructive impact on submerged aquatic vegetation. Over 40 fish were found and removed from the pond which was critical since the ponds dam was being breached and the contents would end up in the Severn River. This is one of the reasons why invasive or nuisance species not be stocked in Maryland at all. What starts as a local stocking often ends up impacting many species in a much larger area.

Eastern Region:

Cool fall weather is beginning to have an effect on the activity levels of largemouth bass and other freshwater species of fish in the regions numerous lakes, ponds and tidal rivers and creeks. Largemouth bass are now moving more freely searching for food during longer periods of the day. They can often still be found in shallower waters during the early morning and evening hours but they are also very active when holding in deeper waters. Old docks, piers, tree blow downs and various forms of sunken wood are all good places to find largemouth bass.

Crappie are beginning to school up in deeper water in the numerous ponds and lakes within the region; often around piers, rocks or deep sunken wood. Fishing for channel catfish is a good option for some relaxing fishing this time of year on any number of docks, piers or deep shorelines of many of the tidal rivers. The Chester, Choptank and Nanticoke Rivers hold good populations of channel catfish. Most any kind of fresh cut bait, nightcrawlers or chicken livers make excellent baits.

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Reservoir Bathymetry information:
The Maryland Geological Survey has bathymetry maps on their website:

Links to freshwater flows:

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