Fishermen this week at Deep Creek Lake are seeing water temperatures dipping into the low 60ís; this in turn is reflected in a change occurring in the lakes fisheries. One by one floating docks are beginning to be pulled and fishermen are finding the floating docks over the deepest water the most productive for finding largemouth and smallmouth bass. Casting tubes outside of these docks tends to offer the best fishing opportunities this week. On cloudy days and early morning and evenings topwater lures will provide entertainment from smallmouth and largemouth bass slapping them. Hookups arenít always guaranteed but the action certainly is exciting. Fishing spinnerbaits over or near deep grass is a good option this week as are most any kind of crankbait or jig that resembles a crawfish. Walleye, crappie and yellow perch can be found congregating in the deeper waters near bridge piers.
Fisheries biologist John Mullican sent in this report concern the upper Potomac and some field sampling work on the Monocacy. With the lack of any appreciable rainfall in the last three weeks, the upper Potomac River and other area rivers and streams remain very low and clear. Fishermen can expect a few smallmouth, walleyes, and catfish by quietly approaching spots and making long casts with fluorocarbon line. The vegetation, which has been much denser in the lower river this year, is beginning to die back and pull free of the bottom adding an additional challenge. Bill Flair holds up a nice smallmouth bass caught and released above Dam #4.
Last week we conducted an electro fishing survey in the lower Monocacy River to obtain a population estimate for smallmouth bass in the Catch-and-Release Area. Due to the width of the river, three barge electro fishing units were used requiring the assistance of personnel from all four Fisheries regions (thanks). The data has not been worked up yet, but the survey was a success and it is pretty clear that the lower Monocacy supports an excellent smallmouth fishery. Smallmouth bass were very abundant with fish up to eighteen inches collected. In the coming years fishermen can expect high catch rates from the exceptionally strong 2007 year class. Mark Beals (Green Ridge State Forest Manager) assisted with the survey and holds two large smallmouth from the survey.
Fishermen looking for good fishing for largemouth bass are finding some of the seasonís best fishing this week as cooler water temperatures have instilled a sense of urgency in largemouth bass to feed as much as possible. Cooler waters in the shallows advancing the seasonal decline of shallow grass beds is causing crawfish to migrate across open bottom looking for refuge in deeper waters. This migration does not go unnoticed by largemouth and smallmouth bass. Most any soft plastic or crankbait that resembles a crawfish will be a good bet this week. Peter Schumacher holds a beautiful October largemouth bass for the camera before releasing it back into Rocky Gorge Reservoir. Octoberís cooling effects on the waters of Liberty, Piney Run and Rocky Gorge Reservoirs has also spurred on the landlocked striped bass fishery in these selected reservoirs. The striped bass find these cooler water temperatures to their liking and are now roaming freely and foraging. Crankbaits, swimming minnow lures such as Rapalas and live baits are a few of the choices fishermen are using.
Charlie Gougeon sent in this detailed report of his survey teams sampling efforts on the Gunpowder River recently.
The Gunpowder Falls was surveyed at the Dam/Falls station, the Masemore Road station and the Blue Mount station as part of the annual DNR fall trout survey. Many interested folks came out to watch or assist. The Dam/Falls station was estimated to have 184 kg/ha (164 lbs/acre) of brown trout adults and 2685 trout/km (4321 trout/mile). Compared to last year, the numbers were a bit lower this year. The Dam/Falls estimate in 2007 was 189 trout/acre and 5,036 adult brown trout/mile. Two rainbow trout adults were collected during the survey as well as fourteen rainbow trout fingerlings that were stocked there in May from our hatchery in Hagerstown. The fingerlings were beautiful specimens that had grown from an average of 3.5 inches in length when stocked to a range of 7 to 9 inches.
The Masemore Road station was estimated to have 49 kg/ha (44 lbs/acre) of brown trout adults and 593 brown trout/km (954 trout/mile). The numbers were estimated a bit higher in 2007, at 49 lbs/acre brown trout adults and density of 1,104 brown trout adults per mile. The Masemore Road station exhibited excellent brown trout recruitment in 2008 as 472 yoy were collected resulting in a density estimate of 1665 yoy/km (2680 yoy/mile). This was indeed higher than numbers of yoy estimated there in 2007 (1,676 yoy/mile).
The Blue Mount station was estimated to have 36 kg/ha (32 lbs/acre) of brown trout adults and 487 brown trout/km (783 trout/mile). The Blue Mount station demonstrated fair recruitment as 74 yoy brown trout were collected resulting in an estimate of 271 yoy/km (436 yoy/mile). In comparison, estimates for adult brown trout were lower at this station last year, with brown trout standing crop estimated at 24 lbs/acre. However, adult density was higher in 2007 (911 trout/mile), but smaller in average size. Recruitment at Blue Mount station in 2008 was much better than the estimated density of 224 yoy/mile shown in 2007.
Overall, anglers will be met with a plethora of wild trout when fishing the Gunpowder Falls tailwater and they will find trout in fatter condition this year as compared to last.
Staff from the Inland Fisheries Western Region of MDNR, , Gunpowder State Park, Baltimore City Watershed Division, Baltimore County Department of Resource Management, Susan Rivers of Inland Fisheries, Trout Unlimited and volunteers provided assistance during the surveys.
Our thanks to all of those who participated in the survey this year or who just appeared to offer their support!
Fishermen are finding good fishing for largemouth bass this week in many of the tidal rivers and creeks of the two regions as grass beds begin to diminish due to cooler water temperatures. Largemouth bass can often be found now along drop-offs in slightly deeper water. Fishermen in the lower Susquehanna River are also finding good fishing this week for smallmouth bass and walleyes in addition to largemouth bass. Fishermen in many tidal rivers such as the lower Susquehanna are experiencing excellent fishing for channel catfish. Fishing for blue catfish in the tidal Potomac is on the upswing as cooler water temperatures spur the large catfish into increased activity levels. SSG Jason Woods got invited to go fishing for blue catfish on the Potomac recently through the Wounded Warrior Program and had a ball catching these two large blue catfish.
Fishermen are experiencing good to excellent fishing opportunities for a wide variety of freshwater fish this week as cooler water temperature induce increased activity levels in a number of freshwater species. Largemouth bass in particular are on the constant search for forage such as small fish and crawfish. Cooler water temperatures and diminishing grass beds is driving crawfish to seek refuge in deeper waters and largemouth bass are on the prowl to intercept them. Soft plastic imitations of crawfish or crankbaits and jigs are good choices for this type of fishing.
Chain pickerel are finding cooler water temperatures more to their liking and they are being to move more freely outside of thick grass beds. Fishing for channel catfish in a number of tidal rivers within the eastern region is certainly on the upswing this week with cooler water temperatures more to their liking. Fishermen are enjoying good fishing on the Elk River, the Chester, Choptank and Nanticoke Rivers.
Click here to view recent bay satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm
Reservoir Bathymetry information:
The Maryland Geological
Survey has bathymetry maps on their website:
Links to freshwater flows:
Latest real time stream flow for
Gunpowder Falls near Parkton.
Latest real time stream flow for
Gunpowder Falls At Glencoe.