Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are seeing water temperatures slowly climb. The shallower coves are of course warming up more quickly than the main lake and largemouth bass in particular have been moving into those warmer waters or close to them. Once the largemouth bass are close to the shallower coves; lures such as spinnerbaits can be a good choice for urging them to strike. Smallmouth bass are staging to spawn on many of the rocky flats on main lake points and are a sucker for anything that resembles a crawfish and is fished slow and close to the bottom. Fishing for walleyes continues to be good this week along rocky shorelines and secondary points; small crankbaits, jerkbaits or a minnow/jig combination are local favorites.
Kevin Piper sent in this short report and a picture of a carp from the upper Potomac before the heavy rains. Fishing Saturday afternoon below damn 5 produced good numbers of catfish (15-20) on chicken livers. The carp were showing off their annual "jump out of the water" spawning event and it was very fun to watch. There was hundreds of carp flying out of the water all over the river. I caught one and provided you with a picture. The river was slightly stained and the water was moving fast. I took a temp reading and measured 51 degrees. Still chilly but the fishing is picking up.
The upper Potomac River and a number of trout waters will be running high and fast this week due to the heavy rain fall the region has received this week. Fisheries biologist John Mullican sent us some insight into how heavy river flows can affect smallmouth bass spawning success. There are many factors that come into play that can determine the success of each years spawn. River environments are less stable than lakes or impoundments and, as a result, year class strength can be highly variable from one year to the next. River smallmouth bass produce the strongest year classes during springs with average, relatively stable flows. Although bass can adapt and change nesting areas under low or high water flows, average, stable flows usually offer a greater abundance of spawning habitat.
High water events during May and June have the most impact on the spawning success of smallmouth bass. Extremely high flows (right now) will cause bass to abandon nests to seek refuge from the current and the current's scouring action can destroy nest/eggs. Many smallmouth were actively spawning when this most recent high water event occurred. Some of these bass will attempt to renest during May when conditions become more favorable. Similar flooding conditions in June can result in high mortality of the young fry. I my opinion, based on the current conditions in the Potomac, the early spawning smallmouth will be largely unsuccessful. If the later spawning bass are successful, I expect young-of-year smallmouth this summer to be below average in size.
The year class strength of Potomac River smallmouth bass has been monitored annually since 1975. Using a 30' seine nearly 100 hauls are taken at a dozen or more sites from Cumberland to Seneca during July. The abundance of young smallmouth is expressed as the geometric mean per haul. The Potomac had very stable flows during 2007 and the river produced the largest hatch ever recorded during the 33 years of monitoring. However, during the spring of 2008 a high water event occurred on May 15. The bass were smaller than average during our survey and the overall hatch was slightly below average. I expect a below average hatch this spring as well.
Fishing conditions in many of the regions waters has been a bit rough lately with persistent rainy weather. Most of the reservoirs in Baltimore County will offer good fishing this week; although the upper areas where waters enter may be stained. Largemouth bass are moving into the shallower spawning areas in the reservoirs such as coves and headwaters. In the regions smaller ponds and lakes where the water temperatures are a bit higher; spawning is already taking place. Once the large female largemouth bass move off the nest they tend to hold in slightly deeper water to rest and will begin to feed aggressively in about a week. Largemouth bass are holding to the same pattern in the regions tidal rivers; in the tidal Potomac River where water temperatures are traditionally higher the female largemouth bass have already moved into deeper water adjacent to the spawning areas. In the Susquehanna River where water temperatures are cooler by about 8-degrees the females are just now beginning to move into he spawning areas. Nate Hawthorne was fishing with his dad and sister recently in the Susquehanna when he caught and released this nice largemouth.
Fishermen are still catching hickory shad this week at Deer Creek and this fishery should last through the week. There are a lot of channel catfish holding the regions tidal rivers and are ready to provide plenty of action for fishermen from boats or river banks. Spawning carp can be seen moving up into the headwaters of many of the regions tidal rivers and creeks. Crappie are moving into shallower waters and holding close to fallen trees and sunken wood.
Trout fishing in the central regions should recover once water flows subside a degree and clarity returns. There still are a lot of trout out there to be caught and the Patapsco River at Daniels was stocked this past Monday and the Little Gunpowder Falls is being stocked today.
In many of the regions waters whether they are small lakes and ponds or tidal waters; largemouth bass are actively spawning or have just finished. In those areas where spawning has finished; the female largemouth bass have moved to deeper waters adjacent to the spawning areas to rest. Fishermen will no doubt find female largemouth bass in both phases. One thing for sure is the fact that the male largemouth bass will be guarding the nest from a pack of egg eating bandits in the form of sunfish. Once the resting female largemouth decide to start to eat shallow running crankbaits and spinnerbaits will be good choices for fishermen to use.
The striped bass spawning is just about over in the Choptank and Nanticoke Rivers so fishermen can once again enjoy fishing for channel catfish without fear of hooking a striped bass. Fishermen will also notice carp moving into the upper reaches of the tidal rivers and creeks in preparation for spawning. Bluegills are getting into the feeding mood after they’ve finished up their spawning and can offer some fun fishing in the evenings with small rubber-legged poppers.
If you submitted a photo and don't see your picture in the regular report please look in the photo gallery that we periodically run. Click here for this week's gallery!
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.