The fishing scene at Deep Creek Lake has sort of hit the summer doldrums this week as water temperatures hit the 77-degree mark. A lot of fish such as walleye and smallmouth bass are hunkered down and exhibiting sluggish behavior during the day. Some anglers are reporting fair fishing at dawn when using topwater lures or fishing small spinnerbaits and jigs very slowly. Pitching baits under floating docks for shade seeking largemouth bass is also a good option during the day. Boat traffic continues to be a real problem for fishermen after the sun is up and into the evening hours.
Regional fisheries biologist Alan Klotz sent in this report from the annual Savage River trout survey. The Inland Fisheries staff recently completed the annual Savage River Tailwater trout population surveys in the two Trophy Trout Management Areas. Both the Fly-Only and Artificial Lures Area contained high density wild trout populations. Brown trout continue to dominate the trout numbers, with good numbers of nice-sized browns in the 12 – 15 inch size class. We also collected some quality sized brook trout, the largest measuring about 11 inches. Rainbow trout were found in the lower portion of the river, and many were in the quality size range of 12 – 17 inches. Small bead-head nymphs fished under an elk-hair caddis as an indicator is an effective way of catching the wily brown trout in the Savage River during the summer. Ashleigh Huber holds up a nice Savage River brown trout before releasing it.
Fisheries crews stocked 305 large rainbow trout donated from the Freshwater Institute this week in the north branch of the Potomac from Barnum to Piedmont. These are exceptional trout and ranged from 2lbs to 4lbs in size.
Fisheries biologist John Mullican sent us this report from the upper Potomac River. The upper Potomac River is very low and clear. Smallmouth and walleye fishing has been the most productive during the early morning and late evening hours. When the sun is up long casts with 6 lb fluorocarbon line will help to get a few more bites. Grubs and tubes on 1/16 oz jigheads and Rapalas have been effective. I recently spent the evening with members of the Battie Mixon Catfish Club to record tournament catch data from the Potomac. Mike Cornechia was kind enough to share one of his favorite spots with me. Early in the evening his daughter Autumn set the bar by catching a 25” channel cat, good enough for first place in the women’s division. Congratulations Autumn!
Freshwater fishing for most fish has slowed down with the summer heat which is somewhat typical this time of the year. The hot temperatures we have been experiencing have pushed water temperatures in the upper 80’s in many of the two regions lakes, ponds and tidal waters. Savvy fishermen have been digging into their box of tricks to entice fish such as largemouth bass into striking presentations. One trick is to get out on the water before dawn; “pink in the sky” as many call it and fish topwater lures in the shallows. That is where largemouth bass are roaming during the night, looking for an easy meal before they retreat to the shaded deeper and cooler waters. At times these cooler areas are near deep sunken wood or deep grass. In waters such as the tidal Potomac and Susquehanna Flats largemouth bass will hunker down under thick mats of grass during the day. Sometimes after a rain event feeder creeks will run cooler and largemouth bass will nose into them and fishing can be better there also. Mattawoman Creek on the tidal Potomac River is a good example.
During these times of warm water temperatures fishermen will often switch to smaller lures such as spinnerbaits and retrieve them a lot slower than normal. Sometimes working a craw type soft plastic jig or a whacky rigged plastic worm slowly and deliberately will entice a pickup. Often the pickup is very subtle and not the hard strike fishermen are used to when waters are cooler and fish are more aggressive. Texas rigged worms worked slowly along deeper waters are another good option and certainly one that worked for this angler. Jason Smith holds a beautiful 22” largemouth bass that he caught and released at Loch raven Reservoir while working a Texas rigged 5”Senko worm along a rocky shore.
Bluegills are a good option this time of the year and when matched up against an ultra-light spinning or fly outfit will give any fisherman a run for their money. Chain pickerel are usually lurking near cover such as grass or lily pads and crappie are holding close to cover in deeper waters. Channel catfish are holding in the deeper channel areas in many of the regions tidal rivers. The Elk River and lower Susquehanna are excellent places to fish for large channel catfish as is the tidal Potomac.
Recent heavy rain fall has been a big factor in influencing fishing in the region this week. It is not every week that one sees 9” of rain in such a short period of time. The Choptank and Tuckahoe watersheds got hit particularly hard. Water levels should be back to normal in the regions tidal rivers by mid-week. The rains will help cool water temperatures some and this can be a good thing for fishermen. Fish such as largemouth bass may become more active than they’ve been lately due to the cooler water temperatures. Largemouth bass are currently in a summer pattern of behavior so the early bird gets the worm or in this case a chance at catching a nice largemouth bass in shallow water. Topwater lures such as poppers and frogs are preferred lures for the dawn patrol casting into the shallows. Buzzbaits can be another good choice or small spinnerbaits fished close to the surface.
The thick grass in rivers such as the Sassafras are good places to look for largemouth bass as the morning wears on; largemouth love to get underneath deep grass to find cool shade and wait out the hot sun. Getting to them can take some doing at times and often requires heavy braided line, penetrating jigs and being able to haul in 10-pounds of grass with your fish.
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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.