Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | March 07, 2012

Although it is not officially spring there are a lot of signs in nature that it is not far away. Last Thursday the spring peepers let loose in my neighborhood due to flooding in nontidal woodlands and yesterday blue-winged teal were moving through the region beautifully decked out in their breeding plumage as they headed north. Just about everyone has got the itch to get out and do some fishing now; whether it is fishing for some trout, largemouth bass or in this case fishing in the rain for yellow perch on the upper Tuckahoe River. This lucky angler definitely earned this stringer of large yellow perch.


Photo Courtesy of Keith Lockwood

In most areas the yellow perch are about finished spawning and egg masses can be seen hanging from submerged branches in the spawning areas. There are always a few stragglers and fishermen found themselves in many areas catching both pre-spawn and post-spawn yellow perch last weekend. Water levels have been high in the upper reaches of many tidal rivers and creeks due to heavy rain earlier in the week and no doubt there will be more rain this month so fishermen as always will deal with conditions. Just be safe since water temperatures are 50-degrees at best in most areas. Jay Fleming sent us this beautiful underwater shot of a yellow perch and egg masses in the background.


Photo Courtesy of Jay Fleming

White perch have been quickly filling in right behind the yellow perch and fishing should be good for the next couple of weeks. Over the weekend fishermen encountered mostly male white perch in the upper reaches of the bay's tidal rivers but the larger female white perch should not be far behind. The top bait choices tended to be pieces of bloodworm and nightcrawlers fished close to the bottom. Grass shrimp are usually a good choice also and it seems at times one bait will out perform another on any given day.

Fishing in the Chesapeake tends to focus on catch and release fishing at warm water discharges such as Calvert Cliffs by jigging with various types of jigs; including my personal favorite when jigging over rocks; the butterfly jig. You can make your own by placing snelled hooks at the top of most any metal jig or buy them already rigged. A few boats have been seen out on the bay trolling for striped bass practicing catch and release and testing out new gear. Striped bass are already up the tidal rivers and are staging for spawning early next month or perhaps the very end of March. Water temperatures tend to dictate the spawn and water temperatures now are right around 50-degrees in the upper reaches of most tidal rivers. Optimum spawning water temperature is 64.5-degrees but larger females can spawn at water temperatures as low as 52-degrees. Fishermen need to remember that the spawning reaches of the tidal rivers are off limits to catch and release fishing and for a good reason.

Freshwater fishing opportunities abound this week for a wide variety of freshwater fish. Fisheries biologists have been busy with pre-season trout stocking of many areas; which has been providing some fun fishing recently. Be sure to check out the daily updates to the stockings. www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/stocking/index.asp

As waters warm up in the states lakes, ponds and rivers fishermen are finding all kinds of fishing possibilities for chain pickerel to muskie and everything in between. Largemouth bass are being caught along steep edges of channels and lakes shores on grub jigs, deep running crankbaits and slow rolled spinnerbaits close to the bottom. Crappie are still schooled up in deep water near edges and structure, live minnows and small tubes and spinner jigs are good choices to catch them. Chain pickerel are very active this time of the year and spinners, spoons and Rapala type swimming plugs will catch them. Tim Campbell holds up a nice one for the camera before releasing it back into the water.


Photo Courtesy of Tim Campbell

Although river levels on the upper Potomac can be high this time of the year fishing for a mix of walleye and smallmouth bass can be very good when water levels are suitable for boating and fishing. Jigs, swim shads and small crankbaits can be good lures to try when fished close to the bottom. The top dog of the upper Potomac, the muskie is always cruising out there somewhere also and offers a challenge to any angler.

Fishermen in the Ocean City continue to catch some impressive tautog offshore on the wreck and artificial reef sites. Fishermen fishing within the 3-miles EEZ Zone are steadily picking at striped bass moving up the coast. Trolling large parachutes, Mojos and Stretch plugs has been the tactic most used by the fleet out of the Ocean City Inlet.

"March," the Old Man said, "is a fine month for remembering. I suppose that's because there is really nothing else you can do in it. Don't ever let anybody tell you that getting old happens in the autumn of your life. It happens in March." - The Old Man And The Boy, Robert Ruark

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Keith Lockwood has been writing the Fishing Report since 2003 and has had a long career as a fisheries research biologist since 1973. Over the course of his career he has studied estuarine fishery populations, ocean species, and over a decade long study of bioaccumulation of chemicals in aquatic species in New Jersey. Upon moving to Oxford on the eastern shore of Maryland; research endeavors focused on a variety of catch and release studies as well as other fisheries related research at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory. Education and outreach to the fishing public has always been an important component to the mission of these studies. Keith is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, bird dogs, family and life on the eastern shore of Maryland.



Latest Angler's Log Reports


Don Cosden
Fisheries Biologist
Total Reports:
9
Sent in on: October 30, 2014 Permalink

Dodging the Wind

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid Bay
Location: Edge of Shipping Channel
Tags: striped bass, perch

Fishing for me lately has largely meant dodging the wind. Several trips in October were spent in West and Rhode River catching perch and an occasional striper on a lee shore. On Sat. (25th) the forecast looked good so we ventured out in search of breaking fish to cast to. Unfortunately the forecast was a little inaccurate. 15 knots can whip up some mighty rough and wet conditions in a small skiff so we stayed in shallow. After several hours we had only one small rockfish. Finally the wind subsided a little we started to search the edges of the shipping channel. Plenty of fish on the depth sounder and birds searching but nothing on top so I started to jig a ½ oz silver buddy at the 30’ contour. I was just about to give it up and Wham! Something grabbed my bait and took off. This fish made several long runs that were so fast I thought I was on to a big bluefish or maybe even a cobia. My wife finally got the net on it and we snapped and quick picture and released it. This fish looked like a prime spawner and we prefer to eat the smaller ones anyway. I later heard that fish were breaking everywhere early Sunday morning.

 PHOTOS 

Brenner Bookhamer
Youth Angler
Baltimore, MD
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: October 30, 2014 Permalink

Only One to Catch a Fish

Type: Chesapeake
Region: upper Bay
Location: Mouth of Patapsco River
Tags: striped bass

I went fishing with my mommy and daddy and was the only one to catch a fish! It was really exciting and I had a lot of fun! I caught this 19" rockfish at the mouth of Patapsco River trolling on 10/27/14.

 PHOTOS 

Connor Shank
Youth Angler
Damascus, MD
Total Reports:
2
Sent in on: October 30, 2014 Permalink

First Cast Was All it Took

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Upper Bay
Location: Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Tags: striped bass

My dad and I went out on the bay and on my fist cast I caught this 26" striper. That was the one and only catch of the day!

 PHOTOS