Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | April 13, 2011

Anticipation is always a stirring emotion for fishermen and it tends to bring them back to that youthful "just can't wait" feelings we all tend to lose in our overburdened day to day trials. Although trout season is well underway and the opening day fever is under control there is still the excitement of additional in season stocking taking place every week. All fishermen know the anticipation of a good cast in a promising spot; it makes fishing what it is. These past couple of weeks on my travels to Fishing Challenge award centers, I've had the opportunity to be near boatyards and tackle shops where the anticipation of the striped bass season opener has captains and fishermen is bubbling over with excitement. The weather forecast for this Saturday's opener looks a little rough with thunderstorms and wind predicted so be careful and use good judgment.

Photo Courtesy Keith Lockwood

There was a large spawn this past weekend on the upper Nanticoke and Choptank Rivers and this was the first really big spawn of the season. Many experts will agree that the largest female striped bass tend to spawn first and these big girls are now headed down the tidal rivers and out into the bay. They are going to head out into the bay and take a left turn once they hit the shipping channel steep edges so good luck to you all and keep on the lookout for pre-spawn striped bass that are still heading up the bay.

Fishermen will be trolling arrays of large parachutes and bucktails this weekend on flat lines and planer boards but there are other ways to catch your trophy striped bass also. There will certainly be a crew at the CCNPP warm water discharge jigging with light tackle and soft plastic jigs. Sandy Point State Park is always a very popular spot for shore based fishermen using surf fishing tackle and bottom rigs baited with bloodworms and cut bait. The sandy tip of the beach where the current rips by is always the go to place for fishermen in the know. The Matapeake Fishing Pier and. the Point Lookout Pier will also get their share of attention this weekend.

The Susquehanna Flats Catch and Release fishery has had its ups and downs this past week due to continuing cold water and now heavy flow rates through the Conowingo Dam. Water temperatures are still well below the 50-degree mark so the best is yet to come. Recently a few fishermen have failed to follow the rules about catch and release fishing in the spawning reaches of the Susquehanna and other tidal rivers. The Natural Resources Police are stepping up enforcement efforts and fishermen that decide to venture into the spawning reaches are facing some stiff fines. There is a very valid reason to protect fish while they are spawning in these defined areas. Fisheries biologist Rudy Lukacovic who has done a lot of studies into catch and release stress provided us with this short bit of information on the subject.

The spawning reaches and areas of Chesapeake Bay are closed to the targeting and catching of striped bass during the spawning season for the obvious reason that this is "ground zero" for reproductive activity.

Spawning imposes significant energy demands on fish therefore, catch-and-release stress may be more severe in spawning fish than non-spawning fish of similar size. Large female striped bass are particularly vulnerable to catch-and-release stress because of increased metabolic demands before and during spawning.

Behavioral changes have been associated with the stress of capture. "Fallback", a phenomenon in which upstream migrating striped bass exhibit a downstream migration following capture was documented. It has been theorized that spawning striped bass seek out higher salinity, to reestablish the physiological isotonic balance which is compromised by handling stress. The Flats fishery was allowed because the Flats are not a major spawning area.

The following link provides some information on a recent press release on this topic.

Photo Courtesy Gary Reich

Fishermen at the Deer Creek area have begun to have some catch and release fun with hickory shad this past weekend. The run of hickory shad there will ebb and flow based on water temperatures, flow and clarity. Fishermen are also finding hickory shad at Fletchers on the Potomac near D.C. and other tidal rivers. Fisheries biologist Brian Richardson wrote about hickory shad opportunities in his 2010 year in review and this is an excerpt.

Anglers targeting shad will have plenty of options in the spring of 2011. Hickory shad should begin to arrive in early March, followed by American shad in early April. Hickory shad runs will peak in early to mid-April when water temperatures rise above 55 degrees. American shad traditionally hit their peak in late April through mid-May. The highest concentration of shad on the Patuxent River should begin about a mile or so below Queen Anne Bridge around the 4H camp, and continue above the bridge at Route 50. American shad can also occur down to Wayson's Corner at the Route 4 Bridge. While there is some access by land, a small boat, kayak or canoe would enable the angler to cover more water. If you are traveling by boat, be aware of the tide. Boating traffic is only advisable on a flooding or high tide. Choptank River shad fisherman may want to concentrate their efforts from Christian Park located at Red Bridges Road downstream to the Rt. 313 Bridge in Greensboro. This area has proven to be very productive for hickory shad. Tuckahoe Creek has produced some decent hickory shad fishing in the past, principally below Crouse Mill Dam. However, anglers have reported reduced success over the last several years. Marshyhope Creek shad tend to congregate in the large pools above the Rt. 306 Bridge in Federalsburg.

Freshwater fishermen are continuing to enjoy good trout fishing in most of the put and take areas due to good water flows and a generous in season stocking program. Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake have been catching large yellow perch and walleye along deep grass edges and smallmouth bass near rocky points. Largemouth bass fishing continues to be good in the tidal rivers near grass beds in the shallower areas. Feeder creeks are running a little warmer and are often a good place to target. Small crankbaits, crawfish imitations and spinnerbaits have been productive choices. Crappie fishing has been good in the tidal Potomac near Fort Washington and near deep structure in lakes and reservoirs. Sunken wood or any kind of structure is of course a good place to look for largemouth this time of the year and soft plastics like whacky rigged worms are a good choice to entice them to strike. Jimmy Whipple caught this fine looking largemouth bass in a small pond on a Rat-L-Trap.

Photo Courtesy Jimmy Whipple

The fishing scene at the Ocean City area is slowly evolving but locals stress the point that it is real slow. The waters are still cold and it takes quite a while to warm up. Along the beaches there is not much going on in the surf fishing scene except a lot of wishful thinking. A few tautog are being caught in and around the inlet. The best prospects are offshore where tautog fishing is the only show in town. Captains stress that the water is still pretty cold out there on the wreck sites but some very large tog are being caught.

There will be days when the fishing is better than one's most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home. -Roderick Haig-Brown, Fisherman's Spring, 1951


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

Jacob Holtz
Recreational Angler
Silver Spring
Total Reports:
Sent in on: July 23, 2014 Permalink

Weekend Report

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Patapsco River, Northwest Branch and Susquehanna State Park
Tags: Smallmouth Bass, Pumpkinseed, Chub, Fallfish

I got to spend some time in and on the water this past weekend and thought I'd send an update. On Saturday, I fished the Patapsco with my wife Beata, who caught her biggest fish to date (10" smallmouth), which was also the biggest fish of the day. Also caught a number of pumpkinseeds, chubs, and fallfish. Later that evening while waiting on friends I fished the Northwest Branch in Montgomery County. I caught more pumpkinseeds than I could count, none more than 6", but all an absolute joy to catch in a tiny urban stream. Then on Sunday we made a short visit to the Susquehanna State Park and fished along the bank for about half an hour. Unfortunately it was right as the water levels started rising due to afternoon energy production at the dam, but before we got flooded out we connected on another nice smallie and a fairly hefty sunfish. All of the fish over the course of the weekend were caught on small in-line spinners.

We also collected some raspberries along the way to the fishing spots - just another great reason to get out!


Dave Zajano
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
Sent in on: July 23, 2014 Permalink

Memorial Stadium Reef and Mr. Whiskers

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Upper Bay
Location: Memorial Stadium Reef
Tags: White Perch, Channel Catfish, MARI Survey

I am very happy to report that the White Perch have finally arrived on the upper bay reefs. Their arrival this year is more than one month later than the preceding two years. On Monday July 21 Dr. Ken Lewis and I went out to fish Memorial Stadium reef and Man-O-War shoal with high hopes of finally getting some decent numbers to report for the MARI reef survey. We were not disappointed. Most of the White Perch were small, but we did get about a half dozen in the 9.5 to 11.5" range.

While fishing the Memorial Stadium site the drag on Ken's ultra light reel suddenly screamed and line on the spool disappeared toward the horizon. I fired up the engine and the chase was on. Clearly this fish was more than a match for the light rigging as he took line at will. After 15 minutes the fish finally began to tire and for the first time we were actually able to put line back on the reel by pulling it in as opposed to chasing him. When Ken finally brought him to the net we were rewarded with a 28" channel cat that nudged 10 pounds on the digital hand held scale.

Great weather + some delicious white perch + a big cat + two angler reports for the MARI reef survey = a great day on the bay.


Skylar Hepner
Youth Angler
Total Reports:
Sent in on: July 23, 2014 Permalink

No Fish Just Ponies at Assateague

Type: Ocean
Region: Eastern
Location: Assateague Island, MD
Tags: Catfish, White Perch, Striped Bass

Last week my mom and dad took me to Assateague Island State Park to fish, see the ponies, and to do the Park Quest. We didn't catch any fish but we did see a couple of ponies.

I also visited my mom and dad's friends Bob and Sandy. Bob took us fishing at Crosswicks Creek in his boat. I caught a lot of fish (catfish, white perch, and one small rockfish). I released everything that I caught. I had a great day at both the places that I went to.