Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | April 25, 2012

As we approach the end of April cooler weather has sure put the seasonal calendar back in place; Garrett County even received snow over the weekend. Fishing opportunities abound this week in Maryland from walleye and trout fishing in western Maryland to striped bass and tautog fishing at the Ocean City area. The trophy striped bass season is now in full swing in the main stem of the Chesapeake south of Baltimore and fishermen had a crowded but successful opening day. Sara Bailey and her family decided to stay out of the trolling patterns of the striped bass fleet and anchor up near Hackett's Point and try chumming for their striped bass. They were obviously successful as Sara holds up her opening day striped bass for the camera.


Photo Courtesy of Sara Bailey

Fishermen looking for catch and release opportunities on the Susquehanna Flats are finding good fishing for male striped bass and report a slow pick on large females. Cloudy water conditions from rain runoff on the eastern side of the flats area was a problem earlier this week and windy conditions did not help matters. Conditions are improving this week and good catch and release fishing should prevail. Spoons, crankbaits and soft plastic jigs have been favorite presentations. White perch are present in very good numbers in the lower Susquehanna and there are always plenty of channel catfish in the region.

Fishermen were of course out in force on Saturday to work the steep edges of the shipping channel, lesser channels and prominent points. Boats trolling in the upper bay near the Bay Bridge picked at fish along Sandy Point Light south to Thomas Point and Bloody Point. Many of the boats that left the dock in the dark did well at first light and reported that by 7:00 it was pretty crowded out there. Striped bass swimming near the surface do not like engine noise so boat traffic will definitely have an adverse effect on the bite. Fishermen in the middle bay region focused on the steep edges on the western side of the shipping channel but the False Channel and the Gas Buoy area also produced good fishing on the eastern side. The fleet fishing in the southern waters of the bay did well near the mouth of the Potomac, Buoy 72A, Hooper's Island Light, Cove Point and out in front of the power plant. Not every boat caught their limit and even charter captains reported they had to work for their fish. Also worth noting is the fact that not every boat was out trolling; some fishermen had success chumming and others light tackle jigging. Traditionally the fishing will improve from this coming weekend through the first week or two of May. There are still a lot of striped bass in the spawning rivers so there will good fishing as they leave and travel out into the bay.

More than a few fishermen reported not seeing much difference in white or chartreuse in regard to catching fish and most of the fish caught have been in the 32" to 37" size range. There were some whoppers caught though and we received a call from an award center on the lower Potomac that they were running out of Fishing Challenge entry tickets which are for striped bass over 40" in size. J.C. Metcaf holds a whopping 40" of striped bass for the camera that he caught on a white tandem rig in the lower Potomac.


Photo Courtesy of George Sempeles

Shore based fishermen were not left out of the fun and many found exciting fishing from favorite points, docks and piers along the bay's shoreline. Fishermen were out at traditional locations such as Sandy Point State Park, Matapeake Pier, Point Lookout Pier and prominent points. Reports from Deal Island in Somerset County told of fishermen doing very well on the bayside shore there. Bloodworms, cut bait and soft crab were popular baits but more than a few fishermen reported hungry white perch and blue crabs being pesky on those expensive bloodworm baits. A few croakers have been caught recently and pound net fishermen have been finding them in their nets. The popular theory is that the vanguard is here but holding in deep water because of cool water temperatures in the shallows. Some speckled trout have also been showing up in the lower bay.

Freshwater fishermen will find plenty of good opportunities this week in the western region for a wide variety of fish. The walleye bite is on in Deep Creek Lake and fishermen are finding something as simple as a minnow and a slip bobber are hard to beat for putting tasty walleye in the fish box. Smallmouth bass can be found off rocky points and largemouth bass are beginning to stage at the entrance of coves. The weekend's snow has done much to bring water flows in the region's creeks and streams back to a level for good trout fishing. John Mullican sent us this report from the upper Potomac. The upper Potomac River remains below normal for this time of year. Last weekend's cold front and rain have increased flows somewhat and levels are predicted to remain good for fishing. Like our crazy spring weather, fishing has been hot and cold - catch the river during a warming trend and the smallmouth have been cooperative. A variety of lures have been productive but I have done best with suspending jerkbaits and 1/8 oz tubes.

Largemouth bass in many of the waters in the central, southern and eastern regions of the state are beginning to sit on nests now in the shallows or staging near the spawning areas. Fishermen are reporting good success with chatterbaits over or near grass or spatterdock and spinnerbaits worked slowly near the grass or spatterdock edges. Soft plastics and crankbaits have been a good choice near sunken wood and rocks or near docks. Finbarr Murphy holds up a big female largemouth bass he caught and released near a staging area in Prettyboy Reservoir recently.


Photo Courtesy of Finbarr Murphy

Ocean City area fishermen are starting to see the fishing action there pick up as water temperatures at the beaches hovers around 54-degrees. Surf fishermen are catching large striped bass on cut menhaden baits and black drum on crab, Fishbites and squid. Skates and dogfish are chewing up baits and a few bluefish and blowfish are being caught now and then. At the inlet fishermen have been catching a few striped bass at night on bucktails and swim shads and bluefish on Got-Cha plugs. Tautog are entertaining fishermen in and around the Inlet/Route 50 Bridge area and are being caught on frozen sand fleas and pieces of green crab. Flounder fishing has been improving when the water clarity is good and large Gulp baits with a strip of squid have been catching the largest flounder. Minnows and squid have been working well for fishermen drifting around the Thorofare area down to the bridge going out to Assateague. Offshore tautog fishing remains good and boat captains have been reporting limits of large tautog are common around the rails.

"I never lost a little fish-yes I'm free to say. It always was the biggest fish I caught, that got away." Eugene Field 1850-1895

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.



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Evan Rule
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