Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | April 27, 2011

Although this month started out with some chilly weather; it would appear that it is now behind us as spring blossoms abound, birds are nesting as are largemouth bass; flounder and croakers are arriving and fishing opportunities abound. Recent heavy rains still have some of the major tidal rivers such as the Potomac and Susquehanna running stained and high but many freshwater trout waters that also are showing increased flows are running much clearer. Recent satellite images of the Chesapeake show the stained water areas.

The strong southerly winds that have been so persistent on the open waters of the bay have made fishing difficult lately. Fishermen got a break on Sunday and many took advantage of it and some nice striped bass were caught along the shipping channel. Anyone who has been reading the newspapers or listening to marina chatter knows about the couple of boat sinking's and deaths we've had so far this season; please be careful out there and use good judgment. Small boat fishermen have to pick their days according to the weather and those with work obligations do the best they can with their schedules. The best of the season's opportunities should develop in the next two weeks for post-spawn fish, so try to be patient and watch the weather. Rich Watts and his daughter Angelina managed to slip out yesterday to troll the shipping channel on a clam day near Thomas Point. Angelina was obviously wearing her lucky sweatshirt when she caught her largest striped bass ever; a whopping 46-incher that weighed in at 46lbs.

Photo Courtesy Rich Watts

Fishermen have been catching some nice striped bass in many of the traditional locations in and along the edges of the shipping channel, the False Channel and the lower Potomac River channel. Most fishermen are reporting the best catches are coming off the planer boards and far back flat lines; this time of the year when surface water temperatures are warmer than deeper waters, the big fish tend to be within 25' of the surface. Surface water temperatures are just beginning to kiss the 60-degree mark this week in most of the bay. Chartreuse parachutes and bucktails with dark heads tend to work best in stained water or cloudy days and white is often the better choice on sunny days and clear water. Of course nothing is iron clad in fishing so most fishermen put out an assortment and see which works best on any given day. Fishermen have been reporting snagging large menhaden while trolling so there is some large food out there for these big fish and hopefully they have a big post-spawn appetite for such things. In clearer water conditions large spoons have always been a good choice; just watch out for tangles though. Few lures can make such a mess faster than a spoon when they tangle with other lines.

Fishermen at Sandy Point State Park and Point Lookout continue to catch their share of large striped bass that are swimming by in the shallower waters of the bay. They are fishing bloodworms and cut menhaden on bottom rigs and surf fishing tackle off the point. The Susquehanna Flats catch and release striped bass fishery has been suffering lately due to high flows from the Susquehanna causing stained and chilly water. The hickory shad fishery at Deer Creek is in full swing and fishermen have been enjoying some great catch and release fishing opportunities. Hickory shad can also be found this week in Octoraro Creek on the east side of the Susquehanna, the lower Gunpowder River and the Choptank River near Greensboro. Croakers have been caught as far up the bay as Sandy Point and increasing numbers are being caught in the lower Potomac River. White perch fishing in the lower sections of the tidal rivers is quickly becoming an excellent choice for fishing; most fishermen are using bottom rigs baited with bloodworms.

Freshwater fishermen are reporting high but clear flows in many of the states trout waters. Trout fishing remains very good this week in all of the management areas and in season stocking of trout continues. Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are seeing water temperatures hit the 50-degree mark this week and they are catching a mix of smallmouth bass, walleye, chain pickerel and large yellow perch. Drifting live minnows is always a favorite tactic this time of the year as is trolling lures along grass edges. Soon floating docks will become more numerous and fishing around them for a mix of smallmouth and largemouth bass will come into its own.

Largemouth bass fishing has been good lately in the states ponds, lakes and tidal rivers. Some of the best fishing this week has been occurring near drop-off edges with crankbaits, soft plastic crawfish jigs or spinnerbaits. In the tidal rivers the edges of grass and spatterdock fields are best fished at low tide and at high tide fishing over submerged grass have been a good choice. Bluegill sunfish tend to be holding near transition areas close to shallower waters and crappie are still schooled up in deeper water near structure. Fishing for channel catfish is excellent this time of the year in the tidal rivers and fishing for blue catfish in the tidal Potomac continues to entertain fishermen looking for some heavy pull. Michael Gay sent in this picture and an angler's log from a fishing trip to Loch Raven Reservoir, a really nice largemouth bass in anyone's book.

Photo Courtesy Michael Gay

Fishermen in the Ocean City area are beginning to see several of their favorite fisheries begin to take root. Water temperatures along the beaches have hit the 50-degree mark now and fishermen are catching the first of the northward migration of striped bass moving up the coast. Wind and heavy surf have made it hard to hold bottom but fish are being caught when fishermen use enough lead. Skates dominate the scene but a mix of black drum and striped bass are being caught and this will steadily improve this coming week. Cut menhaden is the bait of choice with the head standing up to the most abuse from skates.

Inside the inlet fishermen are catching some nice flounder this week in traditional areas such as the Thorofare; with the best fishing during a falling tide. Tautog are being caught in and around the inlet and the Route 50 Bridge and striped bass are being caught mostly at night by fishermen casting swim shad type lures in the same area. Offshore the wreck sites have been producing good catches of large tautog.

There is a tale that the willow and the alder are two anglers who offended the powers of fishing on Sunday and were transformed, to stand beside the river evermore. It would be in April, I think, that this happened.Roderick l. Haig-Brown A River Never Sleeps


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.