Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | May 14, 2014
Maryland fishermen were treated to a taste of summer weather this past weekend and the balmy temperatures did much to raise water temperatures in freshwater and marine waters. For those fishermen fortunate enough to schedule Chesapeake Bay fishing trips for Striped Bass during the past 6 days they could not have picked a better time. Post-spawn Striped Bass came pouring out of spawning rivers such as the Choptank, Nanticoke, Patuxent and Potomac and were eager to strike trolled parachutes and bucktails. Fishermen and captains were happy and award centers helping fishermen register their Striped Bass for the Maryland Fishing Challenge did a brisk business registering Striped Bass over 40" in length. The good fishing should continue this week and the Susquehanna Flats/ Elk River area Striped Bass should be spawning at this time; providing additional post-spawn fish moving down the bay. Ryan Messoria got to go fishing recently with his family and bested everyone with this whopping 44.5" Striped Bass.
Photo Courtesy of Ryan Messoria
Fishermen are still seeing cold water conditions in the lower Susquehanna River this week as water temperatures hover around 58F in the river and 67F on the flats. The dam has been on a mid-day power generation water release schedule this week creating cold water and turbulent conditions in the afternoons. The Hickory Shad restoration biologists were sampling for brood stock this past Monday and reported only catching three spent females. White Perch are thick in the lower Susquehanna and fishermen are reporting catching one on just about every cast but the throwback ratio is very high. Channel Catfish are also abundant in the lower Susquehanna River and surrounding upper bay areas.
Farther down the bay and below the Brewerton Channel upper bay fishermen continue to find trolling action for large Striped Bass around the channel edges of Love Point and the Triple Buoys areas. The steep channel edges near Sandy Point Light and also the Dumping Grounds area just north of the Bay Bridge have also been producing some large Striped Bass. White parachutes and bucktails seem to have been a favorite this weekend with chartreuse a close second. Trolling tends to be the main focus when it comes to Striped Bass fishing in the spring but a few fishermen have tried some chumming with limited success with smaller fish. Starting May 16th fishermen will be able to keep two Striped Bass between 18" and 28" or one between 18" and 28" and one above 28". Some of the Striped Bass seasonal boundary lines shift on May 16th so fishermen are urged to check the Striped Bass seasonal map site for clarification.
Middle bay region water temperatures are holding around 68F this week and continued warmer weather will drive up water temperatures in all regions of the bay. Many fishermen that chose to fish for Striped Bass this past weekend enjoyed some of the best fishing to be had so far this season. The weather was warm, there was a light wind at times and most important of all the large Striped Bass were biting. Private and charter boats reported good fishing along the western edge of the shipping channel from Thomas Point south; the region around Deale, Chesapeake Beach and Breezy Point have produced some of the hottest action. The steep edges around Bloody Point, Thomas Point, Buoy 83, CR Buoy and the False Channel leading out of the Choptank have all been very productive locations this week to troll up a large Striped Bass. Sunny conditions this week have fishermen putting more white lures in their trolling spreads and fish seem to be responding in a positive away by all reports. Sean Zlotorzynski struggles to hold up his trophy Striped Bass but is all smiles while fishing with his dad off of Chesapeake Beach.
Photo Courtesy of Sean Zlotorzynski
Lower Bay region fishermen reported very good fishing success for large Striped Bass along the western edge of the shipping channel out in front of Cove Point, the mouth of the Patuxent, the HI Buoy, Buoys 72 and 72A as well as channels in Tangier Sound and the lower Potomac River this past weekend and earlier this week. White or chartreuse parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads were the ticket to this show and there have been a lot of happy fishermen and captains this week returning to port with some impressive fish. Post-spawn Striped Bass are exiting the Choptank, Nanticoke, Patuxent and Potomac Rivers now and moving out into the bay and headed south before they make the turn at Cape Charles and head up the Atlantic Coast. Fishermen have been noting some rather clear water conditions on the lower eastern side of the bay and also noted a lot of debris and cloudy water in the lower Potomac.
Light tackle fishermen who have been focusing on the catch and release action for Striped Bass less than 28" report good fishing along the eastern side of the bay as well as Cedar Point on the western side. No one has reported any Speckled Trout yet but with water temperatures in the upper 60's it will not be long. Croaker fishing continues to improve with warmer water temperatures and fishermen on both sides of the lower bay are catching them with a throwback ratio of about 2 to 1 in most areas. The main tidal rivers leading into Tangier Sound and the lower Potomac River have been two of the best places to fish for croakers. White Perch are filling into their normal summer haunts and fishermen are catching them on bait and small lures.
Freshwater fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are reporting water temperatures around 56F and are busy fishing for Smallmouth Bass and a mix of Largemouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, Walleye, Yellow Perch and Northern Pike. The Smallmouth Bass are being found along rocky shores and points; small tubes, crankbaits and soft plastic craws tend to be favorite baits. A lot of the Smallmouth Bass are in the 12" to 15" size range but offer excellent fishing fun. The largemouth Bass are being found in the shallower upper lake and cove areas and many of them are now actively spawning.
The upper Potomac is running strong this week but okay for fishing with water temperatures around 65F. Fishermen are now catching a lot of smaller sized Smallmouth Bass now as water temperatures rise but there are still plenty of large fish eager to crush a soft plastic jig, tube or suspended jerkbait. The edges of eddies, ledges, dam pools and rock clusters tend to be favorite holding places for Smallmouth Bass this week.
In season trout stockings continue this week in many of the state's put and take and other trout management waters. The trout stocking program continues to place trophy sized trout at every location to supplement the regular stocking size trout and there are also Golden Rainbow Trout placed at these same locations as fun novelty fish. Six locations in Baltimore, Frederick and Allegany Counties were stocked yesterday. Fishermen can be emailed the latest trout stockings as they occur by signing up for the Fisheries Service email list. The western region biologists recently got some help from the CSX railroad crews to help stock 1,500 trout along a remote section of the North Branch of the Potomac in Potomac State Forest. The trout were transported along the railroad tracks and placed at various spots along the river.
Photo Courtesy of Alan Klotz
Largemouth Bass in many of the state's impoundments and tidal waters are now in a spawning phase and in some areas they are shifting into post-spawn modes of behavior. The males may be guarding nests now in shallower areas and females can often be found either near the nest sites or holding close to grass. A variety of weedless soft baits such as stick baits work well in the grass as do chatterbaits. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jerkbaits can be good choices when fishing near the edges of grass, sunken wood or spatterdock fields.
Ocean City area fishermen are beginning to see a mix of summer species begin to show their presence along the surf and back bay areas this week as water temperatures hit the 58F mark. The beautiful weekend weather brought out fishermen to try their luck in the surf and there were scattered reports of a few Bluefish and Black Drum caught along with Striped Bass and a lot of Clear-Nosed Skates and small sharks on cut baits. Fishermen using bloodworms and squid caught a mix of Kingfish and Northern Blowfish.
Inside the inlet fishermen are catching Tautog along jetties and bulkheads with a throwback ratio of about 4 to 1. Pieces of Green Crab and sand fleas tend to be the preferred baits on a low ebb tide. Flounder are being caught with increased regularity in the channel areas such as the Thorofare, East Channel and near the Route 90 Bridge. Craig Hocker certainly had a nice surprise when he caught this 29" sea trout while fishing at the Ocean City Inlet recently.
Photo Courtesy of Craig Hocker
Outside of the inlet fishermen are catching Tautog on many of the wreck and reef sites this week. Fishermen are counting the days till the Black Sea Bass season opens up on May 19th. The minimum size will be 12-1/2" with a 15 fish per day creel limit.
"I never lost a little fish yes I am free to say. It always was the biggest fish I caught that got away." - Eugene Field (1850-1895)