Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | August 14, 2013



Recently I found myself being an observer of a mixed group of people excitingly waiting aboard a party boat or "head boat" as some call them to embark on a bottom fishing trip out into the Chesapeake Bay. The mates were busy preparing to cast off at the first signal from a captain that was pacing the upper deck and watching the parking lot for any stragglers. It doesn't matter if you're going bottom fishing out in the bay, casting a bobber and worm into a favorite local pond or watching a trolling spread of lures behind a sport fishing boat. All fishermen have that air of anticipation; for each new fishing trip is an adventure, it's just that "an adventure". Don't miss out and be in the parking lot watching the stern of a boat head out of the harbor which of course is a metaphor for don't watch life leave you behind. Cut some time out for yourself, family and/or friends, dangle a line in the water and enjoy.



Photo by Keith Lockwood


Fishermen continue to enjoy good fishing for White Perch and Channel Catfish in the upper most portions of the bay and tidal rivers such as the lower Susquehanna, Elk, Bohemia and Sassafras Rivers. The White Perch can be found along shoreline structure in the morning and evening hours and can offer some light tackle fun casting small lures. White Perch and Channel Catfish can also be found in some of the deeper areas by fishing bait on bottom rigs. Baltimore Harbor and nearby tidal rivers are also good areas for White Perch around old piers and docks.

Chumming and live lining for Striped Bass at Love Point and Swan Point continues to provide plenty of action for fishermen when there is a good tide running. Fishermen are locating fish on depth finders and setting up on them usually in about 30' of water. There is also good Striped Bass fishing at Podickory Point, the Sewer Pipe and the Bay Bridge piers. Fishermen are successfully using several methods to catch their fish; including chumming, live lining Spot, jigging over suspended fish and trolling. Most fishermen are jigging with metal or soft plastic jigs and trolling small spoons. Anthony Nicholas holds a nice Striped Bass he recently caught in Annapolis with a top water jig.



Photo by Anthony Nicholas


Below the Bay Bridge most of the Striped Bass action is focused around the Hill, the channel edges around the mouth of Eastern Bay and the Thomas Point area and south to the False Channel and the Gooses. Boats have been arriving from up and down the bay to live line Spot along the channel edges, usually in about 30' of water. There tends to be a fair percentage of undersized Striped Bass being caught and fishermen should do their best to insure these fish survive when caught and released since they represent the future. Although they are a little more expensive; circle hooks reduce hook mortality over small treble hooks and J-style hooks. Small Bluefish began to arrive into the area late last week and most likely will gain full force in the next week or so and will be extracting a high price from live liners. Fortunately for us these relatively small Bluefish can make for some fine eating on the grill, broiler or even better yet in a smoker. In my experience Bluefish less than 2lbs make for the best eating, most likely due to that old saying "you are what you eat". Smaller bluefish tend to eat a lot of Bay Anchovies and the larger Bluefish eat mostly Menhaden when close to shore and become fairly oily in meat composition and texture.

There has been no word of Spanish Mackerel in the middle bay region but there were rumors of some caught below Smith Point, Virginia late last week. I happened to be in a Chesapeake Beach tackle shop on Friday morning and some of the captains were stocking up on small Drone spoons. With a little bit of luck perhaps we'll see our first Spanish in our portion of the bay this weekend. A lot of fishermen in the middle and lower bay have been trolling spoons with good success for a mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish. The lower bay region, the Tangier Sound area, the Middle Grounds and the lower Potomac have all been great places to catch a mess of Bluefish while trolling. Fishermen are also encountering large Red Drum while trolling spoons in the lower bay region, especially around the Middle Grounds and above the Target Ship for some catch and release action. There have also been reports of breaking fish in all regions of the bay and they can range from mostly sub-legal Striped Bass in the upper bay to a mix of Bluefish and Striped Bass in the middle and lower bay regions.

Fishermen that fish some of the artificial reef sites throughout the bay are being asked if they would participate in a survey. The survey will help the Fisheries Service understand the artificial reef ecosystems managed by MARI in the Chesapeake Bay .

Fishing for a mix of White Perch, Spot and Croaker has been good in most of the tidal rivers in the middle and lower regions of the bay. Bottom fishing during the day has been providing a plentiful mix, although some fishermen are not finding the larger croakers we all grew accustomed to several years ago. Boats can be seen drifting in Eastern Bay, the lower Choptank River and tidal rivers on the western shore down to Tangier Sound and the lower Potomac River. Bluefish are becoming common in the mix in the lower bay as well as Kingfish and a legal size Red Drum or Speckled Trout now and then. Shallow water light tackle fishing with small lures is a fun way to fish for White Perch in the mornings and evenings. It is a convenient type of fishing because it is easily done from docks, piers and sea walls. If you can get some grass shrimp or small minnows you can fish right under docks to where the perch are holding; no need to cast out, just fish straight down and hold on. White Perch and Striped Bass like to go right back where they feel comfortable so shaved and cut monofilament line is often the norm if you can't pull them away from barnacle encrusted pilings. Donna Rivers holds up a nice White Perch for the camera before putting him to rest in an ice chest for a ride home for dinner after a fun fishing trip on the bay.



Photo Courtesy of Donna Rivers


Reports from recreational crabbers tend to vary greatly this week. Crabbing still tends to be slow in the upper bay above the Chester River. Success in the middle and lower bay regions tends to steer towards those crabbers that run trot lines and collapsible crab traps early in the morning on a running tide and are willing to move when a location doesn't pan out. Generally most recreational crabbers working from a boat are managing a 1/2 bushel or better of good crabs per outing in the middle and lower bay tidal rivers. There is mention of female crabs and small crabs being a large part of what is being seen while out on the water. This is also the time of the year for doublers which can be seen swimming close to the surface or holding just below the surface of the water on pilings.

Freshwater fishermen continue to see cooler water temperatures in many areas and there is some cooler weather forecast for the end of this week. Early morning anglers have seen mist coming off some of their favorite fishing spots as warm water meets cooler air. Water flows have been good in the western Maryland streams and rivers so trout fishing and Smallmouth Bass fishing has been good. Smallmouth Bass are being caught on tubes in the upper Potomac near rock piles and ledges and near floating docks in Deep Creek Lake. Lauren Jochims was fishing in Deep Creek Lake with her brother when she caught this whopper of a walleye which made for one fine dinner to share with her family while on vacation.



Photo Courtesy of Lauren Jochims


Fisheries survey crews just finished an annual seining survey on Deep Creek Lake and found "fair to good" year-class for young of the year for both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. Crews also surveyed the upper Potomac River for young of the year abundance for Smallmouth Bass. They found poor recruitment in the river section below Brunswick and average numbers for river areas above Brunswick. High and variable river flows are dominant factors affecting spawning success; river flows in the spring of 2013 were above average.

Cooler water temperatures have caused Largemouth Bass to become more active in lakes, ponds and tidal rivers throughout Maryland this week and fishermen are enjoying the action. Early morning and late evening hours still offer the best fishing opportunities for topwater action in shallow areas of grass cover. Poppers and frogs cast over shallow grass are one of the most exciting ways to fish for Largemouth Bass; the surface explosion of a striking bass is not something to be forgotten.

Fishermen in the Ocean City area continue to find some good summertime fishing along the beaches with a mix of Kingfish, Spot, Croaker and a few Bluefish and Sea Trout. Those looking for a little stiffer action in the evenings continue to catch and release inshore sharks and sting rays. In and around the inlet fishermen are catching some large flounder on live spot and Gulp baits; squid and minnows will get you a lot of action but also a lot of throwbacks. There are small sea bass, Croakers, Spot and even some Red and Black Drum in the back bay areas.

Fishermen are finding triggerfish and flounder near the inshore wreck and reef sites and the sites a little farther offshore are offering up catches of Sea Bass and flounder.

Offshore fishermen have been finding some action with Yellowfin Tuna at traditional fishing locations along the 30-fathom line such as the Jack Spot and Hot Dog and the action extends out to the canyons with the Washington Canyon getting a lot of attention this week. Fishermen are catching a mix of White and Blue Marlin, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna and a lot of Skipjack Tuna. Deep drop fishermen are finding some nice Golden Tilefish along the canyon edges.

"Many fishermen find the greatest pleasure in helping others less skilled achieve success in fishing and are rewarded with smiles, excitement and shared memories. Happy, happy, happy!"

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


Jacob Holtz
Recreational Angler
Silver Spring
Total Reports:
8
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!

 PHOTOS 

Dave Zajano
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
1
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.

 PHOTOS 

Skylar Hepner
Youth Angler
Mechanicsville
Total Reports:
5
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.

 PHOTOS