Thursday, May 24, 2012

MD DNR Memorial Day Weekend Fishing Report

Via MD DNR Fisheries:

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | May 23, 2012 

The upcoming weekend will be an extended one for many families as folks get together to not only honor those who have sacrificed so much that we may enjoy the freedoms we have but to also get together for family outings such as fishing. The Ocean City area is hopping with all kinds of fishing opportunities, freshwater fishing for largemouth bass, chain pickerel, trout and bluegills is very good and striped bass, croakers and white perch will aim to please bay fisherpersons this weekend. Pack up the kids and give that local pond a try or fish the bay or ocean and enjoy some time together.

Thursday May 24th fisheries biologists will be out tagging the first group of striped bass for the 2012 Diamond Jim Fishing Tournament. Young anglers will be doing the catching throughout the bay and biologists will be tagging the fish with lime green colored tags. This first round of Diamond Jim fish will be eligible starting June 1st until June 30th and can be worth up to $25,000 if a lucky angler catches Diamond Jim. To find out more about Diamond Jim and the Maryland Fishing Challenge check out the following link.
Fishermen are finding some striped bass action in the Susquehanna Flats area channels and the lower Susquehanna River up to the boundary line at the Susquehanna State Park boat ramp and enjoying the fact that they can keep a fish. Crankbaits, soft plastic jigs and swim baits worked close to the bottom have been a favorite choice. There is excellent fishing for white perch in the lower Susquehanna and most fishermen are using small jigs with good success. Channel catfish are abundant and some fishermen have been specializing in catching large flathead catfish in the dam hole on large gizzard shad baits and large swim shad lures.
Fishermen farther down the bay are describing fishing for striped bass as a slow pick for those under 28" in length with a large one thrown in now and then. Fishing for striped bass seems to be in a transition at the moment; some fishermen are putting the blame on May worm spawns, others mention mahogany tides and others talk about bait. At this stage only the striped bass have the answer and it will take every trick in each fisherman's bag of tricks to cut down the odds in their favor. Many fishermen are trolling with 6" swim shads in tandem or umbrella rigs along channel edges or any good looking bottom structure. Chumming and chunking for striped bass is beginning to become more productive this week as many boats begin to make the switch. Light tackle fishermen have been checking out all their favorite locations such as sharp channel edges, the Bay Bridge piers, points and coveted ballast stone pile locations to jig for suspended fish. Many savvy fishermen or just lucky fishermen through trial and error are finding cooperating fish throughout the bay this week. Angelina Watts was light tackle jigging with her dad when she caught this nice 30" fish.

Photo Courtesy of Richard Watts

Water temperatures in the middle bay region this week have crept over the 70-degree mark this week so many of our summer migrants should feel right at home. Fishermen have been catching croakers in the southern region of the bay in the shallower areas in the evenings and deeper waters during the day. The fishing for croakers in the lower Potomac has been good this week with white perch mixed in and lots of blue catfish in the 4lb to 6lb size range. Croaker fishing in the lower Patuxent and the Hooper's Island/Tangier Sound area has been steadily improving. Shore line fishermen have also been catching croakers from prominent points in the Somerset County area and around the mouth of the Patuxent. Croakers have been a bit of a mystery this year so far; especially those coveted 19" croakers; once again despite all kinds of theories only the croakers know what is going on. One very bright spot for fishermen in the Tangier Sound area continues to be the speckled trout fishing. Black drum are starting to show up at traditional locations and the soft crab dunking crowd will surely begin to scan the depths of shoal areas this weekend looking for those heavy blips on their depth finders that often resemble the sonar signature of a submarine.
Freshwater fishermen are enjoying the aggressive nature of post-spawn largemouth bass over a wide area of Maryland this week. Many fishermen are reporting that the fishing hardly gets any better than this time period when bass are off the nests and looking for something to eat. Fishermen are targeting grass and spatterdock fields with chatterbaits and similar topwater lures as well as plastic craws. Soft plastics, spinnerbaits and crankbaits are good choices for docks, and any kind of submerged structure such as tree tops and sunken wood or rocks.
Deep Creek Lake fishermen report good fishing for medium sized smallmouth bass and walleyes on crankbaits and minnows this week. Trout fishermen in the western and central regions are enjoying good fishing opportunities for trout in all of the management areas. Flows in some of the creeks have been elevated due to recent rains but should return to good levels by the end of the week. Diane Turner caught and released this beautiful tiger trout at the mouth of Rocky Marsh Run as it flows into the Potomac River at Dam #4. Tiger trout are a cross between a brook and brown trout.

Photo Courtesy of Diane Turner

Fishermen in the Ocean City area have a lot to look forward to this week; especially if you like to fish along the beaches. The striped bass migration of large fish is moving through the area and fishermen are making some memorable catches. Most fishermen are using stout surf gear and cut menhaden baits, sand fleas or clams on bottom rigs with good success. This wonderful fishing opportunity will not last much longer, so be sure to not miss it. Fishermen are also catching a few black drum in the surf, sandbar and sand tiger sharks (which must be released) and of course skates and dogfish. A few small bluefish and blowfish are also being caught when fishermen switch up to smaller rigs and offerings.
Inside and around the inlet tautog are being caught off bulkheads and the south jetty. Small bluefish keep moving in and out of the inlet and are being caught on Got-Cha plugs and spoons. A few striped bass are being caught each night on swim shads and bucktails. Flounder are being caught around the inlet and back bay areas when water conditions are favorable.
The party boats headed to the wreck sites are finding plenty of sea bass for their fishermen along with tautog and a few flounder. The federal sea bass season for areas beyond 3-miles is now open also. Boats heading out to the canyons are finding some yellowfin tuna and mako sharks.


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