Thursday, October 25, 2012

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | October 24, 2012


By: Keith Lockwood

October presents an interesting situation for fishermen in Maryland. Those that continue to fish find themselves enjoying great fishing with very few fishermen to be seen; plenty of elbow room as one fisherman described recently. Whether your fancy is to fish the Chesapeake Bay, our freshwater waters or the Atlantic Ocean; there are plenty of fish and few fishermen to compete with. Warm weather is predicted for the rest of the week so take advantage of it for winter will soon be knocking on the door.
Fishermen in the lower Susquehanna River up to the Conowingo Dam Pool are enjoying good fishing for striped bass this week. Fishermen are reporting catching them at the dam pool by casting swim shads and crankbaits and by jigging and casting various lures farther down river and out into the bay. Fishing for channel catfish is on the upswing also as is the white perch fishing in the deeper channels.
In the upper bay fishermen are finding schools of striped bass chasing bait in many of the regions tidal rivers and bays; often along channel edges. Most often the fish being encountered are sub-legal but there are enough legal sized fish to allow fishermen to take a couple of striped bass home. Casting topwater lures to the surface fish or jigging underneath with metal or soft plastic jigs has been working well for area fishermen.
As one approaches the Bay Bridge, fishermen are finding striped bass along the channel edges at the mouth of the Magothy and Chester Rivers and the bridge piers of the Bay Bridge. Some fishermen are finding success with trolling medium sized bucktails and small spoons along the channel edges and the outside edges of breaking fish. Other fishermen are jigging on suspended fish along channel edges or structure and still others are enjoying shallow water fishing along shorelines, points and rocks with topwater lures, swim baits and similar lures. Still others are finding some spot; often now in 20' of water or more and live lining the spot at favorite locations. Jen King and her dad enjoyed some time together live lining spot at the Bay Bridge piers and shared a photo opportunity together with a nice striped bass.

Photo by Rich Watts
Fishermen in the middle bay region are finding a mix of striped bass and bluefish spread throughout the entire region this week. The striped bass are being encountered in a wide variety of fishing situations. Light tackle fishermen are catching striped bass in the shallow waters near points and shoreline structure on topwater lures and various other types of commonly used lures. Fishermen are finding breaking fish made up of a mix of striped bass and bluefish in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and out in the bay. There are a lot of sub-legal striped bass mixed in but also a nice grade of 20" to 26" fish. Jigging with metal is perhaps the most popular method of fishing for striped bass and the bluefish; the bluefish range in size from a 1/2lb to 4lbs. Trolling can also be a good option with medium sized bucktails and small spoons along channel edges and near concentrations of fish. Live lining spot at locations such as the Clay Banks, the False Channel and the steep western edges of the shipping channel. The spot are now moving into deeper water and most fishermen are finding them in about 30' of water and catching them on small pieces of bloodworm.
White perch have moved out of the shallower waters in the tidal rivers and creeks and are now residing in deeper waters of 40' or more near the mouths of the rivers. It will take a good depth finder and some snooping to find them holding close to the bottom. Fishing with bottom rigs baited with peeler crab or bloodworms is a good way to target them.
A mix of striped bass and bluefish are busy chasing bait in the lower bay region this week but fishermen are reporting that finding solid concentrations of striped bass on a daily basis can be tough. Fishermen are finding breaking fish in the lower sections of the tidal rivers and out in the bay but they seem to be on the move constantly. Jigging with metal under breaking fish or over suspended fish is always a popular way to fish in the fall. Casting to good shoreline structure is another favorite way to fish this time of the year with topwater lures in the mornings and evenings. Striped bass fishing has been very good in the lower Potomac River and even largemouth bass fishermen have been catching a few near the Wilson Bridge. Striped bass fishing in the Tangier Sound area has improved recently and fishermen are adding them to a mix of speckled trout, small red drum and bluefish. Casting lures along the marsh edges of Tangier Sound this time of the year offers some pleasurable and exciting fishing.
There are still spot in the region and most are being caught in deeper waters as they travel out of the tidal rivers and head south. Fishermen are targeting the larger spot, white perch for table fare and also catching some small red drum. The small red drum that have been caught all summer are mostly well below the 18" minimum size restriction but more than a few fishermen in the past couple of weeks have been catching red drum over the 18" threshold. Herb Floyd holds up a typical undersized puppy drum from Tangier Sound for the camera before releasing it.

Photo courtesy of Herb Floyd
Recreational crabbers are reporting good catches this week in all regions of the bay with the best catches coming from the middle and lower bay regions. Water depths of 8" to 12" seem to be producing the best opportunities for filling a bushel basket with crabs this week. Many crabbers are reporting that a large portion of the 7" crabs they are catching tend to be light and that the heaviest crabs are in the 6" size range.
Freshwater fishermen continue to have a lot of fishing opportunities to choose from this week. Western region fishermen are enjoying good fishing for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and walleye along the shores of Deep Creek Lake. Fishermen in the upper Potomac are enjoying some good fishing but many report difficult conditions. We asked upper Potomac fisheries biologist John Mullican about the situation and he sent us this report. Fishing on the upper Potomac has been pretty slow recently. The river is extremely low and clear making fish spooky and allowing them to spread out over larger, deeper stretches. Floating leaves and decaying vegetation have also added to challenge. The best action will be late in the day under low light conditions. I have caught bass recently on wacky rigged stick worms and suspending jerkbaits.
Trout fishermen continue to enjoy the fruits of the October stocking of trout in many of the trout management areas around the state. The stockings will continue till the end of the month and the stockings are posted on the trout stocking website as they occur.
Fishermen have been finding largemouth bass in a bit of a funk lately in many of the tidal areas; speculation is that it is water temperature but fish are still being caught in other areas. Swim baits, spinnerbaits near grass beds has been producing good fishing as are crankbaits and plastics around deeper sunken wood and rocks. Crawfish are beginning to leave the shallower areas as water temperatures drop so using crawfish imitations near transition areas and deeper cover can be a good tactic. Jon Duncan sent in this picture of fine looking largemouth bass from Loch Raven Reservoir.

Photo courtesy of Jon Duncan
Fishing for channel catfish and blue catfish is improving with cooler water temperatures and can offer some fun fishing from shorelines banks and piers. Crappie are showing signs of heading to deeper water to school up and small tubes and jigs are a good choice to catch them.
Ocean city area fishermen continue to catch a mix of small bluefish, large spot, kingfish and even a few legal size puppy drum from the surf. A few striped bass are beginning to show up along the beaches but many are painfully just below the 28" minimum size. In and around the inlet fishermen are catching tautog, sheepshead around the rocks; a few flounder and at night the action switches to small bluefish on Got-Cha lures and a few striped bass on swim shads.
Outside of the inlet flounder, triggerfish and some tautog are being caught near the wreck and reef sites. Farther offshore fishermen are bringing in a mix of dolphin, wahoo and a few yellowfin tuna to the docks from the canyons.


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