Thursday, May 2, 2013

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | May 01, 2013


The time to make time to go fishing could never be better for Maryland fishermen this week. The weather looks like it will cooperate so make plans with family or friends to enjoy the first week of May, whether you choose to go freshwater, bay or ocean fishing. The Trophy Striped Bass season really hit high gear yesterday as many charter boats were seen returning to the docks early in the morning with limits for their clients. Award Centers for the Maryland Fishing Challenge are reporting scores of anglers coming into their shops to register their 40"plus Striped Bass into this year's Maryland Fishing Challenge. There was a substantial Striped Bass spawn last Thursday and Friday on several of the spawning rivers so the good fishing out in the bay shows promise for the next week or so. Fishermen are also reporting a lot of large menhaden in the stomachs of the fish they are catching so maybe this food source will encourage the post-spawn fish to hang around a little longer. Three generations of Millers got to go fishing together recently and Craig Miller is of course all smiles as he poses with his trophy Striped Bass with his grandfather.

Photo courtesy of Clinton Miller

The Susquehanna Flats region received another pulse of Striped Bass last week and just when catch and release fishermen thought it was all over the fishery revived itself. Anglers reported good fishing in 3' to 6' of water with a variety of traditional lures such as spoons, crankbaits, poppers and swimbaits. Largemouth Bass and Channel Catfish are also being encountered when fishing lures on the flats. Fishermen looking for some fish to take home reported a nice grade of White Perch in the Turkey Point area and in the Susquehanna being caught on bloodworms and shad darts. The Hickory Shad continue to grace fishermen with their presence at Deer Creek, Octararo Creek and the main stem of the Susquehanna; warmer temperatures this week should spur the fish holding in the river to run up the creeks. Approximately 220,000 Hickory Shad larvae were stocked into the Patapsco River for a restoration project recently. It is hoped that the Patapsco may offer the same fine catch and release fishing as Deer Creek in future years.
Farther down the bay in the areas where fishermen may keep a Striped Bass over 28" fishermen are reporting trolling along the channel edges near Sandy Point Light and the Bay Bridge to be fair. Other fishermen that are opting to use lighter tackle and chum or chunk at Podickory Point, Love Point and the Bay Bridge Piers have been doing very well on large Striped Bass. Shore bound fishermen have been catching Striped Bass from the shores of Sandy Point and the Matapeake Fishing Pier on cut baits and bloodworms. Adrian Dandridge traveled from Washington D.C. to fish at the Matapeake Fishing Pier with his dad and not only did he catch this nice Striped Bass but his dad caught a nice one also.

Photo courtesy of Adrian Dandridge

Below the Bay Bridge trolling for large Striped Bass along the steeper edges of the shipping channel has been the biggest show in town for fishermen. Areas near the ship moorings, Bloody Point, Thomas Point, Buoy 83 and basically the western edge of the shipping channel all the way to Point Lookout has been producing excellent catches of large Striped Bass this week. The action has really picked up from the opening week as it usually does and charter dock offices are reporting the fleets have been returning to the docks between 8:30 and 9:30 am for the last two days with limits. There has been good action at the mouth of the Choptank, out in front of Hooper's Island, Tangier sound and Buoy 72 as well. Fishermen have also catching good numbers of large Striped Bass in the lower Potomac River near St. George's Island and similar areas with steep channel edges.
White Perch are beginning to show up in the lower sections of the Chesapeake's tidal rivers and creeks and fishermen can find them biting on bottom rigs baited with blood worms. There are rumors around the Crisfield docks of large croakers being landed by a pound netter in Pocomoke Sound and some of the small Red Drum that have been camped out at power plant discharges all winter are starting to wander. There have even been reports of minor recreational catches of crabs by some ardent crabbers
Freshwater fishermen in the western region of the state continue to enjoy excellent trout fishing opportunities in the regions trout management waters. Fisheries crews continue to supplement many of the areas with additional stockings this week. Deep Creek Lake fishermen are enjoying good fishing for Walleye and Smallmouth Bass as well as other species such as Crappie, Yellow Perch and Chain Pickerel.
Fishermen in the central, southern and eastern regions of the state that love their Largemouth Bass fishing have been scratching their heads with the ups and downs of the fishery for the last week due to cold fronts and cooling water temperatures. Sunken wood, rocks and the deeper sections of transition zones has been the target of fishermen during this time. The warm weather that is predicted for the rest of the week and into next week should put Largemouth Bass behavior back on track as the spawning becomes more active. In many areas the bass have already moved into the shallows to build nests and are staging in others. Shallow running crankbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics are all good bets for working around emerging grass and spatterdock fields and similar shallow cover. Heath Leuschel was working the shallow grass in the Elk River with a Senko when he caught and released this 8lb Largemouth Bass.

Photo courtesy of Heath Leuschel

Fishing for Crappie and Bluegills has been good in many areas and this is a nice time of the year to visit small ponds and lakes with a canoe and enjoy some peaceful fishing. Fishing for Channel Catfish continues to be good in many of the bay's tidal rivers and creeks as well as some impoundments. Fishermen are also enjoying good catch and release fishing for Hickory Shad in the upper Choptank at the Red Bridges area this week. Trout fishing in the put and take areas continues to offer good fishing and after a recent sewage spill on the Gunpowder caused by vandals; trout stocking has resumed there also. Approximately 500,000 Walleye fry were stocked into the lower Susquehanna River recently by fisheries crews in an effort to help support the Walleye fishery there.
As near shore water temperatures inch past the 50-degree temperature mark in Ocean City, fishermen are reporting a variety of migrant fish species moving into the region. Surf fishermen saw an influx of blowfish this week that made short order of small baits intended for Kingfish and small blues. Blowfish or Northern Puffers as they are often called make some fine eating and anyone who was fishing in the 60's certainly remembers the term "sea squab" or "chicken of the sea". Surf fishermen casting out larger cut baits have been catching a lot of skates, Spiny Dogfish and just enough Black Drum, Black Tip Sharks and Striped Bass to keep things interesting. The annual spring run of large post-spawn Striped Bass is not due for at least another week or so but there is always eternal hope for surf fishermen.
Inside and around the Ocean City Inlet fishermen are finding the Tautog fishing improving with warmer water temperatures with a fairly high ratio of throwbacks. Flounder fishing in the channels that lead to the inlet has been steadily improving and there have been some big ones checked in recently. The East Channel and the Thorofare are popular with boat fishermen and the Route 50 Bridge and nearby bulkheads are good places to fish for shore bound anglers. Often a falling tide is one of the best times to drift for flounder in the spring as warmer water from the shallower parts of the bay drift into the channels. Offshore at the wreck sites fishermen are catching large Tautog.


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