Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | October 03, 2013


By: Keith Lockwood

Cooler night time temperatures are steadily driving water temperatures down and that change in water temperature is causing changes in fish behavior. In the Chesapeake and ocean waters our summer visitors are beginning to think about leaving and resident fish such as Striped Bass are actively feeding and freely moving about bay waters. Freshwater fishermen are witnessing most fish being more active and due to the lack of rain many waters are clear while some creeks and upper watersheds are experiencing low water conditions.
In the lower Susquehanna River fishermen are finding Striped Bass from the dam pool down to the flats area. Most fishermen are casting topwater lures and although a large percentage of the fish are less than 18" and the action is not hot and heavy there is some fun fishing to be had. This is also the time of the year when large Smallmouth Bass become active and can make for a remarkable incidental catch. Water temperatures in the lower Susquehanna are now in the low 60's and generation water releases have been sporadic at the dam.
In the upper bay region fishermen are reporting schools of small Striped Bass and Bluefish are chasing bait through out the region's bay waters and the lower sections of the tidal rivers. Bay Anchovies and small menhaden are beginning to migrate out of the tidal rivers and they are what are on the menu. Casting metal or poppers to the surface action is a lot of fun but the larger Striped Bass are often found deep underneath the surface action.
Trolling small spoons behind planers and inline weights has been a great option for fishermen in the upper bay looking for a better grade of Striped Bass; fishermen are reporting some nice fish up to 30" in length. Bluefish are a part of the mix in the upper bay and more than a few fishermen have been firing up their smokers for some tasty smoked Bluefish. Chumming has been popular at traditional locations such as Swan, Love and Podickory Points; small Striped Bass and Bluefish tend to dominate the chum slicks but some nice sized Striped Bass are reported to be close to the bottom.
The Bay Bridge piers and rock piles have been getting a lot of attention from fishermen lately as they target the Striped Bass and White Perch that are holding there. Most fishermen are jigging for their Striped Bass due to the large number of Bluefish in the area that are making short work of live Spot baits. Those with plenty of bait do get through the Bluefish at times and are catching some nice Striped Bass on live Spot or cut baits. Jigging for White Perch in deep water is beginning to come into its own as the perch begin to school up and hold to deep water structure. A heavy jig with a dropper fly above is the most popular offering fishermen are using.
In the middle bay region fishermen are finding a mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish spread out through the entire region. Schools of Striped Bass and Bluefish can be found chasing bait on the surface or deep along channel edges where currents are the strongest. Fishermen are still live lining Spot with good success but Bluefish are extracting a toll and Spot supplies will begin to wane soon as the Spot begin to think about heading south. Angelina Watts holds up a nice Striped Bass she caught off of Poplar Island on a live Spot while fishing with her dad recently.

Photo by Rich Watts

Trolling has been a good option for catching a mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish and the bonus of a Red Drum now and then. Spoons such as small Drones have been one of the most popular items to troll with behind planers and inline weights and the steeper channel edges have been the best place to troll. A lot of fishermen have been placing a couple of larger spoons in their spread and catching and releasing large Red Drum.
The shallow water action in the middle bay region has been offering up a lot of good fishing lately for fishermen who get out in the early morning and evening hours. Depending on locations, fishermen are catching a mix of Striped Bass, Bluefish, Speckled Trout and Red Drum. Topwater lures are often the best choice for fishing skinny water but swim shads and crankbaits can also be effective depending on the depth of the water. White Perch have left the shallower areas and are now schooling up on deep oyster reefs and deep structure. Bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or jigging are the most effective ways to target them. Large Spot and Croakers are on the move and fishermen are reporting that it is getting harder to find them this week.
Lower bay region fishermen have a lot of choices this week when it comes to fishing. There are Bluefish of various sizes throughout the region with some of the largest ones coming from around the Middle Grounds up to Buoy 72A. Fishermen are catching them by trolling spoons behind planers and inline weights, fishing cut baits from shore, chumming and casting to breaking fish. A mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish are being spotted from time to time chasing bait in the region and when it occurs the action is fast paced. There has been a lot of action in the lower Potomac River around St. George's Island, Cedar Point and on the eastern side of the shipping channel. Most fishermen are casting and jigging metal because of all the Bluefish. A lot of slot sized Red Drum are being caught in the lower bay region and are a real bonus to fishermen. On the eastern shore of the region along marshes, large Speckled Trout are being caught by fishermen working the channel edges and shoal areas close to shore. Darren Streets holds up a beautiful 25" Speckled Trout that he plans to enter into the Maryland Fishing Challenge.

Photo Courtesy of Darren Streets

A mix of large Spot, Croaker and White Perch are being caught in the deeper waters on oyster bottom and similar hard bottom. Most fishermen are using bottom rigs baited with bloodworms and the lower Patuxent River and the Tangier Sound area are two of the better places to catch them this week.
Recreational crabbers are finishing out the last of the 2013 crabbing season with partial bushel catches of heavy fall crabs in most areas. Crabbers report there are a lot of female and small crabs chewing up baits which shows some hope for a better season next year.
Freshwater fishermen in the western region are experiencing low flows in many of the regions creeks and rivers such as the Potomac. In the upper Potomac River fishermen are enjoying good fishing for Smallmouth Bass as water temperatures fall along underwater ledges and grass edges. Trout fishermen are also enjoying good fishing in most trout management waters as cooler waters cause trout to become more active. Put and take trout fishermen are looking forward to the fall trout stocking that will begin on October 8. The stockings will be posted on the trout fishing website as they occur.
Fishermen are enjoying a wide range of freshwater fishing opportunities throughout Maryland this week as cooler water temperatures cause all species of fish to become more active. Largemouth Bass fishermen are using topwater lures over grass, crankbaits and spinnerbaits along grass edges and deep structure. Bluegills are very active along the deeper edges of grass beds and lily pad fields or structure such as docks and fallen tree tops. Crappie are beginning to school up near deep structure such as docks and bridge piers and Chain Pickerel are becoming more active with cooler water temperatures. Don Murray holds a nice Chain Pickerel he caught recently on the Pocomoke River.

Photo Courtesy of Don Murray

Channel Catfish are active and can be caught in many of Maryland's reservoirs such as Piney Run and most tidal rivers. Most any kind of cut bait, chicken livers or worms are good baits to use and all that is needed is some kind of medium weight fishing outfit, a forked stick and a comfortable seat. A good fishing buddy and a few snacks are always a welcomed addition.
Water temperatures in the Ocean City surf have finally dipped to the high 60's and fishing opportunities will begin to shift. Surf casters are catching plenty of small Bluefish and a few Red Drum on finger mullet and smaller fish such as Kingfish, Spot and blowfish on smaller baits. Larger cut baits such as Menhaden and Spot are enticing a few sub-legal Striped Bass, catch and release size Red Drum and plenty of Sandbar Sharks and stingrays.
In and around the inlet and Route 50 complex, fishermen are catching small Bluefish on Got-Cha lures and a few Striped Bass and Sea Trout. Flounder are moving through the inlet so flounder fishing is good as is fishing for Spot. Tautog are becoming more common as water temperatures dip. In the back bay areas a mix of flounder, Spot and slot size Red Drum are being caught.
Outside of the Ocean City Inlet the boats headed out to the reef and wreck sites are finding very good fishing for large flounder and fishermen report that better numbers of Black Sea Bass are showing up. Beyond the 30-fathom line fishermen are enjoying excellent fishing for Yellowfin Tuna at the Washington Canyon by chunking. White Marlin are being caught and released at the canyons with boats coming back from the Norfolk Canyon and Poorman's Canyon reporting multiple releases.


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