Thursday, April 3, 2014

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | April 02, 2014


By: Keith Lockwood

The Maryland landscape is slowly drying out as rivers and creeks do their best to drain rain and snow runoff from the watersheds that they serve. Based on what is occurring in that watershed in regard to land use some are doing better than others. Many are running brown with soil runoff and others that have large areas of non tidal wetlands or undisturbed soil areas are metering clearer water out more slowly. The Conowingo Dam is releasing a lot of water this week making for turbid and debris speckled waters; the shad restoration survey team reported 39.6-degrees and 6 gates of cold PA water coming through the dam this morning. There is also a boating safety advisory on the upper Potomac due to high water conditions. Many of the river systems on the eastern shore fared better and water levels and flows are now close to normal as are the smaller streams and creeks of upper watershed areas throughout the state.
Trout fishermen in Maryland experienced a very rainy opening day last weekend and although no one likes fishing in the rain most diehards could not keep away from their favorite trout fishing hole on this very special day. The trout stocking program crews worked a lot of hours under less than ideal conditions to make sure all of the put and take areas received their allotted numbers of trout. About 90% of the trout that are stocked are 14- month old fish that measure about 12" and 10% are a mix of 2 and 4 year old trophy sized trout that can weigh up to 6lbs or more. If you are lucky enough to catch one of these trophy trout (20" for Rainbow Trout and 21" for Brown Trout) be sure to register at any of our award centers for a ticket to enter the Maryland Fishing Challenge and perhaps your luck will continue and you may win a boat, motor and trailer outfit from Bass Pro Shops or a world destination fishing trip from WFN.
Most fishermen fished with the reliable Berkley Powerbaits in hot pink or orange, some stuck by their earthworms and others cast spinners or used a fly rod with nymphs or streamers flies on opening day. All in all everyone that ventured out and participated in this annual rite of spring spent some very special time with family and friends. The weather for the rest of this week will be a lot more pleasurable for fishing and trout stockings will continue. Mark Janney is all smiles with this big Rainbow Trout he managed to catch on opening day.

Courtesy of Mark Janney
Water temperatures in the Chesapeake have just crept over the 40-degree mark today and the continued warming trend will do much to continue the steady rise in water temperatures. There have been a few fishermen shaking the cobwebs out of fishing gear and boats by trolling along the channel edges or light tackle jigging at the CCNPP discharge for Striped Bass and practicing catch and release. Water temperatures are slightly warmer in the tidal rivers and the upper sections are prone to warm up at a more rapid pace. Fisheries survey crews reported 45-degrees in the middle region of the Choptank on Monday and a very nice grade of White Perch headed up the river. Reports from the headwaters of the Chester, Choptank, Nanticoke and Pocomoke Rivers Tuesday spoke of good fishing for spawning White Perch. Most other traditional spawning runs in the tidal rivers on the western shore should be following suit this week so don't miss out on the action. A light spinning outfit and a small shad dart or crappie jig tipped with a piece of bloodworm under a bobber is the ticket to some fun fishing and good eating.
Fishing with a crappie jig or a small minnow under a bobber is a very popular method for catching crappie and the fishing in many of the states tidal waters and impoundments couldn't be better this week. Waters have warmed up enough that crappie are active and often can be found in deeper waters near structure. Many of the tidal rivers on both sides of the Chesapeake offer good fishing for crappie as do impoundments such as the Baltimore City Reservoirs and smaller lakes and ponds that dot the Maryland landscape. Fishing for Channel Catfish is greatly improving as water temperatures rise and they offer excellent fishing opportunities in many of the upper, middle and lower bay tidal rivers. There are a lot of White Perch in the tidal rivers at this time so it is relatively easy to catch a couple of White Perch on bloodworms or garden worms for fresh cut baits. Over in the tidal Potomac River the Blue Catfish dominates the catfish fishery there and there is something to please everyone. The larger ones that are 20lbs and higher are traditionally found in the channels near the Fort Washington area. The smaller size that are around 2lbs make the safest and best eating and can be found throughout the tidal waters of the Potomac far below the Route 301 Bridge. This happy and bundled up lady angler points 28lbs of Blue Catfish towards the camera in the Fort Washington area of the Potomac.

Courtesy of Dave Lowery
Largemouth Bass fishing should be back on track this week as waters clear up. The tidal Potomac will still be stained for a while so tributary creeks will most likely offer the clearest water for fishing. A variety of crankbaits, plastic grubs and spinnerbaits worked along emerging grass and wood cover will be good places to check. Fishermen looking for Largemouth Bass in many of the state's reservoirs, lakes and farm ponds will very likely find them near shoreline cover basking in the sun and looking for food. Often this time of the year the windward shores will be a good place to fish as wind pushes warm surface water and baitfish to the windward shore. Chain Pickerel love cold water and continue to be very active this week and will strike most any kind of lure that is moving through the water.
Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake report that there is still some ice in the cove areas and the boat ramps have not been deployed yet at the state park. There is some shoreline fishing in some areas of the lake for Yellow Perch and Walleye where fishermen can find open water. The most successful method of fishing this week has been to fish minnows under a slip bobber.
Ocean water temperatures are about 39-degrees this week at Ocean City and continued warmer weather will slowly inch those temperatures up. It will not be long before boats will begin to try a little spring tautog fishing and tautog start to show up in and around the Ocean City Inlet area.


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