Thursday, May 22, 2014

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | May 21, 2014


By: Keith Lockwood

Seasonal changes continue to click off and Memorial Day which is the unofficial kick off to the summer season is just around the corner. Our summer migrant species are beginning to filter into Maryland's bay and ocean waters this week as water temperatures steadily rise. Fishermen have most likely noticed that lawns need more frequent mowing now and for those who notice such things, the locust trees are in bloom. The flowering of the locust trees is a traditional harbinger of the first Blue Crab shed of the season and the first peeler shed is being reported on the lower eastern shore this week.
The Susquehanna River continues to unload the results of last week's heavy rains into the upper bay making for some tough fishing conditions in the lower Susquehanna River and surrounding areas. The Conowingo Dam has been releasing a lot of cold and cloudy water since May 16th that has been coming down from Pennsylvania. The lower river is full of White Perch and fishermen can now keep one Striped Bass between 18" and 26" per day so all fishermen need is some better water conditions to make for some good fishing.
Upper bay fishermen continue to troll for large Striped Bass this week near traditional locations such as the Triple Buoys, Love Point and the Baltimore Light to Sandy Point Light channel edge. Large chartreuse or white parachutes and bucktails in tandem or behind umbrella rigs are the standard fare trolled along some of the steeper channel edges. Fishermen are also starting to put out medium sized bucktails and swim shads in their trolling spreads for Striped Bass that measure less than 28".
In the middle bay region fishermen continue to report fair to good success for large Striped Bass along the western edges of the shipping channel from Thomas Point south to the Parkers Creek area as well as Bloody Point, Buoy 83 and the False Channel coming out of the Choptank River. Water temperatures in the middle bay region are running around 65ºF now; water clarity is good and fishermen are now beginning to target Striped Bass measuring less than 28" with light tackle. There have been reports of breaking fish in the region and fishermen have been enjoying some light tackle jigging and also tangling with large Striped Bass now and then that are attracted to the bait schools. The larger fish are usually deep underneath the surface action and of course will put quite a bend in your rod. Nicolas Bollman seems to be getting a little help holding up this 41" Striped Bass he caught while trolling off of Chesapeake Beach.

Photo Courtesy of Nicolas Bollman
In the southern region of the bay the best trolling action has been at the Cove Point, Point No Point and the mouth of the Patuxent River areas with some good action on the eastern side of the shipping channel at the HI Buoy and Buoys 72 and 72A. The lower Potomac continues to produce some large post-spawn Striped Bass action for fishermen trolling along the channel edges but the action is considered a fraction of what it was two weeks ago. Our big post-spawn Striped Bass are leaving us and headed down the bay to make a left turn and head up to New England for the summer. Surf fishermen on the eastern shore of Virginia area were reporting some exciting fishing for large Striped Bass this week.
Medium sized bucktails are becoming a common addition to trolling spreads as fishermen take advantage of the option to keep Striped Bass measuring less than 28" this week. Light tackle fishermen are also targeting these same fish by casting lures in the shallower waters of the bay and by jigging under breaking fish. The shallow water fisheries of the lower bay are quickly developing and small boat fishermen and shore based fishermen are getting in on the action. The croaker fishing has been very good in the Point Lookout area and the eastern shore tidal rivers and sounds as well. Fishermen at the Point Lookout Fishing Pier for example have been scoring limit catches of croakers this week. On the eastern side of the bay fishermen are targeting croakers, Striped Bass along the bay shores and tidal rivers and the first Speckled Trout are beginning to show. Chris Bishop shows off a nice 25" Speckled Trout that he caught in the Manokin River and has entered into the Maryland Fishing Challenge.

Photo Courtesy of Chris Bishop
Freshwater fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are enjoying excellent fishing for Smallmouth Bass this week along rocky shorelines and points using small crankbaits and tubes. Walleye fishing has been good this week for fishermen using slip bobbers and nightcrawlers or minnows for bait. Largemouth Bass are holding in the shallower coves and the upper portions of the lake and are presently spawning.
The upper Potomac River is still running at flood stage and fisheries biologist John Mullican reports that the upper Potomac is unsafe for fishing and is expected to rise even further following predicted rain for tonight. John also mentioned that although river levels were not high enough to top the C&O Canal towpath in most areas, there were a few low spots where it did. In these areas some fish may have become trapped in the canal as the river receded. However, not all of the watered areas of the canal will hold fish and the water in the canal will recede at different rates, some areas will drain quickly, some will hold water for weeks, and some areas may hold water year round. Those individuals that will be using the C&O Canal in the coming weeks can assist us by reporting any locations in the canal that fish are observed. Please report trapped fish to 301-898-5443 or This will help us identify and prioritize areas to capture fish and return them to the river. At this time we do not expect large numbers of game fish to be trapped.
Largemouth Bass fishermen in the tidal Potomac are dealing with cloudy water conditions this week and a lot of floating debris from last week's deluge. There is more severe weather in the forecast so these water conditions may linger through the weekend. Often when the river is running high and stained, fishermen can find better fishing conditions in the tidal creeks that feed into the river. Largemouth bass are generally in a post spawn mode of behavior now although some male Largemouth Bass can be seen still guarding nests. Water temperatures are now in the 70's in most areas of the tidal Potomac and the middle and lower eastern shore rivers generally have water temperatures around the mid 60's this week. The larger female Largemouth Bass will often be holding deeper now around grass looking for bait fish to build up body stores.
Crappie fishing has been very good in many of the states tidal waters such as the Fort Washington/ Wilson Bridge areas of the tidal Potomac and lakes such as St. Mary's Lake, Loch Raven and Liberty Reservoirs. Northern Snakeheads can be found in shallow grass in tidal Potomac waters and offer some fun fishing and table fare for anglers using topwater lures such as chatterbaits. There are also plenty of Blue Catfish to be caught in the tidal Potomac this week and Channel Catfish which can be found in most of the bay's tidal rivers are very active. Please remember that the Department encourages anglers to catch and remove invasive species (Blue Catfish, Northern Snakehead and Flathead Catfish) at any size and in any season in order to avoid their spread.
Trout fishermen are enjoying good fishing in many of the state's trout management waters this week. There are still in-season trout stockings going on in many of the Put and take areas and most streams are exhibiting good water conditions. Ryan Cooper took this nice picture of a beautiful Rainbow Trout he caught while fly fishing with nymphs on the Casselman River.

Photo Courtesy of Ryan Cooper
Ocean City fishermen are catching small Bluefish in the surf along with Northern Blowfish, a few Kingfish and a Striped Bass now and then. Clear-Nosed Skates and small sharks are abundant and water temperatures in the ocean are about 57ºf. It will be another week or so before the northward migration of large Striped Bass peaks but fishermen are bound to begin to see the vanguard of that migration very soon. Heavy surf fishing gear and fresh cut menhaden baits or clams will be the baits of choice.
In and around the Ocean City Inlet fishermen are catching Tautog within the rocks and bulkheads in the area on pieces of Green Crabs and Sand Fleas. Flounder are being caught inside the inlet, around the Route 50 Bridge and bay channels. Some of the larger flounder are being caught on white Gulp baits.
Outside the inlet fishermen are enjoying the opening of the Black Sea Bass season and limit catches have not been uncommon along with some nice catches of Tautog. At the 30-Fathom line and beyond a mix of Mako, Thresher and Blue Sharks are being caught and the first Yellowfin Tuna came into the docks from the canyon regions this past weekend.


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