Friday, June 6, 2014

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | June 06, 2014


By: Keith Lockwood

Every week seems to bring new changes in just about everything outdoors as we charge on into the warmer summer months. Here we are firmly planted in June and although many kids are still in school; we know they are counting down the last of their snow day make ups and will soon be free to explore summer. Jacob Ehm was one of the lucky ones who celebrated his last day of school last Friday and what better way to celebrate than to go fishing. Jacob holds up a nice Largemouth Bass that is just the start of a summer of fishing fun.

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Ehm

The day light hours are long enough now that families can sneak out for some evening fishing once dad gets home from work so don't miss the opportunity. There are still kids fishing rodeos being held and there are quite a few this weekend in Allegany, Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Dorchester Counties. Check the list of upcoming youth fishing events on the Youth Fishing Site.
This Saturday June 7th is one of the three free fishing days in Maryland this year when those who do not hold a current fishing license can be reacquainted with what they have been missing. The other free fishing dates to give fishing a try are June 14th and July 4th.
Striped Bass fishing is now open in all waters of the bay and the tidal rivers and fishermen will be settling into summer time fishing throughout the bay and rivers. Fisheries Service teams will be out tomorrow tagging Striped Bass for the first round of the Diamond Jim component of the Maryland Fishing Challenge. Anyone who was at the awards ceremony last September will certainly not forget Blair Wheeler walking off the stage with a $25,000 check and $6,000 worth of prizes for catching Diamond Jim last year while live lining Spot at the Hill with her husband and brother. To see what the Maryland Fishing Challenge is all about just head to the official site.
Water flows coming down the Susquehanna River from Pennsylvania are finally beginning to moderate and the Conowingo Dam is now on a mid-day generating schedule. Water temperatures and clarity are improving and better fishing for a variety of species is the result. Striped Bass are being caught from the dam pool to the mouth of the river. Swim shads and similar type soft plastic jigs as well as crankbaits have been favorites this week for bank and small boat fishermen. White Perch are still abundant in the river leading up to the dam and small jigs are the most popular lure anglers are using and some very nice Smallmouth Bass are also being caught on the perch jigs. Greg Lichtner picked up this nice Striped Bass in the Susquehanna River near Port Deposit on a jig.

Photo Courtesy of Greg Lichtner
Water temperatures in the upper bay are approximately 70ºF this week and although trolling is still popular for medium sized Striped Bass and a few large ones now and then; many are now beginning to switch over to chumming and jigging over suspended fish. Traditional chumming locations such as Podickory Point, Love Point and the Bay Bridge Piers are providing decent catches of Striped Bass on good running tides. Jigging around the Bay Bridge Piers has been productive and live lining spot up close to the piers is also a very good option.
Just a little farther south of the Bay Bridge Striped Bass are being caught by boats trolling a mixed spread of medium and large bucktails around steep channel edges such as Bloody Point, Thomas Point and the western edge of the shipping channel out in front of Chesapeake Beach down to Parkers Creek. Medium sized Striped Bass are now making up the bulk of the catches but most boats are finding one or two large Striped Bass still in the area and willing to hit the larger lures. Chumming has been productive at Hackett's, the Hill and the Clay Banks as long as the tide is moving. Live lining spot is beginning to be more popular now that spot can be found in most of the tidal rivers in the region. Channel edges in about 30' of water are usually the first place to look and the action is on when fish are located on depth finders. Jigging over suspended Striped Bass is also popular this week at prominent channel edges and points and when breaking fish or slicks are encountered. Dave Fronckoski took his mom and dad out for some chumming action at Hackett's Bar recently and his mom holds up a really nice Striped Bass she caught.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Fronckoski
Black Drum are still being found on shoal areas such as Stone Rock and the James Island Flats and are being caught on soft crab baits and stout tackle. Spot have moved into most of the region's tidal rivers and creeks and their numbers will steadily increase in the coming weeks. Croakers are beginning to show up at the mouth of the Choptank River and Hackett's Bar but so far most have been small. It may take a few more weeks for them to fill in at traditional locations in the middle bay region. White Perch are being caught in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers on lures and bottom rigs baited with grass shrimp, bloodworms or peeler crab. The perch and Spot provide a lot of fun fishing for kids and adults from the many docks and piers that dot the tidal creeks and rivers throughout the summer months. The shallow water fishery for Striped Bass and White Perch has also picked up in the past week and provides some fun and exciting fishing in the morning and evening hours. Most everyone likes to use topwater lures for the Striped Bass that result in explosive strikes but suspended jerkbaits and swim shads can also be a good alternative. Small spinners, spinnerbaits and Beetle Spins work fine for the White Perch.
The lower bay region has a wide variety of fishing opportunities this week as summer migrant species continue to move into the area and resident Striped Bass begin to actively chase bait schools and are generally more active. There is still good trolling success occurring for Striped Bass from Parker's Creek south to Point-No-Point on the western edge of the shipping channel. Most boats are pulling a mixed spread of medium and large sized bucktails since there are still some large fish over 30" being caught. Most of the Striped Bass being caught are running between 18" and 26" and there is a portion of smaller fish and of course the bonus of catching a larger one that is still hanging around in the region.
Spot are readily available now in the region's tidal rivers and creeks so some fishermen are now beginning to explore favorite live lining locations such as Cove Point and Buoys 72 and 72A. It is anyone's guess where the Striped Bass will set up residence this summer; for years outside of the Gas Docks was the hot spot and last year it was the Hill off of Eastern Bay, time will tell.
Croaker and Spot numbers are increasing in many of the regions tidal rivers and sounds; many tend to be on the smaller size but some whopper sized croakers up to 18" are also being caught. Most fishermen are using peeler crab for the croakers and bloodworms for Spot this week. Some of the better places to catch them from a boat are the lower Patuxent River, the Potomac River from the Route 301 Bridge to Point Lookout, the lower Nanticoke River, off Taylor's Island and the Tangier/ Pocomoke Sound area.
Shallow water fishing for Striped Bass has been very good in the region and favorite spots such as Cedar Point and the Eastern Shore marshes have been providing fun fishing. On the eastern side of the bay a few Speckled Trout are showing up now and then and if the Red Drum are here most are keeping very quiet about it.
Recreational crabbers continue to see the best catches of crabs on the lower Eastern Shore tidal rivers and creeks. Most areas farther up the bay or on the western shore are not doing as well. There are also reports of a lot of small crabs chewing up baits and quite a few of the legal sized crabs are light. Reports from shedding houses on the middle and lower Eastern Shore report plenty of peelers are coming in from the commercial crabbers so fishing bait and soft crabs should be in good supply.
Freshwater anglers in the western region of the state have a lot of choices in regard to fishing prospects. Deep Creek Lake continues to provide very good fishing for Smallmouth Bass along rocky points and shores, Largemouth Bass can be found outside of coves and in the upper part of the lake. Boat traffic is on the increase as the summer months settle in so fishing is often best in the early morning hours. Trout fishermen are pleased as stocking continued last week in several of the catch and release trout management waters. Smallmouth Bass fishing on the upper Potomac remains very good this week with nice fish being caught on a variety of tubes and crankbaits.
Largemouth Bass fishing has been good as bass become more active after their post- spawn funk and begin to actively feed near grass and other bait holding cover. Water temperatures in most lakes, ponds and tidal rivers are now in the 70's so it is time for topwater lures and the explosive strikes that make Largemouth Bass fishing one of the exciting freshwater fish to catch. A variety of baits such as plastic frogs, chatterbaits, buzzbaits and even some of the old favorites like Hula Poppers and Jitterbugs can elicit a surface strike. If one is fishing on any of the creeks that feed into the tidal Potomac, Northern Snakeheads can also be part of the game; they seem to have a special vendetta for topwater baits. Rev. Ryan Johnson was fishing on Centennial Lake when he caught and released this frisky Largemouth Bass.

Photo Courtesy of Rev. Ryan Johnson
Summer freshwater fishing fun often includes Bluegills and other sunfish species and they can be a lot of fun for adults and kids. The old tried and true bobber and worm combination is a given for kids but small spinning tackle lures or small rubber-legged poppers for fly fishermen provide a lot of entertainment for adults as well. Crappie are slowly moving from their shallow spawning areas to school up in deeper water and can be caught on small jigs and tubes or small minnows under a bobber. There are also lots of Channel Catfish in most of the Maryland's tidal rivers waiting for a nightcrawler or cut bait and certainly there are plenty of Blue Catfish in the tidal Potomac.
Ocean City area anglers are watching water temperature hit the 60F mark this week. Fishing in the surf for large Striped Bass has been very good with some really nice fish being caught on cut menhaden baits. There are also some small Bluefish and a mix of kingfish and croakers in the surf.
In and around the inlet large Striped Bass are being caught by casting swim shads and bucktails at night. Tautog are being found around the jetties, bulkheads and bridge piers and flounder are also being caught. Hickory Shad continue to be caught in the inlet and anglers are reminded that all Hickory Shad must be released; it is illegal to possess Hickory Shad in Maryland. In the back bay channels, flounder fishing is the name of the game and some of the largest flounder are being caught on white Gulp baits.
The boats headed out to the wreck and reef sites have been finding some good Black Sea Bass fishing for their anglers. Rail huggers on the head boats are also catching tautog and a few ling and flounder. Andrew Vogel holds up a beautiful 20" specimen that he has entered into the Maryland Fishing Challenge.

Photo Courtesy of Josh Vogel
Those that range farther offshore are finding a mix of Thresher, mako and Blue Sharks from the 30 Fathom line out. The boats that are trolling the canyon areas are finding a mix of Bluefin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna and Yellowfin Tuna. Deep Drop fishermen are finding Golden Tilefish in the deepest depths offshore.


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