Thursday, June 26, 2014

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | June 26, 2014


By: Keith Lockwood

A summer pattern of fishing at the Conowingo Dam and lower Susquehanna River has been developing recently where the early morning hours tend to offer the best opportunities for catching Striped Bass. Casting crankbaits, topwater lures and drifting live baits has been producing some Striped Bass action. Other fish such as Walleye and Smallmouth Bass are being caught now and then but the true mainstays below the dam and river are Channel and Flathead Catfish along with White Perch.
Chumming for Striped Bass in the upper bay has been very productive for the past couple of weeks at several traditional locations such as Love Point, Swan Point, the Triple Buoys and Podickory Point. The Striped Bass are responding to chum slicks and although there are quite a few throwback sized fish; there are also fish in the 30" size range being caught. This group of young anglers got to go fishing in the upper bay and after trying several tradition spots found fish that would respond to chum at the Mud Flats above the Bay Bridge and hooked up with some real nice fish.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Fronckoski

The Bay Bridge continues to be a good place to look for Striped Bass holding near the bases of the bridge piers. Jigging is often a good method to employ but more and more fishermen are drifting live spot up close to the piers or chumming with very good results on a nice grade of fish.
Spot are becoming more readily available in the tidal creeks and rivers throughout the lower part of the upper bay and all of the middle bay and lower bay regions. Shallow water between 5' and 15' is where you will find them and pieces of bloodworms on a two hook bottom rig will set you on course to fill up a live well.
In the middle bay region Striped Bass are being caught by chumming at locations such as the 30' outside edge at Hackett's Bar. Live lining Spot at the Hill at the mouth of Eastern Bay has taken off like a rocket and there was a considerable sized fleet anchored up there this past weekend. It shall be interesting to see if the fishing there will mimic what occurred there last summer. If the crowds are too much for you; one can explore similar type channel edges at the mouth of Eastern Bay or other prominent edges such as Thomas Point, Buoy 83, the Clay Banks or maybe even the Diamonds. On the western side of the bay there continues to be a lot of Striped Bass action out in front of Chesapeake Beach down to Parker's Creek along the shipping channel edge. Most boats are having very good success trolling spoons, swim shads and bucktails for a nice grade of Striped Bass. Others are live lining Spot along the 35' edge with good success and when fish can be marked, jigging is another good option.
Cow-Nosed Rays tend to a part of every fisherman's bay experience lately; whether you are trolling, chumming or jigging for Striped Bass or just hoping to enjoy some bottom fishing for croakers. If you are a shallow water fishermen quietly plying the waters for Striped Bass they can really ruin your fishing experience in a hurry. This time of the year they really come on strong and there seems to be no stopping the increases in the sheer numbers of them. Their natural predators are the inshore shark species such as Sand Tiger and Bull Sharks and those species have been greatly diminished in numbers. The Cow-Nosed Ray likes to eat shellfish so all of those hungry rays are not helping the Blue Crab, clam and oyster populations one bit. As it stands now; if you have stout enough tackle you can enjoy plenty of pull and if you're really adventurous you can check out cleaning and cooking methods on the many YouTube videos that are posted.
Lower Bay fishing prospects for Striped Bass have been a little off for the past week but some nice fish are being caught near the mouth of the Patuxent, Cove Point and the lower Potomac. The most popular methods of fishing have been live lining Spot, jigging over suspended fish and trolling. There has also been some limited chumming success at the mouth of the Potomac River, Buoy 72 and the Rock Piles just north of Point Lookout. A few Bluefish are being caught now and then and will most likely become more common in the very near future.
Shallow water fishing for Striped Bass in the early morning and late evening hours on a good high tide has lately been a bright spot for light tackle enthusiasts. The prominent points on both sides of the bay are a good place to start casting topwater lures, soft plastics or jerkbaits. Speckled Trout and slot sized Red Drum are becoming a more common part of the mix.
Fishing for a mix of White Perch and croakers has been very good in the lower Potomac and Patuxent Rivers and the major tidal rivers of the Eastern Shore. Most of the croakers tend to be in the 10" size class and the White Perch are often that or larger. Fishermen trying to catch croakers in the lower Potomac River are seeing Blue Catfish in the 3lb to 6lb size range in great numbers while bottom fishing. They are reporting that the Blue Catfish are stuffed with small Blue Crabs.
Recreational crabbers are starting to report better catches this month but do mention that a lot of the legal sized crabs are light. It is being referred to as a very slow pick when trot lining or running traps in the upper bay tidal rivers. The action begins to pick up from the Bay Bridge south with most crabbers catching between a ½ and a full bushel of crabs per outing.
Freshwater fishing action at Deep Creek Lake has now slipped into a summer pattern of early morning and evening fishing. Largemouth Bass can be found in the upper parts of the lake under grass or seeking shade under the floating docks around the lake. Smallmouth Bass tend to be holding down near the dam end of the lake or under floating docks that tend to be in deeper water.
Fisheries biologists recently completed a fish population survey in Lake Habeeb; most folks know it as Rocky Gap. The 243 acre lake was stocked with Redear Sunfish fingerlings in 1998 to 2002 and the recent survey revealed that they have grown to 9" to 10-1/2" in length since that time. Lake Habeeb or Rocky Gap also has good populations of Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, and Yellow Perch and is stocked with trout. Fisheries biologist Kenny Wampler holds up a nice sized Redear Sunfish before returning it to the lake.

Photo Courtesy of Kenny Wampler
Most freshwater fish are now holding to a typical summer pattern of actively feeding in the early morning and evening hours now that summer temperatures prevail. Largemouth Bass can be found in the shallows during these times and using topwater lures is perhaps one of the most fun ways to catch them. If you are fishing in the tidal Potomac or nearby creeks, the Northern Snakehead will also be part of that topwater action. Except for the damage their sharp teeth can inflict on soft plastic frogs they are often welcome at the dinner table. Chatterbaits, Buzzbaits and poppers are also good topwater lures to use. When Largemouth Bass are holding deeper around sunken wood or under the shade of an old dock, soft plastics, spinnerbaits and crankbaits are good choices for lures.
Bluegill Sunfish and Chain Pickerel seem to be always willing and able to entertain fishermen anytime during the day. Most every lake, pond and creek has a population of Bluegills eager to take a worm or small lure. Chain Pickerel can be found near grass and lily pads and lures such as spinners and spoons are good lure choices.
The summer season has settled upon Ocean City and a broad range of fishing is to be had. A mix of Kingfish, croakers, flounder, blowfish and small Bluefish are being caught in the surf this week. There are still a few large Striped Bass showing up in the surf and also at the inlet area. Fresh menhaden baits are the ticket in the surf and casting swim shads at night tends to be the way to catch them in the inlet. Bluefish are also being caught in the inlet on Got-Cha lures and Sheepshead and Tautog are being caught around the rocks on sand fleas. Flounder fishing has been very good in the channel areas of Sinepuxent and Assawoman Bays. As usual, there is a high throwback ratio and larger baits will often catch you larger flounder.
Outside the inlet the wreck and reef sites are producing good catches of Black Sea Bass with a few flounder and ling on the side. The boats trolling the canyon regions are finding Yellowfin Tuna, dolphin and Bigeye Tuna. White Marlin releases are becoming more common as are Blue Marlin. Joe McLaughlin sent in this picture of a White Marlin he caught and released at the Baltimore Canyon this past weekend.

Photo Courtesy of Joe McLaughlin


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