Friday, July 25, 2014

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | July 25, 2014


By: Keith Lockwood

Welcome to this week's fishing report and the contributions of some of our fisheries biologists who have supplied personal reports from their regions. Through their help and the power of the internet we bring you this week's fishing report. I have been checking on the weather and the fishing in Maryland through phone calls and texting all week and it is clear that fishing in Maryland holds many opportunities this week. I have been fortunate to be able to do some offshore fishing off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii with my wife and friends and every day is an adventure here for this Maryland boy. The depth of water here at such a short distance from shore is amazing; how does 2,000 fathoms (yes that is 18,000' deep) within sight of land sound? Trolling here means large clear acrylic headed lures with skirts made out of metal flake upholstery fabric that looks like it came out of a 1950's car. The Blue Marlin bite has been allusive so far but the Yellowfin and Bigeye Tuna fishing, which are both called Ahi in Hawaiian has been exciting. My arms and shoulders are sore and I've been getting a little too much sun and have also ruined some shirts and shorts with tuna blood stains but I am having a ball. The picture below is 135 lbs of Yellowfin Tuna that just hit the deck after a grueling tug of war between fish and your author.

Photo by Keith Lockwood

The dam pool at the base of the Conowingo Dam continues to give up some nice Striped Bass in the early morning hours for those who know how to fish for them. Casting swim shads, bucktails and hard baits such as swimming plugs, jerkbaits and crankbaits all seem to be working. The dam is generally speaking on a mid-day power generation schedule so the early mornings offer some of the better opportunities.
There are plenty of Flathead Catfish in the dam pool area and Channel Catfish can be found in the lower Susquehanna River and other nearby rivers such as the Elk, Northeast and out in the bay all the way down to the Bay Bridge due to lower salinities this summer. There is also plenty of excellent White Perch fishing to be had in all of the upper bay tidal rivers and most tidal creeks as well as shoreline structure along the bay shores and the Bay Bridge. A simple bottom rig baited with bloodworms, grass shrimp or small minnows are a summer classic but casting small spinners and jigs with ultra light tackle is always a lot of fun with these feisty cousins of the Striped Bass.
Striped Bass fishing in the upper bay continues to be good this week for those who are persistent enough to explore new locations to find fish; this when a good depth finder is very important. Whether one has trolling, jigging, chumming or live lining Spot on their minds, you have to check out likely looking channel edges and hard bottom areas. Striped Bass are being found along the Love Point edges, the Dumping Grounds and channel edges near Sandy Point, the Patapsco and similar edges all over the upper bay. Most of the trolling action is with bucktails and spoons and often accounts for a better grade of fish as compared to chumming. The Bay Bridge piers also continue to hold Striped Bass and live lining, jigging and chumming are good ways to fish for them.
In the middle bay area it is hard to have a conversation with anyone about Striped Bass without the Hill and the mouth of Eastern Bay being a dominant topic. Once again this is where the Striped Bass want to be and those that remember the early 90's this was where the action was. Over the years we have seen the Gooses and the Gas Docks command top billing and we seem to be back to the Hill area once more. One thing that has definitely changed though is the switch from chumming to live lining Spot. More than a few are feeling the need to find their own little spot and a little more elbow room. Live liners, those wishing to jig or troll are finding a little more room at channel edges near R4 in Eastern Bay, the Bloody Point area, Hackett's Bar, the 83 Buoy, Thomas Point, the Clay Banks, Stone Rock and the list goes on. Find good structure, good current, Oxygen and temperature and you will find Striped Bass. Bryon Floyd found this nice 33" Striped Bass while jigging a channel edge in Eastern Bay.

Photo by Herb Floyd
Small Bluefish have not been friendly to everyone's precious Spot and they are tearing them up pretty bad. Finding a good supply of Spot can be a chore for some; this is the time to bring out the Calvary in the form of kids with light spinning gears and plenty of bloodworms. The Spot that are too large for live lining can be cut up in chunks; which will also help to wreak some vengeance on the small bluefish. Depending on location croakers and White Perch can also be part of the mix.
The lower bay region is offering some mixed Bluefish and Striped Bass action for those chumming in the lower Potomac and Patuxent River, the Middle Grounds, Buoy 72 and above the Target Ship. The throwback ratio on the Striped Bass is reported to be high and Bluefish tend to dominate the chum slicks at times but there is plenty of action. Trolling in these areas is a good option with spoons and along the western edge of the shipping channel. There have also been reports of large Red Drum and Cobia in the areas around the Target Ship.
There are excellent bottom fishing opportunities for a mix of croakers, White Perch, Bluefish and Spot in the lower sections of the region's tidal rivers and the Tangier Sound area. Light tackle shallow water fishing for a mix of Striped Bass, Red Drum, Bluefish and Speckled Trout has been good along the eastern shore marshes and the mouth of the Patuxent River in the early morning and late evening hours.
Recreational crabbing continues to be tough when it comes to obtaining a bushel of crabs but persistence is paying off for those that explore the tidal rivers of the middle and lower bay regions. Todd Clark holds up a pair of whoppers he caught while trot lining in the Miles River recently.

Photo by Rich Watts
John Mullican sent us the following report from the upper Potomac. The Potomac has finally settled into summer low flows and the fish have settled into their predictable summer patterns. Fishermen have a mixed bag of fish to pursue including Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Channel Catfish, Muskie, and Carp. Fishermen targeting Smallmouth rely on small tubes, 4" stick worms, and topwaters. Dont overlook small blue and white poppers during the heat of the day when bass can be seen leaping for damsel flies in shallow, rocky runs. Most of these fish will be small, but a lot of fun to catch.
State Park impoundments such as Cunningham Falls Reservoir in Frederick County and Greenbriar Lake in Washington County offer great fishing for those not intimidated by beaches, paddle boats, and the like. Both of these impoundments offer abundant Largemouth Bass and impressively-sized sunfish. Target the deep weed edges with a piece of worm on a small jighead under a small float for steady action. A recent fish survey of Greenbriar Lake found numerous large redear sunfish, some over eleven inches! For Largemouth, target grass beds with topwater baits during the early morning or evening hours moving deeper during the day with wacky-rigged or Texas-rigged worms.
A recent annual population survey of Deep Creek Lake was conducted by fisheries staff surveying 20 stations throughout all habitat areas of the lake. The lake continues to support a diverse fishery with angling opportunities for Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed, Rock Bass, Black Crappie, Chain Pickerel, Northern Pike, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Common Carp. The Yellow Perch population is truly extraordinary; in just about every station we collected fish in the 12 to 14" size range. Large Bluegill and Pumpkinseed were also common in all areas of the lake. Largemouth Bass abundance is highest in shallow coves with plenty of submerged aquatic vegetation and stumps, with many of the bass in the 15 to 20" size class. While fish were present in all shoreline habitats, the shallow ends of coves with aquatic vegetation held the greatest number and diversity of fish.
Fisheries biologists worked with members of the Western Maryland Fishing Guides Association to float stock 750 Rainbow Trout in the lower Catch and Return Trout Fishing Area of the North Branch Potomac River. The fishing guides used their rafts equipped with aerated coolers to float the river and distribute the trout in the more remote areas. Staff also stocked 250 in the upper C&R area of the North Branch Potomac River as well as 500 Rainbow Trout in the Youghiogheny River C&R Trout Fishing Area.
Approximately 8,000 Rainbow Trout fingerlings and 1,500 Brown Trout fingerlings from Albert Powell Hatchery into Gunpowder Falls tailwater (5,000 Rainbows only) and Little Seneca Creek tailwater (3,000 Rainbow Trout and 1,500 Brown Trout) for put-and-grow to provide catchable size trout for anglers.
Approximately 20,000 Striped Bass fingerlings at 500/lb. (2 inches in length) and 400 four inch Striped Bass from Manning Hatchery and stocked approximately 15,000 fingerlings into Liberty Reservoir and the remaining 5,000 into Piney Run Reservoir in Carroll County.
14,000 Largemouth Bass fingerlings were stocked in Chicamuxen Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River. The fish were stocked to Concord Cove, an area that historically served as an exceptional nursery for juvenile Largemouth Bass.


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