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Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | December 08, 2010

"Baby its cold outside"; a familiar verse to a favorite Christmas song that certainly addresses the current conditions across Maryland. Winter is not knocking at the door; but pounding and can not be ignored. Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake can hardly wait for their "hard water" fishery to begin. Creeks and coves are freezing up along the edges and if you have rain water in your boats live well; you might be looking at one significantly sized block of ice. Many have put their boats to sleep in the backyard, next to the garage or tucked away to sleep the winter away in boatyard storage. Maryland's Chesapeake Bay striped bass season ends next Wednesday so for those who don't mind frozen braided line or icy rod guides; you've got one more week to try for a large fall migrant striped bass. This is a very good time of the year to have plenty of hull underneath you and a heated cabin is pretty nice also; so think about a bay charter or better yet take a trip down to Ocean City and catch some of those big blues and striped bass just outside of the inlet.

Chesapeake Bay

Bay temperatures are now down into the mid 40-degree range and it is not going to get warmer anytime soon. Most fishermen are focusing on trolling this week when the wind subsides. Conditions look favorable towards the end of the week but another front appears to moving through the region on Sunday with strong winds predicted once again. Many boats have been put to sleep for the winter but fishermen are still trolling the edges of the shipping channel for a crack at a large fall migrant striped bass. When the weather has permitted, boats have been catching a mix of large fish and those under 28". Large bucktails and parachutes; whether rigged as trailers behind an umbrella rig or in tandem have been the choice lures for the large fish and medium sized offerings for the smaller fish. Some of the best fishing success has been coming from the Buoy 86/ Bloody Point region in about 50' to 75' of water. Planer boards are being used and those fishing flat lines are reporting the best success with heavy inline weights with a lot of line trailing off the stern. Gil Briggs of Olney was out fishing with friends between Thomas Point and Bloody Point when he caught this nice 50" striped bass.

Photo Courtesy of Gil Briggs. Click to Enlarge.

Light tackle jigging enthusiasts are having a tough time finding school-sized striped bass to respond to jigging as water temperatures take a nose dive. Cruising the deeper and steeper edges of the shipping channel or other major channels in some of the major tidal rivers with a good depth finder may put you on fish. School-sized striped bass are getting sluggish now with cold water temperatures and will stay bunched up in deeper waters. It is not uncommon to be totally focused on striped bass when watching a depth finder's screen. Just remember that there are other fish out there schooling up in deep waters as well; such as gizzard shad and white perch.

Fishermen have been reporting diving gannets along the western side of the shipping channel from Thomas Point to Point Lookout. They have also been reporting floating debris, such as tree limbs, logs and timbers so be careful out there. Yellow perch are moving towards the Susquehanna/Northeast River complex so fishermen can look forward to some good fishing there soon for these tasty fish.

Freshwater

Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are anxiously watching water temperatures drop and ice forming in some of the more sheltered cove areas. Walleye and yellow perch are schooling up and crappie have already done so underneath the bridge piers. Recent rains have raised water levels in local rivers and creeks so fishing for trout should be good this week. The high waters in the upper Potomac are receding and water temperatures are hovering around 40-degrees. Fishermen report the water is a little off color but should clear up by the weekend. Walleye can be caught on small crankbaits and plastic bodied jigs in the 1/8th oz to 3/16th oz range. Smallmouth bass can be caught on tubes, hair jigs and grubs. Eric Stewart sent in this photo for a catch and release certificate and entry into the Fishing Challenge; of a beautiful 43" musky he caught and released back in October on the upper Potomac.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Stewart. Click to Enlarge.

Largemouth bass are holding close to deep sunken wood and structure such as bridge piers and steep channel edges. Small, slow and close to the bottom is the mantra of cold weather largemouth bass fishermen and jigs, blade lures and small crankbaits are what they often reach for in their tackle boxes.

Fishing for blue catfish in the tidal portion of the Potomac in the Fort Washington area has been good recently. Fishermen are using fresh gizzard shad baits and some pretty significantly heavy blue catfish were caught and released in a recent tournament in that region of the river.

Oceanside

Current surf temperatures are hovering around 53-degrees this week and steadily dropping. Tautog season is closed so the only action on terra firma is surf fishing for the large bluefish and striped bass that are moving down the coast. This tends to be he-man fishing with large surf sticks, big sinkers and a large chunk of fresh menhaden chucked out into the surf. Washes and sloughs are often the best places to try and patience and a thermos of hot coffee are part of the game.

If you can get out on a charter or suitable boat of your own, the fishing for large bluefish and striped bass is still excellent just off the beaches. Trolling large parachutes, bucktails, plugs and spoons is the way to go and at times jigging can be exciting under diving birds. Sea bass fishing continues to be good with some of the boats for hire going the extra distance to put their fishermen on limit catches of sea bass.

"Hear! Hear!" screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where I had heard a tittering for some time, "winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it."
-Henry David Thoreau, 28 November 1858 journal entry

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Keith Lockwood has been writing the Fishing Report since 2003 and has had a long career as a fisheries research biologist since 1973. Over the course of his career he has studied estuarine fishery populations, ocean species, and over a decade long study of bioaccumulation of chemicals in aquatic species in New Jersey. Upon moving to Oxford on the eastern shore of Maryland; research endeavors focused on a variety of catch and release studies as well as other fisheries related research at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory. Education and outreach to the fishing public has always been an important component to the mission of these studies. Keith is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, bird dogs, family and life on the eastern shore of Maryland.


Latest Angler's Log Reports


Jack Reilly
Youth Angler
Salisbury, MD
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: April 20, 2015 Permalink

Award Size Striper at Deal Island

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Lower Bay
Location: Deal Island
Tags: striped bass

Jack was trolling with his Dad off Deal Island with a white parachute lure when he caught this 40.5 inch striped bass.

 PHOTOS 

Wayne Young
Recreational Angler
Annadale, VA
Total Reports:
17
Sent in on: April 20, 2015 Permalink

Calvert Cliffs Opening Day

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid Bay
Location: Calvert Cliffs
Tags: striped bass

I timed my arrival at Breezy Point to miss the morning rush hour at the ramp. 3 fishers jigged the Calvert Cliffs discharge stream from about 0930 until 1400. A couple of boats anchored just out of the stream near the discharge outlet, partially obstructing access. We found creative ways in, though. Very little on the scope, a few small pods way out on the edges of the stream, nothing in close. Jigging unproductive. I tried an alternate rock fishing technique which paid off just after the flood started with a 35.5" striper over very rough bottom. Again, nothing on the scope. Fish didn't want to come to the boat, giving my Mitchell 300 a good test. The anti-reverse release feature allowed line in or out without flipping the bale, which aided in adjusting to depth changes during the drift. Had a second good hit but no hookup. Then the mini bite went cold. A little bit of trolling on the way back with no results.

 PHOTOS 

Pat Griffith
Recreational Angler
Harmans, MD
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: April 20, 2015 Permalink

Antietam Creek Bass

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Antietam Creek
Tags: smallmouth bass

I fished Antietam Creek for the first time this year and only the second time ever. First time I was there, I only caught a small smallmouth, but this time was much better -- eight total over Saturday and Sunday with numerous near misses. Most were in the 10 to 12 inch range with one (pictured) measuring 14". Caught them on tube baits and Rooster Tails.

 PHOTOS