It has been a woeful ice fishing season at Deep Creek Lake this year for fishermen that enjoy fishing through “hard water”. There was a very short window of ice conditions that can only be described as precarious at best. A number of adventurous fishermen had a few good days with yellow perch, walleye and other species and then the edges were the first to go and fishermen were using planks and ladders to get out on the soft ice in some of the coves. It was reported in the local newspapers that several snow mobile jockeys contributed their machines to an impromptu artificial reef project. At present, fishermen are trying to be patient for open water have written off this years ice fishing season. The picture below shows the situation at the Route 219 Bridge.
Western regional fisheries biologist Alan Klotz sent in this report for us regarding stream conditions and a picture of biologist Jody Johnson stocking one of those plump rainbow trout in the Casselman that have been a delight for Maryland trout fishermen lately. With the opening of Closures 1 and 2 Put and Take Trout Fishing Areas still a couple of weeks away – there are plenty of places to catch some trout in Western Maryland. The Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Areas of Town Creek, Casselman River, and the Youghiogheny River in Friendsville have all received winter trout stockings. Also Put and Take Areas with no closures have received rainbow trout during the preseason including the North Branch Potomac River at Gorman, Kitzmiller, Barnum, Bloomington, and Westernport; the Youghiogheny Put and Take Area in Friendsville; Lake Habeeb; and the Battie Mixon Ponds in Allegany County.
Garrett County lakes are still partially ice-covered, but it is pretty much farewell to the ice fishing season. Anglers should be aware of the current conditions of the Savage River Reservoir and the Savage River downstream of the dam. The reservoir was drawn down lower than normal in order for dam safety inspections this winter. This exposed a lot of lake-bottom sediment, and with some heavy rains the reservoir became quite turbid with suspended sediments. The river downstream of the dam (Trophy Trout Fishing Area) is also turbid and we will keep you posted as conditions improve.
John Pettit sent in this report from Rocky Gorge and a picture of a beautiful largemouth bass. My buddy Tony Warner and I had a great opening day on rocky gorge today march 1st. we’ve been waiting since Dec. 15th to get back out! We fished from 7:30 am to about 3:30 pm, boated a total of 5 bass and Tony got a real nice 5lb.13 oz. 21" fatty while bouncing a grub off the bottom.
John Mullican was kind enough to send in this report from the upper Potomac River.
Following last weeks heavy rains, the upper Potomac River and larger tributaries crested near flood stage in many areas. Levels continue to fall quickly, but are still above those considered safe for boating and fishing. River temperatures have warmed into the 40s and when river conditions improve a bit fishing is expected to be very good.
When the water is high look for fish to use shoreline and island eddies. Because these spots can be deep, jigs are usually the most productive lures for staying in the fish's strike zone near the bottom. Use care when launching, many of the ramps are steep and flood waters leave behind a coating of very greasy mud on many ramps. More than one vehicle has slid into the river; don't let yours be one of them!
The spring like weather that continues to advance and retreat lately has fishermen thinking about yellow perch. Fishermen have been checking some of the traditional creek and river locations for yellow perch runs and some of these spots have already seen spawning runs of yellow perch as water temperatures hit the 46-degree mark. Most anglers realize that the first perch to ascend to the spawning reaches are the smaller males but a number of waterways in the regions have already seen a heavy spawn and egg masses can be observed glued to submerged sticks and grasses. Reports of good fishing for yellow perch have been coming in from locations such as Greys Run on the Bush, the lower Gunpowder, Patapsco River, the upper Magothy, the upper Patuxent and Allen’s Fresh are just a few of the regions creeks and rivers that anglers can find spawning yellow perch. A minnow on a small 1/16 oz jig under a bobber is usually a favorite tactic for bank fishermen.
Fisheries biologist are trying to gather information from fishermen who fish for yellow perch and are encouraging fishermen to fill out a survey form after they come back from fishing.
From the Fisheries Homepage:
Get Involved with Yellow Perch Management - The Cooperative Recreational
Angler Yellow Perch Survey
The Cooperative Recreational Angler Yellow Perch Survey is designed to obtain yellow perch harvest data that is not otherwise available to the MD DNR. The focus of the survey is to gather size data on harvested and released yellow perch. To become involved contact Paul Piavis at 410-643-6776 x110 or via email at email@example.com.
For every survey which anglers submit to DNR, their name will be entered into a drawing for a Bass Pro Shops Extreme Rod & Johnny Morris Reel™. Also included is a tackle box filled with assorted Bass Pro Shops™ tackle. The package is valued at $300.00.
Participate online at: www.dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/survey/ypsurveyintro.html
Fishermen are finding a variety of freshwater fish beginning to stir in the regions lakes and ponds. Largemouth bass is usually at the top of the list and many of the reservoirs in the central region provide some excellent fishing this time of the year as long as fishermen keep their retrieves slow and close to the bottom.
Fishermen in the southern region have been focusing quite a bit on the lower Potomac River jigging for largemouth bass along steep drop-offs and creek ledges. Many anglers are using blade baits and holding them only 2” or 3” off the bottom. As the waters warm fishermen will be switching to small crankbaits and spinnerbaits but they also will be retrieved slow and very close to the bottom. At present the lower Potomac is running cloudy with a water temperature of around 51-degrees. A warning from fellow fishermen in the Wilson Bridge area states that there are submerged concrete piers from the old bridge that have been claiming outboard lower units. Fishermen have also been targeting the large blue catfish that frequent the Fort Washington region of the Potomac and some of the fish are real brutes. Luke Keener has his hands full with this whopper before releasing it back into the river.
Trout fishermen in the central region have been enjoying some winter time trout fishing on many of the regions streams, creeks and rivers. The Fisheries Service has been doing some off schedule stocking of fat rainbow trout from The Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute in the regions waters and many a trout fisherman has had a big smile on their face and catching one. One trout fisherman named Michael Eversmier who often spends his time scuba diving in and about Maryland waters took his underwater camera with him recently while trout fishing. He was exploring a central region trout stream and practicing a little catch and release fishing with brook trout when he took this picture using his underwater camera on a self timer.
Fishermen in the eastern region can be found this week staked out along their favorite yellow perch spawning reaches this week as the yellow perch continue their spawn. The water temperatures are right and the weather is becoming warmer once more.
The Fisheries Service biologists have been doing some winter stocking of rainbow trout in some of the upper shore region streams and rivers such as Big Elk Creek. Mike Bauman sent in this picture of Cecile Shindell with a big rainbow trout she caught on a Power Egg. Mike mentioned that he had to slide down a 5’ muddy embankment to grab the trout with his hands; what a nice guy.
Other fishermen have been fishing for channel catfish in the middle sections of most of the tidal rivers and fishermen are also finding white perch staging in some of the channel areas in the upper sections of most tidal rivers. The white perch are lethargic due to water temperatures so most fishermen are using bait. A canoe, kayak or Jon boat anchored over one of these channels with a couple of fishermen armed with light spinning rods, bottom rigs and some grass shrimp or bloodworms completes the scene. Often the perch will be seen on a depth finder but testing the waters with a rig is often all that is needed; no bites then move onto the next likely looking spot till you connect. The upper Choptank, Nanticoke, Marshyhope below Federalsburg, Blackwater and the Pocomoke are all popular locations to try your luck.
Crappie are biting well in the deeper waters of many of the regions tidal rivers and most often are caught with small 1/16-1/8 oz jigs tipped with a small minnow. Largemouth bass can be found along steep drop-offs along channels and creeks and small, slow and on the bottom is the ticket for this type of fishing. Blade lures such as a Silver Buddy, grubs, tubes or small crankbaits and spinnerbaits worked slowly within 3” or 4” of the bottom is usually what works this time of the year. Lakes and ponds are coming alive as the waters warm up and fish are becoming more active. This is a great time of the year to fish for large chain pickerel due to the fact that they are active in cold water and the weed growth is gone. When spring and summer months arrive many areas that hold chain pickerel will become choked with aquatic plants and the pickerel will take up residence there and will be very difficult to locate and catch.
Click here to view recent bay satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm
Reservoir Bathymetry information:
The Maryland Geological
Survey has bathymetry maps on their website:
Links to freshwater flows:
Latest real time stream flow for
Gunpowder Falls near Parkton.
Latest real time stream flow for
Gunpowder Falls At Glencoe.
Latest real time stream flows on
Potomac at Paw Paw, WV