Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake continue to watch the ice abate and some are even finding some good fishing along the deeper edges that are ice free. Walleyes are being caught along such steep drop-offs by fishermen casting jig/minnow combinations or small crankbaits.
Most of the regions streams and rivers have returned to normal flows and levels this past weekend and fishing has improved. Fishermen have been exploring the regions small lakes in search of largemouth and crappie fishing and often with good results.
Alan Klotz took the time to send us this report from the western region.
Town Creek Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Area was stocked last week with 3,000 rainbow trout. Flows were high enough to float stock the entire upper Delayed Harvest Area (access off of Wagner Road), and we float stocked the upper half of the Bull Ring Ranch Area (Maniford Road), while the remaining portion was stocked by the stock truck. Thanks to the Wildlife Division’s work on road repairs, we are able to stock along the Bull Ring Ranch Area more effectively.
We plan on stocking the North Branch Potomac River Delayed Harvest Area along the Potomac State Forest by rail truck this week. This cooperative effort between CSX Railroad and DNR allows us to stock in the more remote areas of the river, allowing fishermen who want to “get away from it all” have a great fishing experience. Fishermen will also want to try their luck in the North Branch Potomac River in the Barnum and Piedmont Areas of the river this week.
“Icebergs” are still floating around Deep Creek Lake; however there is ample open water in the coves and underneath bridges for fishermen to try their luck. Yellow perch and chain pickerel have been hitting fathead minnows fished under slip-bobbers.
Pictured is Green Ridge State Forest personnel float stocking Town Creek.
John Mullican sent us this report on the upper Potomac River from this past weekend. The upper Potomac River is in great shape with water temperatures in the upper 40s. Spring is in the air and fishing has been excellent. One of the hardest decisions is deciding what to fish for. Steve Peperak and I opted for smallmouth over the weekend and had a great day, landing many nice smallmouth including several beautiful fish between 18 and 21 inches. With river temperatures rising, smallmouth are responding to a variety of lures. We found crankbaits, tubes, grubs, and fox-hair jigs all to be effective. All sections of the upper Potomac offer great smallmouth fishing right now. In fact, there are over 180 miles of river to chase these feisty bass. Please keep in mind that all bass fishing in Maryland nontidal waters is catch-and-release until June 16.
Fishermen have been eager to get to do some fishing at some of their favorite fishing spots throughout the two regions. There are a lot of opportunities at the moment for a wide variety of freshwater fish. The reservoirs such as Loch Raven, Liberty, Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge are providing good fishing for largemouth bass. The water temperatures are steadily climbing and although most bass are still holding deep along drop-offs and ledges a slow retrieve close to the bottom can entice these fish to pick up a bait. The pick up is often very subtle so braided line can be a real plus. Grubs, small plastic worms, blade baits, and even small crankbaits and spinnerbaits worked close to the bottom can offer a lot of action.
The yellow perch fishery is starting to slow down after peaking late last week in many of the tidal rivers and creeks. Fishermen this weekend began to catch more white perch than yellows in many areas and this fishery will persist throughout this month. Grass shrimp are one of the best baits for white perch when using a bobber and small jig or hook or a bottom rig in the deeper channels. Chain pickerel, crappie, carp and channel catfish are several species that should not be overlooked when looking for some fun this week. They are widely distributed throughout both regions and can be locally abundant. Chain pickerel are very aggressive this time of the year and will strike most any lure moving through the water. Crappie can be found hovering in deeper waters often near piers or sunken wood; a small jig/minnow combination is a very good choice to catch them. If sitting on a sunny river bank with a comfortable chair watching for a rod tip to dance is your game; then bottom fishing fro channel catfish and carp. Most any kind of cut baitfish that is oily, chicken liver or even night crawlers are good baits for channel catfish. Carp anglers often get very specialized but corn or cornmeal baits will usually do the trick.
Central Regional biologist Charlie Gougeon sent in this stocking report from the region. On Feb. 19, we stocked the Patuxent River Catch-And-Return area with some beautiful brown trout from our Hagerstown hatchery. Marshall Brown, Albert Powell Hatchery manager and his staff did a wonderful job raising some of the nicest brown trout we've seen in many years. At least 300 of them were in the 14 to 18 inch class. The Potomac-Patuxent Chapter of Trout Unlimited, under the direction of Jay Sheppard, coordinated the float stocking of the brown trout. The Patuxent C&R area has been fishing very well since the stocking as evidenced by this photo sent in to Charlie Gougeon (Central Region Fisheries Manager) by Jeff Rasband.
The lower Potomac River water temperature is currently hovering around 51-degrees and water clarity although still quite poor is improving. Fishermen continue to find largemouth bass along drop-off and deep water ledges but are also reporting the fish have been moving into shallower waters during sunny afternoons. Small, slow and close to the bottom still seems to be the formula for enticing these fish to pick up a bait. The fishermen that have been fishing out in the Potomac River in the Fort Washington area for blue catfish continue to tussle with some real brute size cats out there. Gizzard shad baits fished on the bottom with a stout fishing outfit along with some patience is all anyone needs to participate in this fishery.
Fishermen have been reporting some exciting fishing for largemouth bass in small ponds and lakes throughout the region as warm and sunny weather has caused water temperatures to rise to the point where largemouth bass are fairly active and looking for food. Anglers are exploring small bodies of water and of course returning to favorite “Honey Holes” to enjoy some spring time fishing. As most local fishermen know the eastern regions lakes, ponds and tidal waters hold a lot of chain pickerel and this is a great time of the year to catch them before the grass beds become too thick to fish easily. Of course the tidal rivers in the eastern region can provide excellent largemouth bass fishing this time of the year, usually along channel drop-offs and the mouths of creeks. The grass beds have yet to fill in, so often fish will orient to structure such as rocky points, old piers or other types of sunken wood. Soft plastic grubs, small crankbaits and even spinnerbaits can be effective if retrieved slow and close to the bottom.
The yellow perch fishery has been in the forefront of most shoreline based fishermen’s thoughts for the last week and fishermen reported good fishing at times in a number of traditional locations. As most yellow perch fishermen know, you have to keep checking the conditions and a hot run does not last very long. Last Thursday and Friday saw the peak of most runs in the eastern region and by Saturday white perch were outnumbering yellow perch on the end of angler’s lines. Most of the white perch fishermen saw this weekend on the upper reaches of the regions tidal river were small; but a number of fishermen launched small boats and canoes a little farther down river and found larger white perch holding in the deeper pockets of channels. It’s hard to beat grass shrimp on a bottom rig for this type of fishing and it should last for several more weeks. A couple of fishermen also reported seeing the first alewife herring up past Red Bridges on the Choptank and more should be on the way.
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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