The catch and release fishery at the Susquehanna Flats/River is reported to be about as good as it gets this week by fishermen who are heading home with sore arms and big smiles on their faces. The water temperatures have risen into the mid-50ís and water clarity is good. Fishermen are reporting catching and releasing large striped bass on soft plastic jigs, swimming shads, spoons, jerkbaits and crankbaits. Most fishermen are drifting and casting but a number of fishermen are also trolling or fishing with live herring and fresh cut herring baits with circle hooks. Brian Scarborough of Joppatowne hefts up this beast of a striped bass for the camera before slipping her back into the water.
Fishermen are reporting good fishing for channel catfish and white perch in the Susquehanna River in most of the deeper pockets. American shad are starting to show up at the Conowingo Dam but this fishery still needs a little more time to develop into what fishermen expect. As always the river below the dam is choked with gizzard shad this time of the year and they make good cut bait for channel catfish and of course the striped bass that are staging in the river will make short work of gizzard shad, river herring and hickory shad if given the opportunity. Ten year old Ivan Koretic was fishing below the dam for American shad when he snagged a gizzard shad which was engulfed by a big striped bass as he was reeling it in. Somehow the gizzard shad became lodged in the striped bassís throat and after a difficult battle Ivan was able to get the fish in and quickly release it; but not before getting a quick picture by his proud dad.
The catch and release hickory shad fishery at Deer Creek and in the vicinity of itís confluence with the Susquehanna River has begun in earnest. Wayne Blottenberger was kind enough to send us a report and a nice picture. As of this past Saturday hickory shad fishing in the creek has been red hot. It was a fish now and then (mostly then) until 6 pm when it just lit up with fish. I fished with Joe Bruce and it was non stop catching until well after dark. I believe Joe's totals for the day was in the mid 50's mine was maybe 30, talked with one fly guy fishing up stream from us and his total for the whole day was 75. Hated to leave fish still biting but neither one of us had a flash light and leader tangles got the best of us. Color of choice was mostly all red with silver tinsel wrapped over red body; although Joe even caught one on an all black fly. Not sure how the cold has effected the run but on Saturday everything was just perfect water quality, temps, and flows. The spin folks are also into them pretty heavy on the river so the run has started. This picture is Joe Bruce on Monday at Deer Creek catching a hickory shad.
The NOAA Buoy at the mouth of the Patapsco River is currently showing a water temperature of about 53-degrees. A number of boats have been heading out from their home ports in the upper bay region to troll along the shipping channel edges looking for a little catch and release action with striped bass moving through the area. Parachutes and large bucktails dressed with sassy shads has been the order of the day and they are being trolled either in tandem or behind an umbrella rig. Chartreuse seems to be winning out over white lately but most fishermen will try both until they see a clear preference by the fish. Fishermen are also fishing off prominent points and piers as well as anchoring up with fresh cut bait and circle hooks. Nate Bacon sent in this short report and a picture of his buddy Anthony Moschella from Elkton with a nice looking striped bass he caught and released off Sandy Point. We had a great day on Saturday 4/12 at Sandy point. We caught two big girls on cut herring in about 12ft of water and also caught approximately 25 schoolies up to 26Ē on Opening Night color Bass Assassins with Chartreuse Ĺ- oz jig heads.
Mid Bay Region:
Catch and release fishing for large striped bass along the edges of the shipping channel has been very popular with fishermen who have their boats ready and are itching for the April 19th opener. This year more than ever it seems fishermen have been drawn out before the season opener to practice catch and release with migrating striped bass along the shipping channel. The steeper edges and those edges that tend to protrude out into the channel always seem to be favorite locations to ambush striped bass using the shipping channel as a pathway up and down the bay. The hard edge from Bloody Point Light south to Buoy 84 on the eastern side of the channel has always been a favorite location and lately has been keeping its reputation. Ian Beall was fishing with his dad and Uncle James when he caught and released this fine striped bass just south of Bloody Point Light.
The steep channel edge from Breezy Point south to Cove Point on the western side of the shipping channel has also been a favorite spot to troll for striped bass for those boats coming out of western shore ports. The eastern side of the shipping channel from Sharps Island Light south will be a good place to look for large post-spawn striped bass coming out of the Choptank River. There was a major spawn late last week in the upper Choptank due to four days of warm weather and those fish are now headed down the river and should show up outside the mouth of the Choptank by the weekend. They will be heading south and will certainly be hungry after expending so much energy from last weeks spawning activity.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Most fishing fortunes in the lower bay region this week were focused around the catch and release fishing for striped bass. Trolling the sharp edges of the shipping channel was the name of the game. This week there certainly will be some more catch and release fishing going on but most thoughts will be on this Saturday and the opening of the trophy season. It will certainly be a big day for Chesapeake Bay fishermen and everyone and their brother will be out there trolling with several of the traditional hot spots in mind. North of Buoy 76 south to below Hooperís Island Light and Buoy 72 south to Buoy 68 on the eastern side of the shipping channel will be popular locations this Saturday. On the western side of the shipping channel Cove Point, Cedar Point and the mouth of the Potomac down to Smith Point Light will be traditional places to troll. There was a big spawn late last week and into the weekend on the Nanticoke River so look for a flood of post-spawn striped bass coming out of the river and heading south.
There have been reports of the seasonís first croakers being caught in any numbers at the Wicomico River and the Point Lookout area. White perch are descending the tidal rivers in the region and are starting to show up in the lower sections of the rivers.