Alan W. Klotz, Western Region Fisheries Manager - Anglers can still find plenty of good trout fishing in Garrett Counties Put and Take and Delayed Harvest Trout streams. Our recent electrofishing surveys in some of these streams show that there are still plenty of rainbow and brown trout from stockings earlier in the spring. I fished one of these streams last week and had a great afternoon using deer hair caddis and Bird Nest nymphs. The key is just to pick the best holding water and after a few cast just move on and cover a lot of water. Some steams to check out are the Casselman River, Little Yough River, Yough River @ Crellin, Mill Run, Muddy Creek, Bear Creek, Snowy Creek, and the Savage River Put and Take Management Areas. Best of all – you will have these streams to yourself!(Here is a picture of a rainbow I caught from Muddy Creek).
The Savage River Trophy Trout Management Area, the North Branch Potomac River Catch and Release Trout Fishing Areas, and the Youghiogheny River Catch and Release Trout Fishing Area are all fishing pretty well. Kenny Wampler sent in this photo of a colorful brown trout from the Savage River Trophy Trout Area, he used #20 Copper John nymphs to land several browns and brook trout last weekend, and also said the fishing pressure was light.
John Mullican, Western Region Fisheries Biologist - Summer fishing patterns will continue on the upper Potomac for the next couple of months. Smallmouth are taking a variety of baits including topwaters, crankbaits, grubs, and tubes. Fly fishermen have been doing well with surface poppers and should keep an eye out for the annual white miller hatch (a white mayfly) that begins at dusk. Walleye have been active during the early morning and late evening hours. Most anglers have reported success using various crankbaits or a jig/grub combo. Steve Peperak caught and released this 26" Potomac walleye during a recent outing.
Trout anglers can still find plenty of action on area streams. The special regulation areas (check your Fishing Guide) on Hunting Creek, Little Hunting Creek, and Beaver Creek offer challenging wild trout. Summer time is terrestrial time and ants and beetles are "must have" patterns. A slow, carefull approach and presentation are required for success.
Charles R. Gougeonm, Central Region Manager - Biologists with the central region responded to a report sent to us this week by two observant anglers fishing downstream of Route 29 in Northwest Branch (Montgomery County). The anglers reported seeing what they described as a very large snakehead. While the angles fished one of many of the boulder strewn plunge pools downstream of Route 29, one of them watched a very large fish (2.5 to 3 feet long) swim out from under a large ledge in the deep pool and circle about. At one point, the fish went to the surface and took a gulp of air before returning to the deep water ledge. Stream conditions at the time of the fish sighting were low and crystal clear, affording the anglers a good look at the beast. One of the anglers had mentioned watching some video footage on YouTube of a snakehead and used it for an identification reference.
Central Region biologists contacted the local stream ecologists from the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission to assist in the capture of the snakehead. Both anglers were also called to attend at their request. When the capture team arrived on site, the river was slightly turbid and a bit higher than normal due to thunderstorm activity a few days prior. The anglers led the electrofishing crew down a boulder lined trail within the county owned Northwest Branch Park. This is without question, the most scenic location on the Northwest Branch. A thick canopy of trees, line a long series of large plunge pools that are cut into bedrock and lined with hugh boulders. This is habitat anglers must check out!
The electrofishers were a bit overpowered in the huge pool, however, biologists managed to collect numerous fish species. Our plan was to stir the big fish and confirm the report at minimum, however, that plan failed. We collected rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, redbreast sunfish and many large eels. The anglers and several local kids that had stopped swimming to watch us, were very impressed with the catch. One smallmouth bass was approximately 16 inches long and very fat. Some of the eels were two to three feet long. In addition, catches of numerous small smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and sunfish prompted the anglers and young swimmers to proclaim that they would be back fishing the next day!!
In spite of the effort and wading in water near the brink of topping chest high waders, no visuals were made of the slippery snakehead. It was surmized that the slight turbidity, large pool size and elusive behavior of the snakehead put the advantage in his court! The anglers have vowed to pursue him with hook and line, and will plan to report future sightings. Biologists plan to make another capture attempt when water clears and discharge receeds.
Although water temperatures in Northwest Branch were hovering in the low to mid 70's when the anglers first observed the snakehead, they managed to catch a few smallmouth bass and a rainbow or two. They also caught a selection of sunfish and even a largemouth bass. They were most impressed to see that their catch success had been verified by our survey….minus one reportedly, large snakehead!
Anglers should make note that live snakeheads are not permitted in possession alive. If you catch one, you are encouraged to kill it or email (www.dnr.maryland.gov) or call Maryland DNR Fisheries Service (410-260-8320). Numerous studies of the snakehead are currently being conducted and researchers are interested in obtaining location, length, weight and age data from captured fish.
Mary Groves, Southern Region Manager - Southern Region biologists have been in the field conducting annual young of year largemouth bass surveys on the Rocky Gorge Reservoir and the tidal Potomac River. It’s been a good year for largemouth reproduction on Rocky Gorge reservoir with many largemouth bass and sunfish showing up in seining samples. On the tidal Potomac River, juvenile largemouth bass reproduction has been good where submerged aquatic grasses have been plentiful but few small bass were found in the area between Oxon Creek and Broad Creek again this year.
The National Paralyzed Veterans of America largemouth bass tournament was held out of Smallwood State Park this past weekend. Approximately 60 veterans participated in this B.A.S.S. sponsored event with the winner receiving a fully loaded Triton Bass Boat. While the average fish weighed roughly 2 lbs., the lunker for the event weighed in at 5.18 lbs.
Brett Coakley, Eastern Region Fisheries Biologist - Fishing on the “Shore” is stuck in that typical summer mode, where the weather dictates when and how anglers fish. Here at Unicorn Lake, I have noticed a significant reduction in the number of boats venturing out. Unicorn, like most other impoundments this time of year becomes covered in aquatic vegetation and algae. However, some anglers “in the know” realize that a strong rain or wind tends to clear the lake enough to fish productively. Bass do feed when it’s hot, but do better early and late in the day. In the tidal rivers, most bass bite best on certain tides (usually the ebb), but the bite can be outstanding if it coincides with early morning, or late evening.
Our fisheries management activities lately have focused mainly on tidal largemouth bass. We recently stocked over 30,000 tagged fingerling largemouth bass into the Choptank River. Small coded wire tags (CWT’s) are inserted into each fish with a needle. It’s a time consuming process, but the presence of the tag allows us to monitor survival of the stocked individuals. We are currently conducting weekly seining surveys at fixed sites throughout the Choptank. Short-term survival appears to be good thus far. Rebuilding the Choptank’s tidal largemouth bass fishery has become a top priority for us, so bass fishermen, stay tuned!
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.