Deep Creek Lake fishermen have been reporting tough fishing this past week for largemouth bass which usually provide the bulk of the freshwater fishing action during the heat of the summer. Most fishermen are finding largemouth bass under the larger floating docks and pontoon boats but are finding the coves tough to fish. Alan Klotz tried a little fishing this past weekend at Deep Creek Lake and offered this report. The aquatic vegetation is at its peak for the year – we tried trolling in the coves this past weekend and were getting hung up on the vegetation. We only ended up catching 3 little yellow perch. The bass fishermen are fishing at night/early morning under docks.
Alan also sent us some exciting news for trout fishermen. Mike Shingleton, Coldwater Manager for the WV DNR Fisheries Service reports that they will be stocking the Barnum Area of the North Branch of the Potomac River with 2300 pounds of rainbows and golden trout. These are some really nice trout, weighing up to 4 pounds!
With the continued rainfall in Western MD, stocked trout still are holding over very well in the Delayed Harvest and Put and Take streams. August is the month to use terrestrial insect patterns (grasshoppers, ants, and inchworms) to land a few trout.
Sull McCartney spent some time on a float trip down the North Branch this past weekend and holds up a nice rainbow trout for the camera before releasing it back into the river.
John Mullican sent us this report from the upper Potomac on summertime fishing. The upper Potomac River is running low, clear, and very warm with temperatures in the mid-80s. Fishing continues to be good, though the best action is early and late. The white miller mayfly hatch is winding down in the Shepherdstown stretch so anglers looking for this hatch should head further west. Just about any white lure will work. However, keep in mind that this hatch doesn’t reach full swing until well after sunset.
Mid-summer is a great time to try for channel catfish. During the day try the deeper pools, especially ones with wood cover. As evening approaches, catfish will move from the deep pools into shallower riffles. Evening or at night is usually the most productive. Most Potomac catfish will run between 15” and 20" with an occasional lunker to 30". Don't leave rods unattended as more than one has been pulled into the river by a large cat!
It would be safe to say we’re dead center in the middle of summer; water temperatures are up, submerged grasses are at their peak and most fish are just being down right lazy during the day trying to beat the heat. Largemouth bass fishermen are mostly fishing in the early morning and late evening hours to beat the mid-day heat themselves but also to time their fishing with the feeding activities of largemouth bass and other freshwater species. Most predator fish such as largemouth bass will be cruising along the shallow grass beds looking for prey such as small fish, frogs or any other appropriately sized food items during the cooler mornings and evenings. This is a time to be fishing topwater lures such as poppers, buzzbaits or weedless soft plastic frogs near or over grass beds. Dropping weighted plastic worms into grass beds and penetrating them is another good tactic if your tackle is tough enough to haul in an additional 10 lbs of grass with your fish. During late morning or early afternoon hours most fishermen go to deep shaded structure such as sunken wood, bridge piers or rocks to look for lounging largemouth bass. Slow retrieved crankbaits, spinnerbaits or small plastic worms or grubs worked very slowly or barely at all will often entice a pickup.
This is a good time to fish for a mix of channel catfish, largemouth bass, chain pickerel and crappie in many of the tidal rivers within the two regions. Once again early morning and late evening are the best times to fish and a falling tide can be a real asset. Bluegill sunfish can offer a lot of fun this time of the year also in a number of the lakes and ponds within the two regions and can be caught on worms or crickets if fishing with bait. Casting small rubber legged poppers with a fly rod can really offer up some excitement in many of the regions lakes such as St. Mary’s Lake.
Fishermen in the tidal Potomac River report very warm water temperatures and a bumper crop of milfoil grass which is covering many of the coves and river edges with a thick mat of grass. Many fishermen have been focusing on deep structure such as bridge piers and rocks.
Let there be no doubt that it’s August and it is plenty warm out there; water temperatures are close to their summer time peak and aquatic grasses are at their maximum. Heavy growth of grasses and other submerged aquatic vegetation can be good for juvenile fish such as largemouth bass; it gives them a good place to hide from predation and gives them access to food sources that are smaller than they are. The downside is that it makes it tough to fish for the adult fish that may be lurking underneath the masses of vegetation looking for some cool shade. Fishermen often use stout tackle, heavy test braided lines and weighted soft plastic lures to penetrate the grass and reach the fish that may be below. It is not uncommon to haul in 4-pounds of grass with a 4-pound largemouth covered up in the mess somewhere.
Summer time heat puts largemouth bass and other fish in a classic behavior pattern where the feed in the early morning hours, retreat to cool shade during the day and become active again just before the evening darkness. This is the time of the day that most fishermen are out fishing and some even fish well into the darkness with surface lures that cause a lot of commotion to attract fish. Buzzbaits, poppers and soft plastic frogs tend to be a few of the more popular offerings these days; 30-years ago it was Jitterbugs, Hula poppers and other lures such as torpedoes.
Fishermen can find good summertime largemouth bass fishing in the tidal rivers of the eastern shore from the Sassafras south to the Pocomoke. The Lower shore rivers tend to run cooler water temperatures this time of the year making for better fishing. Locals report that fishing the outside edges of grass beds and spatterdock fields is your best bet during a falling tide.
Bluegill sunfish can be a bit feisty this time of the year and can offer some real fun on light tackle. They can be caught with crickets and worms if live bait is your choice or small rubber legged surface poppers if you have a light weight fly rod. Fishing for bluegills with a floating line and small poppers can be a wonderful introduction to fly fishing for anyone who has ever thought of giving it a try.
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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.