Recent rains have done much to raise water levels in the regions lakes, rivers and streams. Fisheries staff report the Yough and north branch of the Potomac are up and the Savage Reservoir is releasing plenty of water. There are plenty of stocked trout in the put and take areas and the catch and release areas are offering some excellent fishing opportunities. Bill Orrence found a little time to stop by Owens Creek and found this nice rainbow trout in the process for dinner.
Alan Klotz sent us this report from Garrett County. Western Region trout stream are flowing at or above normal thanks to the recent rains. There are plenty of trout still available in our Put and Take trout waters, and many anglers are reporting good fishing in these streams. All Delayed Harvest Areas have also been stocked, including the North Branch Potomac River where we stocked the entire length of this special management area by rail-truck.
Yellow perch are moving into the shallow coves in Deep Creek Lake and are taking minnows fished under a slip bobber. Trophy size largemouth bass are also moving into the shallow coves and are providing some great catch and release fishing. The Mt. Nebo Fisheries crew set out last week to collect a few northern pike males to use as brood-stock for a future generation of tiger muskies, and found the male pike cruising the shallow coves in search of the larger females. The crew also reported many good-sized walleye were in shallow during broad daylight – a good sign for the April 16th walleye season opener for Deep Creek Lake. It is snowy and cold in Garrett County at this writing (Tues), but conditions should improve by this weekend. Alan sent us this picture of Broadford Lake on this past Tuesday afternoon.
Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are catching and releasing largemouth bass in many of the larger cove areas and the main lake points. The largemouth bass are beginning to move into the coves and fishermen are also finding opportunities for northern pike in the coves. Smallmouth bass are being caught near a number of the rocky bottomed points as well as walleye. The walleye are getting ready to spawn and with lake water temperatures approaching 46-degrees it should occur soon. Walleye are also ready to spawn in the upper Potomac River and these two whoppers that John Mullican is getting ready to slip back into the upper Potomac are getting ready to do their best to bolster future generations of walleyes in the Potomac.
Conditions this week are about as near perfect as they can be for fishermen who are serious about their largemouth bass. Water temperatures have risen enough that largemouth bass are moving freely and feel a pressing urge to feed and build up their reserves for the upcoming spawning season. Largemouth bass are staging near some of the shallower waters in the major reservoirs in the central region and often the males will be in shallow with the large females holding in slightly deeper waters close by. Most any jig with a soft plastic craw, spinnerbaits, crankbaits or jerkbaits will work well this time of the year. The largemouth don’t seem to have much of a preference these days since they are driven by hunger. Randy Siegman caught and released this nice largemouth at Loch Raven Reservoir; while casting a spinnerbait from shore.
Fishing for largemouth bass in the two regions tidal rivers and creeks will also be at its zenith this week as fish are also caught up in their pre-spawn feeding behavior. They too will be holding near the spawning sites with the females holding in slightly deeper water than the males. The tidal Potomac is running about 53-degrees this week and water levels continue to be somewhat low due to the lack of heavy rain. The creeks are a good place to fish on a falling tide and anywhere one can find grass in the river is a “go to” location. Small crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits or soft plastics take your choice because most fishermen are saying the bass are hitting anything that moves.
Trout fishermen are still enjoying the fishing in many of the trout stocked waters and stream flows are up a bit from last week due the rain. Kevin McKelvey caught this nice rainbow trout at Friends Pond in Harford County while casting a small spinner from shore. Fisheries crews continue to stock trout in many of the put and take areas and you can check the stocking website for current stockings. www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/stocking/springtroutstock.html
Central Regional biologist Mark Staley sent in this report concerning the lower Gunpowder Falls. Unfortunately, the recent rainfall was not enough to raise water levels to an adequate flow for trout stocking in the lower Gunpowder Falls put and take area. Loch Raven is spilling over but only a tenth of a foot of water is coming over the dam. No significant rainfall is expected before the weekend so we will not stock it this week.
If we get more water spilling over Loch Raven dam and it is sustained, then we will stock it with trout.
There are still some white perch to be found in the upper reaches of the regions tidal creeks and rivers. Many of the white perch have already spawned and can be found down river of the spawning areas; it just takes a little looking around in some of the deeper areas. A small jig tipped with grass shrimp under a bobber is the ticket in some of the narrower waters and a bottom rig baited with bloodworms is a good choice in the more open waters farther down the rivers or creeks when fishing from shore.
Channel catfish are also a great option in many of the regions tidal rivers and creeks and offer some great fishing opportunities. There is not a whole lot needed to enjoy some good pullage; although if you’re fishing from shore a comfortable chair and some snacks help. Be careful if you happen to be in one of the spawning rivers such as the Patuxent or Potomac; there a lot of striped bass getting ready to spawn in those areas.
Fishermen will see white perch retreating from the spawning areas of the regions tidal rivers this week but the can still be intercepted in those areas below the spawning areas. A shad dart tipped with grass shrimp under a bobber in some of the shallower areas works well and fishing with a bottom rig baited with bloodworm will do the task in the lower sections of the rivers. Be careful in the lower river areas for striped bass and if you hook one it would be a good idea to move on. Trying to get a large striped bass in on a white perch fishing outfit will put a lot of stress on the fish before one can release it.
Fishing for channel catfish is a good option to consider this week in the Elk, Sassafras, Bohemia, Chester, Choptank, Nanticoke and Wicomico Rivers. Once again be careful of the striped bass that are now in the spawning reaches of the Nanticoke and Choptank Rivers.
Largemouth bass are now in a very active stage as they are now feeding heavily before spawning. They can be found along channel edges close to shallower waters or at the mouths of small creeks. The females tend to hold in slightly deeper water adjacent to the shallower spawning areas and the males are now in those shallower areas. Most any kind of lure will work such as soft plastics, crankbaits, jerkbaits and of course spinnerbaits. If you can find any grass or spatterdock emerging those are good places to fish and a falling tide is always a good bet near that kind of structure.
The many ponds and small lakes that dot the region are coming alive as most fish move around freely in almost ideal water temperatures. Bluegills are holding in slightly deeper waters near their shallow spawning sites, chain pickerel are starting to hold near emerging grasses and lily pads as are largemouth bass. Jason Martino caught and released this nice 22” largemouth bass at a Cecil County farm pond recently on a 3” Bagley crankbait. Jason took this quick picture with his foot as a length reference before sliding this bass back into the pond.
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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.