The Conowingo Dam has been scheduling evening water releases on a fairly consistent basis lately. Traditionally this is the best time for fishermen to try their hand at casting crankbaits, swim shad type lures or drifting live eels in the lower dam pool area for striped bass. The cool water from the dam releases always seems to stir up the few striped bass that hold below the dam into feeding. Fishermen are also picking away at smallmouth bass when the cool water surge comes down the river and largemouth bass are being caught in the mornings and evenings. The largemouth bass fishing out on the flats in the thick grass has been very good also. Fishing for channel catfish is very good in the channel areas and extends into the Elk River and south to the Pooles Island area.
In the Baltimore Harbor to Rock Hall area the fishing opportunities begin to switch to striped bass and white perch. Fishermen are finding plenty of white perch on most of the hard-bottomed shoals and reefs but do mention that many are relatively small. Most fishermen are looking for filleting size perch and one needs to try different locations till they find a school comprised of the larger perch. They’re out there it just takes some looking at times to find them. Jigging with a metal jig with a dropper fly above is a popular method to fish and at times striped bass can be caught also. Bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp are also a good way to catch white perch; especially when fishing from deep water piers, docks and points. A few croakers are being caught in the upper bay but they are incidental catches for the most part.
Striped bass are being caught by chumming at Swan Point, Triple Buoys, Mud Flats and Love Point areas this week. The action tends to vary on tide and time of day and most captains are moving between these locations looking for good marks before setting up a chum slick. A good running tide is important and most fishermen agree that baits close to bottom are catching the largest fish. The Podickory Point area has not proven to produce much in the way of good chumming potential lately but fishermen have been going in shallow water in that area and catching spot. The spot are being live lined along the channel edge from Baltimore Light to Sandy Point Light with some success. If you can spot good fish marks on your depth recorder it is worth giving it a try. The bridge piers at the Bay Bridge are also a good place to live line spot or jig bucktails and soft plastic jigs near the pier bases. In the early morning and late evening hours fishermen are encountering striped bass on top in the shallower eastern portion of the bridge.
Recreational crabbers are reporting catching crabs in the Patapsco/ Gunpowder area as well as the lower Chester and Magothy. The crabs have been reported to be shallow recently and may begin to move into deeper water as water temperatures rise.
Middle Bay Region
The western side of the shipping channel from the Chesapeake Beach area to Cove Point has been getting a lot of action this week from fishermen live lining spot and trolling for striped bass. The fish have been holding there in about 35’ of water and it has been the place to go. Just about all the boats in the middle bay region have been flocking there even boats from eastern shore ports. They have been catching striped bass up to 32” in size on a regular basis with live spot. The action can extend up to Thomas Point and the outside edge of Hackett’s Bar at times when fishermen find good marks indicating fish are holding there.
Trolling deep has been a good strategy for some fishermen pulling umbrella rigs with Storm type lures or chartreuse alewife and Drone spoons. Although there are bluefish in the region they don’t seem to be a big problem with those trolling soft plastics; since most seem to feel a little nip now and then is worth the effectiveness of the lures and teasers. At times fishermen are finding breaking fish in the area and are casting a variety of surface lures as well as metal and soft plastic jigs.
The spot can be found in most all of the tidal rivers and shallow flats in the region and can be caught on small hooks with bloodworms for bait. The croaker fishing continues to improve in the region in the bay proper and the tidal rivers. Croakers are being caught in the Choptank River and Eastern Bay during the evenings on a good tide. The larger croakers seem to be holding in the deeper waters during the day and moving into the hard-bottomed shoal areas at dusk. Rich Watts and friends have been targeting large croakers in the Eastern Bay area at dusk. David and Christina Ziegler were out fishing with Rich and hold up one of those citation sized croakers for the camera.
Les Simering at the Choptank Fishing Pier sent in a short report that fishermen are catching spot and white perch on bloodworms near the bridge piers at dusk along with some channel catfish. A few striped bass are being caught on pieces of fresh spot and also a few croakers are being caught on shrimp and peeler crab.
Light tackle fishermen who get out at dawn or sunset to cast lures in the shallow waters of the regions tidal rivers and bay shorelines are finding striped bass and white perch. A lot of 14” to 16” striped bass are more common now but it is still possible to come back with a limit of fish over 18” in size. A variety of surface lures, soft plastics and swimming plugs have all been working well.
Recreational crabbers were out in force this past weekend; boat ramp parking lots were full at 4:30 am and in many tidal creeks it was tough to find a place to set. This holiday weekend many crabbers have promised a crab feast so the pressure will most certainly be on. Crabbers have had to really work for their crabs this week, some found a honey hole and others have been working hard just to come up with a half bushel per outing. More than a few commercial crabbers were seen moving to new locations this past Sunday at 5:45 am and that can not be a good sign.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Fishermen looking for striped bass have been finding them along the 35’ channel edge from Cove Point north to the Power Plant. Most are live lining spot with good success but a few are also chumming and trolling for their striped bass. Striped bass can for the most part be successfully live lined anywhere one can find them which is usually on a channel edge. Fishermen have had success live lining near Cedar Point, Point No Point and the channel edges in Tangier Sound. Striped bass are also being chummed up in the lower Potomac River along the channel edges and out at the Middle Grounds along with bluefish.
Fishermen are trolling umbrella rigs with Storms or chartreuse Alewife and Drone spoons in the region with a little weight have been catching striped bass on a regular basis and depending on the location large red drum and bluefish. The large red drum which of course must be released are being caught north of the Target Ship and bluefish are coming from the area around the Middle Grounds to north of the Target Ship. Fishermen trolling along the western edge of the shipping channel from Cedar Point north past Cove Point are not reporting a lot of bluefish being caught. At times fishermen are finding breaking fish in the mornings and evenings around Cove Point up to the Power plant and report that there are some small bluefish mixed in with the striped bass.
Croakers and flounder are spread throughout both regions and fishermen are enjoying great fishing at this time. The tidal rivers on both sides of the bay are holding croakers and although many are medium to small there sure are a lot of them mixed in with spot and white perch. The best flounder fishing has been in the Point Lookout/ Cornfield Harbor area and the hard edges of the channels in the Tangier Sound area.
The Crisfield fleet has been fishing south to Fox Island for croakers and a mix of small bluefish, spot, flounder and speckled trout and captains report limits of croakers are not uncommon. At dusk boats have been anchoring up on the shoals adjacent to the deep channels and fishermen are catching large croakers that migrate onto the shoal areas at dusk.
Light tackle shallow water fishermen south of Hooper’s Island have been having one of the best seasons that anyone can remember in a while on speckled trout. The trout are shallow, in less than 3’ of water and can be caught on soft plastic jigs with a lightly weighted jig head. Early morning and evening hours with a good tide offer the best prospects. In deeper waters peeler crab baits have been working well and many of the speckled trout being caught in the Tangier Sound area are being caught by fishermen fishing for croakers.
Recreational crabbers are reporting good crabbing in most of the regions tidal rivers and creeks and especially those along the eastern shore.
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