Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are reporting that most of the floating docks have been pulled from the lake and many of the thick grass beds are showing signs of declining. Fishing for large yellow perch, walleyes, chain pickerel and smallmouth bass has been very good. Yellow perch are holding close to the hump out in front of the state park boat ramp and along the edges of grass beds and rocky edges.
Trout fishermen have been enjoying good fishing in the regions streams and rivers. Water flows have been good and the recently stocked trout have spread out and are offering fine fishing opportunities.
Fisheries Biologist John Mullican sent in a report on the upper Potomac and a picture of a beautiful muskie that was electro-fished and returned to the river during their fall field studies. Recent rainfall has improved flows in area streams as well as the Potomac River. Owens, Friends, and the Carroll Creek Youth and Blind Fishing Area are in great shape and with recent stockings should be fishing very well. The upper Potomac is clear with water temperatures in the low to mid 50s. Donít put the rods away yet as the fall provides some of the best fishing of the year. Floating vegetation and leaves have been fouling jet motors and fishing lures, but this should be improving soon. Nevertheless, fish have responded to the improved flows and fishing has been good. Bass, walleye, and muskie are still holding in the main river flow as the recent increases in flow have not been enough to move fish to more protected areas. Crankbaits slowly bounced off the rocks have been effective on aggressive fish; though grubs and tubes have been the most consistent producers.
Mark Brown sent in this great story of an encounter with a big muskie while fishing from a kayak. I was fishing with a small 3 inch jig with 6 lb test. I hooked up with a fish that I soon realized I could barely budge from the bottom, let alone bring in. I was fishing for walleye. I thought it was too big for a walleye, unless itís the world record. My best guess was a big catfish, or a big carp. He spun the kayak around and took me downstream about 200 yards. With this light tackle I thought, Iíd just get a look at him. After about 20 minutes, I got him to the surface; it was a big, big muskie. He took off again and took me across the river and into about 3 feet of water. I was able to get out of the kayak at this point. I tried grabbing him by the tail but he was too fast. I was able to get my left arm around him and cradle him into my body. I thought of putting my hand in his mouth to get a better grip but knew better and didn't want to harm him. I walked him to the shoreline and was able to get him on land for a second. He took one big turn and was right back in the water and was gone. I looked for my rod and line and it was on the bank with the hook out. It was all for the best since I was going to release him anyway.
The water temperatures in many of the regions lakes and tidal rivers have dipped to below the 60-degree mark now and these lower temperatures are having a profound effect on fishing. Grass beds are in decline and largemouth bass are losing valuable cover and forage areas thus concentrating around what little cover there is looking for food. Crawfish are doing their best to find new cover in some of the deeper areas and are vulnerable when they make the dash across open bottom. Small fish such as golden shiners are also finding fewer places to hide and they too are finding themselves in a bad spot when largemouth bass are on the prowl. Small crankbaits and soft craw type baits are good representations of crawfish and spinnerbaits are a good choice to imitate small baitfish. Largemouth bass such as these two held up by fisheries biologist Mark Staley are beginning to also move to channel edges, rocks and sunken wood for cover as water temperatures drop.
Central region fisheries biologist Mark Staley sent in this short report on some of the field studies being performed in the central region. We recently conducted some electro-fishing on Piney Run Reservoir in Carroll County. We captured quite a few nice largemouth bass in the 16-18 inch range, mostly in deeper water. Bluegill and Black Crappie are holding fairly deep as well. In past years, Piney Run has produced some really nice channel catfish and we caught several up to 26 inches. Only one 24 inch long striped bass was captured or seen during the survey.
Fishermen in the regions are enjoying the results of some generous stocking of trout in many of the regions trout waters. Cool water temperatures will ensure that these trout will be available for months to come when fishermen have the itch to go out and fish. Mark Tacka was casting a small spinner near the Daniels Dam area of the Patapsco River when he caught these two fine looking rainbows.
Cooler water temperatures are quickly changing the way fishermen are fishing for largemouth bass in the tidal rivers and lakes of the eastern region. Grass beds are declining and what grass cover there is has become very inviting to largemouth bass on the prowl for food. Food is perhaps the number one thing on their mind as they are driven to fatten up for the winter months ahead. Crawfish who have enjoyed the security of thick grass all summer are attempting to move to deep cover such as deep sunken wood. This is a perilous journey for them as they are perhaps the number one item on a largemouth bassís dinner menu. Soft craw baits, jigs and small crankbaits are good choices to use around channel edges and drop-offs where largemouth bass are holding.
Small baitfish such as golden shiners are having a hard time also as they lose the security of thick grass beds and become vulnerable to predators such as largemouth bass and chain pickerel. Spinnerbaits and jerkbaits can be good choices in these shallower areas around the edges of declining grass beds.
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.