Water temperatures near the mouth of the Susquehanna River are currently running around 52-degrees. Fishermen have been catching a mix of school sized striped bass, walleye and smallmouth bass in the river below the Conowingo Dam. The dam is releasing water around mid-day each day; there is also a considerable amount of debris and floating grass being reported in the area due to the recent heavy rains, stiff northeast winds and extreme high tides. Most fishermen are either jigging with soft plastics or casting crankbaits such as Rat-L-Traps. Stewart Wu sent in this report and picture of a nice striped bass he caught below the Conowingo Dam this past Saturday. Striper action is slowing down compared to the Summer time, but walleye was fair. Most of the best fishing action has been early in the morning before 8:00am, after that the best fishing quiets down.
Along deeper channel edges in the upper parts of the bay white perch are schooling up and fishermen are catching them on bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp. Jigging continues to be a productive way to catch white perch but will become less so as water temperatures drop. The deeper areas of the regions tidal rivers such as holes and channel edges are also good places to look for white perch this time of the year. Often the schools of white perch can be marked on a good depth finder. The rock piles at the center of the Bay Bridge are always a good place to jig for large white perch when water temperatures are in the mid to low fifties.
Striped bass from sub-legal size up to 50” or more are being caught in the upper bay mostly from Pooles Island south to the Bay Bridge. School sized striped bass are being found in the lower sections of the tidal rivers, channel edges, shoals and deep structure throughout the region. Fishermen are usually jigging with metal or soft plastic jigs over fish holding deep or under surface action. The lower Patapsco River channel edges have been a particularly good place recently to jig for striped bass.
Larger striped bass are being caught by trolling the shipping channel edges with large parachutes, bucktails, Storm lures and spoons. Fishermen are reporting that most fish are being caught deep so planers can be useful when trolling single lures or in tandem. Umbrella rigs usually require inline weights to get them down.
Shoreline fishermen are getting in on the good fishing for striped bass due to cool water temperatures. The striped bass are prowling in the shallower waters; especially near drop offs and prominent points near deep water. Henry Harle was fishing from Smallwood State Park with a menhaden bait on a bottom rig when he caught this 33” striped bass.
Middle Bay Region
Once the wind calmed down fishermen were out in droves over the weekend and into this week trolling the shipping channel edges for large fall migrant striped bass or light tackle jigging over schooling fish. Captains are deploying planer boards and downriggers to cover a wide swath of horizontal and vertical levels. The best catches have been coming from some of the deeper levels often from 20’ to 35’. Umbrella rigs will require inline weights but single or tandem rigged bucktails, parachutes and spoons can be run off of planers. Fishermen are reporting good catches of large striped bass such as this nice one held up by Doug Gossett near the CP Buoy.
Fishermen that are trolling along the shipping channel edges have been kept busy keeping lines clear of loose grass that is floating in the bay; a real chore when a large number of lines are being trolled but absolutely essential if you want to catch fish. Hopefully much of this grass that was tore up by last week’s northeaster will be less of a problem as the week progresses. Water clarity has been a diminished from the big blow and many fishermen are finding chartreuse has been a good color to use recently.
Fishermen have been encountering striped bass near the mouths of the major tidal rivers in the region and out in the bay at traditional locations near channel edges. Light tackle jigging with metal and soft plastic jigs has been a very effective and fun way to catch striped bass. Many fishermen have been getting quite a surprise when supposedly jigging for school sized striped bass and find themselves hooked up with a striped bass over 50” in size.
White perch are schooling up in some of the deeper channel edges and holes at the mouths of the tidal rivers within the region. Most fishermen are finding the schools on their depth finders, drifting over them and fishing with bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp. Jigging can still be an effective method to catch up some large white perch but will become less effective as water temperatures continue to cool.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
The fishing scene in the lower bay region is really hopping this week as fishermen return to the docks with large striped bass that are being caught out along the edges of the shipping channel by trolling. Quite a few of these large striped bass have been measuring over 50” in length. Boats have been trolling spreads of large parachutes, bucktails, spoons and even Stretch 25’s up and down the shipping channel edges. The traditional hot spots such as Cover Point, Buoy 72, 72A, Hooper’s Island Light have been producing some excellent catches.
School sized striped bass are spread throughout the region and fishermen are either casting to breaking fish that are usually marked by diving gulls and or gannets or jigging to suspended fish spotted on depth finders. Most of the striped bass are running up to 30” but quite often fishermen are finding striped bass much large on the end of a light tackle outfit. Ken Zborowski sent in this short report and picture of his two friends Don Gajewski & Stan Borowski with their catch. We caught about 35 fish to 24" between Tangier Sound, Kedges Straight and the Mud leads. All fish caught on plastic either casting to breaking fish or jigging on the bottom.
White perch are being targeted by fishermen in the deeper portions of the tidal rivers; often close to the mouth of these rivers. Most fishermen tend to use bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp this time of the year but jigging can be effective at times. The mouth of the Patuxent, Nanticoke and Pocomoke Rivers are good places to look for large white perch this week on one’s depth finder.
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