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Latest Update: December 16, 2009

Next Update: 2010!  Happy Holidays!!

Please check out the following link to a page of some of the young happy faces that came to the fishing reports this past year. May they warm your heart during this chilly season.


Soon 2009 will be but a memory but for fishermen in Maryland it will most likely be a good memory when it comes to fishing. It was a very good year for Maryland anglers in a number of ways. Yellow perch, white perch and hickory shad runs gave fishermen a chance to shake the cobwebs off of their fishing tackle and skills. The spring striped bass season got off to a roaring start and many fishermen caught the largest striped bass they had ever encountered. School sized striped bass kept fishermen busy through the summer and fall fishery and like clock work the large fall migrant striped bass showed up in good numbers in late October and really hit their stride in November. The action tended to taper off until the closing bell on the 15th of December and the day was flat calm so everyone was out trying to catch one more big one before the season was over. Tom Kraft certainly looks happy with this nice one he caught while trolling near Buoy 78.

Live lining spot for striped bass once again took center stage this summer and the channel edge out in front of the Gas Docks seemed to be ground zero. Steep channel edges from the upper bay region to the lower bay region provided a great stage for this type of fishing. Fishermen found that jigging metal over suspended fish or under breaking fish in the early fall provided some hot and heavy action and lower sections of the tidal rivers was the place to be.

Bluefish seemed to take over the bay this year; muscling in on any chance to harass local schools of bay anchovies and fishermen’s hard earned live spot that were meant for striped bass and not a pack of piranha. Fishermen made good use of the bluefish and smokers turned out wonderful smoked bluefish that was shared with family and friends. Many fishermen chose this year to be initiated into the concept of smoking bluefish and coming up with their own version of bluefish spreads and enjoying this bounty of the bay.

The croakers and spot arrived right on time this year and fishermen enjoyed good bottom fishing for them. The abundance of large flounder was a very welcomed surprise this year for Chesapeake Bay fishermen; the lower bay and middle bay regions provided fishermen with some of the best flounder fishing most can remember. Spanish mackerel arrived on schedule this year and the action was hot and heavy late in the summer as fishermen watched them grey hound through schools of bait and caught them by casting or trolling.

Abundant white perch populations provided continuous fishing in the tidal rivers and creeks for fishermen seeking out the more sedate fishing scene such as fishing off a quiet dock with children or working a shoreline on a peaceful summer evening while casting ultra light lures. Many a quiet morning and evening was spent by fishermen slowly working the shorelines of the Chesapeake Bays casting to striped bass and enjoying the collective calm that could be punctuated with an explosive surface strike.

Freshwater anglers were ready when the 2009 put and take trout season got off to great start. Banks were lined with eager fishermen of all ages and there were plenty of fat trout eager to munch on Powerbaits and good old garden worms. The trout stocking crews worked overtime filling managed trout waters throughout the state with generous stockings of trout from the state hatcheries and the stocking continued throughout the summer and fall in selected waters with state hatchery trout and some very large rainbow trout that were donated from the Freshwater Institute.

It was another good year for fishermen pursuing largemouth bass in the states freshwater impoundments and tidal waters; with largemouth bass populations in healthy numbers in most managed waters. Fishing for smallmouth bass and walleyes in the upper Potomac and lower Susquehanna provided a lot of exciting action for fishermen this year; good water flows and clear water helped a lot to set the stage for good fishing conditions.

Fishermen in the Ocean City region enjoyed a very good season for tautog at the inlet area and out on the wreck sites and artificial reefs. Sea bass was a tough nut to crack this year with many of the fish coming over the rails a fraction of an inch short of the new 12-1/2” minimum size and fishermen were surprised with an emergency closure in Federal waters this fall.

Summer flounder fishing was another good one in and around the back bay areas of Ocean City and Assateague Island. They were caught as well near the wreck sites outside the inlet and by surf fishermen. The spring and fall runs of striped bass did not disappoint many fishermen and a fall run of large bluefish was a real added bonus. The annual fall run of large red drum happened to occur during a particularly rough and drawn out northeaster and the catch and release pickings tended to be slim this year. Offshore fishermen enjoyed a good season for white marlin and dolphin. Yellowfin tuna were tough to find, bluefin tuna provided some good action and few people will ever forget the first grander blue marlin to hit the docks at Ocean City.

The Maryland Fishing Challenge provided fishermen catching citation sized fish an extra incentive this year with some wonderful prizes awarded at the ceremony held at sandy Point State Park. David Wihelm of Perryville won the grand prize of a boat, motor and trailer to the delight of his two young boys and himself.

The year 2009 was a busy year for breaking state records; a total of eight state records were broken during this years fishing season. Here's a list of this years record fish: warmouth – Earl Jenkins III 1.41-pounds caught May 4, Thresher Shark- Brent Applegit 642-pounds caught June 19, Mako Shark- Jim Hughes 876-pounds caught June 20, Cobia- Chris Toner 72-pounds caught July 25, Scalloped Hammerhead shark- Jamie Gill 254-pounds caught August 5, Blue Marlin- Robert Farris 1,062-pounds caught August 5, Warmouth- Don Parantoni 9.76-ounces caught August 7, and lastly the Golden Tilefish - Steve Doctor 62-pounds caught October 22.

As a fond farewell to the 2009 fishing season all of us in the fishing community would like to express out heartfelt thank you to the dad’s mom’s, grandparents and friendly neighbors who took the initiative and time to take young children out fishing and to spend some quality time with them. The satisfaction and rewards of being a mentor or perhaps as in the case of Jay Fleming of just being a big brother to Noah Genovese are boundless.

Please check out the following link to a page of some of the young happy faces that came to the fishing reports this past year. May they warm your heart during this chilly season.

Quote of the Week:

Fishing is our handshake, our language, a heritage that binds us together; a passage our fathers took. A Journey that lasts a lifetime that we have begun again with our sons and daughters.

-Words in an Abu commercial

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A Couple of Closing Notes...

Don't hesitate to e-mail your recent fishing/crabbing photos and trip information. Send your photos via E-mail by the following Monday in order to be included in the next update. The file should be in .jpg format with the longest side sized at 600 pixels. Please try to keep the file size small, under one megabyte. The photo should clearly depict the angler(s), fish, and ethical handling practices. For information on ethical angling practices please reference the Catch and Release information located at URL:
Include the following information:

  • Date
  • Angler(s)
  • Hometown(s)
  • Photo credit
  • Location

  • Weight/length of catch

  • Bait/lure

Important Note: If anyone in your picture is under 18 years of age, we must have a photo release signed by that person and a parent/guardian before we can post your picture. By sending any photos or art to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources you are giving DNR permission to use the image(s) online and in print. You are also giving DNR permission to distribute the photo for non-commercial purposes to other media, print, digital and television for their use. You are not giving up your copyright, but are allowing the photo(s) to be used for educational and news purposes.

Send your photos and information to Keith Lockwood

Until next week,

Tight Lines,

Keith Lockwood
MD DNR Fisheries Service

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