Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | July 23, 2014



Welcome to this week's fishing report and the contributions of some of our fisheries biologists who have supplied personal reports from their regions. Through their help and the power of the internet we bring you this week's fishing report. I have been checking on the weather and the fishing in Maryland through phone calls and texting all week and it is clear that fishing in Maryland holds many opportunities this week. I have been fortunate to be able to do some offshore fishing off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii with my wife and friends and every day is an adventure here for this Maryland boy. The depth of water here at such a short distance from shore is amazing; how does 2,000 fathoms (yes that is 18,000' deep) within sight of land sound? Trolling here means large clear acrylic headed lures with skirts made out of metal flake upholstery fabric that looks like it came out of a 1950's car. The Blue Marlin bite has been allusive so far but the Yellowfin and Bigeye Tuna fishing, which are both called Ahi in Hawaiian has been exciting. My arms and shoulders are sore and I've been getting a little too much sun and have also ruined some shirts and shorts with tuna blood stains but I am having a ball. The picture below is 135 lbs of Yellowfin Tuna that just hit the deck after a grueling tug of war between fish and your author.


Photo by Keith Lockwood

The dam pool at the base of the Conowingo Dam continues to give up some nice Striped Bass in the early morning hours for those who know how to fish for them. Casting swim shads, bucktails and hard baits such as swimming plugs, jerkbaits and crankbaits all seem to be working. The dam is generally speaking on a mid-day power generation schedule so the early mornings offer some of the better opportunities.

There are plenty of Flathead Catfish in the dam pool area and Channel Catfish can be found in the lower Susquehanna River and other nearby rivers such as the Elk, Northeast and out in the bay all the way down to the Bay Bridge due to lower salinities this summer. There is also plenty of excellent White Perch fishing to be had in all of the upper bay tidal rivers and most tidal creeks as well as shoreline structure along the bay shores and the Bay Bridge. A simple bottom rig baited with bloodworms, grass shrimp or small minnows are a summer classic but casting small spinners and jigs with ultra light tackle is always a lot of fun with these feisty cousins of the Striped Bass.

Striped Bass fishing in the upper bay continues to be good this week for those who are persistent enough to explore new locations to find fish; this when a good depth finder is very important. Whether one has trolling, jigging, chumming or live lining Spot on their minds, you have to check out likely looking channel edges and hard bottom areas. Striped Bass are being found along the Love Point edges, the Dumping Grounds and channel edges near Sandy Point, the Patapsco and similar edges all over the upper bay. Most of the trolling action is with bucktails and spoons and often accounts for a better grade of fish as compared to chumming. The Bay Bridge piers also continue to hold Striped Bass and live lining, jigging and chumming are good ways to fish for them.

In the middle bay area it is hard to have a conversation with anyone about Striped Bass without the Hill and the mouth of Eastern Bay being a dominant topic. Once again this is where the Striped Bass want to be and those that remember the early 90's this was where the action was. Over the years we have seen the Gooses and the Gas Docks command top billing and we seem to be back to the Hill area once more. One thing that has definitely changed though is the switch from chumming to live lining Spot. More than a few are feeling the need to find their own little spot and a little more elbow room. Live liners, those wishing to jig or troll are finding a little more room at channel edges near R4 in Eastern Bay, the Bloody Point area, Hackett's Bar, the 83 Buoy, Thomas Point, the Clay Banks, Stone Rock and the list goes on. Find good structure, good current, Oxygen and temperature and you will find Striped Bass. Bryon Floyd found this nice 33" Striped Bass while jigging a channel edge in Eastern Bay.


Photo by Herb Floyd

Small Bluefish have not been friendly to everyone's precious Spot and they are tearing them up pretty bad. Finding a good supply of Spot can be a chore for some; this is the time to bring out the Calvary in the form of kids with light spinning gears and plenty of bloodworms. The Spot that are too large for live lining can be cut up in chunks; which will also help to wreak some vengeance on the small bluefish. Depending on location croakers and White Perch can also be part of the mix.

The lower bay region is offering some mixed Bluefish and Striped Bass action for those chumming in the lower Potomac and Patuxent River, the Middle Grounds, Buoy 72 and above the Target Ship. The throwback ratio on the Striped Bass is reported to be high and Bluefish tend to dominate the chum slicks at times but there is plenty of action. Trolling in these areas is a good option with spoons and along the western edge of the shipping channel. There have also been reports of large Red Drum and Cobia in the areas around the Target Ship.

There are excellent bottom fishing opportunities for a mix of croakers, White Perch, Bluefish and Spot in the lower sections of the region's tidal rivers and the Tangier Sound area. Light tackle shallow water fishing for a mix of Striped Bass, Red Drum, Bluefish and Speckled Trout has been good along the eastern shore marshes and the mouth of the Patuxent River in the early morning and late evening hours.

Recreational crabbing continues to be tough when it comes to obtaining a bushel of crabs but persistence is paying off for those that explore the tidal rivers of the middle and lower bay regions. Todd Clark holds up a pair of whoppers he caught while trot lining in the Miles River recently.


Photo by Rich Watts

John Mullican sent us the following report from the upper Potomac. The Potomac has finally settled into summer low flows and the fish have settled into their predictable summer patterns. Fishermen have a mixed bag of fish to pursue including Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Channel Catfish, Muskie, and Carp. Fishermen targeting Smallmouth rely on small tubes, 4" stick worms, and topwaters. Dont overlook small blue and white poppers during the heat of the day when bass can be seen leaping for damsel flies in shallow, rocky runs. Most of these fish will be small, but a lot of fun to catch.

State Park impoundments such as Cunningham Falls Reservoir in Frederick County and Greenbriar Lake in Washington County offer great fishing for those not intimidated by beaches, paddle boats, and the like. Both of these impoundments offer abundant Largemouth Bass and impressively-sized sunfish. Target the deep weed edges with a piece of worm on a small jighead under a small float for steady action. A recent fish survey of Greenbriar Lake found numerous large redear sunfish, some over eleven inches! For Largemouth, target grass beds with topwater baits during the early morning or evening hours moving deeper during the day with wacky-rigged or Texas-rigged worms.

A recent annual population survey of Deep Creek Lake was conducted by fisheries staff surveying 20 stations throughout all habitat areas of the lake. The lake continues to support a diverse fishery with angling opportunities for Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed, Rock Bass, Black Crappie, Chain Pickerel, Northern Pike, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Common Carp. The Yellow Perch population is truly extraordinary; in just about every station we collected fish in the 12 to 14" size range. Large Bluegill and Pumpkinseed were also common in all areas of the lake. Largemouth Bass abundance is highest in shallow coves with plenty of submerged aquatic vegetation and stumps, with many of the bass in the 15 to 20" size class. While fish were present in all shoreline habitats, the shallow ends of coves with aquatic vegetation held the greatest number and diversity of fish.

Fisheries biologists worked with members of the Western Maryland Fishing Guides Association to float stock 750 Rainbow Trout in the lower Catch and Return Trout Fishing Area of the North Branch Potomac River. The fishing guides used their rafts equipped with aerated coolers to float the river and distribute the trout in the more remote areas. Staff also stocked 250 in the upper C&R area of the North Branch Potomac River as well as 500 Rainbow Trout in the Youghiogheny River C&R Trout Fishing Area.

Approximately 8,000 Rainbow Trout fingerlings and 1,500 Brown Trout fingerlings from Albert Powell Hatchery into Gunpowder Falls tailwater (5,000 Rainbows only) and Little Seneca Creek tailwater (3,000 Rainbow Trout and 1,500 Brown Trout) for put-and-grow to provide catchable size trout for anglers.

Approximately 20,000 Striped Bass fingerlings at 500/lb. (2 inches in length) and 400 four inch Striped Bass from Manning Hatchery and stocked approximately 15,000 fingerlings into Liberty Reservoir and the remaining 5,000 into Piney Run Reservoir in Carroll County.

14,000 Largemouth Bass fingerlings were stocked in Chicamuxen Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River. The fish were stocked to Concord Cove, an area that historically served as an exceptional nursery for juvenile Largemouth Bass.

"Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for." " - Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Keith Lockwood has been writing the Fishing Report since 2003 and has had a long career as a fisheries research biologist since 1973. Over the course of his career he has studied estuarine fishery populations, ocean species, and over a decade long study of bioaccumulation of chemicals in aquatic species in New Jersey. Upon moving to Oxford on the eastern shore of Maryland; research endeavors focused on a variety of catch and release studies as well as other fisheries related research at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory. Education and outreach to the fishing public has always been an important component to the mission of these studies. Keith is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, bird dogs, family and life on the eastern shore of Maryland.



Latest Angler's Log Reports


Jacob Holtz
Recreational Angler
Silver Spring
Total Reports:
8
Sent in on: July 23, 2014 Permalink

Weekend Report

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Patapsco River, Northwest Branch and Susquehanna State Park
Tags: Smallmouth Bass, Pumpkinseed, Chub, Fallfish

I got to spend some time in and on the water this past weekend and thought I'd send an update. On Saturday, I fished the Patapsco with my wife Beata, who caught her biggest fish to date (10" smallmouth), which was also the biggest fish of the day. Also caught a number of pumpkinseeds, chubs, and fallfish. Later that evening while waiting on friends I fished the Northwest Branch in Montgomery County. I caught more pumpkinseeds than I could count, none more than 6", but all an absolute joy to catch in a tiny urban stream. Then on Sunday we made a short visit to the Susquehanna State Park and fished along the bank for about half an hour. Unfortunately it was right as the water levels started rising due to afternoon energy production at the dam, but before we got flooded out we connected on another nice smallie and a fairly hefty sunfish. All of the fish over the course of the weekend were caught on small in-line spinners.

We also collected some raspberries along the way to the fishing spots - just another great reason to get out!

 PHOTOS 

Dave Zajano
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: July 23, 2014 Permalink

Memorial Stadium Reef and Mr. Whiskers

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Upper Bay
Location: Memorial Stadium Reef
Tags: White Perch, Channel Catfish, MARI Survey

I am very happy to report that the White Perch have finally arrived on the upper bay reefs. Their arrival this year is more than one month later than the preceding two years. On Monday July 21 Dr. Ken Lewis and I went out to fish Memorial Stadium reef and Man-O-War shoal with high hopes of finally getting some decent numbers to report for the MARI reef survey. We were not disappointed. Most of the White Perch were small, but we did get about a half dozen in the 9.5 to 11.5" range.

While fishing the Memorial Stadium site the drag on Ken's ultra light reel suddenly screamed and line on the spool disappeared toward the horizon. I fired up the engine and the chase was on. Clearly this fish was more than a match for the light rigging as he took line at will. After 15 minutes the fish finally began to tire and for the first time we were actually able to put line back on the reel by pulling it in as opposed to chasing him. When Ken finally brought him to the net we were rewarded with a 28" channel cat that nudged 10 pounds on the digital hand held scale.

Great weather + some delicious white perch + a big cat + two angler reports for the MARI reef survey = a great day on the bay.

 PHOTOS 

Skylar Hepner
Youth Angler
Mechanicsville
Total Reports:
5
Sent in on: July 23, 2014 Permalink

No Fish Just Ponies at Assateague

Type: Ocean
Region: Eastern
Location: Assateague Island, MD
Tags: Catfish, White Perch, Striped Bass

Last week my mom and dad took me to Assateague Island State Park to fish, see the ponies, and to do the Park Quest. We didn't catch any fish but we did see a couple of ponies.

I also visited my mom and dad's friends Bob and Sandy. Bob took us fishing at Crosswicks Creek in his boat. I caught a lot of fish (catfish, white perch, and one small rockfish). I released everything that I caught. I had a great day at both the places that I went to.

 PHOTOS