Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | March 07, 2012

Although it is not officially spring there are a lot of signs in nature that it is not far away. Last Thursday the spring peepers let loose in my neighborhood due to flooding in nontidal woodlands and yesterday blue-winged teal were moving through the region beautifully decked out in their breeding plumage as they headed north. Just about everyone has got the itch to get out and do some fishing now; whether it is fishing for some trout, largemouth bass or in this case fishing in the rain for yellow perch on the upper Tuckahoe River. This lucky angler definitely earned this stringer of large yellow perch.


Photo Courtesy of Keith Lockwood

In most areas the yellow perch are about finished spawning and egg masses can be seen hanging from submerged branches in the spawning areas. There are always a few stragglers and fishermen found themselves in many areas catching both pre-spawn and post-spawn yellow perch last weekend. Water levels have been high in the upper reaches of many tidal rivers and creeks due to heavy rain earlier in the week and no doubt there will be more rain this month so fishermen as always will deal with conditions. Just be safe since water temperatures are 50-degrees at best in most areas. Jay Fleming sent us this beautiful underwater shot of a yellow perch and egg masses in the background.


Photo Courtesy of Jay Fleming

White perch have been quickly filling in right behind the yellow perch and fishing should be good for the next couple of weeks. Over the weekend fishermen encountered mostly male white perch in the upper reaches of the bay's tidal rivers but the larger female white perch should not be far behind. The top bait choices tended to be pieces of bloodworm and nightcrawlers fished close to the bottom. Grass shrimp are usually a good choice also and it seems at times one bait will out perform another on any given day.

Fishing in the Chesapeake tends to focus on catch and release fishing at warm water discharges such as Calvert Cliffs by jigging with various types of jigs; including my personal favorite when jigging over rocks; the butterfly jig. You can make your own by placing snelled hooks at the top of most any metal jig or buy them already rigged. A few boats have been seen out on the bay trolling for striped bass practicing catch and release and testing out new gear. Striped bass are already up the tidal rivers and are staging for spawning early next month or perhaps the very end of March. Water temperatures tend to dictate the spawn and water temperatures now are right around 50-degrees in the upper reaches of most tidal rivers. Optimum spawning water temperature is 64.5-degrees but larger females can spawn at water temperatures as low as 52-degrees. Fishermen need to remember that the spawning reaches of the tidal rivers are off limits to catch and release fishing and for a good reason.

Freshwater fishing opportunities abound this week for a wide variety of freshwater fish. Fisheries biologists have been busy with pre-season trout stocking of many areas; which has been providing some fun fishing recently. Be sure to check out the daily updates to the stockings. www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/stocking/index.asp

As waters warm up in the states lakes, ponds and rivers fishermen are finding all kinds of fishing possibilities for chain pickerel to muskie and everything in between. Largemouth bass are being caught along steep edges of channels and lakes shores on grub jigs, deep running crankbaits and slow rolled spinnerbaits close to the bottom. Crappie are still schooled up in deep water near edges and structure, live minnows and small tubes and spinner jigs are good choices to catch them. Chain pickerel are very active this time of the year and spinners, spoons and Rapala type swimming plugs will catch them. Tim Campbell holds up a nice one for the camera before releasing it back into the water.


Photo Courtesy of Tim Campbell

Although river levels on the upper Potomac can be high this time of the year fishing for a mix of walleye and smallmouth bass can be very good when water levels are suitable for boating and fishing. Jigs, swim shads and small crankbaits can be good lures to try when fished close to the bottom. The top dog of the upper Potomac, the muskie is always cruising out there somewhere also and offers a challenge to any angler.

Fishermen in the Ocean City continue to catch some impressive tautog offshore on the wreck and artificial reef sites. Fishermen fishing within the 3-miles EEZ Zone are steadily picking at striped bass moving up the coast. Trolling large parachutes, Mojos and Stretch plugs has been the tactic most used by the fleet out of the Ocean City Inlet.

"March," the Old Man said, "is a fine month for remembering. I suppose that's because there is really nothing else you can do in it. Don't ever let anybody tell you that getting old happens in the autumn of your life. It happens in March." - The Old Man And The Boy, Robert Ruark

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


David Drutz
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
5
Sent in on: April 23, 2014 Permalink

Great to Be Back on the Water

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Upper Bay
Location: Near Bay Bridge
Tags: Striped Bass

Opening Day 2014 had high expectations. We started off heading south to Deale, Maryland on the eastern side. We set up our lines and started trolling to the Eastern Shore toward Bloody Point. Saw fish on the sounder, but no bites. We trolled for about three (3) hours with no luck. After a little frustration, we decided to pick up the lines and head north toward the Bay Bridge on eastern side. We set up again and started trolling a little north of the bridge in about seventy-five (75) feet of water and started seeing a lot of fish on the sounder. I noticed a head boat on my port side approximately fifty (50) feet ahead of us in between the bridge and the LP buoy. He was running plainer boards and all of a sudden we saw him catch one. It looked like it was a pretty nice sized fish. Within ten (10) minutes he caught three (3) more, so I know that there were fish here. Unfortunately, we didn't catch one, but still a great day on the water.

Day two, Sunday, April 20, 2014, was a little different. We had a late start due to small craft advisory in the morning. But, by two o'clock the wind laid down and it was fishable. So. I headed across the bay to the LP buoy, started trolling north towards the Bay Bridge and saw fish up and down the whole water column, but still no bites. As we neared the Bay Bridge, I decided to troll through the Bay Bridge and make my turn on the south side and head back toward the LP Buoy on my same track. The current was so strong, while I was going through the bridge my long line was getting very close to the pylon. Then all of a sudden, the long line hit and we caught this beautiful thirty-nine (39) inch rock on a white tandem rig one hundred and seventy five (175) feet out. It was great to be back on the water. It was a long winter!

 PHOTOS 

James Berry
Recreational Angler
Chesapeake Beach, MD
Total Reports:
27
Sent in on: April 23, 2014 Permalink

Potomac River Snakeheads

Type: Tidal
Region: Southern
Location: Potomac River
Tags: Northern Snakehead, Invasive

I shot some more snakehead fish on the Potomac River on April 21st, the one in this picture weighed 13.5 pounds. Still not seeing very many in day light hours, but I think now that it is getting warmer that will change.

 PHOTOS 

Jaida Snider
Youth Angler
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: April 23, 2014 Permalink

40 Inch Rockfish

Type: Chesapeake
Region:
Location: Chesapeake Bay
Tags: Striped Bass

Jaida caught this 40" Striped Bass while fishing with her dad.

 PHOTOS