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


Jim Curtis
Recreational Angler
Hampstead, MD
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: August 28, 2014 Permalink

Prettyboy Bass

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Prettyboy Reservoir
Tags: Smallmouth Bass

I caught this Smallmouth Bass yesterday evening at Prettyboy Reservoir, in Baltimore County. It was 19.5 inches long, caught on a small curly tail jig in about 20 feet of water.

 PHOTOS 

Mike Bonicker
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: August 28, 2014 Permalink

Crab Report with Oddities

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid Bay
Location: South of Kent Island
Tags: Blue Crab, Remora, Horseshoe Crab

This is my first post but I had a couple strange catches while crabbing this past Saturday that I wanted to report. My father-in-law and I crabbed south of Kent Island from 6:30 until 11:30 and managed a full bushel of 70 crabs. Nothing huge but half were 6 to 7 inches and the other half were 5 1/4 to 6. The strange catches were 2 horseshoe crabs and an18" striped remora (unfortunately I didn't get a picture. We use mostly 30" hoop traps and it got stuck in the netting) I guess that the horseshoe crabs could indicate the salinity is up in that area (along with LOTS of jellyfish). I know remoras usually hang with large sharks and other such creatures so I was really surprised to see that one without thinking that maybe a large shark could have been in the area.

DNR Response: Small Remora are an uncommon visitor to the Chesapeake Bay and can swim freely or even hitch a ride on a sea turtle and of course sharks. Small Cobia are also found in the bay this time of the year and look very similar except they lack the suction disk on the top of their head. Salinities in the mid bay area right now are about 11.5 ppt on the surface and 19 ppt on the bottom which is about normal for this time of the year. Horseshoe Crabs are not uncommon in the bay up to the Bay Bridge.


James Berry
Recreational Angler
Chesapeake Beach, Md
Total Reports:
34
Sent in on: August 28, 2014 Permalink

Hunting For Blue Cats

Type: Tidal
Region: Southern
Location: Potomac River
Tags: Blue Catfish, Invasive

I have been out looking for snakehead fish on the Potomac with my bow at night and have not seen very many. I have seen some large blue cats and changed over to hunting them. We were able to shoot all we wanted once we found where they were. These were taken on 8-25-14. Some over 50 lbs.

 PHOTOS