Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | March 12, 2014

It would have been hard for anyone not to have caught a touch of spring fever yesterday as temperatures soared up to the 70-degree mark, a very welcomed harbinger of what is to come. Signs of spring are beginning to show everywhere if one looks for them; Woodcock or Timber Doodles are buzzing around, Canada Geese and Whistling Swans are headed north, Wood Ducks have arrived, flower bulbs are poking up and one of my nesting Ospreys was waiting for me when I arrived home from work yesterday. Traditional spawning runs of fish are finally beginning to occur, trout stockings are moving along and fishermen will start to make some positive moves towards going out to do some fishing.

My two fishing buddies and I figured we'd give the Yellow Perch a try on the Tuckahoe River near Hillsboro this past Sunday. Despite the chill, we had great fun and felt like we participated; our timing unfortunately did not match up with that of the Yellow Perch. Three hours in a canoe dunking minnows made for some stiff legs at the boat ramp which caused some reflection on younger days that seemed a long, long time ago. A sight for sore eyes developed when four young guys full of purpose and determination pulled up with all the right stuff. We watched as they began unloading their kayaks and hitting the water for a day on the upper Tuckahoe fishing for Chain Pickerel. For an old timer like me it was nice to see young guys enjoying what the outdoors has to offer.


Photos by Keith Lockwood

The fish that tends to be on fishermen's minds this time of the year are Yellow Perch and their arrival to traditional fishing holes has been delayed due to cold water temperatures in many of the bay's tidal rivers and creeks. It only takes one sunny and warm day to get fishermen out to try their luck and several to elevate water temperatures to the Yellow Perch's liking. A water temperature of 46-degrees tends to be the magic number for spawning Yellow Perch and last Sunday for example the water temperature at Hillsboro on the Tuckahoe River was 43-degrees and fishing there was very slow; fortunately recent warm weather has changed all of that. This 10-1/2" Yellow Perch was the only fish caught by three fishermen dunking minnows in the Tuckahoe at Hillsboro on Sunday; they did much better on late Tuesday afternoon.


Photo Courtesy of Tom O'Connell

The last couple of days have done much to change the nature of the Yellow Perch runs and fish that were holding far down river earlier this week have begun to move through traditional areas where fishermen can target them with jigs and bottom rigs baited with grass shrimp, earthworms or minnows. Yesterday's 70-degree temperatures was just what the doctor ordered and Yellow Perch began to make their appearance at traditional locations and fishermen reported good to excellent catches. At Hillsboro on the Tuckahoe there was an excellent run of nice perch during the afternoon and fishermen did very well as water temperatures rose to 47-degrees by late afternoon.

Fishermen have been reporting earlier this week that they were finding Yellow Perch holding in some of the deeper holes of tidal rivers and creeks downstream of the traditional target areas such as the Ganey's Wharf area on the Choptank, Jug Bay on the Patuxent River and the Shad Landing area of the Pocomoke River. These Yellow Perch are now on the move up river and should provide good fishing through the weekend. There has been some Yellow Perch action reported in the lower Susquehanna in the deepest channel areas for several weeks and last week the ice in the lower section of the Northeast River began to recede; so there should be some fishing opportunities there.

It will be a while before fishermen see any appreciable White Perch numbers moving up the tidal rivers and creeks; fyke netters in the middle river areas have been seeing very little in their nets for the past two weeks. As waters warm up in the next couple of weeks; Hickory Shad will be moving up the tidal rivers and creeks and fishermen will be looking forward to the fun catch and release fishing that these restored populations are providing. Now is the time for selecting shad darts, flies and flashy spoons before you find yourself looking at empty shelves at your favorite tackle shop. Fish passage program leader Jim Thompson has been making sure the fish passage or fish ladders are in good shape for the expected arrival of river herring and Hickory Shad and finds himself up to the top of his waders at the fish ladder at Winters Run which is a tributary of the Bush River.


Photo Courtesy of Jim Thompson

Trout are also on fishermen's minds this time of the year and often the pre-season stocking of trout in the non- closure areas allow put and take fishermen to put a little bend in their fishing rods and a few trout on the dinner table. Stocking crews had been plagued with ice on the trout holding ponds that prevented them from seining out the trout for pre-season stockings in non-closure areas. Some areas have been stocked and crews are working overtime trying to keep up with the closure stockings and fill in some of the pre-season stockings. The best way to obtain the latest stocking information is to subscribe to the Fisheries contact email list where stockings are posted as they occur. The following link will take you to the site where you can subscribe. http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/emailcontact.asp One of the places crews were out recently was Hunting Creek Lake at Cunningham Falls State Park where crews had to cut through 13" of ice with a chain saw and pour the trout down through the hole that they had cut into the lake ice; all in a day's work for fisheries crews.


Photos Courtesy of Marshal Brown

The warmer days when they occur entice fishermen to check out favorite local ponds or waterways to try their hand at casting for Largemouth Bass, Crappie and Chain Pickerel; except for the Chain Pickerel the most productive presentations are usually deep and slow. Soft plastic jigs, slow rolled spinnerbaits and crankbaits are often the best choices for lures. Chain Pickerel love cold water and will attack most any kind of spinner, spoon or swimming minnow lure. John Mullican reports that Walleye fishing in the upper Potomac is good this week but warns that recent snow melt and predicted rain may cause the river to be running high and fast later on this week. Readers can check out his recent angler's logs for more detailed information on Walleyes and Smallmouth Bass.

Ice fishermen at Deep Creek Lake have been experiencing one of the best seasons for hard water fishing in a few years. The extreme cold that have seen homeowners heating bills soar and caused some challenging driving conditions has also manifested itself in plenty of thick ice. Fishermen have been catching Yellow Perch, Walleye, Bluegills, Chain Pickerel and Northern Pike. Fishermen have been experiencing some surface slush recently on the warmer days and the edges along shorelines are starting to show signs of receding; so this coming weekend may be one of the last good and safe chances to ice fish at Deep Creek Lake.


Photo Courtesy of Matt Sell

Chesapeake Bay fishermen will start to pull covers off their boats and begin to think about sprucing them up and painting bottoms. Those who keep their boats on trailers usually have less to do and will be checking out the warm water discharge at the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant for some catch and release fishing for Striped Bass that are moving past, on their way up the bay's spawning rivers. The drift begins where the discharge boils up and continues for a couple of hundred yards. Large plastic jigs such as 8" to 10" BKD's, Crippled Herring and butterfly jigs are jigged along the rocky bottom with hopes of a solid thump.

Fishermen in the Ocean City area have been sitting tight for the most part for the past few weeks. Water temperatures at the near shore reefs and wreck sites have become so cold that the Tautog have been fussy about biting. The wreck and reef sites outside of the 20-Fathom Line are the most popular areas to fish this time of the year. Warm days and light winds will bring out a few fishermen who will venture out to the wreck and reef sites to give the Tautog a try and most likely a few fish will cooperate. Surf fishing will mostly be Spiny Dogfish and skates and it will be another month before Tautog start to nose near the Ocean City Inlet.

"Rivers and the inhabitants of the water elements are made for wise men to contemplate and for fools to pass by without consideration." - Izaak Walton

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