Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | May 04, 2011

For many of us it is hard to believe that May is already here and with it comes consistently warmer weather and with that warmer water temperatures and the arrival of the summer migrants into the bay and ocean waters. In freshwater circles the largemouth bass are spawning in most areas and most other species are very active. May is a marvelous month to spend some time fishing whether one is out on the open waters of the Atlantic, Chesapeake or tucked in at some favorite honey hole on a local stream, lake or pond.

This Saturday in Greensboro on the upper Choptank River there will be the 8th Annual Greensboro Fishing Derby. Registration is at 8am at the town park on the banks of the Choptank. The fishing derby is a great day to get your little ones out there fishing and is totally FREE! There are trophies for each age division as well as a trophy for the biggest fish of the day. Also there is free food for the kids, door prizes for them and each child will receive a free t-shirt. This event is made possible by individuals and businesses both in and around our community who so graciously make a donation; we love that this is free to the kids and hope to be able to keep it that way for many years to come! The Greensboro Fishing Derby is a Maryland Fishing Challenge sponsored youth event and one lucky young angler will be randomly selected for a free fishing trip at the Grand Awards ceremony at Sandy Point State Park on September 10th.

Garrett Beebe

Fishing conditions on the Chesapeake have improved in regards to wind and stained water lately; water temperatures in the middle bay region are over 60-degrees now. Most of the striped bass spawning is now over in the Choptank, Nanticoke, Patuxent and Potomac Rivers. Last to go off is the upper bay and fish there were reported to be spawning in the Elk River over the weekend. Water temperatures in the upper bay near the mouth of the Susquehanna River have been holding around 57-degrees lately. Garrett Beebe, his bother Logan and friend Christopher Lempke were fishing with their fathers during the MSSA Tournament when they caught these fine looking striped bass.

This coming week will perhaps be the peak of the spring striped bass season in regards to opportunity to intercept fish moving down the shipping channel. The shipping channel is the super highway for these fish leaving the bay and the steeper edges where currents are faster and stronger tend to attract them. Water clarity has become clearer and fishermen have been reporting good results with white parachutes and bucktails along with the classic standby of chartreuse. The western edge of the shipping channel from Breezy Point south to Cove Point is one of the best places to troll but it can get crowded on the weekends when planer boards are part of the equation. Some optional locations that are also great places to troll are the False Channel at the mouth of the Choptank, Bloody Point, Thomas Point, Buoy 83, Hooperís Island Light and there are dozens of other channel edges throughout the bay and Potomac River that are good places to troll. Check out the charts and use some exploratory wisdom to find that big fish who is waiting for you. This big post-spawn fish are looking for food on their way out of the bay and post-spawn river herring, hickory shad and menhaden are what are on the menu. Rich Watts was trolling off Thomas Point recently and snagged this fine specimen of an adult menhaden with a parachute while trolling.

Snagged Menhaden Rich Watts

The Susquehanna Flats Catch and release fishery is over and many fishermen have been grumbling that it never really got going due to high stained water and cool water temperatures. There was a lot of bait fishing this year because of the water conditions but many fishermen stuck to the idea of casting lures and still managed to catch and release a few nice fish. There is word that a plug of water is headed towards the Conowingo dam from upper Pennsylvania and should arrive here tomorrow. Hickory shad fishing at Deer and Octoraro Creeks has been at its zenith this week and the action should certainly continue through this weekend.

Croakers have been steadily moving into the region and fishermen can now expect good catches of croakers in the southern and middle bay regions. The croakers have been showing up in the evening hours along channel edges in about 25í of water. Bloodworms, Fishbites, shrimp and peeler crab have been the baits to use on a bottom rig. Some of the hotspots have been the lower Potomac near Cobb Island and St. Georges Island, the mouth of the Patuxent River, Buoy 72 and the mouth of the Honga River. Shore locations such as the Point Lookout Fishing Pier, the fishing pier under the Solomonís Bridge (Rt. 4) and the deep end of the Choptank Fishing Pier are good places to fish for croakers in the evenings. White perch have moved into the lower sections of the tidal rivers now and can be found near docks, piers and structure such as oyster bars.

Freshwater fishermen are finding good fishing opportunities for trout in the put and take areas and additional management waters. Despite recent rains water flows have been good in most trout streams and creeks; water temperatures are still cool, so make sure to get out and enjoy some trout fishing before summer temperatures arrive. Largemouth bass have been spawning in the shallows and many are now done. Look for largemouth bass near any kind of grass of spatterdock or in transition areas outside the shallow coves. Rolling spinnerbaits along grass edges and transition areas is a good choice and chatterbaits over grass is also a good option. Whacky rigged worms or crankbaits near sunken wood are also good choices for locating bass. Bluegills are near the shallow areas now as are crappie and chain pickerel. David Pike was casting a soft plastic lizard lure in a southern region lake when he caught and released this fine looking largemouth bass.

David Pike

At Deep Creek Lake water temperatures are still rather cool and fishing has centered on drifting live minnows for a mix of smallmouth bass, walleye and large yellow perch. Near the shallow coves where water temperatures are higher, largemouth bass can be found along with bluegills, chain pickerel and the occasional northern pike.

All kinds of fishing opportunities are busting loose in the Ocean City area this week. Water temperatures in the surf area are now up to 55-degrees and the fishing is heating up. Flounder fishing in the back bay areas has been good as more flounder move through the inlet. They are being caught from the airport up to the Route 90 Bridge. Bluefish in the 18Ē size category moved into the surf and inlet areas this week and are being caught by casting lures at the inlet or fishing finger mullet in the surf on a bottom rig. Tautog fishing inside the inlet around the Route 50 Bridge and bulkheads has been good; green crabs and frozen sand fleas have been the favorite baits. The night crew has been catching some nice striped bass at the inlet by casting swim shad type lures. Large striped bass are beginning to show up in the Ocean City area on their northward migration from the Chesapeake Bay. The opportunities for catching a large striped bass are very good this week so donít miss it. Fresh menhaden baits on stout surf fishing tackle are a must and the head tend to last longer when pesky skates are chewing up baits.

Tautog fishing on the wreck sites remains very good this week and the crew on the Wrangler out of Ocean City Fishing Center did an overnight trip last weekend and came back with what may be the seasonís first mako and bluefin tuna to come into the Ocean City docks.

Never fish with anyone who offers you a helmet -The Laws of Angling, Randy Voorhees


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.