Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | August 03, 2011

At present the heat wave of the last two weeks seems to have lessened a bit as we enter August. As many of you know I was on vacation during that time and actually upon hearing the weather reports from friends felt a little guilty to be where the high temperatures were in the mid-80's. I was on my annual pilgrimage to the Hawaiian Islands where I enjoyed some wonderful offshore fishing adventures with my local friends there among other fun activities. After all these years I found myself actually beginning to understand their Pidgin English which brings a smile to my face even now. The offshore fishing off of Kona is something I hope some of you can experience someday; it is affordable since the fishing is very close to shore. There are plenty of blue and striped marlin and some of the biggest yellowfin tuna (ahi) that you'll ever want to tangle with. When they exceed 200lbs the locals call them gorillas; a 135lber just about did in this fisherman. Anyhow it is good to be back in Maryland.

Several things occurred while I was away and one of them was of course the heat and the effect it has had on water temperatures in the bay. The heavy rains we experienced in the spring and the run off that ensued have set the stage for anoxic conditions in the deeper waters of the bay. Creatures that can move to better living conditions will do so and striped bass seem to be one of the bay's inhabitants that have done just that. Fishing for striped bass at many traditional locations has been very good since the fish are concentrated. The DNR biologists at Resource Assessment sent us these two links that provide some useful information in tracking the low oxygen or dead zones in the bay.

Some very exciting news awaited me when I got back in the office in regards to a fisherman catching one of the Diamond Jim tagged fish at Love Point. David Huffman of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania is the lucky angler and we will all have to wait until the Fishing Challenge Award Ceremony on September 10th at Sandy Point State Park to see how lucky he will be.

Fishermen have been finding that some of the better fishing opportunities for striped bass in the upper bay region has been in the early morning and evening hours. A good tide is very important and fish will move to locations where food and cooler oxygen rich water prevail. The dam pool at Conowingo Dam continues to hold enough striped bass to tempt anglers to try their luck by casting plugs, swim shads or drifting live eels. Farther down the bay, the area around Love Point continues to be a focal point for chumming. The early morning tide has been the best time for the opportunity to catch the better sized striped bass. Fishermen are reporting a lot of undersized fish in the chum slicks. Trolling along channel edges has been productive also for a better grade of fish. Martha Grande caught this nice striped bass early in the morning while chumming at Love Point recently.

The bridge piers at the Bay Bridge continue to draw striped bass and fishermen. Jigging with soft plastic jigs or bucktails is very effective. Drifting live spot near the bases of the piers also continues to be effective. White perch can be found on many of the oyster shell reefs in the upper bay as well as the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers. Recreational crabbers are reporting good catches in the tidal rivers and creeks.

Middle bay region fishermen have been enjoying excellent fishing opportunities for striped bass by live lining spot at several traditional locations. The False Channel area, the Gooses and out in front of Poplar Island have been the places to go lately. There has been a good supply of spot, plenty of fish and very few bluefish, so life is good.

Fishermen have been spotting breaking fish throughout the region and often they are small fish but they are finding larger fish underneath by jigging with metal, soft plastic jigs or bucktails. Trolling can be an effective alternative and a mix of spoons, bucktails, surge tube lures and swim shads are the lures of choice. White perch fishing is good in the tidal rivers and creeks in the early morning and evening hours. The shallow water striped bass fishery can be a tough nut to crack this time of the year with high water temperatures so the hour before dawn offers the best opportunity. Croaker fishing is mostly an after dark situation; especially if you're looking for the larger ones. The croaker are holding in the deep cool waters of the channels and moving up into shallower waters at dark. Recreational crabbers continue to report good crabbing despite the heat.

Lower bay region fishermen looking for striped bass are loving life out in front of the Gas Docks. There are plenty of fish holding along the 30' edge and spot are relatively easy to come by in the tidal rivers and creeks. Trolling has also been a good way to catch striped bass and most fishermen are finding the fish deep along channel edges with spoons, surge tube lures and bucktails. There are some bluefish in the area so soft plastics are at risk. Jigging over fish holding to structure or under breaking fish is also a fun option.

Fishing for speckled trout on the eastern side of the bay is being reported to be good along the marshes and cuts. Casting Gulp white mullet lures and drifting soft crab baits have been good choices for this type of fishing. Flounder fishing in the Tangier Sound area has been excellent and croaker and spot fishing continues to be good; especially at dusk. Recreational crabbers report excellent catches throughout most of the region.

Freshwater fishermen at Deep Creek Lake report good fishing for largemouth bass along weed edges and near floating docks and downed tree tops. Matt Sell sent in an angler's log regarding some good walleye fishing he experienced and this picture.

The oppressive heat has caused most fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass to be a very early morning or late evening option. The bass are most active at night along the shallower areas that hold bait. The largemouth bass are quickly retreating to cool shaded areas such as deep sunken wood, under docks and thick grass after the sun comes up.

Ocean City fishermen are finding a typical summer mix of kingfish, croaker, spot, small bluefish and flounder in the surf early in the morning and in the evenings. There is still some catch and release fishing for sharks occurring; mostly in the evening. Fishermen at the inlet area are catching some nice flounder during the day and small bluefish and striped bass at night. Got-Cha lures are the lure of choice for bluefish and live eels for striped bass. Back bay fishing for flounder has been good but there are a lot of sub-legal fish so larger baits can be a good choice; especially live spot. Croaker and small sea bass are also part of the bottom fishing mix.

The boats heading out to the wreck sites off of Ocean City are finding fair to good fishing for sea bass and large flounder are now a welcomed addition to catches. Chunking and trolling for yellowfin tuna has been very good at the Hot Dog and the Hambone. A wonderful mix of bluefin tuna, wahoo, dolphin and white marlin are also being caught in those areas. Out in the canyon regions a mix of yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dolphin, white marlin, blue marlin and even sailfish have been entertaining fishermen this week. Next week is the premier offshore fishing event for Ocean City; the White Marlin Open and the fish are certainly here, everyone will be holding their breath to see where tropical storm Emily will track, good luck to all.

Memory is a man's real possession... In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor. -Alexander Smithe


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.