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Posted on March 5, 2012 | Permalink

Spring Walleye Survey on the Potomac

Type: Freshwater
Region:
Location: Upper Potomac River

The Fisheries Service has been conducting electrofishing surveys of the Potomac River walleye fishery. The surveys are conducted annually during the spring to gather population and size distribution data. A good portion of the catch has been 20 to 21 inches in length, within the protected size (From January 1 through April 15 the minimum size for walleye is 15” with a maximum size of 20” in the Potomac mainstem). Walleye from the 2011 yearclass (12 – 13”) and the 2010 yearclass (15 – 17”) were also represented in the samples. Although natural reproduction has been fairly consistent, the yearclasses have been relatively low. To supplement the existing natural reproduction, a small sample (30) of mature walleye was transferred to Manning Warmwater Hatchery for spawning. Following the spawning process the adults and resulting fingerlings will be returned to the river. Producing fingerlings in the hatchery increases their chance of survival because they don’t have to contend with potential floods that can reduce the survival of the fry produced in the wild. Potomac walleye typically spawn around the first week of April. River conditions are currently unsafe for boating following the recent heavy rainfall, but walleye fishing is predicted to be very good when river levels recede and the water clears. The report summed up what we have been doing, the river was too high to fish this past weekend.

Tags: Walleye

Posted on February 13, 2012 | Permalink

Winter Potomac Walleye

Type: Freshwater
Region:
Location: Upper Potomac River

Freshwater fishermen in Maryland are blessed with a diversity of year-round fishing opportunities. Potomac River walleye is a great winter option for those that dont mind a little uncomfortable weather. Walleye continue to bite well during frigid conditions when other fish become nearly dormant. Friends Kevin Gladhill and Steve Peperak and I endured cold winds and heavy snow squalls to catch a few walleye last weekend. Keep in mind that from January 1 through April 15 no walleye over 20" may be kept from the Potomac mainstem. Many walleye in the current fishery will be in this protected size this spring. Carefully releasing these large females will help ensure that the quality of this popular fishery remains high. Good luck and most importantly, be safe.

Tags: Walleye

Posted on February 7, 2012 | Permalink

St Judes Benefit Tournament on the upper Potomac

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Brunswick

An open tournament to raise money for St Judes Children’s Hospital was held on the upper Potomac River at the Brunswick Campground last Saturday. Dave and Mary Baker and Smoketown Bait and Tackle have hosted the popular winter tournament since 2009. Although State regulations permit five bass per angler with a 12” minimum size, tournament rules limited anglers to five bass per boat with a 15” minimum size. In the midst of a heavy snow squall, the twenty seven participating teams brought in 68 smallmouth bass over 15” with 11 of those exceeding 18”! First place went to the reigning champions Chris Cannon and Jerry Dayhoff who brought in five bass with a weight of 14.7 lbs. Runners up Jason Barrick and Doug Zittle finished a close second with five bass at 14.5 lbs. Congratulations to all the anglers that participated to raise money for a good cause. Several of the winners also donated their winnings.

Open tournaments like this one are a good opportunity for Inland Fisheries to collect information about angler catch rates and bass growth rates and are an important tool in managing the fishery. Following the weigh-in procedure and data collection, the bass were held in an aerated tank and subsequently released back into the Potomac.

Tags: Smallmouth Bass

Posted on January 30, 2012 | Permalink

Winter Smallmouth

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Upper Potomac River

My good friend Kevin Gladhill and I fished the upper Potomac River over the weekend for smallmouth bass. Warmer air over the 39 degree water made for a beautiful foggy morning until the sun burned through. It took light jigs fished very slowly to tempt the lethargic bass. We landed about a dozen nice smallmouth between 13 and 19 inches and lost a few more before gusty 30 mph winds cut the day short.

Tags: Smallmouth Bass

Posted on January 5, 2012 | Permalink

New Years Day Smallmouth

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Upper Potomac

My fishing partner Steve Peperak and I decided to start 2012 off right – with a fishing trip to the Potomac of course! We hit the river on New Years Day to try for smallmouth bass (don’t forget to get your new license!). Thanks to a much warmer than normal December, the river has remained near 40°F extending the fishing season well into the winter. Fishing in cold water frequently requires smaller lures and a slower presentation, tough to do given the gusty winds. The bass cooperated, though, and we caught quite a few from 12 to 18 inches. Warming trends during the winter can bring very good fishing. Try small jigs fished very slow on the bottom. Most takes will be subtle and can be easily missed if you’re not paying attention. Be careful and wear your PFD.

Tags: Smallmouth Bass

Posted on November 29, 2011 | Permalink

Inland Opportunities

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Upper Potomac River

Don’t put the rods away just yet; there is still some great fishing to be had before winter’s grip tightens. It can be hard to decide whether to hunt or fish during the fall as there is only so much time! With meat in the freezer, I convinced my fishing partner Steve to spend a day chasing smallmouth bass on the upper Potomac. We decided to fish a fairly remote stretch of river in the mountains of western Maryland. This area is quiet this time of year and we saw no other boats the entire day. The action was steady and between us we landed more than 40 smallmouth ranging from 10 to 18” with most of them right around 12”. Small tubes and other jigs presented slowly, often motionless, on the bottom were most effective. Unfortunately, recent precipitation raised the river to unsafe levels and levels are predicted to rise even further by the end of the week. Always check the water levels prior to planning a trip, wear your PFD, and make some time to enjoy the river before winter.

Tags: Smallmouth Bass

Posted on October 28, 2011 | Permalink

NEW REPORT

Surveys continue on the Upper Potomac

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Upper Potomac River

The crew has been busy netting fish during our annual fall electrofishing surveys on the upper Potomac River. Upper and middle river sites have been completed and just a few lower river sites (catch and release area) remain. This years collection of smallmouth bass has been outstanding; catch rates for larger smallmouth have been some of the highest ever recorded. Don’t hesitate to throw large baits during the fall. A twelve inch smallmouth in one of the collections had just eaten another smallmouth that appeared to be about 6 or 7 inches!

Tags: Smallmouth Bass

Posted on October 19, 2011 | Permalink

Upper Potomac River Surveys

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Upper Potomac River

Our crew has been busy conducting the annual assessment of game fish populations in the upper Potomac River. The fall electrofishing surveys focus on smallmouth bass, but data is also collected for walleye and muskie too. We have completed 5 of the 12 scheduled sites and the initial results have been impressive. Overall catch rates for smallmouth bass, and the catch rates for quality-size bass, have been some of the highest ever documented. This is largely due to the record 2007 yearclass that is now five years old and ranging in length from 12 to 15 inches. Large smallmouth have been collected at all sites with the largest collected so far measuring more than 20 inches in length. Fall is a beautiful time to be on the upper Potomac and this fall in particular is a great time to target those feisty smallmouth.
John Mullican
Large River Specialist - Inland Fisheries

Tags: Walleye, muskellunge, Smallmouth Bass

Posted on June 9, 2011 | Permalink

Giant Potomac Smallmouth

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Upper Potomac River

Recent electrofishing surveys on the upper Potomac River have verified what anglers have been reporting this spring – there are a lot of nice smallmouth out there. Most of the bass are between 10 – 14 inches, but much larger fish are available, including this giant that measured a full 22 inches! What a fish! This old female is the largest smallmouth collected from the Potomac during an electrofishing survey and is probably more than 14 years old. That’s a lot of floods, droughts, and fishing seasons to survive. With respect, she was gently released back into the river.

Tags: Smallmouth Bass

Posted on June 6, 2011 | Permalink

Owens Creek Brown Trout

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Owens Creek

Owens Creek in northern Frederick County was recently stocked with 500 brown trout. The staff at the Albert Powell Hatchery really produced some nice fish. The browns averaged about 12 inches, but quite a few were much larger. From June 1 through the end of next February, Owens Creek is limited to catch-and-return fishing using artificial lures only. Now is a great time to fish Owens Creek as water levels remain good, the crowds are gone, and the hatches of caddis and mayflies can make for excellent dry fly fishing. If no insects are hatching, a buoyant attractor or caddis dry with a small pheasant tail or hares ear nymph dropper is usually effective.

Tags: Brown Trout

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