Posted on May 31, 2011 | Permalink
Canal Fish Recovery
Location: C&O Canal
As Potomac flood waters recede, fish can become trapped in the C&O canal that parallels the river from Cumberland to Georgetown. Most sections of the canal do not hold water yearround and will dry up in time. Several members of the Mid-Atlantic Muskies forum and National Park Service staff assisted MD DNR with efforts to recover fish trapped in the canal in Washington County. Electrofishing gear mounted on a floating barge was used to capture fish. Most of the fish recovered were carp, though channel catfish, suckers, sunfish, and smallmouth bass were also collected. The volunteers hauled the heavy tubs of fish up the slippery banks to a fish hauling truck that transported them to the nearest boat ramp where they were returned to the river. A special thank you to Ed Lewandoski, Rocky Droneburg, Gene, and Chris Cannon for their hard work and enthusiasm in spite of the heat, mud, and swarms of mosquitoes.
(Photos by Ed Lewandoski)
Posted on May 16, 2011 | Permalink
Youth Fishing Club Expert Tip for the Week
Using the correct size hook will help you catch more fish and reduce the number of fish that swallow the bait. A hook that is too large will be too big for the fish to take into their mouth. A hook that is too small will not readily hook the fish and will be easily swallowed. When using live bait such as nightcrawlers and worms for sunfish, use a number 10 to 12 hook. Use a larger number 4 to 6 hook when using larger minnows and other baits for largemouth bass.
Posted on May 9, 2011 | Permalink
Location: Potomac River
The upper Potomac River is still running high, but with little precipitation predicted, conditions should improve through the week. Water temperatures are now in the upper 50s and bass fishing has really picked up. Several fishermen have reported catching many nice smallmouth recently, mostly on tubes, spinnerbaits, and x-raps.
Posted on April 19, 2011 | Permalink
Area Rivers hit Flood Stage
Location: Potomac River
Last weekends storms dropped several inches of rain bringing the Potomac River and its tributaries above flood stage. It will probably be a week or so before conditions are suitable for fishing again. When conditions have allowed, smallmouth fishing has been good using tubes, suspending jerkbaits and spinnerbaits.
Posted on April 15, 2011 | Permalink
Inland Fisheries recently stocked approximately 650,000 walleye fry in the Potomac River near Cumberland to supplement natural reproduction. The fry were produced at the Cedarville Hatchery from brood collected from the Potomac during the spring population survey. Potomac River walleye grow quickly and the surviving fry will reach the 15 inch minimum size in about three years.
Posted on March 30, 2011 | Permalink
Location: Potomac River
Fisheries conducted an annual assessment of the Potomac walleye population on March 21 in the vicinity of Dam 4 in Washington County. The collection had two objectives: determine the size distribution of the population and collect brood for spawning at the Cedarville Warmwater Hatchery. A third of the walleye collected during the survey had already spawned, a bit earlier than normal. The current Potomac walleye population is largely made up of older age fish from the record 2001 yearclass, now measuring between 18 and 25 inches in length. Although natural reproduction has occurred most years since, none of the yearclasses have been close to the magnitude of the 2001 yearclass, and the 2008 and 2009 yearclasses were very low. Fishing for large walleye is great right now, but anglers can expect lower catch rates in the coming years. To supplement natural reproduction, Fisheries will resume stocking using fry/fingerlings produced from the Potomac River brood collected during the spring surveys. Once spawned at the hatchery, the brood fish are returned to the river.
Spring is always a time of change, and the weather has been no exception. Hot one day, snow flurries the next, windy nearly every day. As a result, fishing can also be hot and cold as well. This past weekend I had to fish and decided to tough out the high flows and cold weather and, hopefully, catch a few smallies. River temperatures have dropped from 51°F down to 46°F. The action was pretty slow, but I did manage to catch a few good ones, including a beautiful 21 incher. All of the bass were caught on tubes and jigs worked slowly on the bottom. As water levels drop and river temperatures begin to rise again, bass fishing should improve significantly.
Posted on February 22, 2011 | Permalink
3rd Annual St. Jude's Benefit Bass Tournament
Location: Potomac River, Brunswick
The 3rd Annual St. Jude’s Benefit Bass Tournament was held over the weekend on the upper Potomac River at Brunswick. Dave and Mary Baker organize the event to raise money for the St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Holding a tournament during February poses many challenges and this year was no different. The event had to be postponed twice due to river conditions and high winds. Nevertheless, some of the areas best river bass angers participated and, as usual, they were able to catch some very impressive smallmouth. The tournament organizers impose a 15” minimum size (Maryland regulation is 12” minimum size) and a five fish per boat creel to reduce the number of fish handled. Two boats brought in a limit of bass, but one limit was anchored by a beautiful 3.9 pound smallmouth putting Chris Cannon and Jerry Dayhoff on top. Congratulations to Chris (First Photo) and Jerry for their first place finish and to Rocky (Second Photo) and Bob Droneburg for their second place finish.
Inland Fisheries attends selected open tournaments on the upper Potomac River throughout the year and uses these events to collect information on angler catch rates and obtain growth data. A small sample of scales is removed from each bass allowing biologists to estimate their age using a method similar to aging trees by counting the rings. After they are weighed in for the event, the bass are quickly transferred to an aerated tank while the data is collected and then they are returned to the river. Information from the tournament-caught fish is used in conjunction with the annual electrofishing surveys to monitor the population and make management decisions.
Posted on November 16, 2010 | Permalink
an electrofishing survey on the lower Monocacy River
Location: Monocacy River
Inland Fishery staff recently spent a beautiful fall day conducting an electrofishing survey on the lower Monocacy River to evaluate the smallmouth bass population. Because of the Monocacy’s small size and the low flows, sampling was conducted using a 14’ light weight boat floating between access points. The results of the survey were encouraging. The overall smallmouth bass catch rate has increased 36% since last year. Thirty three percent of the smallmouths collected were between 11” and 14” in length and in excellent physical condition. Anglers should find good bass fishing this fall and better fishing next year as some of these fish move into the larger size classes. The Monocacy River also provides excellent fishing for channel catfish, carp, and redbreast sunfish.
Posted on September 27, 2010 | Permalink
Location: Conococheague Creek
With staff and equipment from the Western, Central and Southern Regions, Inland Fisheries descended on Conococheague Creek last week to conduct an electrofishing survey to estimate the population of smallmouth bass. Conococheague Creek is a warm-water tributary to the Potomac River and supports game fish species common to such rivers: smallmouth bass, channel catfish, redbreast sunfish, and rockbass. Although the population numbers haven’t been finalized, it is safe to say the Conococheague continues to provide an outstanding fishery. The abundance of smallmouth bass is very high with many yearclasses, including trophy size fish, well represented. Conococheague Creek originates in Pennsylvania, flows south through Washington County, Maryland and merges with the Potomac River at Williamsport. Although it flows almost entirely through private land (respect landowners, do not trespass), several road crossings provide carry-in access for float trips.
Fall weather is beginning to make an appearance and with it will come falling water temperatures, higher flows and excellent fishing. Don’t put the rods away just yet. Those brave enough to navigate the low river levels and abundant vegetation on the Potomac are finding active smallmouth bass. Topwater baits can be a great option during the fall as well as the usual assortment of small jigs and worms. To combat the vegetation, weedless rigging is a necessity.
Posted on August 9, 2010 | Permalink
Location: Upper Potomac from Spring Gap near Cumberland downstream to Seneca
Inland Fisheries recently completed the annual seining survey of the upper Potomac River and the major tributaries to estimate natural reproduction of smallmouth bass. A total of 93 hauls were conducted from Spring Gap near Cumberland downstream to Seneca. The average number of young smallmouth captured per seine haul was 1.5, just below the long-term average of 1.8 and the abundance of young bass was consistent throughout the river. Smallmouth reproduction was slightly higher in the Monocacy River at 2.0 bass per haul and very high in Conococheague Creek at 7.0 bass per haul. Due to the warm spring, many smallmouth bass spawned early and the young bass were larger than usual, which is expected to increase their chance of survival during the coming winter. The adult segment of the fish populations are surveyed each year during the fall.
In spite of the heat and low river levels, bass fishing has remained pretty good. While topwater baits have been effective early and late, tubes and four inch worms have generally been the most consistent producers. Most of the Potomac tributaries hold fishable numbers of smallmouth bass and sunfish and these smaller waters can offer more solitude and shade to beat the summer heat. Small baits will generally get the most action, but some large bass can be found even in these smaller waters.