Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | September 24, 2014
The first days of autumn were ushered in this week with a cool northwest wind and with that little extra push from the north the first Canada geese began to arrive on the eastern shore of Maryland as our resident ospreys headed south. Air temperatures along with water temperatures are steadily dropping and causing changes in our Maryland fisheries. Garrett County was reported to have received their first frost, the fall trout stockings have begun and many fish both freshwater and saltwater are becoming more active. Some of our summer migrant species have or are getting the hint to think about heading south. This is a wonderful time of the year to enjoy the outdoors in Maryland and fishing offers some of the finest outdoor opportunities, don't miss out.
Loons are beginning to arrive in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay and they have fishing on their mind also. They are proficient at diving underwater and catching prey fish and are very fast swimmers. Their haunting calls are one of the many joys of living near the Chesapeake Bay and a welcomed addition to the melody of the outdoors in Maryland.
Photo by Keith Lockwood
Fishing for striped bass in the areas around the Susquehanna Flats and surrounding channel areas continues to offer some fun fishing for those tossing topwater lures or crankbaits. The action is lasting longer in the morning hours and starting earlier in the evenings now due to cooler water temperatures. There is plenty of channel catfish in the area that are more active now and fishing for white perch has improved. The Conowingo Dam pool is also providing early morning striped bass action for those casting topwater lures.
Cooler water temperatures in the upper bay are causing white perch, striped bass and channel catfish to become more active in the bay and tidal rivers and creeks. Targeting deep shoreline structure in the form of old piers, pilings, channel edges or submerged rocks especially where current flow is good can provide some productive fishing. Beetle spins, spinners and small jigs are great lures to use for white perch and if tipped with a piece of bloodworm will often do even better. Bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp are also a good option. Striped bass are being found in the same locations and topwater lures, crankbaits, soft plastics or drifting live eels are good choices. Breaking fish can be encountered at any time where jigging is a favored method to get in on the fun. Channel catfish at times will chase down a crankbait of soft plastic jig but a bottom rig baited with fresh cut baits, nightcrawlers or chicken liver and a comfortable seat is a relaxing way to fish for channel cats. Makenzie Barrick got to go fishing with her dad in the lower Patapsco River and had fun catching a mix of striped bass and bluefish.
Photo courtesy of Makenzie Barrick
There is still some chumming action going on at the Love Point, Swan Point and Podickory Point areas where chumming and live lining are accounting for striped bass. A lot of boats are switching to trolling a mix of spoons and bucktails for striped bass and as the bluefish clear out swim shads will become more popular. Trolling along channel edges and watching for evidence of striped bass feeding activity has been a productive way to fish.
The Bay Bridge piers continue to attract fishermen as long as the piers and rock piles attract striped bass and white perch. Live lining spot, chumming, chunking and jigging have been popular ways to fish near the bases of the piers for striped bass. White perch are being found near the rock piles and the shallower bridge piers and small jigs tipped with bloodworms has been a good way to catch them.
Water temperatures are dipping close to the 70-degree mark this week in the middle bay region and there are some changes occurring in our Chesapeake Bay fisheries. Most of the spanish mackerel have dropped out of the middle bay region, striped bass and bluefish have kicked their appetites into high gear in the middle bay region and croaker and spot are starting to move south. Chances are the bluefish will not stick around much longer so if smoked bluefish is on your mind this weekend may be your last chance in the middle bay region.
Chumming and live lining spot is still going on at traditional locations near Buoys 86, 83, the mouth of Eastern Bay and Stone Rock to name a few. Basically anywhere you can find striped bass suspended near a channel edge is worth setting up. More than a few boats have been chumming with razor clams as spot are becoming harder to find. Trolling is a very good option in many of these same channel edge areas and spoons and surge tube lures have been favorites behind planers and inline weights. Jigging over suspended fish along channel edges has been popular and evidence of feeding fish in the form of diving birds and slicks is attracting the attention of those casting lures or jigging. Retired NRP Captain David Street has been enjoying himself during retirement and holds up two nice striped bass he caught while trolling near Bloody Point.
Photo courtesy of Captain David Street
Cooling water temperatures have done much to improve the shallow water fishing in the mornings and evenings for striped bass this week. There is some fun topwater fishing to be had along shoreline structures and prominent points. White perch are also moving towards shallower structure and offer some fun ultra-light tackle fishing and tasty eating. Croaker and large spot are still being caught in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers but numbers will diminish in the next week or so.
Lower bay fishing continues to offer a wide variety of fishing opportunities and perhaps the last chance for Maryland fishermen to catch some spanish mackerel. A mix of bluefish and striped bass are chasing bait throughout the region and at times Spanish mackerel are joining the melee. Bay anchovies tend to be the main target since there are so many of them and they are relatively small. Most anglers tend to be trolling along channel edges and near breaking fish or slicks with a mix of spoons and surge tubes behind inline weights and planers. There are a lot of bluefish in the lower bay region and tend to dominate the action whether it is trolling, casting and jigging to breaking fish as well as chumming and live lining. Shoreline fishing for striped bass can be productive this time of year and Nathan Williams gets some help from his mom with a striped bass he caught near Flag Harbor Beach.
Photo courtesy of Nathan Williams
There are still a lot of croaker and large spot holding near the mouth of the Patuxent River as well as Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds; small bluefish and white perch can also be part of the mix. Shallow water fishing for striped bass has been very good in the mornings and evenings, speckled trout have been sparse at best on the eastern shore. Flounder are still being found along hard bottomed shoal areas next to channels in the Pocomoke/Tangier Sound area and large red drum are being caught and released above the Target Ship.
Freshwater fishing at Deep Creek Lake is undergoing some changes as water temperatures dip into the mid-60's this week. There is some good smallmouth bass fishing to be had over rocky points in about 15' of water; crankbaits tend to be a favorite presentation. Largemouth bass and northern pike are being found in the shallower grassy coves. Water temperatures in the upper Potomac are dropping into the 60's also and smallmouth bass fishing is steadily improving.
The fall trout stocking has begun a little early this year due to expanding and successful hatchery operations at the trout rearing facilities. Some very nice trout were stocked last week and the stockings will continue through October. Trout anglers are reminded that the dates posted on the trout stocking website list the stocking as "the week of". To find out what waters have been stocked the Fisheries Service notifies angler through the email distribution service. You can sign up for the latest stocking information on our email subscription page.
Cooling water temperatures are doing much to improve fishing for largemouth bass this week. Bass are becoming more active and for longer periods of time during the day. Targeting grass, sunken wood and structure such as bridge piers and docks are all good tactics. Other fish species such a yellow perch, bluegills and crappie are becoming more active and crappie will begin to school near deep structure. Angler Rob managed to catch this nice stringer of crappie at Lake Bernard Frank recently and I'm sure he enjoyed some fine eating.
Photo courtesy of Derek Morgan Sr
Cooling water temperatures are also the big story in the Ocean City area this week as water temperature dip to the 70 degree mark. Small bluefish are dominating the surf scene this week along with a mix of kingfish and flounder. Some large red drum are being caught and released in the surf along with some inshore sharks. At the inlet and Route 50 Bridge area a mix of flounder, triggerfish and sheepshead are being caught and the first tautog are starting to show up. At night bluefish and a few striped bass are being caught.
In the back bay areas flounder fishing has been good and the channels leading towards the inlet offer some of the best fishing. Flounder fishing on the wreck and reef sites outside the inlet continues to be excellent with limit catches being the norm with an added mix of triggerfish. Sea bass season is closed until October 18th.
This is the time of the year for white marlin action offshore and the Norfolk Canyon usually is the place to be when one is talking of double digit releases per trip. That is exactly what is happening this week as the ocean finally calmed down. There are a lot of dolphin being caught both "chickens" and "gaffers" often in the double digit category. Yellowfin tuna have been tough to find this week.
"The man with rod or gun sees more and feels more in the woods than if he were to go empty-handed." - Bliss Perry 1927