Regional fisheries biologist Alan Klotz sent in a wonderful report from the western region this week. Fall trout stocking is underway is Western Maryland. We stocked the Youghiogheny River Delayed Harvest Area in Friendsville and the North Branch Potomac River Delayed Harvest Area adjacent to the Potomac State Forest last week. Brown and rainbow trout were stocked in the Yough while the North Branch Potomac received rainbows. This week we will stock the Put and Take Trout Fishing Areas of Wills Creek and Evitts Creek in Allegany County, as well as Bear Creek and the upper Savage River in Garrett County. The Casselman River Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Area will be stocked this week. These brown and rainbow trout are some great looking fish, averaging about 1 lb each, and are produce at our Cushwa Trout Rearing Facility. The Delayed Trout Fishing Areas returned to catch and return fishing with artificial lures/flies only as of October 1 through May 31 for Group I Areas and October 1 through June 15 for Group II Areas. Put and Take Trout Fishing Areas have a five fish per day creel limit with no bait restrictions.
Fishing in Deep Creek Lake this time of year is very relaxing – fall foliage is near its peak and boat traffic has subsided. My son Kyle and I fished the McHenry Cove this past weekend hoping to get into some yellow perch; however, the perch still have not come in to the shallows to start fattening up for the winter. So we headed to one of the lake’s tributary streams, and fished the mouth hoping to get into some trout. This time of year, the brown trout will stage at the mouths of the streams, and once we start getting some good rains in late October through November, these trout will make spawning runs up the creeks. I caught a fat foot-long rainbow trout, while Kyle hooked into a nice brown about 18 inches long using a large silver and black Rapala. Unfortunately, it got off at shore before we could get a picture. Smallmouth bass were also active along the rocky shoreline and we caught some up to 14 inches.
The Savage Reservoir drawdown has started. Currently the flow in the river below the dam is at 105 cfs, which is certainly fishable. For current updates on the project, please see the US Army Corps of Engineers website at www.nab-wc.usace.army.mil/mapserver/ and click on NB Potomac Releases. Also, please note that there will be a water quality release into the North Branch Potomac River from Jennings Randolph Lake on October 10 and 11. Antoine Sutton was fishing on the North Branch of the Potomac this past weekend when he caught and released this fine looking rainbow trout on a #16 elk hair caddis fly.
Fisheries biologist John Mullican also sent in a report from the upper Potomac River this week. The Potomac River is very low and crystal clear with the bottom visible in as much as ten feet of water. Water temperatures have dropped into the mid-60s and smallmouth bass and walleye fishing has been very good. Try making long casts with 6 lb test fluorocarbon line using tubes or grubs on light weight jigheads. Minnow style crankbaits can also be productive. Floating leaves and vegetation fragments can make fishing and boating difficult in some areas. Steve Peperak holds up a beautiful upper Potomac walleye.
Fall weather and cooler temperatures are having some profound effects on fishing for largemouth bass this week as water temperatures cool. Most lakes, reservoirs and tidal rivers are experiencing water temperatures below 70-degrees and most are already in the mid-60 degree mark. Largemouth bass are beginning to stage along the edges of deeper water near structure such as fallen tree tops. Crawfish are also beginning to move towards deeper waters making them the number one food item on the largemouth bass’s dinner menu. For this reason many fishermen consider the crankbait or craw jig imitations of crawfish a go to bait for largemouth bass fishing in the early fall. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms are other top selections for fishing over grass or sunken wood.
Fishermen have been dealing with full moon tides earlier this week in the regions tidal rivers. They have been fishing small crankbaits and spinnerbaits over flooded grass and soft plastic baits such as creature baits and crawfish imitations near sunken wood. Ben Brockmeyer snapped this picture of this nice largemouth bass he caught in Broad Creek before slipping it back into the water.
Central Region manager Mark Staley sent in this report from the Gunpowder. We recently conducted our annual electro-fishing survey of the trout population in the Gunpowder Falls tailwater. Overall, this river never fails to impress us with the number and quality of brown trout available to anglers. The Gunpowder is consistently one of the most productive trout streams in the state and this year was no exception. The largest trout captured during our survey was a 17 ˝ in brown trout. We still have roughly a month of good fishing before brown trout begin spawning in the Gunpowder. During the spawn, if you are at the right riffle, you may be able to observe several pairs of trout actively digging nests called redds and depositing their fertilized eggs in the gravel. The eggs will incubate in the clean gravel from November through March. The inch long “fry” trout will emerge from the gravel in late March to early April. They will then stay in the shallows to avoid being eaten by the hordes of bigger trout in the river.
Fishermen will be looking forward to the fall trout stocking in several of the regions trout waters. Be sure to check the trout stocking link for updates as they occur.
Fishermen have been enjoying good fishing for largemouth bass in most of the regions tidal rivers as water temperatures cool and bass have been feeding. Small shallow running crankbaits fished over flooded grass or near sunken wood has been a top choice for fishermen. Spinnerbaits and soft plastics have been a close second. Most of the regions tidal rivers are running clear this time of the year and the fishing can be very pleasant due to cooler temperatures and the color changes in the leaves. Sunken wood in deeper water has been a target for fishermen in many of the tidal rivers such as fallen tree tops that extend out into deeper channel waters. In the Pocomoke River cypress knees are the number one target.
Fishing for channel catfish is about as good as it gets in most of the regions tidal rivers and can offer some good fishing. Just about every river in the region has healthy populations of channel catfish. Moving water is very important so fish can pick up the scent of baits such as cut fish, chicken liver or nightcrawlers.
Click here to view recent bay satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm
Reservoir Bathymetry information:
The Maryland Geological
Survey has bathymetry maps on their website:
Links to freshwater flows:
Latest real time stream flow for
Gunpowder Falls near Parkton.
Latest real time stream flow for
Gunpowder Falls At Glencoe.