October is one of those months where the weather is often in a state of flux and it can be frustrating at times for fishermen longing to fish the open waters of the bay, ocean or large lakes in Maryland. Cold fronts are now cold instead of just being cool and wild things such as fish are beginning to feel an urgency that colder times are coming. The weather that is predicted until the weekend will be another knock on the door that winter is coming. The water temperatures will take another dip, thick grasses in tidal rivers and lakes will begin to diminish and falling leaves will begin to choke western Maryland streams; all part of a cycle of nature. The decomposing grasses and leaves will serve as food for a host of aquatic insects and invertebrates that provide an important link in a cycle that eventually provides the top predator fish that many sportsman fish for. It is important to note that fishermen become part of that cycle when they participate in fishing and eating their catch.
Chesapeake Bay fishermen are finding a mix of bluefish and striped bass in all three regions of the bay this week. Upper bay region fishermen are reporting some large striped bass up to 30” or more are being caught at times along with large number of small striped bass. Cooler bay water temperatures and improved water quality have raised the activity levels of many fish. Fishermen in the middle and lower bay regions are reporting water visibility as much as 10’ in some areas. Large schools of bait in the form of anchovies and menhaden continue to move out of the tidal rivers and into the bay where striped bass are waiting at areas where strong tidal current sweep the bait along steep channel edges and shoals. Leo Dortch is all smiles with this striped bass his dad is holding for him in the Severn River recently.
Fishermen are casting to breaking fish or jigging underneath the surface action and enjoying a mix of striped bass and bluefish. Trolling a mix of spoons, bucktails and surge tube lures is also another good option for bluefish and striped bass. There are some large bluefish in the 5lb to 6lb range in the middle and lower bay regions chasing bait. There are still a few large croakers holding out at the Middle Grounds in the lower bay and spot at the mouth of the Patuxent River. Recreational crabbers are trying to get their last licks in on some of the large heavy crabs that are available in the tidal rivers of the bay this week. Daniel Hillman sent in this picture of a nice bushel of crabs that holds the promise of steamed crabs or some crab cakes.
Freshwater fishermen are finding good fishing for largemouth bass throughout the state as cool waters spur on their activity levels. Walleye and smallmouth bass in the western region are also responding to cooler water temperatures in a positive way. The fall trout stocking program has increased fishing opportunities for fishermen in all regions of the state and fishermen can enjoy good fishing with out the spring season crowds. The current stocking information can be viewed at the following link. www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/stocking/springtroutstock.html
Tautog fishing at the Ocean City Inlet continues to be good this week and fishermen are also catching a mix of striped bass and small bluefish there. Boats headed out to the wreck sites are catching a mix of trigger fish and tautog. Ocean City fishermen are still venturing out to the canyon regions for a mix of yellowfin tuna, dolphin and white marlin. Kenneth Maurer is certainly happy with this beautiful yellowfin tuna he caught at the Poormans Canyon.
Quote of the Week:
October meant a lot of things to me. It meant the oysters were prime again and there was enough leaf off the trees so that you could see a squirrel. The big fish were beginning to run and the first frosts had come so that a fire felt fine in the evening.
Robert Ruark, The Old Man And The Boy
Click here for information concerning harmful algae blooms
Click here to view recent bay satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm.
A Couple of Closing Notes...
Don't hesitate to e-mail your recent
fishing/crabbing photos and trip information. Send your photos via E-mail by the
following Monday in order to be included in the next update. The file should be
in .jpg format with the longest side sized at 600 pixels. Please try to keep the file
size small, under one megabyte. The photo should clearly depict the angler(s), fish, and ethical
handling practices. For information on ethical angling practices please
reference the Catch and Release information located at URL:
Include the following information:
Weight/length of catch
If anyone in your picture is under 18
years of age, we must have a
signed by that person and a parent/guardian before we can post your picture. By sending any photos or art to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources you are giving DNR permission to use the image(s) online and in print. You are also giving DNR permission to distribute the photo for non-commercial purposes to other media, print, digital and television for their use. You are not giving up your copyright, but are allowing the photo(s) to be used for educational and news purposes.
Send your photos and information to
Until next week,
MD DNR Fisheries Service
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