Deep Creek Lake fishermen are casting crankbaits along deep edges for walleyes and the occasional smallmouth bass. More and more of them are beginning to dream of “hard water” and their beloved ice fishing. Time will tell what kind of ice they get this year as winter is just around the corner.
Western region fisheries manager Alan Klotz sent in this report for us. Fishermen are still taking advantage of the relatively warm weather in Western Maryland. Deep Creek Lake is producing good catches of walleye at dusk, especially near the lighted Rt. 219 Bridge. Yellow perch and largemouth bass are feeding in the shallow ends of coves, especially along the grass beds that are chocked full of juvenile panfish. We surveyed Lake Habeeb at Rocky Gap State Park earlier this month and found good numbers of largemouth bass and sunfish in the grass beds in the upper portion of the lake. Redear sunfish from previous fingerling stockings were common up to about 10 inches. Rainbow trout were collected throughout the lake.
River and stream levels are still at good fishing flows, and there are still plenty of trout from the fall stocking program in several of the Put and Take trout streams, Youth and Blind Person Put and Take Trout Fishing Areas, and all of the Western Maryland Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Areas. Last week’s report mentioned that Grantsville Pond was stocked for youth and blind persons and it should have read Parkview.
Fisheries biologist John Mullican sent us this great report from the upper Potomac River and a picture of one whopper of a smallmouth bass that came up in their fall survey and is waiting for a recreational fisherman to catch. Recent rainfall has increased flows in the upper Potomac. The higher flows, however, have stirred up leaves and weed fragments that tend to foul lines and lures on nearly every cast. In spite of the debris, fish have been active and fishing has been good for all species. This is no time to put away the rods as some of the best fishing of the year for smallmouth bass, walleye, muskie, and catfish occurs throughout November and into December. As water temperatures continue to drop most of these species will seek areas of reduced current with depth and cover. We recently finished up our annual fall electro-fishing surveys on the Potomac and have begun analyzing the data. The results will be summarized for the year-end fishing report, but for now I will say fishermen can expect very good fishing for a variety of popular species.Luke Keener sent in this picture of a nice walleye he caught in the upper Potomac while drifting a small live bluegill
Water temperatures continue to decline in the region’s freshwater lakes, reservoirs and tidal rivers. Largemouth bass are holding along deep edges near any kind of sunken structure they can find such as rocks, sunken wood and bridge piers. The largemouth bass are still feeding but their activity is on a gradual decline as water temperatures become colder. Grass beds are breaking up and small baitfish and crawfish are looking for a deep water refuge for the winter; largemouth bass are waiting for them. Spinnerbaits and small crankbaits near any grass that is left in the shallower waters is a good choice for a bait. Deep diving crankbaits and jigs are good choices to imitate crawfish in the deeper waters.
Crappie can be found schooling up in some of the deeper waters of the tidal rivers and reservoirs that hold them. Often bridge piers and marina docks are good places to find the. Chain pickerel love cold water and with grass beds diminished in many of the tidal rivers; this is a great time to fish for them in the upper reaches. Walleye and smallmouth bass are being caught in the lower Susquehanna River, bouncing jigs and tubes has been the most effective way to catch them. Fishing for blue catfish in the tidal portion of the Potomac River near Fort Washington has been very good recently. Fresh gizzard shad is the bait of choice and at present it seems to be harder to catch bait than the catfish.
Cooler water temperatures have driven largemouth bass into holding near deep edges of lake shorelines or channel edges in the region’s tidal rivers and especially deep structure such as wood. Casting jigs such as soft craws, hair jigs or deep diving crankbaits are good choices. Usually the pickup will be rather subtle this time of the year due to the decreased activity of the largemouth bass so fishermen should be aware of the slightest tap.
Most of the tidal rivers, lakes and ponds in the eastern region have healthy populations of chain pickerel and they can offer a lot of fun fishing this time of the year. Chain pickerel become very active in cold water and with grass beds diminished the pickerel are much more assessable. Spinners, spoons and Rapala type swimming minnow lures are all good choices to try for pickerel.
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.