Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | March 30, 2011

Mother Nature just doesn't seem to be listening to that old saying about March going out like a lamb as cold weather continues to persist throughout Maryland. Fishermen were out in force on Saturday for the opening day of trout season and there were more than a few cold fingers but no one seemed to care much. Central region biologist Mark Staley went out to talk to the trout fishermen in his region on Saturday and sent in a nice angler's log; be sure to check it and the others that were sent in my fishermen.

Photo Courtesy Mark Staley

Fisheries crews continue to stock trout in many of the put and take areas and on Tuesday I happened upon John Mullican, Mark Toms and their two volunteers, Jim Clopper and Ken Cline stocking the youth and blind angler area at Baker Park in Frederick. These volunteers put in a lot of time and hard work bucket stocking the trout so they can be spread out over a wide area. Some areas such as the North Branch of the Potomac will even be float stocked to spread the trout out and create a better fishing experience.

The successive cold fonts that continue to blanket Maryland have made it tough for fishermen fishing for largemouth bass in the tidal rivers, lakes and reservoirs. The fish are sluggish and the word among fishermen is "slow and small". The bass are beginning to hold near emerging grass beds and spatterdock fields and continue to hold near deep sunken wood. Small crankbaits and slowly retrieved spinnerbaits and chatterbaits have been working near shallow grass beds. Small soft plastics such as whacky rigged worms have been producing fish from sunken wood. In the western region cold water fish such as walleyes, yellow perch, smallmouth bass and chain pickerel have been active in Deep Creek Lake and the upper Potomac River. The ice has finally retreated from Deep Creek Lake and fishermen are starting to venture out on the water or fishing from shore. John Mullican recently sent in an angler's log about some walleye survey work in the upper Potomac; be sure to check it out and the pictures, like this one of a beautiful smallmouth bass.

Photo Courtesy John Mullican

White perch are moving down the tidal rivers and can be found in the middle regions areas now. Fishing in the channels close to the bottom with grass shrimp or bloodworms can be productive and channel catfish are also active. Be careful now that the striped bass are staged in the spawning reaches when fishing bloodworms. Most white perch fishermen use a small piece so it shouldn't be a problem. It is of course illegal to target striped bass in the spawning reaches for catch and release fishing. The alewife herring are moving into the upper regions of the tidal rivers; pending on water temperatures the hickory shad and blueback herring will follow behind them in the next couple of weeks.

In the bay proper a few fishermen are practicing some catch and release for striped bass. They have been trolling with parachutes and bucktails shaking out the bugs in their gear; while others have been light tackle jigging at the CCNPP rips with good success on most days. Large soft plastic jigs such as BKD's or butterfly jigs have been the most productive when drifting in the warm water plume. Striped bass are moving into the upper bay area near the mouth of the Susquehanna River and fishermen are starting to see more favorable conditions for fishing and the catch and release action has begun.

It continues to be pretty chilly down along the coastal beaches and out upon the waters of the Atlantic. A few tautog are being caught in and around the Ocean City Inlet. Skate have been caught by surf fishermen and a few short striped bass. Offshore, the headboats have been finding a mix of cod and tautog on the wreck sites.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not true that if you cut a worm- fisherman in half, each half will grow into a complete fisherman. -Ed Zern 1947


Keith Lockwood has been writing the Fishing Report since 2003 and has had a long career as a fisheries research biologist since 1973. Over the course of his career he has studied estuarine fishery populations, ocean species, and over a decade long study of bioaccumulation of chemicals in aquatic species in New Jersey. Upon moving to Oxford on the eastern shore of Maryland; research endeavors focused on a variety of catch and release studies as well as other fisheries related research at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory. Education and outreach to the fishing public has always been an important component to the mission of these studies. Keith is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, bird dogs, family and life on the eastern shore of Maryland.