Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | April 09, 2014

Memories are a very rich and real possession that we often rekindle when something such as a picture, conversation or image rekindles those embers held deep in our subconscious. Talk to any adult fisherman who has been fishing since his youth and if they have been exposed to put and take trout fishing in their early years they will spill forth a flood of memories. Each generation has their own set of vivid memories; mine includes peddling a bicycle many miles or convincing my parents or grandfather to drive me and my friends to the nearest stocked trout waters. There were the realities of wet Keds Sneakers and cold fingers but the most vivid memories are of where you caught your first trout and the excitement of holding a fish that was always promoted in the hand-me-down outdoor magazines we read every chance we could. The Maryland Fisheries Service has a very special program where certain trout stocked waters are set aside for youth fishermen, where they basically have a stretch of water just for them and they do not have to compete with adult fishermen and can have a ball. Check the trout stocking page for such an area near you and gather of a car load of young fishermen and let them begin to stock away their own memories that they will hold for a lifetime. Matthew and Ryan Bishop along with their buddies Andrew and Sayge Dudley were fortunate enough to be able to fish the youth fishing area of Antietam Creek and their smiles say it all.

Courtesy of Matthew Bishop

The Conowingo Dam continues to spill a lot of cold and cloudy Pennsylvania water through several open gates this week making for less than perfect fishing conditions in the lower Susquehanna River and Flats area. Today the water temperature is hovering around 46F and the water clarity is very poor. Fishermen have been fishing with bait and circle hooks recently but coming up empty in the Striped Bass department and most consider the water clarity to be too poor for lures. Some nice White Perch are being caught in the approaches to the Susquehanna, Northeast and Elk Rivers on bottom rigs and bloodworms. Hickory Shad will begin to show up in the lower Susquehanna and the mouth of Deer Creek sometime in the very near future for catch and release fishermen.

White Perch have been moving up into spawning areas of tidal rivers and creeks for the past week now and continue in many areas today. Most fishermen are using some kind of bait such as grass shrimp, bloodworms or small pieces of minnows on shad darts under bobbers or by casting. The perch tend to come in pulses and if you're lucky it will be a pulse of larger fish. Last Friday morning for example at Red Bridges on the upper Choptank River, the average size of the White Perch was about 5" then all of a sudden there would be a few minutes of 10"+ fish. Overall after 3 hours of observation I would say the throwback ratio was about 30 to 1 unless you have a really small fillet knife.

Photos by Keith Lockwood

White Perch are making their spawning runs in most of the Chesapeake's tidal rivers and creeks and some of the more popular ones occur in the eastern shore such as the Pocomoke, Wicomico, Nanticoke, Choptank, Chester, Bohemia, Sassafras, Elk, Northeast and Susquehanna. On the western shore the Gunpowder, Bush, Patapsco, Magothy, Severn, South, Patuxent Rivers and the Potomac and its many feeder creeks all have White Perch spawning runs. Soon the perch will be falling back down the tidal rivers and by the end of May will have set up shop in their normal summer patterns in the lower areas of the tidal rivers and will provide several months of easy fishing in the morning and evening hours.

Alewife Herring are also making their spawning runs in many of our tidal rivers this week and they can provide some fun catch and release fishing with small shad darts. Fisheries biologist Chuck Stence reported yesterday that their survey team encountered a lot of Hickory Shad, Alewife Herring and small White Perch in the upper Patuxent and Choptank Rivers and that the water temperature was holding around 50F. Blueback Herring will be the next to arrive; often towards the end of April and also can provide some fun catch and release action on very small flashy gold spoons or simply gold hooks with ultra-light tackle.

Striped Bass are moving up the spawning rivers and the male fish have been in residence for a month at least. Water temperatures are finally beginning to rise and there may be a first spawn as early as this weekend on the eastern shore rivers. The opening day of the spring trophy Striped Bass season is April 19th so it will not be long before all manner of planer boards and trolling lines will be deployed in hopes of catching a trophy sized Striped Bass. Currently the water temperature in the Chesapeake is about 46 still a bit chilly to a Striped Bass's liking; the optimal temperature range for these larger fish is 55F to 68F and the preferred spawning temperature is 64.5F.

These are busy and fun times for put and take trout fishermen as the general trout season enters its second week. Fisheries stocking crews are busy performing supplemental stockings in selected waters and the best way for trout fishermen to be informed of the latest stockings is to be enrolled on the Fisheries Service mailing list where notification of stockings will be posted to subscribers each day as they occur. To subscribe simply go to our email subscription page and sign up.

Trout fishermen have been really excited about the trophy sized trout that the hatchery crews have been raising and stocking and for a very obvious reason; everyone likes to catch large fish. In many of the western region trout management waters you may take notice of out of state license plates of fishermen who leave their home state even on their opening day of trout season to come and fish for our trout; this says a lot about the quality of the trout program in Maryland. Another mark of the Maryland trout program is the stocking of the golden version of the Rainbow Trout. These golden colored trout are a true Rainbow Trout but have a gene make up that originated in a private hatchery years ago and has been promoted through the hatchery program as a novelty trout. Ken Booth at the Albert Powell Hatchery holds up two Rainbow Trout to show the color variation between the Golden Rainbow and a regular Rainbow Trout.

Photos by Keith Lockwood

Freshwater fishermen have been finding other fishing opportunities this week beside trout. The many small ponds, large impoundments and upper regions of the Maryland's tidal rivers and creeks hold many possibilities for species such as Largemouth Bass and Crappie. Most pond and larger impoundments have cleared up substantially and fishermen are finding Largemouth Bass holding near emerging grass and sunken structure such as wood and rocks, often on the sun exposed areas. Crankbaits, soft plastics and spinnerbaits can be very effective this time of the year. The tidal Potomac is still experiencing cloudy water conditions and fishermen are reporting better fishing conditions in feeder creeks such as Mattawoman Creek. Crappie are very active in many areas such as ponds, larger impoundments and tidal waters. Small jigs and live minnows worked near deep structure such as fallen tree tops, sunken wood or piers can be a very productive way to put some slab sized crappie on your stringer or in your ice chest. Channel Catfish are very active in many of the states tidal rivers and can be caught on simple one hook bottom rig baited with fresh cut bait such as White Perch and nightcrawlers or chicken liver. Blue Catfish are very abundant in the tidal Potomac and can provide a lot of nonstop action for fishermen. The larger Blue Catfish are usually caught on large fresh baits with heavy tackle in the deep channel areas around Fort Washington and the smaller catfish can be caught in shallower waters of the tidal Potomac and feeder creeks on lighter tackle and smaller baits.

Ocean City area fishermen continue to sit and wait for warmer water temperatures this week and with current water temperatures at 42F we're getting close for Tautog. Tautog generally prefer a water temperature of 44F or better and there have been a few spotty reports of a couple of Tautog caught inside the Ocean City Inlet. This coming weekend could signal the start of inshore Tautog fishing. Sand Fleas either fresh or frozen or pieces of green crab will be the most common baits to use and often the top of flood tide offers some of the best fishing opportunities.

"There is a wealth in having sat around many campfires in a multitude of camps. It lies in the friends you make. When you have lived with them on the waters and in the woods and time has seasoned the friendship, it is far more secure and satisfying than those that develop casually, each person showing the other only a part of what he is. It may be that the greatest wealth in all lies in our friends." - Quiet Water, The Wealth of Age, Lee Wulff


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.

Latest Angler's Log Reports

Dave Bryson
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
Sent in on: December 23, 2014 Permalink

Fat Perch at Deep Creek

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Deep Creek Lake
Tags: yellow perch, chain pickerel

Bundled up to fish from shore at Deep Creek Lake where we are renting a house for the weekend. After reading the December 17 fishing report, I decided to see what might bite a white crappie jig on a pink head fished 5' under a bobber.

First cast I let the wind drift the bait down shore and the bobber disappeared five minutes into the drift. Assumed it snagged on a branch, but turned out to be a 6.2 lb pickerel. After some photos and a quick release, I returned to fishing and a few drifts later landed what I now know would have been the new MD State record for Yellow Perch - just shy of four pounds and a HUGE belly.

Going to try drifting live worms this afternoon and tomorrow to see what happens. Love being the only one fishing DCL and having great success.


Darren Haitmanek
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
Sent in on: December 23, 2014 Permalink

Gunpowder Trout

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Gunpowder River
Tags: rainbow trout

I caught a rainbow trout in the Gunpowder River along with a few others this past Monday, December 15th. Who could pass up an opportunity to catch fish on a 50 winter day? Spinners were the preferred lure of the day. Thanks to the DNR stocking efforts, there are plenty of fish to last the entire year!


Wayne Young
Recreational Angler
Annadale, VA
Total Reports:
Sent in on: December 18, 2014 Permalink

Calvert Cliff Speckled Trout

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid-Bay
Location: Breezy Pt south to Calvert Cliffs
Tags: spotted seatrout, speckled trout, striped bass

Monday, 12-15-14

20' Walkaround

Nature blessed the last day of striper season with a flat calm, making a nice day for me and my two guests. I planned to try deep trolling in 50-65 feet of water through some holes on the west side of the channel. We marked a few fish at 55-60 foot depths, but were unable to work the deep holes because several watermen were set up there. It appeared that they had crab pots set deep right in the holes and were standing by to retrieve them. Trolling east of the pots in 70 feet, we marked a few more fish deep, but no takers.

There was a fleet over behind Summer Gooses, but after moving over that way for a look see we found they were watermen, maybe mechanical oyster dredge rigs. I picked up gear in time to try the Calvert Cliffs power plant warm water discharge an hour before the predicted ebb. We marked many baitfish and eventually my Dragonfly downvision marked a school of fish on the bottom to no more than 3' off the bottom about 600-700 yards east of the discharge in about 20-25' of water. By this time, we had an 18" speckled trout on a 7" yellow hot-rodded Hogy bait, and a 15" speckled trout and a 17-1/2" striper (released) on a purple 6" BKD (blue and sliver BKD covered in red garlic dye) with a hot-rodded 1-1/2 oz jig head. A light southerly breeze had picked up creating a rip on the south side of the stream, and the fish we caught were generally over on that side of the stream. The school we marked was probably specs given fishing results. Several other boats were fishing the discharge stream with no luck.

Thanks again to Shawn Kembro's light tackle fishing tips (new book is great!) and also Walleye Pete Dahlberg for teaching me how to fish the discharge stream. Shawn's and Pete's tips made the difference today. I was using my left-handed baitcaster with braid and a short shock leader, thinking down the line technique wise. The left-handed baitcaster feels natural to this righthander after years of using spinning reels.