Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | April 20, 2011

Phew! I suspect that is how many people felt after Saturday's storm that swept through the region. As the rain pounded and the wind blew and the house shook some of the words to an old Jackson Browne song danced in my head in bits and pieces about being swept before the deluge and then the lines (I actually played the album to find out). "And in attempts to understand a thing so simple and so huge, believed that they were meant to live after the deluge". Although it came in the form of wind and drenching rain instead of a flood we all woke up to a beautiful sunny but wet and still windy day on Sunday. The Conowingo Dam was running 14 gates open and the upper Potomac was at 22' earlier this week and streams, tidal rivers and bay waters are still showing the effects of flooding. Muddy water extends down the bay to just below Tilghman's Island and there is floating debris everywhere so be careful out on the bay's waters. To check the satellite imagery of the Chesapeake Bay and its major tidal rivers click to the following link.

This past weekend was a rough two days for striped bass fishermen due to strong winds that whipped the bay into frenzy. By Monday the winds had laid down and so far this week, conditions have been good. Those fishermen that have been getting out have been doing well along the western edge of the shipping channel from Cove Point to Parker's Creek , the eastern edge of the shipping channel in front of Buoy 72, Hooper's Island Light and the False Channel. Parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads as well as spoons have been the favorite choices for lures trolled in tandem, single or behind umbrella rigs. Planer boards have been accounting for a lot of fish but small boat owners that are limited to trolling flat lines can still do well if they let enough line out. Shore based fishermen got into the action at traditional locations such as Sandy point State Park and Point Lookout with surf fishing gear and bottom rigs baited with bloodworms. Jimmy Whipple sent in this picture of a striped bass he caught and released while fishing off a dock in the South River.

Photo Courtesy Jimmy Whipple

The Susquehanna Flat catch and release fishery for striped bass will be on hold for a few days until the waters calm down and clear up. The striped bass are there and holding; clearer water and a little warming will improve the catch and release fishing opportunities there. Prior to the heavy rains, water temperatures were approaching the 50-degree mark and fishermen were catching and releasing large striped bass by casting crankbaits, soft plastic jigs and jerkbaits. As water levels and clarity improve in Deer Creek the hickory shad fishery there will also bounce back.

The upper Potomac River has been flooding recently and it will take at least till the weekend for water levels to return to acceptable levels for fishing. Fisheries biologist John Mullican sent in an angler's log concerning the flooding and some pictures including this one.

Photo Courtesy John Mullican

Farther down the Potomac the hickory shad run has been in full swing at Fletchers in the D.C. area. Largemouth bass fishermen in the tidal portions of the Potomac are finding water clarity issues, high water and floating debris. The creeks that feed into the Potomac often run clearer at times like this and are a good place to fish.

The lakes and reservoirs that offer fishing opportunities for largemouth bass are clearing up fast and many are already in good shape for fishing. Largemouth bass are approaching their spawning mode and in many waters they are beginning to transition into shallower areas and staging for spawning. Trout fishing in the put and take areas are already improving and fisheries biologists are busy with in season stockings. Be sure to check the spring stocking schedules on the fisheries website to find when your favorite waters are being stocked.

Fishermen in the Ocean City area are seeing water temperatures approach the 50-degree mark in the surf and inlet areas and with the warmer temperatures striped bass, tautog and flounder are beginning to be caught by fishermen. A few striped bass have been caught inside the back bay areas and shortly the northward migration of striped bass will be passing near Maryland beaches. Tautog fishing continues to improve near the inlet and a falling tide and green crab pieces or frozen sand fleas are the wining combination. The boats venturing out to the offshore wreck sites are finding large tautog and there was even talk of the season's first reports of yellowfin tuna in the Gulf Stream.

I love fishing. I can think of no greater pleasure than to sit alone toward the evening by the water and watch a float. Anton Cherhov 1896


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.