Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | June 22, 2011

Welcome to the first full day of summer and to some wonderful fishing opportunities this week throughout Maryland. Smallmouth bass fishing is on and delayed harvest restrictions for trout are lifted in many areas of the western region of the state, largemouth bass are entertaining fishermen in most areas and a summer mix of migratory species is providing some fun fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Richard Gunion traveled from his home in Washington, D.C to fish on an 18-hour fishing trip off of Ocean City and caught this pair of cod and Pollock; something you don't always see when bottom fishing off Ocean City. You can read Richard's whole story on the Angler's Log.

Photo Courtesy of Richard P. Gunion

The kids are out of school now so be sure to take advantage of being able to spend some time together; perhaps fishing or crabbing. You might also think to ask them if they have a friend that might like to go also; it can really put the sparkle to a trip; especially if your son or daughter can act as a go between mentor.

The 2011 Maryland Fishing Challenge has just over two months to go before the big celebration at Sandy Point State Park on September 10th. There are a lot of great prizes up for grabs so take a good look at that big white perch or croaker before you take a swipe with the fillet knife and if catch and release is your game and you have a qualifying fish take a picture and register your fish on line. It's not hard to do with the new system that is in place and you might just find yourself wining a new boat, motor and trailer. Also keep an eye out for those chartreuse Diamond Jim tags on striped bass; there is as much as $25,000 up for grabs this year.

Water temperatures in the Chesapeake are still holding in the mid to upper 70's this week and salinities are starting to creep up to normal levels. The higher salinities should have a positive effect on fish and crab movement. Upper bay fishermen have been mostly chumming and trolling for their striped bass. Chumming at the Love Point grounds has been a popular place to start and fishermen are finding good catches early in the morning and close to the bottom. A good running tide is paramount and secondary locations such as Swan Point and Podickory Point. Trolling along channel edges around the Triple Buoys area and Sandy Point Light have been a good option also. Storms and spoons in tandem or behind spreader bars and umbrella rigs close to the bottom have been a good choice. Live spot are becoming more common now and live lining along the channel edges in about 35' of water is a very good way to catch striped bass.

White perch can be found on the oyster lumps such as Man O War Shoals and Tea Kettle Shoals and also in the tidal rivers near docks and similar sunken wood structure. Channel catfish are ready and raring to take baits in the upper most areas of the bay and tidal rivers. As salinities rise crabbing should improve and a greater influx of croaker and spot may occur.

In the middle region of the bay live lining spot for striped bass is beginning to come into full swing as smaller spot become more plentiful. Channel edges near the Hill at the mouth of Eastern Bay, the False Channel at the mouth of the Choptank and sharp edges at Thomas Point and the western side of the shipping channel are all good places to explore; the sweet spot tends to be around 35'. Trolling is a good option and the False Channel edges, out in front of Poplar Island near Buoy 84 and the western edge of the shipping channel are all good places to troll. Medium sized bucktails, spoons and Storms are all good choices to troll close to the bottom. Fishermen are seeing more bait in the bay now in the form of small menhaden and with that more action in regard to light tackle jigging and casting to breaking fish. These two old friends got together to jig up a pair each of nice striped bass off Poplar Island.

Photo Courtesy of Brett Coakley

Croaker fishing continues to be good in the evening hours as the fish move out of the deeper areas and move up into shallower waters. The channel edges in about 30' of water often tend to be a good start when looking for croaker and a good running tide is essential. White perch fishing in the tidal rivers remains good and shallow water fishing for striped bass in the early morning hours has been good. This type of fishing typically comes to a halt though as soon as the sun peeks above the horizon. Recreational crabbing has been good in most tidal rivers and creeks in the region; the large crabs from the last shed are now heavy and offering some fine table fare.

The lower bay region has been offering some exciting fishing opportunities for striped bass in the shallow waters along the edges of Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds as well as old favorites such as Cedar Point in the early morning hours before the sun gets too high in the sky. Speckled trout are also part of the mix on the eastern shore and surface poppers, soft plastic swim shads and bucktails have been favorite lures to use. Live lining spot is moving up to center stage now that small spot are readily available in the tidal rivers and creeks. The 35' channel edge outside of the Gas Docks is one of the best places to hook up with striped bass in this fashion. Chumming along the channel edges in the mouth of the Potomac, Buoy 72 and Cove Point have been good places to try lately and bluefish are becoming more common everyday. Trolling can be a good option for striped bass and large red drum in the area north of the Target Ship can offer some exciting catch and release action.

Croaker fishing has been very good in the mouth of the Patuxent, Buoy 72, Tangier Sound and Pocomoke Sound. A typical summer pattern of holding deep during the day and moving up channel edges and onto shoal areas at dark is taking place. There are also sea trout and large spot being caught mostly during the day. The presence of flounder in the Tangier Sound area is perhaps one of the most exciting developments in the last week or so. After a rather lack luster season last year; this season's catches have been pleasing fishermen. If you want to catch large flounder, the channel edges and adjoining shoals is the place to be. Recreational crabbing has been very good in the tidal rivers and creeks on both sides of the bay.

Freshwater fishermen are finding good fishing for smallmouth bass this week at Deep Creek Lake with soft plastics, tubes and crankbaits along rocky shorelines. Largemouth bass are hitting spinnerbaits near grass beds and soft plastics have been a good choice near floating docks. Smallmouth bass fishing has also been good on the upper Potomac and John Mullican sent us this update. The upper river is in great shape and fishing well. Smallmouth bass will take a variety of baits, but it's still hard to beat the tube jig for catching fish day in and day out. Other productive lures include x-raps, crankbaits, and 4" grubs on 1/16 or 1/8 oz jigheads; topwater lures are a fun, and productive, way to catch bass during the early mornings and evenings. I have been doing the best in rocky habitat 2 – 4 feet deep with good current flow. Mike Leiter holds up a nice early morning upper Potomac smallmouth for the camera before releasing it.

Photo Courtesy of Mike Leiter

Largemouth bass are holding to a summer pattern of activity now; which means getting up early and hitting the water before dawn, whether it is your favorite lake, pond or tidal water. The bass are feeding shallow near the edges of grass so most topwater lures are a good choice. As the sun rises higher in the sky bass will look for cool shade under thick grass or deep sunken wood. Soft plastics, jigs and crankbaits are good choices to fish deeper waters. The recent cooler weather has made for better fishing and it may last through the weekend. Fishermen have been reporting catching some big smallmouth bass lately in the lower Susquehanna along with channel catfish and out on the flats largemouth bass are being caught.

The fishing scene in the Ocean City area is settling into a summer pattern of species as water temperatures rise above the 70-degree mark off the beaches; but it far from being mundane. Surf fishermen are catching a summer mix of kingfish, croaker, flounder and small bluefish. Those wishing for a lot more pull, have been fishing large menhaden baits and catching and releasing sand tiger sharks and sting rays.

At the inlet bluefish and striped bass have been dominating the fishing scene at night on a good flood tide. Casting Got-Cha lures, swim shads or drifting live spot have been producing well for fishermen. During the day, flounder and a mix of sheepshead and tautog are being caught. David Yost holds up a really nice tog he caught off a bulkhead inside the inlet.

Photo Courtesy of David Beach

Flounder fishing has been good this week from the airport north to the Route 90 Bridge with some of the most consistent action coming from the Thorofare. Small sea bass are becoming a bit pesky in regards to squid baits but the arrival of croaker has been a welcomed addition.

Sea bass fishing has been fair to good on the wreck sites with the best fishing occurring on the wrecks farther offshore. Cod, tautog and even pollock can be an exciting addition to a long day of fishing at these sites. The yellowfin tuna bite has been one of the best anyone can remember for a long time in the canyon areas and white marlin, dolphin and the occasional bigeye tuna are rounding out the mix.

Nature encourages no looseness, pardons no errors. -Ralph Waldo Emerson


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.