Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | September 12, 2012

This past Saturday the awards ceremony was held for the Maryland Fishing Challenge and the Diamond Jim event at Sandy Point State Park. John Veil of Annapolis won the boat, motor and trailer combo donated by Bass Pro and John Schultz of Pennsylvania won the fishing trip to Bimini donated by the World Fishing Network.

Photo Courtesy of Karin Dodge

Bill's Outdoor Center at Deep Creek Lake returned as a premiere sponsor with thousands of dollars in tackle and fishing gear for the prize drawings. AllTackle, Angler's Sports Center, Clyde's Sport Shop, Fishbone's Bait and Tackle, Herb's Tackle Shop, Marty's Sporting Goods and Tochterman's Fishing Tackle also donated gift cards and youth tackle packages. All contestants received commemorative shirts, courtesy of Under Armour.

Nine lucky anglers caught specially tagged rockfish this summer in the Diamond Jim component of the 2012 Fishing Challenge. After all corresponding envelopes were opened – and no authentic Diamond Jim was discovered – the anglers split the contest's cash prize of $25,000 ─ taking home $2,778 each. The youth component of the Maryland Fishing Challenge celebrated 19 lucky anglers who advanced from DNR-sponsored fishing rodeos this summer. These individuals were awarded fishing gear and trips from the event's generous sponsors. It was a beautiful day to enjoy the ceremonies and some eats at the Seafood Festival and most fishing folks had left before the big storm hit later on that day.

Fishermen in the upper bay tidal rivers such as the Elk and Susquehanna are finding good white perch fishing in the river channel areas as well as good fishing for channel catfish. Fishermen continue to find a few striped bass near the Conowingo Dam Pool by casting swim shads into the pool in the mornings and evenings. Small striped bass are reported to be chasing bait in the Baltimore Harbor area and white perch are being found on the reefs and shoal areas such as Man O War Shoals and 9' Knoll. Bottom rigs with peeler crab or bloodworms have been the baits of choice.

Fishermen have been trolling near the channel edges of Love Point and Magothy River with limited success for striped bass and bluefish. Live lining spot, chunking or chumming near the channel edges has been described as a slow pick by fishermen. There tends to be more opportunity for action near the Bay Bridge Piers as fishermen are reporting catching some nice striped bass by live lining spot, chunking and jigging. Bluefish begin to be more common at the bridge and chunking fresh spot or trolling with small spoons behind planers or inline weights is the best way to target them.

The middle bay region continues to produce good opportunities for a mix of bluefish, striped bass and Spanish mackerel by trolling along the channel edges on the east and west sides of the shipping channel. Small spoons behind planers and inline weights along with medium sized red surge tube lures are the best ways to target them. Live lining spot continues to offer good opportunities at traditional locations such as the Winter Gooses, Diamonds, False Channel area as well as steep channel edges in about 30' of water. The fish are starting to move as water temperatures begin to dip so a good depth finder is very helpful when checking out edges for fish; Thomas Point, the Hill and the edges of the Sharps Island Flats are just a few locations worth checking out. As the mix of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and striped bass chase bait throughout the region; casting to surface fish or jigging underneath offer light tackle fun.

The larger white perch are beginning to move to deeper areas of the tidal rivers such as oyster bottom and knolls in depths over 35' of water. They offer a great opportunity for fishermen to target these filleting size perch for the freezer. White perch tend to hold better in the freezer than striped bass and offer some good eating later on in the winter. Peeler crab on a bottom rig is the most popular bait. There is also good fishing for white perch in the shallower waters of the tidal rivers for those light tackle fishermen casting spinners and jigs.

Photo Courtesy of Keith Lockwood

In the lower bay region bluefish and Spanish mackerel and striped bass are chasing bait which is usually bay anchovies up the Potomac River and along the edges of the shipping channel and similar channel edges. Most fishermen are trolling a mix of small spoons and red surgical tube lures behind planers and inline weights with good success. A few boats are chumming and finding their chum slicks soon become thick with bluefish. Some of the bluefish in areas such as the Middle Grounds are approaching 5lbs in weight. A few large red drum are also being encountered by fishermen trolling; often above the Target Ship and the east side of the shipping channel.

There is good fishing for a mix of white perch, spot and a few croakers in the region's tidal rivers. There is very good fishing in the lower Patuxent, Potomac and Nanticoke Rivers as well as Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. On the east side of the bay there is also very good fishing for speckled trout and at times flounder. The speckled trout are being targeted along the shorelines and flounder along channel edges.

Freshwater fishermen in the western region are finding the fishing for smallmouth bass is improving as water temperatures begin to dip slightly as nights begin to cool. The upper Potomac and Deep Creek Lake are two of the more popular areas to fish for smallmouth bass.

Largemouth bass fishermen are beginning to see their typical early morning action in the shallower grass beds move more into the mid morning hours. This trend will continue as the daylight hours become shorter and water temperatures cool. Grass continues to be the number one target for bass fishermen and casting topwater lures such as poppers and frogs over shallow grass is a favorite choice. Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits along the edges of the grass is also a good choice. Craws and grub jigs near sunken wood, rocks and channel edges are also a good choice. Chulo Leonardo caught and released this nice largemouth bass at Hutchin's Pond recently.

Photo Courtesy of Chulo Leonardo

Fisheries biologists are beginning to work up stocking schedules for the traditional fall stocking of trout in many put and take areas. The stocking is anticipated to begin during the second week of October and the stockings will be posted on the Fisheries Service trout fishing website as they occur.

Fishermen in the Ocean City area are watching water temperatures begin a downward trend in the surf and back bay areas. Surf fishermen are catching a nice mix of kingfish, spot and small bluefish with the occasional flounder and croaker. A few large red drum are being caught and released by fishermen everyday and the annual run along the beaches is expected in the next two weeks.

Flounder are moving towards the inlet from the back bay areas and the channels leading to the inlet are great ambush points for fishermen. Those fishermen looking for that big doormat are using live spot or large Gulp baits on jigs to entice the big guys. Flounder are one of those fish species that large baits draw large fish. Around the rocks and bulkheads at the inlet fishermen have been catching sheepshead and triggerfish during the day and small bluefish and striped bass at night.

The boats headed out to the wreck and reef sites are finding excellent fishing for flounder and fair to good fishing for sea bass. The trolling fleet headed out to the 30-fathom line and beyond to the canyon areas are finding white and blue marlin and a mix of dolphin with the occasional yellowfin tuna or wahoo. Donna Williams is all smiles with her first catch and release white marlin.

Photo Courtesy of Donna Williams

As for the fishing, it need not be good. There need only be the chance that it may be good. - Roderick Haig-Brown


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

Don Cosden
Fisheries Biologist
Total Reports:
Sent in on: October 30, 2014 Permalink

Dodging the Wind

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid Bay
Location: Edge of Shipping Channel
Tags: striped bass, perch

Fishing for me lately has largely meant dodging the wind. Several trips in October were spent in West and Rhode River catching perch and an occasional striper on a lee shore. On Sat. (25th) the forecast looked good so we ventured out in search of breaking fish to cast to. Unfortunately the forecast was a little inaccurate. 15 knots can whip up some mighty rough and wet conditions in a small skiff so we stayed in shallow. After several hours we had only one small rockfish. Finally the wind subsided a little we started to search the edges of the shipping channel. Plenty of fish on the depth sounder and birds searching but nothing on top so I started to jig a oz silver buddy at the 30 contour. I was just about to give it up and Wham! Something grabbed my bait and took off. This fish made several long runs that were so fast I thought I was on to a big bluefish or maybe even a cobia. My wife finally got the net on it and we snapped and quick picture and released it. This fish looked like a prime spawner and we prefer to eat the smaller ones anyway. I later heard that fish were breaking everywhere early Sunday morning.


Brenner Bookhamer
Youth Angler
Baltimore, MD
Total Reports:
Sent in on: October 30, 2014 Permalink

Only One to Catch a Fish

Type: Chesapeake
Region: upper Bay
Location: Mouth of Patapsco River
Tags: striped bass

I went fishing with my mommy and daddy and was the only one to catch a fish! It was really exciting and I had a lot of fun! I caught this 19" rockfish at the mouth of Patapsco River trolling on 10/27/14.


Connor Shank
Youth Angler
Damascus, MD
Total Reports:
Sent in on: October 30, 2014 Permalink

First Cast Was All it Took

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Upper Bay
Location: Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Tags: striped bass

My dad and I went out on the bay and on my fist cast I caught this 26" striper. That was the one and only catch of the day!