Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | March 13, 2013

After several weeks of waiting and being hunkered down in deep channels and holes in the upper sections of the states tidal rivers, last weekends warming temperatures was enough to send the yellow perch on their way to spawning areas. Despite high water conditions due to run off fishermen who had been patiently checking for spawning runs were rewarded with good fishing and yellow perch for dinner. Others, who thought they'd give yellow perch fishing a shot, were lucky enough to step into some excellent fishing. There will still be some pre-spawn stragglers and spent fish caught this week but the fishing now will focus on the much anticipated white perch spawning run. The white perch are staging in the upper areas of the states tidal rivers. Fishermen are catching them on bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp in the channel areas. Channel catfish also come into play in these same areas and a small white perch makes an excellent cut bait for catching a few channel catfish to add some heft to an ice chest.

Fishermen have been dusting off their ultra light fishing tackle and exploring local ponds, lakes and rivers from small craft or shorelines and enjoying some spring time fishing. Largemouth bass, crappie and chain pickerel are often the target in the southern, central and eastern regions of the state. Small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics are often a good choice when poking around sheltered waters on a nice day. Fishermen who are specifically targeting largemouth bass are finding them in a transition stage along the edges of deeper waters. Sunken wood, creek mouths and main points are all good places to look for largemouth bass whether it is on a lake, pond or tidal river. The bass are holding deep but tend to move up to shallower water on warm days. Blade lures and soft plastic jigs worked very slowly close to the bottom in deep water is a good cold water tactic. As water temperatures begin to raise small crankbaits or spinnerbaits close to the bottom, along the top edge of drop offs is often a good choice. Danny Villanueva caught and released this fine looking largemouth bass in the Northeast River while casting a small spinner.

Photo courtesy of Danny Villanueva

Western region fishermen continue to enjoy good ice fishing conditions this week. Most fishermen are targeting yellow perch with minnows on tip ups or with small jigs and maggot combinations on hand held fishing rods. Trout fishing in the open water of the regions trout waters has also been good.

Trout fishermen have been enjoying the pre-season stockings of trout in many areas of the state this week. Powerbait tends to be the number one choice for catching stocked trout in the put and take areas; good old garden worms tend to be a distant second these days. The advent of Powerbait in all its multitude of colors sure makes life easier for put and take trout fishermen. Jars of salmon eggs have gone the way of pork rind and fiberglass fishing rods, (most fishermen under the age of 35 have little knowledge of either). Be sure to check out the trout fishing website at the following link for updates on stockings and where to plan your next trout fishing trip.

When the waters of the Chesapeake and a few major tidal rivers are as cold as they are this time of the year (42-degrees) fishermen often check out warm water discharges from power plants for fish that are drawn to the warm water. Calvert Cliffs Power Plant always draws a crowd of catch and release fishermen looking to hook up with a big striped bass on relatively light jigging tackle. The plan is to slowly motor up to the bubbling discharge and drift in the warm water plume while jigging with soft plastic jigs or butterfly jigs and of course not to get hung up on the rocks. So far the action is reported to be a little slow there but fishermen are catching a few fish. There are several fossil fuel power plants in Maryland that also offer good fishing opportunities this time of the year. There is Chalk Point on the Patuxent and Morgantown on the lower Potomac River where fishermen can often find striped bass, white perch, channel catfish and summer species such as small red drum and spot that neglected to head south for the winter. On the upper Potomac the Dickerson Power Plant offers good fishing for channel catfish and large mouth bass and there are several power plants in the Baltimore area that also offer good fishing opportunities. Aron Weiner sent in this picture of a 31" channel catfish he caught in the warm water plume at the Dickerson Power Plant on the upper Potomac recently. Aron is now eligible for an Award Certificate, qualifying him for the 2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge. For information about the Maryland Fishing Challenge be sure to check out the following link.

Photo courtesy of Aron Weiner

There has been a little bit of striped bass catch and release fishing going on along the shipping channel edges and at power plant warm water discharges this past week. A few pre-spawn striped bass are being caught but with water temperatures on top at 42-degrees the action has been slow.

Ocean City area fishermen have been traveling out to the wreck sites on head boats when the weather permits to fish for tautog. The reports have been telling of rough seas at times but also of flat days and some whopper sized tog being caught. Pool winners are often approaching the 20lb mark and fishermen are able to catch their four fish daily limit. One head boat captain reports that his fishermen are still able to tag scores of tog after they catch their limit.

"A day fishing is never a waste. The old-timers know that cooperation by the fish is the icing, but there's plenty that can stick with the cake; trying out a new rod or reel or waders, ore watching, always with feeling of seeing a miracle, feeding fish making little diamonds on the surface of the stream." - Gene Hill


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.