Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | March 14, 2012

The story we've always heard is of March coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb; if that is so then so far we have one mellow lion in our midst. Of course anything can happen and some of us that have been around a while can remember big time Easter snow storms; but right now this week's weather seems like a gift. Sunday I welcomed my neighbors, the ospreys that had just arrived from South America and were checking out their nests that are erected on nearby power poles. The warm weather this week has fishermen out trying their luck at their favorite fishing holes and Jack Driver managed to get his dad to take him fishing at one of their favorite spots a small pond near Mardela on the eastern shore. Young Jack holds up an impressive 8lb. largemouth bass he caught as his dad records the event that will provide a lifetime memory for father and son.

Photo Courtesy of Henry Driver

Fishermen found themselves witnessing the retreat of yellow perch down the upper reaches of the Chesapeake's tidal rivers this week and the ascending of the white perch. The lucky ones have been finding themselves at places where the two fish pass each other. On one cast an angler can catch a spent yellow perch and on the next cast catch a fat pre-spawn white perch. As this week progresses the yellow perch will be found farther down the river reaches and white perch are still coming on strong in many areas. Today in several traditional headwater areas such as Millington on the Chester and Red Bridges on the Choptank the action slacked off but a new batch of fish is sure to follow the urge to move up river. Fishermen are reporting good white perch action this week on several traditional white perch runs on the western shore. Water temperatures are rising and are over 50-degrees in the skinny water areas; so something is bound to pop this week. Small jigs, shad darts and spoons tipped with a piece of bloodworm or garden worm and worked close to the bottom have been a favorite tactic lately.

Windy conditions on the open waters of the Chesapeake have made it difficult for fishermen to venture out to try a little catch and release fishing for striped bass in the main stem of the bay. Traditionally the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant warm water discharge offers some light tackle jigging action and trolling along the shipping channel edges will often produce fish. News has been spreading through the fishing community of croakers moving up through lower Virginia waters and flounder are being caught around the mouth of the bay; we hope they keep on coming. Water temperatures in our part of the bay are holding around 47-degrees; a bit chilly for croakers.

Most fishermen find this a wonderful time of the year to fish the more sheltered freshwater areas and there is certainly plenty of action to be had in a wide variety of areas. The many lakes and ponds that dot the Maryland landscape are providing good fishing for a variety of fish such as chain pickerel, largemouth bass, crappie and bluegills. In the tidal rivers fishermen are catching largemouth bass near emerging grass beds, ledges and sunken structure on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastic grub type jigs. Most of the tidal rivers are showing water temperatures around 50-degrees or better. Crappie fishing has been very good this week in the tidal rivers and fishermen are catching some nice slab-sized crappie on small jigs and minnow combos under bobbers. Channel catfish have become very active and are providing a lot of fun fishing and good eating for fishermen in the tidal rivers and the upper Potomac River.

Trout fishermen have been enjoying the generous pre-season stocking of trout in many of the put and take management waters. Stocking crews have been running non-stop bringing a nice selection of healthy rainbow trout to rivers, creeks and ponds throughout the state. Be sure to check the latest stocking dates on the trout stocking site and remember we are currently in a closure (period 1) therefore a number of stocking sites are not open to fishing of any kind, a link to the schedule and closure periods can be found at

Water levels in the upper Potomac have been good this week allowing fishermen to fish for a mix of walleye, smallmouth bass and perhaps even the elusive muskie. Jim Thompson was out with electro-fishing crews yesterday and sent us this rare opportunity to view a tiger muskie and a true strain muskie side by side.

Photo Courtesy of Jim Thompson

Fishermen in the Ocean City area continue to catch some really impressive tautog on the offshore wrecks and artificial reef sites. Pool winners on the head boat trips are usually close to 20lbs. Surf water temperatures are holding around 47-degrees this week and boats trolling just outside the beaches to 3-miles continue to pick away at large striped bass that are moving up the coast. Large parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads and diving plugs have been favorite lures to use.

The secret of going back to the trout streams of yesteryear and finding them as good as ever is really quite simple when you learn it. - I'll Fish Again Yesterday, Corey Ford 1959


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.