Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | April 11, 2012

It truly is a wonderful time of the year for fishermen to head down to one's favorite fishing hole and whether your bank fishing or in a boat to enjoy spring at it's best. Many species of freshwater fish are eager to jump on your hook and there are so many choices it can be hard to choose what type of fishing to pursue. Fishermen on the tidal Potomac are sending in a lot of pictures and entries on the angler's log site of snakeheads they've caught. The snakehead contest has turned out to be a lot of fun as anglers share their experiences of catching one of these frightful looking beasts and then finding out how excellent they are to eat. One of our lucky entered anglers is going to win a $200 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shops in a random drawing at the end of the contest. Contest Details

Recently an internet news story got the whole deal wrong and reported that there was a $200 bounty for each fish. As one can imagine there were calls to fisheries of fishermen from as far away as Texas; ready to quite their jobs and come to Maryland to fish snakeheads for a living. It was a real wake up call as to how social media can run amuck. Anyway most fishermen are excited to catch one of these beasts and as Julian Jones stated in his anglers log, he was happy to take it home for Easter dinner.

Photo Courtesy of Julian Jones

Fishermen at the Susquehanna Flats area are finding the waters stirred up by persistent winds lately but those winds are predicted to subside by the end of the week. Mike Benjamin reports that the best fishing is on the eastern side of the flats area and of course this has been the windward side lately so fishing has been rough. Water temperatures on the flats are holding right around 50-degrees and less than that in the river. Fishermen are catching mostly school-sized male striped bass on swimming plugs and to a lesser degree on soft plastic jigs and spoons. Power generation at the dam has mostly been in the afternoon. White perch are becoming more prevalent in the upper bay and are a welcomed bonus to fishermen looking to take some fish home; channel catfish are also very plentiful. Fishermen looking for hickory shad at Deer Creek are finding a slow pick at the mouth of the creek and in the river; catching and releasing mostly males. The larger female hickory shad are in the river and the fishing there is expected to gain momentum this week as warmer weather moves in. Jay Fleming shared with us this beautiful picture he took of a school of hickory shad at the mouth of Deer Creek.

Photo Courtesy of Jay Fleming

Water temperatures in the middle bay region are around 54-degrees in most areas and large pre-spawn striped bass are making their way towards the upper bay spawning areas. A few fishermen have been practicing some catch and release along the shipping channel edges and out in front of the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant Discharge. One of the reactors is reported to be down for maintenance so there is not much of a warm water plume to attract striped bass. Shoreline fishermen along the bay have also been trying their luck with circle hooks and bloodworms or cut bait at prominent point and fishing piers.

White perch are moving into the traditional locations at the lower sections of the bay's tidal rivers and are providing some fun action for fishermen fishing with bottom rigs and small jigs. Channel catfish continue to be plentiful in most tidal rivers and fishermen hoping to catch the first croakers at the Bushwood area on the Wicomico River are not finding any croakers yet but plenty of medium-sized blue catfish. Fishermen have been standing vigil at Point Lookout and the Wicomico waiting for the first croakers of the season to arrive.

Freshwater fishermen have a lot of good choices this week in regard to what type of fishing they would like to do. Smallmouth bass are beginning to move into transition areas nearing spawning coves at Deep Creek Lake and fishermen are finding plenty of action by working crankbaits and jigs along drop-offs and secondary points. The lake was stocked with plenty of trout; which has made for good trout fishing and walleye, largemouth bass and large yellow perch are active. Fishing in the upper Potomac for smallmouth bass, walleye and muskie continues to be very good this week. Trout fishing in the many trout management waters in the western region could hardly be better; it is just a wonderful time of the year to be out fishing in the region.

Fishermen in the central/southern regions to the eastern shore are finding excellent fishing for largemouth bass in tidal rivers, small farm ponds and larger lakes. The largemouth bass are in a pre-spawn feeding mode and are presenting good fishing in a wide variety of situations. Chatterbaits and other topwater lures over grass, spinnerbaits and crankbaits near grass or spatterdock edges and soft plastics and grubs near sunken wood and docks are all catching fish. The crappie bite is on in lakes such as Deep Creek Lake, Piney Run, Liberty, Loch Raven, small ponds and tidal rivers. It has been a very good trout season so far for put and take trout fishermen. Blaine Angleberger proudly holds up a 24" golden rainbow trout he caught in the Woodsboro Community Pond. Golden rainbow trout are a genetic strain of rainbow trout that was discovered in a West Virginia trout hatchery in 1954 and since then has been propagated for its unusual color. The fisheries service has been purchasing fry and raising them as a novelty fish for trout fishermen for years now and they usually stir excitement when trout fishermen see them.

Photo Courtesy of Blaine Angleberger

Fishermen at the Ocean City area are seeing surf conditions improve this week as the strong winds of last week taper off. Surf fishermen are picking at striped bass, lot's of dogfish and skates and a few bluefish and black drum. Our neighbors to the south tell us a swarm of northern puffers, blow toads or blowfish are headed our way; they can be real bait stealers but a smaller long shanked hook and a piece of squid will never fail to put the some fine eating in your cooler.

In and around the Ocean City Inlet fishermen are finding good fishing for tautog and fishermen are reminded that the new minimum size is now 16". Traditional haunts such as the South Jetty, the Route 50 Bridge, and the bulkheads near the inlet are where fishermen are catching them on frozen sand fleas and pieces of green crab. Offshore the head boats headed out to the wreck sites are catching big tautog and most fishermen are catching their limits.

I make it a rule never to weigh or measure a fish I've caught but simply to estimate its dimensions as accurately as possible and then when telling about it, to improve those figures by roughly a fifth or twenty percent. I do this mainly because most people believe all fishermen exaggerate by at least twenty percent and so I allow for the discounting my audience is almost certain to apply. - Ed Zernd


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.