Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | May 30, 2012

The calendar says summer is officially three weeks away but most would agree it was summer time weather this past holiday weekend. Warm temperatures prodded folks to get out on the water or at least close to it to enjoy themselves. Fishing, swimming and just being in the company of friends and family were popular past times. For those looking for some good fishing most found it from the ocean waters of the Atlantic to the shaded trout streams in western Maryland. Chesapeake Bay anglers will have a little extra incentive to pursue striped bass this coming month. The striped bass in the photo below could be worth $10,000 to some lucky angler; for more information click on the following link.

Photo Courtesy of Karin Dodge

Fishermen are finding striped bass in the channel areas of the Susquehanna Flats and the lower Susquehanna River by casting crankbaits and soft plastic jigs. Fishing for white perch in the lower Susquehanna is very good this week and fishermen are using small jigs or bottom rigs baited with bloodworms. A few enterprising fishermen have also had good luck with live lining white perch for striped bass in the lower Susquehanna in the area open to striped bass fishing. There seem to always be plenty of channel catfish to entertain fishermen and largemouth bass can be found out in the grass beds on the flats.

Farther down the bay the striped bass pickings have been slim this week as fishermen trolling and chumming around Love Point, the Triple Buoys, Sandy Point Light and down to the Bay Bridge report very little action. Fishing for white perch in the lower sections of the tidal rivers in the upper bay is good and bloodworms on a bottom rig has been the most popular way to catch them. Hackett's Bar has been a good place to chum for striped bass lately as is the Hill and Thomas Point. Fishermen are reporting that allowing baits to sink to the bottom offers the best opportunity for quality striped bass. David Street holds up a nice fish he caught while chumming at Thomas Point light.

Photo Courtesy of David Street

Water temperatures in the mid-bay region are running about 75-degrees on the surface this week. Fishermen have been trolling medium-sized bucktails and swim shads along channel edges and bottom structure with some success. Most fishermen are describing the action as a slow pick with many of the fish coming from planer board lines. Small to medium sized bluefish are starting to make their presence known this week in the lower and middle bay regions and they range in size from a 1/2lb to 3lbs in size. Cow-nosed rays seem to be having a hard time staying clear of trolling arrays recently and more than a few disgruntled fishermen have reported snagging them and having their hands full trying to get them to the boat to retrieve lures. Light tackle fishermen have been enjoying plenty of action fishing the shallower areas and rips during the early morning and evening hours. Fishermen have been reporting relatively clear water conditions in the middle and lower bay regions this week. Last nights thunder storms that moved across Maryland will cause some flooding and discolored water in the tributaries on the western shore today.

Fishing for white perch has been very good in most of the tidal rivers in the middle and lower regions of the bay. Fishermen are using bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or casting small beetle spins and soft plastic shads in the shallows and around structure such as docks and rocks. Grass shrimp are a very good option for bait; especially around deep water docks. Many fishermen are reporting that the bumper crop of 2011 year class striped bass are swarming baits intended for white perch in the tidal rivers and have been ranging in size from 6" to 10" in size. Treat them with care; they hold the future of striped bass fishing.

Fishing for croakers continues to improve and the action has been fairly steady in the lower Potomac and Patuxent Rivers. The Tangier Sound area and Middle Grounds are producing catches of croaker as well as speckled trout and small bluefish. The speckled trout fishing has really been a welcomed addition to fishermen the last couple of years. The black drum have arrived on some of the traditional shoal areas of the bay this week and fishermen have been dropping soft crab baits to them for some hard fighting action. Tim Campbell caught and released this 75lb specimen at Stone Rock recently.

Photo Courtesy of Tim Campbell

Recreational crabbers who stuck their necks out promising Memorial Day crabs were not disappointed if they crabbed the mid bay or lower bay regions tidal rivers and creeks. Most crabbers were able to catch a bushel of good crabs in an outing. There were a lot of small crabs and sooks chewing up baits of chicken necks, bull lips and razor clams. The Kent Island area and the eastern shore tidal rivers and creeks are standouts in regard to very good crabbing this week.

John Mullican sent us this report today from the upper Potomac River. The upper Potomac is predicted to rise from the recent, reoccurring thunderstorms. Some of these storms have produced localized, torrential downpours that have muddied tributaries and caused the river to be cloudy in most areas. The clearest water is currently in the western stretches of the river.

Fishing for smallmouth bass has been very good. Try topwater baits early in the morning or during the evening insect hatches. During the day tubes, plastic jerkbaits, and crankbaits have been effective. Channel catfish have been very active and readily taking lures fished for other species. Chicken livers or cut bait will find nearly constant action from the cats right now.

Freshwater fishermen in Deep Creek Lake have been enjoying very good fishing for walleye and medium sized smallmouth bass. Trout fishermen are enjoying the peace and good fishing that occur in western region trout streams as spring moves into summer. Be sure to read Alan Klotz's angler's log titled "Green Drake Hatch on the Yough" to see some exciting action.

Photo Courtesy of Alan Klotz

Largemouth bass fishermen are enjoying excellent fishing opportunities this week in freshwater lakes, ponds and tidal waters. The largemouth bass are now in a post-spawn mode and as water temperatures rise they are slipping into a summer mode of feeding behavior. Targeting grass with topwater lures and soft plastics is a favorite tactic as is casting spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and crankbaits around the edges of grass, spatterdock and sunken wood. Old docks and similar shade are good places to target when the sun gets high in the sky.

Ocean City fishermen continue to enjoy excellent fishing in the surf for large striped bass that are moving through the area. Large menhaden baits, clams and even sand fleas have been good baits. Black drum are also being caught in the surf and of course there are lots of rays, skates, dogfish and pesky crabs.

In and around the inlet fishermen report striped bass and small bluefish are being caught in the inlet at night. During the day fishermen are seeing the first sheepshead being caught and the last of the good tautog fishing. Flounder fishing around the inlet and back bays is good when water conditions are favorable.

Sea bass fishing on the offshore wrecks has been very good this week and deep drop fishermen are catching tilefish. The first white marlin was caught and released over the weekend and canyon trollers are catching a mix of wahoo, yellowfin tuna and dolphin. A few mako and thresher sharks are also being caught.

"It is the part of wisdom never to revisit a wilderness, for the more golden the lily, the more certain that someone has gilded it. To return not only spoils a trip but tarnishes a memory. It is only in the mind that shining adventure remains forever bright. " Aldo Leopold, The Green Lagoons


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.