Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | June 20, 2012

A lot of fathers made fishing or crabbing their destination for Father's Day this past weekend with sons and daughters and enjoyed the rewards of spending some one on one time together. Few activities offer the reward of such personal time together without a lot of distractions; Happy Father's Day plus three to all the dads out there.

Fishermen have been finding good white perch fishing in the lower Susquehanna River and Elk Rivers this week along with channel catfish. At the Conowingo Dam pool striped bass are being caught on swim shads and crankbaits cast into the tail race below the dam. Those who put more weight on their swim shads or live line white perch have been catching some pretty impressive flathead catfish; which make for some mighty fine eating. Don Goff holds up a big flathead for the camera and be sure to view his June 18th angler's log.

Photo Courtesy of Don Goff

Upper bay fishermen have been finding striped bass action along the eastern side of the shipping channel and near Love Point. Most fishermen are trolling medium sized bucktails dressed with sassy shads or Storms in tandem or behind umbrella rigs. Planers and inline weights are helping to get presentations down to the 15' to 20' level. Fishermen are also reporting they are finding striped bass suspended near structure such as bridge piers and steep channel edges and having some success with jigging.

White perch and channel catfish are entertaining fishermen in most of the regions tidal rivers and bottom rigs baited with bloodworms are working in the deeper waters. At dawn and dusk casting small jigs, Beetle Spins and spinners along shoreline structure has been a good way to catch white perch. Fishermen casting swim shads and crankbaits report limited success with striped bass in the same areas.

Fishermen are reporting good fishing for striped bass in the Thomas Point, Hackett's Bar and Poplar Island area for suspended and breaking fish. Fishermen are trolling in the area with medium sized bucktails and Storm shads, chumming and light tackle jigging to breaking or suspended fish. Bay anchovies are in the area and the action can erupt at most any time but morning and evening seem to hold the most promise. Shallow water action for light tackle fishermen has also been good in the early morning and evening hours along the edges of Thomas Point and the rocks of Poplar Island. Trolling along the western edge of the shipping channel in the area of Parkers Creek and Breezy Point has been good this week in about 40' of water.

Shallow water fishing for a mix of striped bass and white perch continues to be good in the early morning hours; this type of fishing is often over as soon as the sun breaks the horizon this time of the year. Casting topwater lures, jerkbaits, swimming plugs and swim shads are the top choices for striped bass and spinners and small swim shads are good choices for white perch. White perch can also be found under docks and piers during daylight hours with bottom rigs baited with grass shrimp or by working small jigs close to the structure and bottom.

Croaker fishing has been fair to good in the evenings at shoal areas in the middle bay areas such as Sharps Island and James Island Flats when the croakers come up out of deep water for an evening's forage on the shallower shoals. Some croakers are being caught along channel edges in the Choptank but fishermen are mostly catching white perch and a few spot. So far this season croaker fishing has been a bit lack luster for bottom fishermen in the middle bay region.

The lower bay region is offering good striped bass fishing along the western edge of the shipping channel for fishermen trolling medium sized bucktails, Drone spoons and Storms. There are some small to medium sized bluefish in the region so plastic sassy shads and Storms are getting nipped off now and then. The area around the Middle grounds, the lower Potomac and channel edges in Tangier Sound are also offering some good trolling opportunities.

Fishermen are now able to catch spot in good numbers in the Patuxent and other tidal rivers and creeks in the area so many fishermen are now going to live lining spot for their striped bass. The 35' channel edge outside of the Gas Docks continues to be the number one destination for this type of fishing. Spot can be live lined anywhere striped bass are holding and watching channel edges where currents sweep by are good choices. A few fishermen are beginning to chum in the lower Potomac River and around the Middle Grounds with success for a mix of striped bass and bluefish.

Light tackle fishermen are enjoying good opportunities for a mix of striped bass, bluefish and speckled sea trout in the shallow waters of Tangier Sound and the western shore. Most of the speckled trout action has been on the eastern side of the bay and Gulp mullet swim shads and soft crab baits have been favorites for speckled trout that are topping 10lbs at times.

Bottom fishermen are catching a mix of southern kingfish, small bluefish, speckled trout, spot, croaker, white perch and flounder in the region. The lower Patuxent, Potomac and the Tangier Sound area hold some of the best bottom fishing opportunities and the best croaker fishing has been at sunset along channel edges leading to shoal areas.

Recreational crabbers are reporting good crabbing in the bay from Kent Island south with the best catches being made in the tidal rivers and creeks of the eastern shore. Most crabbers are reporting a half bushel to a full bushel of large heavy crabs per outing with light crabs and small or medium size crabs being thrown back. Rich Watts sent in this picture of some crabs he and his daughter caught Father's Day morning at Kent Island.

Photo Courtesy of Rich Watts

Freshwater fishermen are seeing many fish species settling into a typical summer mode of behavior. This translates into early morning and late evening hours for fishing with the early morning being the more productive of the two. Many cold water species of fish such as trout, walleye and smallmouth bass hunker down in a cool deep spot during the heat of the day. John Mullican sent us this short report from the upper Potomac River.

The upper Potomac is low and clear and with the recent hot weather will be around 80F. Fishing for channel catfish has been very good; cut bait, livers, and shrimp will all bring in the cats. Even the bass fishermen throwing artificial lures are catching nice size channel cats. Smallmouth bass have been taking topwater lures early and late in the day. At other times tubes, grubs, and soft jerkbaits will catch plenty of bass.

Largemouth bass fishermen are finding bass in the shallows during the early morning hours often near grass. Topwater lures, soft plastics and spinnerbaits over grass have been providing plenty of action recently. As the sun gets higher in the sky the bass will look for shade under thick grass, fallen tree tops and docks. Bruce Becker holds up a beautiful largemouth bass caught and released at Black Hills Regional Park at the crack of dawn.

Photo Courtesy of Bruce Becker

Fishermen in the Ocean City area had a rough weekend with northeast winds that hampered fishing all the way down the east coast to Florida. Conditions have greatly improved this week so the action should pick up once again. Surf water temperatures are about 66-degrees and fishermen are targeting summer species such as kingfish, small bluefish, sea trout and flounder. For a little more pull, fishermen are using larger baits and gear to catch and release inshore sharks and sting rays.

In and around the inlet fishermen are catching small bluefish and a few striped bass at night on Got-Cha plugs and swim shads. Fishermen are also catching and releasing hickory shad. During the day flounder and sheepshead are being caught and the flounder fishing extends into the back bay areas. Croaker, spot and small sea bass are also being found near the inlet and back bays. Now that spot are showing up fishermen will begin to live line them in the channels for large flounder. Recreational crabbing is reported to be very good in the tidal creeks.

Sea bass are being caught on the wreck sites with an occasional flounder and tautog. Offshore fishermen are finding a mix of yellowfin tuna, dolphin and sharks this week in the offshore waters of Ocean City.

" To unravel the snarls and knit up the frayed ends of a nervous system, too long exposed to the wearing pressure of work, angling is regarded as the one sure and unfailing method." John Alden Knight


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.