Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | August 29, 2012

Many folks have been asking for rain, especially on the eastern shore and oh brother we sure got it over the weekend. There was a lot of flooding due to 7" to 12" of rain in many areas and the western shore areas also got some of it. Creeks were running high and cloudy and although the main rivers are running high they seem to be handling it well. Salinities in the tidal rivers may drop some the main stem of the bay is still high; the NOAA Buoy at the Gooses is recording a salinity of 19 parts per thousand which is more than half of what the ocean is. The relatively high salinities of late summer bring all kinds of salty visitors to the bay such as spadefish, small sea bass, Spanish mackerel and the list goes on. Dave Hansen sent in this picture of a Remora or shark sucker that he caught in Eastern Bay recently. A remora usually hangs onto a large shark or sea turtle with a suction cup device on their head and pick up scraps when their free ride is feeding.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Hansen

Fishermen continue to catch white perch and channel catfish in the upper most limits of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries this week. A few striped bass are also being caught at the base of the Conowingo Dam. Fishermen are reporting good fishing for white perch in and around Baltimore Harbor and out in the bay at the shoals, reefs and knolls outside the harbor. They are also reporting small striped bass chasing baitfish such as bay anchovies in the harbor area and out in the bay. Closer to the Bay Bridge and Love Point, fishermen are finding a larger grade of striped bass under the small striped bass chasing bait on the surface. These same larger fish are also holding near deep structure such as the steep channel edges near Podickory Point, Love Point and other structure such as the sewer pipe and bridge piers. Jigging, live lining spot, chumming and trolling are all good ways to fish. Small bluefish are also part of the mix fishermen will find above the bay bridge.

In the middle bay region fishermen are finding a mix of striped bass, bluefish and Spanish mackerel spread throughout the region. Some of the better locations for live lining spot for striped bass have been the Hill, south of Poplar Island near Buoy 83, the False Channel and Diamonds areas. Bluefish are very much part of the scene and have been chopping up live baits on a regular schedule. Once fishermen have fish under the boat chunking fresh spot can work as well as live baits in many instances. A mix of striped bass, bluefish and Spanish mackerel can be found chasing bay anchovies throughout the entire middle bay region. Casting small spoons, jigging underneath the surface action or trolling along channel edges has been a good way to catch them. Most fishermen are trolling small Drone and Clark spoons behind inline weights or planers.

Fishing for white perch in the tidal rivers in the middle and lower bay regions continues to be very good this week. Casting small spinners, jigs and spinnerbaits along shoreline structure has been very productive. Fishermen are also finding spot and small red drum in the same areas as well as a few legal size striped bass. Bottom fishing for spot and white perch in the deeper waters in the lower sections of the tidal rivers in the middle bay area are good this week. Eastern Bay, Hackett's Bar, the lower Choptank, the Severn and West Rivers have been good places to fish with bloodworms. Marcial Amigo enjoyed casting a Beetle Spin near Thomas Point and bringing home these nice white perch.

Photo Courtesy of Marcial Amigo

Fishermen in the lower bay region have been finding large numbers of bluefish at the Middle Grounds area and the mouth of the Potomac River and also scattered throughout the region. Chumming has been a good method for bring bluefish into the boat as well as trolling small spoons. There are striped bass to be found in the region but they tend to be here and there. The channel edge outside the Gas Docks has lost much of its luster lately for live lining fishermen. Although striped bass can be caught there on live spot on a good running tide it is nothing one can count on. Most captains have been checking likely looking structure throughout the region and fishing when they can mark fish. Bluefish can be a real pest when live lining; making short work of live baits. Trolling along channel edges with small spoons is a good choice for a mix of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and striped bass. The mouth of the Potomac River and Hooper's Island Light up to Taylor's Island has been good places to find Spanish mackerel this week. A few boats have been trolling larger spoons around the Mud Leads and practicing catch and release on large red drum.

Fishermen in the Tangier Sound and Hooper's Island areas are finding good shallow water fishing for a mix of speckled trout and bluefish along with striped bass. Croaker, spot, white perch and flounder are also being caught in those areas. The flounder fishing in Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds has been very good along channel edges on hard-bottomed shoals. Fishing for a mix of white perch and spot has been very good in the Patuxent River and there have been some flounder caught at the mouth of the river at the Chinese Muds and Point Lookout area.

Recreational crabbers continue to experience good crabbing in all regions of the bay. Small crabs and female crabs are part of the mix but heavy male crabs make it all worth while as we approach a full moon this weekend. The recent rains may begin to push the large male crabs that have been far up the tidal rivers this month down to more traditional crabbing areas.

Freshwater fishermen in the western region of the state are finding good fishing for smallmouth bass in Deep Creek Lake in the early morning hours on various topwater lures. Smallmouth bass fishing has also been good in the upper Potomac and Monocacy Rivers. Many fishermen are taking advantage of flow conditions and taking a lazy float down the river with a good friend and casting for smallmouth bass. Ben McElyea holds up a nice smallmouth bass he caught on the upper Potomac before slipping it back into the river.

Photo Courtesy of Ben McElyea

Largemouth bass fishermen continue to find the bass still holding to a summer pattern of behavior but are noticing subtle changes as the days get shorter and water temperatures slowly cool. Casting topwater lures over or near shallow water grass continues to be the ticket to front row action in the early morning hours in lakes, reservoirs, ponds and tidal rivers that hold largemouth bass. Plastic frogs, dark colored chatterbaits, poppers and lipless crankbaits are all popular choices for working shallow grass. Fishermen working grass and spatterdock fields in the tidal rivers are finding a falling tide is the best time to work the edges with spinnerbaits and weightless soft plastics. Fishermen are also noticing that largemouth bass are beginning to focus on crawfish as a major portion of their diet.

Ocean City area fishermen have had weather troubles like everyone else this past week but the forecast for the rest of the week is good. Surf temperatures are running around 76-degrees and fishermen are finding a nice mix of kingfish, croaker, spot, small bluefish and flounder in the surf. Flounder are being caught in and around the inlet as well as croakers during the day and bluefish at night. Behind the inlet flounder and croakers rein supreme and fishermen are also finding small sea bass and the occasional sea trout.

Offshore, the boats headed out to the wreck sites are catching some beautiful flounder mixed in with sea bass. It is not uncommon for rail huggers to catch limits of good-sized flounder around the wreck sites this week. Farther offshore the boats working the canyons are catching and releasing white marlin and finding a mix of yellowfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo.

The angling fever is a very real disease and the only can only be cured by the application of cold water and fresh untainted air. - Theodore Gordon


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.