Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | October 23, 2013

October presents some wonderful opportunities for parents to get out and fish with their children before it begins to become too chilly for wet feet and hands. Most fish are very active now as cooler water temperatures cause them to feed more. Recent trout stocking at many trout management areas provide a great chance for your little fisherman to have an increased chance of success. There are trout management ponds that are specifically stocked for our young anglers that are under 14-years of age. Be sure to check the trout stocking site that is listed in the freshwater section of today's fishing report. Nathan Williams got to go fishing after his baseball game recently at the Calvert Cliffs State Park Pond and is all smiles with this nice trout he caught.

Photo Courtesy of Nathan Williams

Fishermen in the lower Susquehanna are still dealing with cloudy water conditions this week and at the moment the Conowingo Dam is releasing water in the mornings and evenings. There are Striped Bass in the area and as soon as water conditions improve the fishing will shift gears. In the interim using crankbaits with rattles in them might be a good option. In the lower Susquehanna and approaches to the river fishermen are finding a lot of 2011 year class Striped Bass that are in the 16" size range and enough larger fish to be able to take one or two home. This is always a good time of the year to also find large Smallmouth Bass in the river when fishing with crankbaits and soft plastic jigs.

Farther down the bay fishermen are finding a nice grade of Striped Bass in the 23" size range by trolling spoons, bucktails and sassy shads in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and out in the bay along channel edges. The lower sections of the Bush, Patapsco, Chester and Magothy are all holding fish as well as channel edges near Love, Swan and Podickory Points. Most fishermen are using Tonys and Drones or bucktails in tandem behind planers or inline weights or sassy shads and Storms behind umbrella rigs with inline weights. Breaking fish can be encountered at anytime throughout the upper bay region and most often there are small fish on top and larger ones underneath. A few boats are also chumming at Swan and Love Points and finding the larger fish close to the bottom of their chum slicks and lots of small Striped Bass in the upper sections of the chum slicks.

White Perch are providing plenty of action for fishermen in the channel areas of the tidal rivers and out in the bay at shoal areas. This is the time of year when the perch school up and fishermen jig for them in deep water at places like Tea Kettle Shoals or the rock piles at the Bay Bridge. It has been reported that it can be difficult at times to get through all of the 16" Striped Bass that tend to school up in the same areas. Fishermen are also using bottom rigs in some areas and especially when fishing from shore. Bloodworms, shrimp and pieces of soft crab are the preferred baits on a two hook bottom rig. Roger Spurgeon was fishing for White Perch in the lower Chester River recently with pieces of soft crab when he got quite a surprise after a long tussle when he landed this Black Drum. After measuring the fish at 52" and a quick cell phone call; Roger slid the fish back into the river none for the worse.

Photo Courtesy of Roger Spurgeon

Trolling for Striped Bass and the few Bluefish that are still in the middle bay region has been one of the more popular ways to fish recently. Striped Bass in the 23" size range are being found along channel edges in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and out along the shipping channel edges in the bay. Spoons and bucktails tend to be popular in tandem behind planners or inline weights. Breaking fish can be encountered at most any time often where the current gets a boast along steep channel edges. Birds and slicks are definitely something to keep an eye out for and most often fishermen will find small Striped Bass on top and larger fish underneath. Jigging with metal is perhaps the most popular presentation although surface poppers can be fun with the smaller fish. Whatever you fish with; please think about squashing the barbs down on your hooks to lessen the damage and stress on out little buddies the 2011 year class that represent our fishing future.

Water temperatures in the middle bay region are holding around 64-degrees on top and 66-degrees on the bottom today and the cold weather for the rest of the week will certainly drive surface temperatures down a few degrees. Fishermen are still finding a few Spot of suitable size for live lining and hitting the traditional channel edges with good success. Shallow water fishing for Striped Bass is beginning to wane as fish find more feeding opportunities out in deeper waters as bait fish migrate out of the tidal rivers and south bound down the bay. Prominent points with steep channel edges where the current moves swiftly are great places to target in the lower sections of the region's tidal rivers.

In the lower bay region fishermen are finding Striped Bass along the edges of the Shipping Channel and the channel edges of the lower Potomac River. Most fishermen are trolling spoons or bucktails behind planers along these edges with great success on a nice grade of Striped Bass and the last of the Bluefish in the region. The channel edge out in front of St. George's Island on the Potomac and the western edge of the shipping channel from Breezy Point to Point Lookout have been producing great fishing. A mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish are chasing bait in the region and these same steep channel edges are often where the action occurs as well as in the tidal rivers. Casting metal and jigging is always an exciting way to fish with light tackle this time of the year. Beth Streets was fishing with friends in the lower bay and holds up a nice 26" Striped Bass she caught while trolling.

Photo Courtesy of Lorne Streets

Fishermen are reporting that there are still some small Spot in some areas of the tidal rivers and live lining them is still an option. White Perch are schooling up in the deeper areas of the tidal rivers and sounds and fishermen are either jigging with metal jigs and dropper flies or fishing two hook bottom rigs baited with bloodworms. Fishermen are also reporting that the Speckled Trout seem to be gathering up at the mouths of rivers.

Freshwater fishermen in the western region are enjoying all the fishing rewards that come with cooler weather and falling water temperatures. Surface water temperatures at Deep Creek Lake are below 60-degrees and fish such as Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass and Walleyes are becoming more active and providing fishing opportunities. The Northern Pike can be caught on large spinnerbaits, Smallmouth Bass on soft plastic jigs and crankbaits and Walleye on live minnows and small crankbaits.

The upper Potomac has cleared up; the federal boat ramps are open once again and water temperatures are around 64-degrees this week. Smallmouth Bass action has been good for fish in the 15" size range and the larger bass are definitely more active now. A variety of tubes, jigs and crankbaits are good choices for casting along rock edges and rock clusters near deep water.

Trout fishermen are enjoying the fruits of the fall trout stockings that are taking place in trout management areas throughout all regions of the state. Stocking crews have been busy stocking Rainbow Trout and the put and take areas have been especially popular with fishermen. The stockings are being posted on the trout fishing website as they occur and can be found at

Largemouth Bass fishermen are finding good fishing in most areas of the state this week as falling water temperatures have fish in a very active feeding mood. Transition areas outside of grass beds are a great place to cast a variety of lures such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastics. Sunken wood and structure such as rocks and old piers are also good places to target. There is still plenty of bait hiding in most grass beds; especially in water deeper than two or three feet and casting topwater lures over the grass or dropping soft plastics through the grass is another option for fishermen. Mark Lim holds a nice Largemouth Bass he caught in a shallow stump field in Rocky Gorge on a Senko Worm before releasing it.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Lim

Crappie are schooling up near deep structure such as bridge piers, marina docks and fallen tree tops and logs. Small minnows or tubes under a slip bobber are a fun way to target them. Bluegills are roaming the outside edges of lily pad fields or grass and can be caught on a variety of small lures or live bait such as worms or crickets. Channel catfish are offering some fun fishing this week in many of the states tidal rivers.

Fishermen in the Ocean City area are finding calmer surf conditions this week and the federal beaches are open once again. They are also finding puppy drum, Striped Bass and Bluefish in the surf along with Kingfish, flounder and inshore sharks. Water temperatures close to shore are in the low 60's this week. Tautog have moved into the Ocean City Inlet/Route 50 Bridge area in earnest and fishermen are catching some nice tog on sand fleas and pieces of Green Crab. Flounder continue to move out of the back bay areas this week and have been moving through the inlet. Fishermen have been using Gulp baits to catch the largest flounder. Puppy drum, Striped Bass and some large Bluefish are also being caught in the inlet this week.

Outside of the inlet Sea Bass season is closed until November 1st. A few boats have been fishing the inshore wreck and reef sites for Tautog and catching some nice fish on pieces of Green Crab. Fishermen have been trolling for Bluefish and also catching False Albacore near the 30-Fathom Line. Calmer weather allowed fishermen to head out to the canyon areas this past week and they found a mix of Long-fin Albacore, large Dolphin, Wahoo and at least one Blue Marlin release was reported. Deep drop fishermen also have been catching Tilefish near the canyons.

"Angling may be said to be so like mathematics that it can never be fully learnt." - Izaak Walton


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.