Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | November 12, 2014



The first signs of winter are beginning to give us light knocks on our front door. Hard frosts are now common as are cold fronts. Winter is coming and once Thanksgiving comes and goes, balmy days will be but a memory. There are still a lot of good fishing opportunities throughout Maryland. The trout fishing and walleye fishing is very good out in western Maryland waters. Largemouth bass are busy fattening up for the winter and the Chesapeake Bay tends to be on fire at times with striped bass chasing bait. The sea bass fishing on the offshore wrecks is some of the best seen and tautog fishing at the Ocean City Inlet is very good for those who wish to keep their feet on dry land.

At the head of the bay there continues to be good topwater fishing for striped bass in the mornings and low light days around the Susquehanna Flats edges and shoreline structure. Casting crankbaits and soft plastics along channel edges or jigging where slicks or breaking fish can be found is also providing some exciting action at times. As is the case in other parts of the bay, a fair percentage of the striped bass are just shy of 18" but eventually larger fish will be encountered. At the Conowingo Dam pool casting swim shads, crankbaits or using live eels has been producing some nice striped bass. Power generation water releases have been occurring in the afternoons on most days.

Striped bass fishing continues to provide plenty of good fishing opportunities this week but as water temperatures continue to drop many are noting less bait coming out of the tidal rivers. The mouths of the region's main tidal rivers continues to be a good place to start looking for striped bass suspended along channel edges, under slicks or the best case of all under diving sea gulls. Casting along shoreline structure is a good tactic this time of the year and Randy Richie holds up a nice striped bass he caught on a topwater lure near North Point State Park.


Courtesy of Randy Richie

The most common form of bait being seen are small menhaden. Jigging with metal or soft plastics is a very popular way to fish when evidence of fish are spotted but trolling with a spread of bucktails and swim shads is a great way to cover a lot of water. A few large striped bass that may be fall migrants have been caught recently so placing some larger presentations in your trolling spread might pay off big time. Drifting live eels near bottom structure also continues to be a great way to score on some nice size striped bass.

The area around the Bay Bridge continues to be popular to check for striped bass and white perch holding near the bridge piers or rock piles. Drifting live eels near the pier bases has been a good tactic as is jigging with metal, bucktails or soft plastic jigs when the tide is running. This is the time of the year when large white perch are prone to stack up deep at the rock piles so that can be a great option for jigging up some filleting size perch.

Striped bass fishing in the middle bay region has been good this past week when weather conditions cooperate. We had a pretty good blow over the weekend and thick fog has been hanging over the bay for the last two days due to warm air temperatures. The lower Choptank River has been a real draw lately as striped bass continue to hold there, feeding on small menhaden and young of the year hickory shad and river herring heading down the river. Some days the fish are scattered and other day's tight schools of fish can be seen breaking water or showing up on depth finders. The other main tidal rivers in the region are also offering some of the same action as is the main channel edges out in the bay.

There is action to be had at some of the shoreline locations such as the Matapeake Fishing Pier, prominent points, the Bill Burton Pier, Kent Narrows and shoreline spots on many of the tidal rivers. Casting crankbaits, soft plastics and even topwater lures can offer some fun fishing. Caz Kenny has plenty to smile about with this nice striped bass he caught near Blackwater Refuge in Dorchester County.


Courtesy of Caz Kenny

Trolling a mixed spread of bucktails, swim shads or spoons in the lower sections of the tidal rivers and channel edges out in the bay is a good way to cover a lot of water when the fish are scattered. As mentioned above, there have been a few reports of larger striped bass being caught that could be fall migrants so placing some larger bucktails or parachutes in your spread would be a good idea.

The lower bay region has a lot of possibilities for striped bass fishing this week. Striped bass are being caught on both sides of the bay and at the mouths of the region's major tidal rivers. Light tackle jigging is always a fall favorite but trolling is also a good option at times. Breaking fish marked by diving sea gulls are being spotted in many locations and suspended fish can be spotted by slicks and depth finders. Shoreline fishermen are also getting into the action at prominent points and fishing piers throughout the region. This is the time of year for large fall migrant striped bass to make their way into Maryland waters and as most know every year is different so we'll keep our fingers crossed for this year's possibilities. There have been a few reports of striped bass over 40" being caught so perhaps fate will smile on us this year.

Freshwater fishing at Deep Creek Lake has been good recently with walleye and smallmouth bass entertaining those who are casting small crankbaits or drifting live minnows. Minnows under a slip bobber have been working particularly well for yellow perch along steep edges.

John Mullican reports that the upper Potomac River is extremely low this week and fishing has been difficult. Floating leaves and bits of broken aquatic grass do not help a lot either. John mentioned that casting small minnow like crankbaits during low light conditions has been producing results with walleyes lately.

Largemouth bass are still on a heavy feeding mode of behavior is the lakes, ponds and tidal waters of the state. Look for them in transition areas of deeper water outside of shallow grass beds. Small baitfish and crayfish are heading for structure in deeper waters as the grass beds diminish and water temperatures drop. Channel edges and deep structure are great places to work crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

Crappie are schooling up near deep structure such as bridge piers and marina docks. A small jig or a minnow under a slip bobber is a great way to fish for them. Catfish are active in most tidal rivers and selected impoundments and make for some fun fishing from shore or a small boat.

Trout fishing continues to be good in many of the states trout management waters including the put & take and catch & release areas. The youth fishing ponds are still holding active trout and are great places to take kids fishing. The catch and release areas offer quality fishing and plenty of elbow room this time of the year. Josh White sent in this nice picture of a big rainbow trout he caught in the catch and release section of the North Branch of the Potomac and might be titled "one last look" as he releases the rainbow.


Courtesy of Josh White

There have been good reports from the Ocean City area in regards to tautog fishing at the inlet and bulkhead areas near the Route 50 Bridge. Green crabs and sand fleas have been the baits of choice and although a large percentage of the fish being caught are undersized there is plenty of action. Surf fishing has centered mostly on small bluefish and the hope of some large fall migrant striped bass showing up. It is the right time of the year so hopes are high and large baits are soaking but unfortunately skates, rays and dogfish abound.

The sea bass fishing on the wreck and reef sites could hardly be better with limits being very common around the rail. Bluefish have been up to their tricks again as they move through the region chomping off sea bass as they are reeled to the surface. Bluefish, grey triggerfish and a few flounder round out the mix. Wayne Grower was fishing on an Ocean City party boat recently when he caught this 5 lb. 2 oz grey triggerfish. A new category has been opened for grey triggerfish for the Maryland state records and Wayne's fish will be a good start with this beautiful specimen being held up for him.


Courtesy of Chris Mizurark

"It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves - in finding themselves. " - Andre Gide

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.