Maryland DNR Fishing Reorts- by Keith Lockwood
Courtesy of MD DNR Fisheries Service www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries
Fishing Reports for October 15th, 2014
Fall colors are beginning to show, cooler temperatures are prevailing and many of Maryland’s fisheries are kicking into high gear. Deck shoes, flip flops and sneakers are giving way to more waterproof foot wear such as knee boots and waders and T-shirts are being replaced by sweat shirts and camo duck hunting coats. Many freshwater, Chesapeake Bay and Marine fish species are feeling the urge to feed and beef up for the winter months ahead so it is an ideal time to go fishing.
There continues to be good light tackle fishing for striped bass around the Susquehanna Flats area this week with the best fishing in the mornings and evenings. Topwater lures tend to be the favorite choice but crankbaits and soft plastic jigs are also effective in the deeper waters along channel edges. In the lower Susquehanna there is also the bonus of catching walleye and large smallmouth bass now that water temperatures have dropped into the lower 60′s.
Live lining eels has been a very productive choice for fishing for striped bass in the Pooles Island area, Hart Miller Island, the channel edges at the mouth of the Patapsco and many of the hard shell bottom knolls and shoals between Baltimore Harbor and Rock Hall. Typically just enough weight is used to get the eel that is hooked through the lips down to the bottom on a fish finder type bottom rig. Vince DiVenti was casting lures around Pooles Island when he caught this nice 30″ striped bass.
Photo by Vince DiVenti
Trolling has been a very good option for striped bass fishing in the upper bay along prominent channel edges. Bucktails in tandem or behind umbrella rigs are popular as are spoons; both are trolled behind planers and inline weights. The Love Point, Sandy Point channel edges and the Dumping Grounds have been good places to troll lately. Breaking fish are being spotted throughout the region and fishermen are enjoying light tackle casting to the surface fish and jigging to those underneath. There are still some bluefish in the upper bay and the striped bass on the surface tend to come up a bit short of 18″ but often larger striped bass can be found underneath by jigging.
Striped bass continue to hold at the Bay Bridge piers and rock piles; spot are becoming very scarce lately so live eels are becoming more popular for live lining. Jigging with bucktails or soft plastics is a very good option also. White perch are beginning to show up in greater numbers at the rock piles lately and heavy jigs are an excellent way to catch some of the larger perch holding deep.
In the middle bay region breaking fish made up of a mix of bluefish and striped bass are busting loose throughout the region. The most common places for this action to take place are steep channel edges at the lower end of the tidal rivers and the shipping channel edges. Small menhaden and bay anchovies are often being swept along the steeper channel edges where the current is the strongest. Some larger bluefish seem to have moved into the region to mix it up with the region’s striped bass and are being caught on light tackle so be careful about casting soft plastic jigs into the melee. Metal jigs are often a better choice when bluefish are around and jigging deep will often find you a better grade of striped bass. Angelina Watts got to go fishing with her dad at the mouth of Eastern Bay and caught this nice striped bass on a soft plastic jig.
Photo by Rich Watts
Trolling a mix of bucktails, surge tube lures and spoons behind inline weights and planers continues to be a good option for catching a mix of striped bass and bluefish in the middle bay region this week. Prominent points and steep channel edges offer some of the best opportunities and trolling near slicks or breaking fish is always a good bet. Chumming continues to be another option at traditional locations such as the Hill, Thomas Point, the Clay Banks and Stone Rock. Some captains are chumming with razor clams to cut down on the number of bluefish attracted to a chum slick and it seems to be working like a charm.
Shallow water fishing for striped bass is a fun option for light tackle fishermen at prominent points and shoreline structure; topwater lures are a favorite choice for lures. Striped bass are beginning to school up in the tidal rivers and bay so shallow water fishing for striped bass will begin to wane. White perch are also moving into deeper waters and can offer some exciting fishing when they can be located on hard shell reefs and shoals out in the tidal rivers. Jigging with small jigs can be a very effective method of catching them and a piece of bloodworm on the jig is an added enticement or a two hook bottom rig baited with bloodworms is a good option.
Lower bay region fishing continues to be a mix of bluefish and striped bass this week that are busy in the tidal rivers, sounds and bay chewing up schools of menhaden and bay anchovies wherever and whenever they can find them. The action is often revealed by diving sea gulls or surface slicks caused by action beneath. Casting surface lures to the action on top or using metal jigs and jigging underneath are fun light tackle options. Much of the action is occurring where tidal currents sweep along some of the steeper channel edges or rips around prominent points. Channel edges along the shipping channel, the lower Potomac and Patuxent Rivers as well as the eastern shore tidal rivers and sounds are all good places to fish. Trolling is a very good option in these same areas and a mixed spread of bucktails, spoons and surge tube lures are good choices behind inline weights and planers.
The fishing for spot in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers has shown very evident signs of slipping away as cooler waters force the fish to head south for warmer waters off Virginia. White perch are still very much in play and can be found holding on hard shell shoals and reefs in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers. Small jigs tipped with a piece of bloodworm or bottom rigs baited with bloodworms are excellent choices to get in on the action. A depth finder is also very important to locate where the schools of white perch are holding.
Recreational crabbing has not been any easier for those still willing to give it a try but the rewards are there if and when one can get on some crabs. The crabs tend to be deep and sparse but there are some large heavy Jimmy crabs being caught in the middle and lower bay regions on trot lines and collapsible crab traps. Jim Livingston was out recently running his trotline and takes the basket lid off to reveal a nice bushel of crabs he caught.
Photo by Jim Livingston
Fishing for yellow perch at Deep Creek Lake has been good this past week in the southern part of the lake. Shiners have been one of the favorite baits and a few walleye are also being caught in the same areas. Smallmouth bass are being caught near deep rocky points and docks on a variety of tubes and crankbaits. Largemouth bass, chain pickerel and northern pike are being found in the shallower grassy cove areas.
The upper Potomac River is still running low and clear with a water temperature around 65ºF. John Mullican sent us a short report on what one might expect this weekend. The Potomac is currently low and clear, but they may change shortly. One to two inches of rain is predicted today and the river is forecast to rise significantly. When it settles down the fishing should improve, it has been difficult due to the low, clear water. Anyone interested in heading out this weekend should check the levels before doing so. In addition to the high water, the river will also have a lot of floating grass, leaves, and debris that could clog jet intakes. That is a potentially dangerous situation under high flows.
The tidal Potomac River is also experiencing grass breakup as the length of daylight decreases and water temperatures decline. Targeting the outside edges of grass with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, tubes and soft plastic crayfish imitations are a good tactic as baitfish and crayfish begin to leave the safety of grass and head for deeper hard cover. This same strategy holds true for Maryland’s many reservoirs, lakes and ponds. Cooler water temperatures have largemouth bass in a feeding mode as they feel the need to fatten up for the winter.
The fall trout stocking program continues this week with several put and take areas being stocked. Delaney Hanna got to go trout fishing at Middle Creek near Frederick and is all smiles with the trout that she caught.
Photo by Lacy Hanna
The trout stocking website will narrow the stocking to the “week of” when trout are being stocked. Subscribing to the Fisheries Service email list will give positive confirmation on the day the trout were stocked.
The Ocean City area has been dealing with some wind issues lately making it tough for surf fishermen and those wishing to head out of the inlet for offshore fishing. It is hoped that the surf will calm down this coming weekend and surfcasters will be able to hold bottom. There have been some large striped bass caught in the surf along with some red drum catch and releases and there are still plenty of small bluefish around.
At the Inlet and the Route 50 Bridge area flounder continue to move through the area and are providing plenty of action. Live lining eels has been productive for some striped bass while sheepshead and tautog fishing has been good for those using sand fleas and pieces of green crab.
When boats can get out to the wreck and reef sites they have been finding limit catches of hefty flounder. The sea bass season opens up this Saturday, October 18th and the prospects look very good based on the encounters with sea bass that flounder fishermen have been experiencing at the wreck and reef sites.
Venturing out to the offshore canyons has been difficult lately due to rough seas but there is hope that will change by the weekend. The last boats out returned to the docks with double digit catches of dolphin and a few yellowfin tuna.
“The outdoor life pleased these old men because they believed any properly obsessed fly fisherman carried rivers and trout inside him.” - Harry Middleton
Please support your local independent bait and tackle shops. Maryland tackle shops are a slowly vanishing breed and need your business. Make a point to visit one before your next fishing trip they offer many years worth of knowledge on their local water plus are up to date on local techniques/bait and conditions.