Maryland DNR Fishing Reorts- by Keith Lockwood
Courtesy of MD DNR Fisheries Service www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries
Fishing Reports for October 29th, 2014
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.
Keith Lockwood is currently on an adventure to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in his absence we’ve attempted to pull together a weekly fishing report highlighting the fishing activity across the State. Keith will return to writing the report next week, he may even have a story to tell. If you’re a regular reader of the report you’ll recognize many contributors from past reports, thank you to all.
Typical fall weather patterns sometimes produce challenging fishing, for those lucky enough to get out between the winds and/or rains a reward could possibly be waiting in the form of a fish or two. Also be sure to check out the Angler’s Log for all the diverse fishing action occurring throughout the State.
Photo courtesy of Lita Denny
Striped bass continue to be the main target bay-wide. By boat, chumming and trolling are the preferred methods for striped bass at this time. However, The Tackle Box in southern Maryland reported a few lucky angler’s found some spot for sale and were successful around the mouths of the Patuxent River, St Jerome’s Creek and the Potomac. Top-water action with poppers continues to be popular, especially up the tidal rivers at prominent points and bends.
Inland Fisheries Chief, Don Cosden, found time to get out before the wind picked up this past Saturday and filed this report: “Fishing for me lately has largely meant dodging the wind. Several trips in October were spent in West and Rhode River catching perch and an occasional striper on a lee shore. On Sat. (25th) the forecast looked good so we ventured out in search of breaking fish to cast to. Unfortunately the forecast was a little inaccurate. 15 knots can whip up some mighty rough and wet conditions in a small skiff so we stayed in shallow. After several hours we had only one small rockfish. Finally the wind subsided a little so we started to search the edges of the shipping channel. Plenty of fish on the depth sounder and birds searching but nothing on top so I started to jig a ½ oz silver buddy at the 30′ contour. I was just about to give it up and Wham! Something grabbed my bait and took off. This fish made several long runs that were so fast I thought I was on to a big bluefish or maybe even a cobia. My wife finally got the net on it and we snapped a quick picture and released it. This fish looked like a prime spawner and we prefer to eat the smaller ones anyway. I later heard that fish were breaking everywhere early Sunday morning.”
Farther up the bay John Horgan braved the windy conditions and reported good action on the Bush River using minnows. John was able to bring in these nice striped bass along with plenty of channel catfish and yellow perch.
Photo courtesy of Don Cosden
Bluefish are mostly gone and after this coming weekend we don’t expect many in Maryland’s portion of the bay, a few blues were reported this week but expect this to be the end of the blues for the season.
Photo courtesy of John Horgan
White perch are now being found in the deeper holes around the bay, usually at the 40 to 50 foot depth, bloodworms are the preferred bait.
Blue crabbing is also about finished; Jim Livingston says he’s done for the season but first managed to catch enough crabs for lunch this past weekend. Rich Watts sent in his crabbing report which sums things up pretty well: “Headed to the Miles River Saturday morning for some last of the year crabbing! …was greeted with chilly temps and creek water was 55 deg! Burr…set the trotline in 12-15 ft of water along the channel edge and started seeing some huge jimmies right away! They barely had the strength to hold on but we managed a nice half bushel in a few hours using our custom hoop traps as well! On the way home we spotted a commercial fisherman gill netting white perch… a sure sign of fall.”
Fishing for tidal large and smallmouth bass? On the Potomac the majority of activity is taking place near the Spoils (near National Harbor) as well as the upper end of the tidal Potomac tributaries. Temperatures are still ok though fishing activity may begin to wane. The upper end of the tidal Patuxent, especially Western Branch is active; in the upper Western Branch, the water is clear so look for submerged wood. Outside of Baltimore, the Middle River and Gunpowder River were recently stocked with young fish by Maryland Bass Nation and MD DNR, so fishing should be getting better there. In a lot of rivers, good natural reproduction was observed; hopefully this will translate into good fishing down the road. Northeast River in the upper bay region is the go to spot for large sized adults. A reminder, target submerged trees and tangles to entice a bite. Moving on, the Upper Choptank near Greensboro has been active too; the Wicomico below Salisbury during the fall has good numbers, but fishing can be slow. While the Pocomoke has plenty of submerged structure to target with fish willing to bite, the Pocomoke is also a beautiful river to paddle and view the cypress this time of year. Dr. Joseph Love, manager of DNR’s Tidal Black Bass Program previously put together a paper titled ‘Best Fall Fishing’, the paper has some great suggestions Dr Love was able to pull from many previous fishing reports.
Photo by Rich Watts
Report by Biologist Alan Klotz
The fall trout stocking for Garrett and Allegany Counties has been completed, so now is a great time to visit your favorite mountain stream, pond, or lake to find plenty of trout and plenty of elbow room. If you want to enjoy a fresh fish dinner – try fishing one of the following Put and Take Trout Fishing Areas where the limit is five fish per day: In Allegany County: Dan’s Mountain Pond, Evitts Creek, Evitts Creek Ponds, Lake Habeeb at Rocky Gap State Park, Lion Park Pond in Frostburg, and Wills Creek. In Garrett County: Bear Creek, North Branch Potomac River at Barnum and Westernport, Savage River, and the Youghiogheny River at Oakland, Swallow Falls, and Friendsville. The Youth and Blind Put and Take Trout Fishing Areas at the Parkview Pond in Grantsville and the Glades Park Pond in Oakland are great spots to introduce your children to trout fishing.
If you enjoy catch and release trout fishing, head out to one of the Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Areas or Catch and Return Areas that were recently stocked with rainbow trout, including: Town Creek in Green Ridge State Forest, the Casselman River, the North Branch Potomac River in Potomac State Forest, and the Youghiogheny River at Friendsville’s Town Park. The Catch and Release Trout Fishing Areas in the North Branch Potomac River downstream of Jennings Randolph Lake dam as well as the Youghiogheny River near McHenry also received fall stocking.
Photo courtesy of Alan Klotz
Pictured are 1) Garrett College Fisheries Management Class students stocking rainbow trout in the North Branch Potomac River, 2) a beautiful rainbow trout from the North Branch Potomac River C&R Trout Fishing Area.
Photo courtesy of Alan Klotz
Report by Biologist John Mullican
The nontidal Potomac River remains at very low levels. Low flows and very clear water make for tough fishing conditions whether fishing with rod and reel or electrofishing. Under bright skies fish will spook easily and many will escape view by hiding in rock crevices or burying into cover. Under these conditions, fishermen will do best by fishing during low light periods or on overcast days.
Although a site or two remain to be sampled, Fisheries staff have measured and weighed more than 800 smallmouth bass collected from 7 sites between Hancock and Edwards Ferry. A few of the established sampling locations in the western stretches remain too low for navigation.
The catch rate of smallmouth bass fourteen inches and greater in length is falling just below the 2006 through 2013 average, largely the result of poor yearclasses in 2008 and 2009. Nevertheless, there are quality size bass available, including some real trophies. The largest smallmouth bass collected during the 2014 surveys measured more than 21 inches in length.
Photo courtesy of John Mullican
Good numbers of adult and juvenile walleye were collected in the stretch of river between Dam 4 and Dam 3 near Harpers Ferry. Additional sites have yet to be sampled, but it looks like the 2014 yearclass of walleye may be the largest in quite a few years. Fingerling walleye (approximately 1″) stocked during the spring were marked to allow the stocked fish to be identified from those produced by natural reproduction. A sample of the young walleye was retained to determine the proportion of the yearclass that can be attributed to our stocking efforts. The average length of young walleye collected from the Potomac during the 2014 fall surveys was 10.2 inches.
Photo courtesy of John Mullican
The reservoirs and other impoundments of central Maryland are giving anglers good fishing opportunities. Austin Cascia reported the fall fish bite at Liberty Reservoir has been spectacular. Fred Johnston did some farm pond fishing and landed this award sized largemouth.
Photo courtesy of John Mullican
Fall trout stocking also occurred at central and southern Maryland locations, check out the trout stocking page for the full schedule.
Photo courtesy of Fred Johnston
Photo courtesy of Darren Haitmanek
Report by Biologist Steve Doctor The fishing on the near shore wrecks has shifted to sea bass. The keeper to throwback ratio is one to one or better with fish averaging about 13 inches. It is some of the best sea bass fishing we have had in years, with limits around the rail in a couple of hours. There are also a lot of snapper bluefish to go with the sea bass. Any kind of cut bait will work, with squid a favorite.
In the bay there are tautog and a few leftover summer flounder. The bridges are producing bluefish, summer flounder, and rockfish. The striped bass are mostly being caught at night on swimming shads.
Photo courtesy of Steve Doctor
Surf fishing is seeing some snapper blues with a still a few large red drum for the dawn anglers.
“Fishing is a delusion entirely surrounded by liars in old clothes.” – Don Marquis