Maryland Fishing Report
April 5th, 2019
Warmer temps and calmer winds has created a frenzy of activity over the last week. We’re seeing action from the mouth of the bay all the way up to the Susquehanna flats. Water temps are ranging from the upper 40ºs in main bay stems and in some tidal rivers and creeks we’re seeing mid to upper 50ºs. The opening to the Trout season was met with perfect weather and this weekend is looking like another beauty!
Don’t forget about our big PENN sale tomorrow!
Catch and release fishing has been picking up the last week. Male rockfish are showing up in the warmer waters of the Susquehanna flats and we’re expecting the big females to start showing up soon. These fish are moving in from deeper channels in the main stem of the bay, using channel ledges as highways to move up into warmer water to spawn. Trolling the deep channel ledges has landed a few nice mid-sized stripped bass, especially in the lower bay.
Trolling 6″-9″ shads on umbrella rigs, heavier bucktails or parachutes in tandem or a daisy chain rig are all effective and will pick up some decent fish. Light tackle casting heavier jigs (1.5oz-2oz) with 7″-10″ soft plastic trailers will land a few fish as well. This tactic works especially well when targeting bridge pilings, transition points or warm water discharges. Fishing fresh bunker (or Alewife) on the bottom in 25′-35′ of water on a good transitioning tide will catch a few rockfish, and a healthy mix of Catfish as well.
There are a healthy amount of channel catfish spread throughout the region in both the main stem of the bay and in tidal creeks and rivers. You can catch them a variety of ways, but bait on the bottom is going to work best. Nearly any bait will catch them including nightcrawlers, razor clams, alewife, minnows and bloodworms.
The white perch spawn is all but done now with nearly all spawned out fish being caught. We’re finding them moving out of the spawning areas and transitioning to the lower areas of the tidal creeks and rivers. Good ways to target them are with bottom rigs baited with either bloodworms, grass shrimp or minnows in deeper water. In shallower water you can target them with slow rolling spinners or small rattle traps around creek bends and structure.
Snakehead activity over the last two weeks has really ramped up. Water temps are in the upper 50ºs to mid 60ºs in some of the shallower spots. A couple weeks ago it was all minnows all the time. Since the water has warmed, we’re finding them eating not just minnows but other things like topwater baits, weightless flukes or large Mepps spinnerbaits.
One bait you’ll have to get when targeting snakehead is our new snakehead salties…a hearty 3″-5″ black back, silver minnow that is perfect for targeting large snakehead. We also have a limited run of 5″-7″ jumbos for $2.49 each.
The shad run is in full swing right now. Areas like the upper reaches of the Potomac, Patuxent, Tuckahoe and the Choptank are all holding Hickory Shad with a few American Shad mixed in. We’ve had a few reports of Shad being caught at Red Bridges in the Choptank and also good reports from Fletcher’s Cove in the Potomac. Catch and release shad fishing is about as much fun as you can have on light tackle, throwing small gold spoons and shad darts tipped with bright plastics!
Trout stocking continues throughout the state and anglers are reaping the rewards of all the efforts by the Maryland DNR stocking program. All put and take areas are now open for fishing while stocking continues to take place. Check out the complete list of put and take trout areas, as well as all the stocking info and schedule.
Now is the time of year where deep water fish are moving up into the shallows and feeding heavily on shad, crawfish, bluegill even crappie as they prepare for their spawn. Anglers will have good success finding them in transition points moving from deeper water to warmer spawning areas.
3″-5″ paddletail swimbaits retrieved slowly over ledges or submerged structure will land some fish. Jerkbaits, rattletraps, jigs with craw trailers and drop shot flukes will all work well right now also.
Crappie are still biting minnows or minnow-like lures worked around submerged structure like trees and brush. You can also find some bigger grade crappie in deeper holes holding close to the bottom. You can find them in many of the same areas you find Perch in the tidal creeks and rivers and also in many of the freshwater lakes and ponds.
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