Maryland Fishing Report

December 7th, 2018

As the Rockfish season nears it’s end on December 15th, cold water fishing in the area is heating up! With all the fresh water running into the upper bay region we’ve seen a significant decline in trophy fish being caught this year. Although the giants may not be as plenty this year, there are still lots of opportunities for good fishing in the area. Pickerel, White & Yellow Perch, Crappie and Largemouth Bass are all being caught with regularity.


The last few weeks have been slow but there have been fish being caught. Anglers are having the most success trolling deep waters where the fish are holding close to bottom. Focusing on channel ledges, in deep water, anglers are trolling umbrellas with chartreuse and alewife colored shads as close to the bottom as possible. Some of the more popular areas have been the mouths of the tidal rivers, the mouth of the Eastern Bay, and much further south. Point Lookout has been one of the hottest spots these last couple weeks. Jigging and trolling this area has been successful.

Jigging hot water discharges will be good now that water temps are in the low to mid 40º range. Water temps can be 10-15º warmer in these areas and are great places to find bait, and fish. With air temps consistently in the low 30º to mid 40º range daily, expect water temps to continue to drop. This will make the warm water discharges a great place to target nice fish over the last week of the season.


Alex Perez landed a nice Pickerel while fishing some Eastern Shore lakes/ponds this past week. Alex is competing in the CCA Pickerel Tournament which is best 3 Pickerel over 3 months!

Pickerel fishing has been great over the past two weeks. With water temps in the low to mid 40º range, Pickerel are heavily feeding on bait and are fighting aggressively! Target shallow structure in 2′-6′ of water. You can use pretty much anything including Mepps Spinners, Jerkbaits, 3″-5″ Swimbaits, Spoons or large minnows under a bobber. Some of the better spots have been in the Magothy River, Tuckahoe Creek, Wye Mills, Unicorn Lake and the Choptank River.

Yellow Perch

Eric Packard landed this nice Yellow Perch while targeting Pickerel in Unicorn Lake.

With winter on our doorstep, Yellow Perch are becoming more and more active. Anglers are finding them in lakes/rivers with regularity over the last couple weeks. If you haven’t picked up Shawn Kimbro’s “How to catch Chesapeake Panfish”, you should. The book is chalk full of tips, tricks, rigs, locations, and a wealth of knowledge for catching panfish in this area. Some of the more popular areas this past week were headwaters of the area’s tidal creeks and rivers, Unicorn Lake, Wicomico River and the Chester River.


Eric Packard landed a beautiful Crappie while targeting Pickerel in a Southern Maryland pond.

There is some good Crappie fishing going on in most of the State. Target freshwater ponds/lakes/headwaters with good underwater structure. Ideal areas will have deeper pockets where these fish will go to hang out during the winter. Good techniques are jigging with little 1/32 or 1/16th jigs with little soft plastic trailers, Mepps Spinnerbaits, or live minnows under either a regular or slip bobber. Look for submerged structure like trees or bushes.

Largemouth Bass

Alex Perez landed this nice citation sized Largemouth while targeting Pickerel this past week. Heck of a fish Alex!

Only the most dedicated anglers will sit on a 40º body of water for hours with air temps in the upper 30º range, waiting for a bite. This is what it takes this time of year but the rewards are great when you get into some fish. These fish are holding in deeper water, looking to fatten up before the deep cold of winter sets in. Fishing deeper water will be the ticket this time of year. Popular baits this time of year are slow sinking or suspending Jerkbaits, drop shot soft plastics or live minnows, 1/4-3/4oz jigs with craw trailers or even Mepps spinnerbaits. Look for underwater structure or ledges and fish parallel with the contour of the bottom.

Share your catch!

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