Image: Anglers Pro-staff Employee Anna T. caught this Pickerel at Beachwood Park on a 1/16 oz Northland Jig Head!

Perch: Hopefully you had a chance to check out the videos that we posted this week on fishing the perch run! Click here to see all of our tips, and the sales that run through Sunday!  While it’s still a bit early for the full perch run, remember that all of the fish do not move up to spawn at the exact same time! Now is a great time to beat the crowds and catch some of the early spawning fish, just like we did in the videos! It’s also good to be out there as much as possible this time of year, because you never really know when full spawn will kick in. Just a few degrees difference in temperature can make a big difference in what the fish do! Looking at the weather, our prediction is that things will really start to pick up the week of February 21st, when temperatures are forecasted to be in the 50s every day. For now, in the colder weather, try slowly dragging minnows on a jig head across the bottom, fishing minnows on a bottom rig with flicker snell hooks, or fishing a lure with some flash like a roadrunner! Fish are more sluggish in the cold so a slow retrieval and a little bit of flash are key.

Pickerel: When in doubt, pickerel are still in the upper parts of all of the rivers and creeks, and in the Eastern shore ponds! Again, a slow retrieval, some flash, and live minnows will really help to catch this fish in the colder weather. It also helps to downsize your baits, so don’t hesitate to use a very light jig head, like 1/16, 1/32 or even smaller!

Crappie: Crappie are actually a pretty active winter fish, and you may find that you catch bigger crappie on these cold days than you do in warmer weather! Any of the ponds on the Eastern Shore are great places to catch crappie. Use a light 1/32 or 1/16 oz jig head with a small plastic paddletail, stinger, or live minnow. Casting under or around structure like docks is usually your best bet.

Catfish: It’s also a great time of year to catch catfish in the bay and rivers! Cut up some alewife and fish it on the bottom for a fun wintertime fight! They are all over the bay, but the Potomac, Marshy Hope, and the northern part of the bay near the flats almost always produce nice fish!