After the crazy temperature swings over the last week the fishing has been hit or miss. With bay temperatures in the upper 30s and tidal creek temps in the low 40s, we could use a steady period of decent weather to jump-start the the annual yellow perch spawning run. There has been some yellow and white perch action in the middle sections of the creeks where those fish are holding before making their way up the creeks to spawn. Most of the lower eastern shore rivers and creeks are the ones with most of the action. The Pocomoke, Wicomico, and Nanticoke rivers are where we usually start to see the first good spawning movements of perch. This is due to the higher temperatures in these rivers.

There are plenty of species to target this time of the year. Most of the local trout stocking areas have been stocked now on both the western and eastern shore areas. Now is a good time to get the power bait out and take the kids fishing! Check out the DNR’s Trout Stocking Schedule here. The pickerel fishing has been steady in most of the local lakes, ponds, and tidal creeks. Not too many reports this week on rockfish but there has been a few more fish showing up in the southern portion of the bay specially around the Calvert cliffs power plant with some reports of 40″+ fish.

Yellow Perch, Crappie and other panfish

The Magothy and Severn river bite has been hit or miss for yellow perch as of late. Some white perch have been caught in the mix. Lots of small male yellow perch are being caught at Beachwood park inf the Magothy river with a few white perch mixed in. The bait of choice has been grass shrimp but most anglers have reported catching some bigger fish with live minnows and the occasional pickerel mixed in.

Jeremy and Brian made a day of it on the Eastern Shore, catching nice size crappie in several lakes/ponds!

The best tactic as of late is to use a 1/16oz jig or shad dart under a bobber tipped with your bait of choice. Using light line will help you get some distance on your cast to cover more water and feel the bite. The line of choice while fishing for panfish is light. Look to use 4lb to 6lb mono and 6lb to 10lb braided line. The middle river area has been steady with yellow perch moving up the river and the creeks but most seem to be small male perch with most under 9″ with a few bigger ones mixed in.

The lower Susquehanna river area (Perryville to be specific) is holding some schools of perch right off the piers and drop-offs. Remember to use a heavier weight if your fishing the Perryville area since it is deeper water with moving current. Using a regular top & bottom rig will work for this area. Make sure to have some minnows and some small straight tail soft plastics like the Bust’em Bait’s stingers.

Over on the eastern shore the main spots to go to right now are in the lower eastern shore area. The Pocomoke, Wicomico, Nanticoke rivers seem to be the ones with some perch and nice sized crappie moving in to the upper parts of the rivers. Most are still holding in deeper holes but starting to move slowly to the spawning areas. The Choptank river has some mix of yellow perch, crappie and white perch holding in the Denton area. Martinak State Park has been a good area to check out if your in the Denton area. Minnows and grass shrimp are the baits of choice if you’re going for yellows and blood worms if you want to get a few whites.

Pickerel

Pro Staffer Alex Perez landed some nice Pickerel this week while fishing on the Eastern Shore.

The pickerel bite has been good this past week. Most of the ponds and lakes had water temperatures go up to the mid 40s and that got the pickerel feeding. Tidal creeks had some low tides this past week but the incoming tides during the evenings where the best ones to fish. The upper Magothy pickerel fishery has been a lot different this season with not many reports of pickerel coming from the head waters of the river and a few coming from the middle sections. Some of the better creeks in the Magothy have been Cypress, and Mill creek there is no public shore line access so to get to these areas you will need a boat or kayak to get to them.

The Severn river has been quiet but there has been a surprising amount of largemouth bass being caught in the upper section of the Severn. There just hasn’t been too many pickerel mixed in with the bass. The best spots to target pickerel have been over on the eastern shore. Most of the mill ponds and creeks like Tuckahoe creek, Tuckahoe lake, Wye mills lake, Unicorn mill pond, Smithville lake, and Marshyhope creek will be holding pickerel. The ponds and lakes will have higher water temperatures after a few warm weather days and that usually gets the pickerel feeding.  Some of the best lures have been the Rapala X-Rap XR8 witch is a 3 1/8″ long jerk bait. The best colors have been yellow perch, and silver. Also when nothing else is working, use a Mepps size 2-3 with a gold blade and always have some live minnows under a bobber!

Trout

Anglers willing to brave the elements have been rewarded recently with many reports of limits being caught at put-and-take management areas. Look to use powerbait either weightless or under a float, cast spinners like the Mepps size 1-2 Aguila or use live bait like Wax or Meal Worms with a split-shot under a float. Fly casting to trout has also been working well with bead-head nymphs enticing bites recently. If you haven’t yet, check out the DNR’s Trout Stocking Schedule here.

Regular contributor Eric Packard landed a few nice trout in super cold conditions with the fly rod this week. Nothing like fly casting in frigid temps to get your day started! As always great stuff, Eric!

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