(somewhat) Breaking News!
On February 7th, during their Winter meetings in Arlington, Virginia, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approved the Maryland DNR’s request for tweaks to the rules and regulations regarding resident Rockfish. DNR requested that there be a 19″ minimum size requirement during all or part of the summer/fall months, or year round in conjunction with a mandatory circle hook requirement for recreational bait fishermen. The two Rockfish per person will remain the same with 1 allowed over 28″.
What does this mean?
Well, it’s good news for Rockfish and Anglers alike. The use of circle hooks make lip-hooking fish nearly and automatic process. Circle hooks are design to work like this: the fish takes the bait and starts to swim away then the circle hook starts to slide inside the fish’s mouth until it hits something (typically the lip or side of the mouth) and hooks itself. Virtually no effort is needed from the Angler to set the hook when fishing with a circle hook. Just a slight amount of pressure or just simply lifting the rod tip up will “set” the hook.
Having a 19″ minimum size requirement (a 1″ reduction from last year) will hopefully make the 2 rockfish limit per person much easier to accomplish. This would, in theory, require the Angler to land less fish to get to that size requirement and reducing the number of release mortalities.
February 9th Fishing Report
Perch (White & Yellow)
Not much has changed from last week! Many of the same locations are still producing fish. Areas like Middle River, Bush River, Grey’s Run, Magothy River, Beachwood Park, Tuckahoe Creek and Greensboro are all producing fish. We’ve seen more White Perch being caught vs. Yellows which is uncommon but we believe that once this cold weather breaks, the Yellow will really start to show up in good numbers.
Lures to try would be the VMC Hot Skirts, Shad Darts, Perch Pounders and in-line Spinnerbaits. One of the best techniques is to use a shad dart tipped with either Bloodworm, Grass Shrimp or a Minnow and jigged close to the bottom near any structure you can find. Right now you’ll want to focus on transition points from deeper water to shallower water especially in the creeks/rivers around the area.
We’re still hearing from customers that the Bay Bridge continues to hold fish and Anglers have had success with larger jigs/trailers recently. Other areas that have been notable as of late have been Calvert Cliffs, Point Lookout and Solomons Island. Main Bay water temps are consistently in the mid to upper 40º range. This means Rockfish are going to be holding close to the bottom looking for big easy meals. You’ll want to pull out the heavier jigs (2oz.+) with larger trailers (7″-10″) and try adding skirts to make the profile of your bait even larger.
A lure that has been working is the G-Eye Jigs with 10″ BKD trailers. This offers a larger presentation and increases your chances of hooking up with a monster in cold water.
In many of the local creeks/rivers you will find Pickerel holding in 10′ or less of water near structure. The Magothy River, Tuckahoe Creek/Lake and some other Eastern Shore lakes/ponds are all good places to target Pickerel.
Some of the best baits for these fish are in-line Spinnerbaits, Jerk Baits like the Rapala Rip-Stop, and Lipless Crankbaits like the Red-Eye Shad from Strike King.
If your freshwater lake/pond isn’t frozen over you should be able to target Bass with slow fishing techniques such as drop-shot, float-n-fly and jerkbaits. Some of the better areas have been Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Annapolis Waterworks and Eastern Shore Lakes such as Tuckahoe and Unicorn Lake. The Potomac River has also been OK as of late. Bottom fishing techniques such as ned rigs, jigs and drop-shot are all good winter fishing techniques for Bass.
Early season stocking continues all over the state and many Anglers are having success catching Trout in a variety of areas. The Calvert County area has been good as of late with some of the area ponds/lakes have produced a few trout over the last week. For a complete list of where/when trout are being stocked, head over the DNR page that highlights all the details.
From what we’ve heard Trout are hitting hard on in-line spinnerbaits and small spoons. Eric Packard sent us a bunch of his recent catches while fly fishing. He reports that this technique has been very successful especially with a beadhead fly.
Show Us What You Caught!
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