Cover Image: Left: Eddie Weber continues to find a great pickerel bite in the Severn River! He caught a few at sunrise yesterday morning using a 3″ Zman paddletail on a 1/4 oz G-Eye Jig with a Zman underspin! Right: Eric Packard launched his kayak in the Magothy earlier this week in spite of there being ice on the water and caught several large mouth bass, adding to the surprising number of reports that we are hearing of large mouth bass being caught in the Upper Magothy!

Pickerel: In spite of the tops of some of the rivers and creek and Eastern Shore ponds being iced over, there are still anglers out there successfully pickerel fishing on both the western shore and eastern shore! Afternoon will best the best time to launch your kayak or small boat, as it will allow for the ice to have time to melt. Remember that fish are less active in these very cold water temperatures. The most successful techniques this week have been to very slowly retrieve a 3 in paddletail, or to use live minnows under a bobber!

Panfish: Our favorite type of fish to target this time of year, is any type of Panfish such as Yellow Perch, White Perch, Crappie and Bluegill! There are still some white perch being caught in the upper parts of the rivers. Beachwood Park on the Magothy has been a good spot for both white and yellow perch, and live minnows are the bait of choice! For white perch, you can also head out to deeper, hard bottom, structure or oyster beds at the mouths of the rivers or in the main bay. Here, you’ll want to use Chesapeake Sabiki rigs with a 1/2-1oz sinker on the bottom, or metal jigs to target those big white perch! The creeks and headwaters of most any of our local rivers are starting to hold yellow perch and even some crappie, while ponds and creeks on the eastern shore, such as Tuckahoe Creek or Lake and upper parts of the Choptank River are great spots to target Crappie, Yellow Perch and Blue Gill! Again, live minnows work well, but you can also use gulp artificial minnows or curly tails, or Bust ‘Em Baits stingers. We like to use a shad dart tandem rig tipped with any of these options!

Large Mouth Bass: Bass are active in western shore creeks and near the headwaters of rivers, as noted above, the Magothy has been an especially good spot for them! They are active in Eastern Shore ponds and creeks as well. Both live minnows and chatterbaits have been working well!

Rockfish: If you are willing to brave the main bay in this cold weather, there is still plenty of great catch and release rockfish action going on! You can catch nice 20-30 inch fish around the bay bridge pilings and rock piles and even in the Patapsco River, which for some reason still seems to be holding nice fish! Or, you can head south down to Chesapeake Beach, Breezy Point or Point Lookout to target those large migratory fish. Regardless of where you fish, the fish are in deep water, 30-60 feet and are feeding close to the bottom, so you will want heavier, 1, 1.5 or maybe even a 2 oz jig head to get down to the bottom. You also still want to use larger, 7-10 inch plastics, and consider adding a skirt to bulk up the profile!