Thursday, May 18, 2023

Fishing Report

There are new striped bass regulations now in effect in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters. Anglers may keep one striped bass per person per day, with a minimum length of 19 inches and a maximum length of 31 inches.

The Cedar Point rocks is another favored spot for casting topwater lures, paddletails, and jerkbaits up close to the rocks in the early morning or evening hours, and work soft plastic jigs in the deeper waters during the day. The Calvert Cliffs Power Plant warm water discharge is another popular location to drift and jig close to the bottom with a variety of jigs. 

A good depth finder is an important tool when searching for suspended striped bass along deep channel edges; once found vertical jigging with light tackle is one of the most exciting ways to fish for striped bass.

Trolling is a popular option, especially on the larger boats, and they will be pulling a variety of setups. Planers and inline weights can be used to get spoons down to where the fish are holding. Tandem-rigged bucktails and swim shads are popular behind inline weights, and finally there are the umbrella rigs that are a lot to reel in but it works out fine when there is a striped bass hooked on the trailer. Swim shads and bucktails are common trailers. 

The lower Potomac River offers plenty of good striped bass fishing this week; the tidal Potomac has the bonus of being able to keep two striped bass per day if they measure 20 inches to 31 inches. 

Some anglers will be chunking or chumming at favorite locations and in many areas will have their hands full with blue catfish being attracted to their chum slicks or drifting chunks of cut bait. Drifting peeler or soft crab baits along channel edges and the mouths of creeks flowing into Tangier and Pocomoke sounds is a very productive way to target striped bass and speckled trout. A few black drum have been caught in the area and red drum will arrive soon. 

If anyone is looking for some nonstop action, there are plenty of blue catfish to be caught in the tidal Potomac, the Patuxent, the Nanticoke, and numbers of blue catfish are increasing in the Wicomico and Pocomoke rivers. There are also charter boats that are offering blue catfish trips on the tidal Potomac.

White perch are now being found near the mouths of the region’s tidal rivers and creeks and can be caught on grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm on bottom rigs. They will also begin to move into Tangier Sound. The mouth of the Patuxent is usually a great place to target them on the oyster bars.

Northern snakeheads are entertaining anglers throughout the region this week. The snakeheads are very active and striking baits in the tidal rivers and creeks. Paddletails tend to be one of the favorite lure choices but large minnows under a bobber work well also. Shallow grass is always a fun place to use topwater lures in the form of frogs, buzzbaits and poppers. When fishing in tidal waters watch out for northern snakeheads and if you suspect a strike from one, give it a second before setting the hook – they are famous for short strikes.

White perch can be found in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers, usually in deeper waters during the day and shallower in the evening. Grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm can be fished on a simple one-hook bottom rig that is constructed so the baited hook is about 5-6 inches off the bottom. Use as little weight as possible. In the evenings white perch can be found near shoreline structures in the form of rocks, sunken wood, and dock piers.

Friday, March 31, 2023

Fishing Report

Anglers are enjoying these last few days of striped bass catch-and-release fishing in the deepest waters of the shipping channel. Those who are trolling are using heavy parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads in tandem at depths of 50 feet or more. Light-tackle anglers are watching their depth finders for striped bass chasing menhaden in the shipping channel. Large soft plastic jigs in the range of 2 ounces with 9-inch soft plastic bodies are being used at depths of 50 more or more by anglers using braid line.

Striped bass are now in place at the spawning reaches of the Nanticoke, Patuxent, and Potomac Rivers. The waters are warming up just enough that some preliminary spawning is taking place. The bulk of the spawning activity should take place during the end of the first week of April and into the second week; all fishing for striped bass is prohibited during April. 

Fishing for white perch is good in the middle to upper reaches of the region’s spawning rivers. White perch are being found in the Nanticoke and Wicomico rivers, the upper Patuxent, and tributaries of the tidal Potomac River. Small jig heads or shad darts tipped with a piece of fresh minnow or bloodworm will do the trick, as will a simple one-hook bottom rig. White perch will often be found working their way up the deeper channels and holes where water depths start to become sparse. 

A mix of hickory shad and American shad are increasing in numbers in the Potomac River within District of Columbia waters, Mattawoman Creek, and the upper Patuxent River. 

This is an exciting and fun catch-and-release fishery for light-tackle anglers using spinning or fly-fishing tackle. Colorful sinking flies, shad darts, and small flashy spoons will attract the attention of both species of shad.

Anglers are reminded if they fish the Potomac outside the Maryland line, they will need a District of Columbia recreational fishing license. The District is conducting extra enforcement this year and will check for licenses. 

Blue catfish are certainly in play this week and offer plenty of action for those fishing along the edges of the main river channels. The tidal Potomac River from the Wilson Bridge south to the Route 301 Bridge holds large concentrations of blue catfish. Fishing from shore or from a boat with enough lead to hold bottom, large circle hooks and cut bait is the ticket to catching them. The Patuxent River from Benedict to Jug Bay holds large concentrations of blue catfish as does the Nanticoke River in the Sharpstown area.

Fishing Report

There are new  striped bass regulations now in effect  in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters. Anglers may keep one striped bass per perso...