Fish are ac­tive de­spite the weather

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

The weather is a real mixed bag the next few days. Go­ing from al­most sum­mery highs to near-freez­ing night tem­per­a­tures and ev­ery­thing in­be­tween isn’t mak­ing it feel much like spring lately. And the wind last week was mak­ing it down­right un­com­fort­able on the wa­ter at times. There’s more cool weather in the forecast, but the fish are ac­tive.

Spring is a great time of year to get out­side and do some fish­ing as a fam­ily, and, on mild weather days, there’s an abun­dance of fish bit­ing to keep kids in­ter­ested. There are so many fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in our re­gion. Shad, perch, bass, bluegill, crap­pie, snake­head, cat­fish and stripers are plen­ti­ful this time of year.

South­ern Mary­land lakes and ponds — The fi­nal trout stock­ing will take place next week for all lo­ca­tions in Calvert County (Calvert Cliffs Pond is get­ting 200 and Hutchins Pond is get­ting 300) and two lo­ca­tions in Charles County (Hugh­esville Pond is get­ting 300 and Myr­tle Grove Pond is get­ting 900). That’s it for the stock­ing this year, so now is the time to get out there and catch one.

St. Mary’s Lake and lo­cal ponds have crap­pie, bluegill, pick­erel and large­mouth bass and they are hit­ting all man­ner of lures and bait. A 20 1/2-inch pick­erel was just caught at St. Mary’s Lake.

Po­tomac River — Den­nis Flem­ing from Fishama­jig Guide Ser­vice (240-538-1260) re­ports tough fish­ing over the past week. Cold fronts and winds ham­pered an­gler’s ef­forts with more bad weather com­ing up this week­end. De­spite that, crap­pie an­glers did well when they got out, with some white perch at Marshall Hall on the chan­nel edges, but the big news is the Hick­ory Shad fish­ing in the “Fletch­ers” sec­tor of the Po­tomac. White perch and Amer­i­can shad are just days away from ar­riv­ing to the same area.

Capt. Andy An­drze­jew­ski of Reel Bass Ad­ven­tures (301-932-1509) said the very cold nights have dropped the wa­ter tem­per­a­tures from the high 50s and low 60s into the up­per 40s. Heavy winds have blown wa­ter out of the river ex­pos­ing some flats that were hold­ing bass.

The bass have pulled back into deeper wa­ter and can be found on points and drops along the main river that are out of the wind. The best bet has been in deeper creeks pro­tected from the strong winds where small, deep run­ning crankbaits, grubs, worms, jigs, and crea­ture com­bos will catch bass when fished along the drops.

The cat­fish are plen­ti­ful, ac­cord­ing to Lamb. An­glers cast­ing bait off the pier at Bush­wood Wharf catch fish ev­ery day and night. Many of these fish are hefty in the 10- to 20-pound size. Boaters fish­ing up the Wi­comico River in the deep holes are land­ing lots of big cat­fish.

Patux­ent River — Ken Lamb from the Tackle Box (301-863-8151) re­ports the cat­fish are ac­tive near Bene­dict and at Chalk Point and are ea­ger to take cut bait. For an­glers look­ing for stripers, there con­tin­ues to be some light tackle ac­tion at the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant warm wa­ter dis­charge.

Bran­son Wil­liams, with the Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Fish­eries Ser­vice, re­ports that bi­ol­o­gists out re­cently elec­trofish­ing the Patux­ent River north of Jug Bay col­lected over 20 north­ern snake­head in just a few hours and saw many more. Most were less than three to four pounds but one topped in at about eight pounds. They en­coun­tered them at low tide in two to four feet of wa­ter, sit­ting on the wider mud flats in the main­stem of the river.

If you catch a snake­head, Mary­land law re­quires that you kill it. Cook it up and have it for din­ner be­cause they are pretty tasty.

Ju­ni­ata and Susque­hanna rivers (Pa.) — Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited Guide

Capt. Kenny Pen­rod (240478-9055) said the wind has been thwart­ing fish­er­men but the bass are bit­ing. The low wa­ter has spread out bass, but the big­ger fish con­tinue to be caught in pre­dictable lo­ca­tions, such as in cur­rent breaks in or near deeper wa­ter. The big­ger bass re­quire some pa­tience and a pre­cise pre­sen­ta­tion. Pen­rod rec­om­mends Camp­ground Tubes com­bined with a 1/8- to 1/4-ounce RAB jig­head in 4 to 6 feet of wa­ter be­low ledges.

Deep Creek Lake — LOU Capt. Ken Pen­rod rec­om­mends fish­ing for north­ern pike with a big shiner min­now, free-lined un­der a float or a 1/2-ounce Big Mouth spin­ner­bait slow rolled through the up-lake back­wa­ters. This large tro­phy fish can be found in the mouths of coves in rel­a­tively shal­low wa­ter. The walleyes and perch, found along deep grass edges, pre­fer smaller pre­sen­ta­tions such as Case plas­tic grubs, in-line spin­ners and smaller Rapala Count­downs in a perch color.

Lake Anna — High Point Ma­rina (540-895-5249) re­ports that the lake is about

one to two weeks be­hind in tem­per­a­ture and spawn­ing pat­terns. When warm weather ar­rives, con­di­tions will change fast.

Bass are still fairly deep at 10 to 15 feet and hit­ting a va­ri­ety of baits. Both ends of the lake have bet­ter fish­ing than the mid­dle. Now is the time for jigs, spin­ner­baits, and crankbaits, es­pe­cially a sus­pend­ing one. Stripers are be­ing caught on a more con­sis­tent ba­sis with sea shads, sassy shads and spoons and at var­i­ous depths de­pend­ing on the time of day, mostly 8 to 15 feet. Fish can be any­where and are mov­ing con­stantly.

Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — The spawn­ing run is un­der­way, with fish of all ages and sizes in the bay and its trib­u­taries. Keith Lock­wood with DNR Fish­eries Ser­vice said the striped bass are mov­ing up to­wards the spawn­ing reaches in the Nan­ti­coke and Chop­tank rivers and, in the lower bay re­gion into the tidal Po­tomac and Patux­ent rivers. Catch-and-re­lease striped bass fish­ing is strictly off lim­its in these spawn­ing ar­eas. The white perch are mov­ing down the Patux­ent River and can be found in the mid­dle re­gion.

jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

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