Fish are active despite the weather
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.