Fishing is good … if the wind isn’t blowing
What a week it’s been. I am hopeful that last Saturday’s hail and snow were Old Man Winter’s last hurrah. The saying “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” might hold true for April as well. The fishing is good when the wind isn’t blowing, but the wind has been a big problem.
Anglers all over the region have been waiting for this weekend, when spring trophy rockfish season opens. The season runs April 16 through May 15 with a catch limit of one fish per person per day 35 inches or larger. Many of Maryland’s reservoirs such as Liberty, Piney Run, Conowingo and Rocky Gorge are also open to fishing for striped bass year-round with an 18-inch minimum size, two fish per day limit, with only one of the fish over 30 inches.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Trout fishing is still the big story for the local lakes and ponds that have been stocked by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service. There have been lots of reports of anglers going home with the daily limit.
At Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, park manager Casey Jones told me they weren’t very busy last Saturday with the cold temperatures and wet weather, but the park should be pretty busy this weekend and the trout fishing should be good.
Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Capt. Andrzejewski of Reel Bass Adventures (301-932-1509) reports that water temperatures in the tidal Potomac are in the low- to mid-50s and the bass are becoming more active.
Bass are being caught by cranking rock and gravel points in the main river and rocky banks at the mouths of creeks with Rattle Traps. Grass flats are starting to recover from the extremely low water levels last week and bass will react to shallow cranks, spinner baits and plastics. Ledges in front of spatterdock fields have bass that like grubs, worms, or small deep diving crank baits.
Keith Harwood from the Maryland DNR Fisheries Service reports that below the Chain Bridge (Route 123) is a good place to catch blue catfish and catch and release hickory and American Shad. Maryland fishermen need to purchase a District of Columbia fishing license when fishing over the Maryland line.
Patuxent River — The river is currently closed to any striped bass fishing and even catch and release is not allowed this time of year. You can try for white perch or catfish any time you like. Fishing with some bloodworm pieces on a bottom rig should reward you with plenty of white perch action.
Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — The water temperature drop from the mid-50s to the mid-40s has knocked back the spawning activities of rockfish, hickory shad and American shad around the Susquehanna Flats and lower Susquehanna River. The much-needed rain last week has raised the level and flow rate of the river.
Life Outdoors Unlimited Guide Capt. Dave Kerrigan (301-252-5322) said the fishing continues to be excellent with the mid-river grass dominating the game plan.The best baits continue to be Campground Special teaser tubes in D’s Koffee and Penrod Purple. Jerk baits and swim baits catch their share and the creature baits like the Case Zipper Grub produce as well. Harwood reports large prespawn striped bass are being caught and released around the flats on soft plastic jigs and spoons. The shad are in the lower Susquehanna and a few have been caught near the dam recently.
Chesapeake Bay — The trophy season opens in the bay and the Potomac below the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge with a one fish per day limit and a 35-inch minimum, no maximum, and no slot. So how good will opening day be? We’ll find out Saturday. It sure is a lot of fun bringing in one of those big ones, and the cool water temperatures bode well for survival if practicing catch and release.
Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box (301-8638151) forecasts that opening day will be very good, with the best fishing for the 40- to 50inch fish happening before May 10. Medium-sized rockfish (5 to 12 pounds) will be here all summer.