Spring fishing is in full swing
Spring fishing is in full and many people have already been out on their boats this season.
This week is National Boating Safety Week and all boaters are urged to wear life jackets on the water. Even experienced boaters can fall victim to boating accidents. And the law requires children 13 and younger wear them.
Now is a good time to remind boaters of the dangers of springtime water temperatures. The sunshine (if we ever get any) can be deceptive. Although air temperatures can be warm or even hot in the springtime, the water can still be downright frigid and just a few minutes in cold water can be deadly. Wearing a life jacket can provide some insulation and give rescuers valuable time.
Across the United States, nearly 85 percent of all drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. Many people think that in an emergency they will have time to grab their life jacket and put in on, but the reality is accidents happen in the blink of an eye.
Life jackets only work when you wear them. And there are lots of options these days that make it easier than ever to wear a life jacket, such as those new versions that inflate when immersed in water. They are compact so they don’t interfere with your movements and are so comfortable you might forget you have one on.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Anthony Hancock, assistant manager at Gilbert Run State Park in Dentsville, said the rain and cool temperatures translate to slower fishing for this time of year. The bass are still active from shallow water to deep, however with cooler water they do not have to feed as much so the bites are slow.
Afternoons are often best, especially when the clouds subside and the sun makes a rare appearance. Small white spinnerbaits, shallow diving crankbaits and natural-tone soft plastic stickworms are all great baits to tempt even inactive bass. The grass has not developed yet with all the cloudy days, so bass are retreating to wood and rock cover. A slow and methodical approach is best when using soft plastics to coax bass into biting.
The crappie are still holding in deeper water. Water depths of 10 to 15 feet are best and using a slip blobber/shiner combination is often the best way to catch them. Small soft plastic grubs or jigs can be fished under a bobber as well.
The bluegill and redear sunfish can be found in water depths of five to 10 feet and catching them is best with your bait near the bottom. A garden worm on a small hook with a few split shot to keep it down is what would work best.
Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Capt. Andy Andrzejewski (301-9321509) concurs that colder than average seasonal temperatures are keeping a damper on things. The water temperatures in the Potomac are in the low 60s.
Grass beds are still where you’ll find the most bass. A weedless spoon fished slowly through the thickening grasses and dropped down into openings will entice the bass to bite. A swim jig or chatterbait worked through the thinner grass will also get some action.
A crawfish imitator worked in the clumps produced some good bass this past week, the best being a solid six pounds. Wood cover and boat docks also hold bass that will take plastics or jigs.
Spatterdock pads have bass and some snakeheads that will strike a quick moving crankbait. Plenty of catfish are in the creeks and will intercept bass baits, too.
Patuxent River — Ken Lamb of The Tackle Box (301-863-8151) reports that croaker have been caught from the public pier at the boat ramp under the bridge to Solomons Island. White perch are in the creeks and plentiful. For rockfish, the river is open up to Point Patience and all of the
Patuxent will be open come June 1.
Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — About 100 miles of the Susquehanna and 30 miles of the Juniata are closed to bass anglers through June 17. Jason Shay of Life Outdoors Unlimited (717-5074377) reports that above the closure the bass fishing is awesome. In the past week his trips have racked up three 20-plus-inch bass
on chartreuse spinnerbaits at a medium retrieve.
Deep Creek Lake
— LOU guide Bret Winegardner (301-616-9889) reports largemouth bass are cruising and spawning in shoreline cover. Magic sticks, swim baits and small craws are working best. Some smallmouth can be caught on topwater early. Poppers worked very slowly will get a few bites. He said it’s going to be tough fishing until the weather forecast improves.
Lake Anna — McCotter’s Lake Anna Guide Service (540-894-3540)
reports that the spawns are finishing up and they are expecting a feeding frenzy in the coming weeks. The water up-lake is clearing after muddying from all the rain so spinnerbaits, soft plastic jerkbaits, topwaters, and buzzbaits are most effective for bass.
Sight fishing is possible mid-lake with small jigs like the Dave’s Tournament Tackle finesse jig, wacky-rigged worms, lizards, and drop shot rigs. Down lake, bass can be targeted with wacky-rigged worms, soft plastic jerkbaits and topwaters. Some crappie are still spawning and they can be found in the willow grass lines in one to three feet of water.
Chesapeake Bay — There are plenty of rockfish to be had. With the regulations on striped bass now two fish per day, 20 inches minimum length with only one over 28 inches, smaller trolling presentations are in order. Lamb said jiggers and lurecasters will find 20- to 30-inch fish around the mouth of the Patuxent from Fishing Point to the rocks at the old Cedar Point Lighthouse site.
Keith Harwood of the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service said most of the large post-spawn striped bass are gone now, but the lower bay region offers the best chances for those who are late to the party to catch a bigger fish. Trollers are covering various depths with a mix of umbrella rigs, tandem parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads or spoons.
Atlantic Ocean — Water temperatures are in the mid-50s, which is a bit cool for this time of year. Bob Foster of Oyster Bay Tackle (410-524-3433) reports that big stripers are continuing to stream out of the Chesapeake Bay. Big bluefish have been reported crashing baits intended for flounder around the Route 90 bridge. Anglers casting spoons and bucktails have been catching school-size bluefish from the Ocean City inlet jetty.
Kingfish have finally shown up and are being caught by surfcasters using bloodworms and Fishbites. The flounder fishing has been slow. Last weekend I was out on a charter and only one 21.5inch flounder was landed. Not too shabby of a fish, but the bites were slow and far and few between. Sunny days have seen more action than overcast.
Tip of the week
Snakehead opportunities in the Potomac are very good. They are more likely to hide in slightly shallower water than bass, but they will hit the same lures. Poppers, creature baits, and my personal favorite, Booyah Pad Crasher imitation frogs, are all good choices. Aim for the muddy shorelines and don’t forget to set the hook as they can put up a good fight.