Now’s the time to get out on the water
It seems Southern Maryland just can’t escape the rain. But if we have decent weather this weekend, there are many finer ways to spend it than catching up on all the yard work that’s been neglected because of the rain. Mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, and staining the deck can wait.
The fish are biting and now’s the time to get out there and enjoy the water. Life’s short and we ought to be spending every minute we can with our loved ones doing things we enjoy. See you on the water.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Anthony Hancock, assistant manager of Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, said many smaller bass are being caught on a variety of baits in all depths of water. Swim jigs in green, pumpkin, or bluegill colors, large soft plastic baits and spinnerbaits in baitfish colors will catch both quantity and quality bass. Topwater lures are also very effective, especially early in the morning and in the evening once the sun dips below the trees. On overcast days, topwater lures will get bass strikes all day long.
The redear sunfish are starting their second round of spawning. Their beds are a little hard to find; look for areas with a gravel or sandy bottom. Some bluegill are also spawning. Small pieces of worm under a bobber, small jigs or flies will catch these feisty panfish. Crappie are being caught in deeper water (10 to 15 feet) near wood cover such as beaver dams, laydowns, and pier pilings.
Potomac River — Capt. Andy Andrzejewski of Reel Bass Adventures (301-932-1509) reports that once the sun came out and the water temperatures soared from the low 60s to the upper 70s, the bass fishing did not respond accordingly. Grass beds have been especially stingy to give up bass, but some quality bass can still be caught by fishing the outside edges of grass beds with crawfish imitators and downsized spinnerbaits.
Don’t get excited about topwater activity yet, it’s mostly carp and gar. Hard cover, like downed trees and hulks of old wrecks scattered about the river have been easier to fish and have bass that will take a square bill crankbait bounced off the cover and then followed up with a finesse worm or jig and craw.
Spatterdock pads have smallish bass and large snakeheads that will take spinnerbaits or plastics worked just inside the outer edge. Capt. Dale Coon of Fishamajig Guide Service (240-587-8307) has been catching a few snakeheads on rod and reel in the Potomac tributaries by sight casting to them in the weed beds.
Aqualand Marina (301-259-2222) reports that anglers are doing well on eating-size blue catfish using cut bait while fishing from shore. Boat anglers have been plagued with persistent rain, but some report catching croakers at the power plant discharge in the evening. White perch so far are running small, but that should change soon with warmer weather on the horizon.
Patuxent River — White perch is a favorite during the spring and summer months in shallower waters. As temperatures rise, they’ll move into their summertime haunts over the next week. At the moment, depths as shallow as 10 inches hold possibilities for catching white perch in the river and creeks. The best place to look for white perch is around tree branches that have fallen in the water.
Fishamajig Guide Service Capt. Dennis Fleming (240-538-1260) reports catching limits of stripers in the Patuxent River area early and late in the morning while throwing lures to structure in shallow water, which can be as simple as a dock, rock wall, or point of land. Capt. Fleming will soon be moving north to Chesapeake Beach to where the bulk of the stripers have appeared to have migrated for yet another summer.
Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — Nearly 100 miles of the main stem of the Susque-
hanna and 35 miles of the Juniata are closed to bass fishing until June 18. Life Outdoors Unlimited Guide Jason Shay (717-507-4377) reports that in the unrestricted areas the fishing is good, but the fish need to be enticed to eat. Spinnerbaits and wacky rigged case magic sticks have been working best.
Deep Creek Lake — Keith Lockwood of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service reports the smallmouth bass fishing has been very good. There are lots of reports of bass in the 14-inch size range biting on tubes, stick worms and suspended jerkbaits near rocky shores and floating docks. Casting small lures or fishing with live minnows along deep grass edges will result in a mix of
large yellow perch, walleye, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel and the occasional rainbow trout.
Lake Anna (Va.) — McCotter’s Lake Anna Guide Service (540-894-3540) reports that the second largemouth bass spawn is underway up- and mid-lake with many fish in shallow water.
Up-lake is clearing after muddying from all the rain, so spinnerbaits, soft plastic jerkbaits, topwaters and buzzbaits are effective as sight fishing is still tricky. Further down the lake, sight fishing is possible with small jigs like Dave’s Tournament Tackle finesse jig, wacky-rigged worms, lizards and drop shot rigs.
Up-lake, crappie are in the willow grass lines in one to three feet of water. Other regions of the lake have crappie, but they are scattered and on deeper structures like docks, brush and select beaver huts.
Chesapeake Bay — Lockwood said the lower bay
region still has plenty of striped bass action. Most trollers have changed their spreads to medium-sized offerings. A variety of bucktails and spoons are common as well as umbrella rigs and swim shad type lures. The channel edges in about 35 feet of water have been popular places to troll. When schools of fish can be found with depth finders or under birds targeting baitfish, try light tackle jigging. There’s no better way to have fun catching a striper.
Atlantic Ocean — There has been some beautiful fishing weather in Ocean City. Surf fishermen couldn’t be happier with all the striped bass action this past weekend. Bob Foster at the Oyster Bay Tackle Shop (410-524-3433) said the crew at Oyster Bay Tackle weighed in a number of keeper stripers caught by surfcasters fishing the Ocean city beach, most with cut bunker.
Some good-sized flounder
are being caught from the thoroughfare to the back bays. White Gulp! is popular this week with flounder fishermen. Bluefish up to 36 inches are being caught by anglers tossing Gotcha plugs, speck rigs and spoons from the North jetty, the U.S. 50 bridge and from boats drifting the inlet.
Tip of the week
From Capt. Kenny Penrod, the Fishing Detective (240478-9055): The topwater bite did not materialize this past week, but the rising water temperatures and clearer water will help topwater fishing this week. My tip for people fishing the tidal Potomac is to move closer to cover and make short accurate casts and pitches to cover with jigs and worms. This also works in grass where short pitches into holes allows you to keep your bait in small strike zones and cover water.