Wrapping up the Reel Report for 2016
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has unveiled a new webpage called “Changes to Fishing Regulations” to streamline access for the public to proposals that are being considered for the next season. The webpage can be found at http://dnr2.mar yland. gov/fisheries/Pages/regulations/changes.aspx.
DNR is actively seeking feedback from the public as part of their scoping process. Some of the proposed changes include listing cobia as “in need of conservation,” listing cownose rays as “in need of conservation” and creating daily catch limits, doubling the daily creel limit for certain non-tidal species, and removing several oyster harvest reserve areas and reverting them back to open harvest bottoms.
One proposal that caught my eye is requiring fishermen to har vest horseshoe crabs by vessel and prohibit their harvest from shore. This will protect spawning horseshoe crabs. I’ve walked a lot of beaches this summer and have seen only a handful of these once prolific funny-looking creatures.
It’s easy for the public to comment via the webpage. Commercial fishermen have a powerful voice. The finned and clawed and shelled animals don’t get to share their input and depend upon the average citizen to balance the scales. Make sure your opinion is heard and let DNR know what you think about the proposed changes.
Take a trip to Mallows Bay Park in Nanjemoy on Oct. 29 to celebrate Halloween “birder style.”
Walk with the Southern Maryland Audubon Society and learn about the shipwrecks that comprise the ghost fleet, archaeological sites, and wildlife all situated on the beautiful Potomac River. The trip will include a bird walk on the park’s one-mile trail to look for migrants, catch a final peek of our summer bird friends and welcome our winter residents. There are numerous ospreys and bald eagles to view as well.
RSVP until 10 a.m. Oct. 29 at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301751-8097. Young birders are welcome.
This is the last Reel Report of the year. It will return next spring. In the meantime, I’ll keep you informed of any good fishing reports as part of Friday’s Outdoors column. Southern Maryland lakes and
ponds — According to Anthony Hancock, assistant manager of Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, the bass are cooperating for those anglers who put in the time to find them. Drop-offs in 5 to 10 feet of water, especially with wood cover, are holding fish that will respond to slowly fished plastic lures. Mid-afternoon, when the water has warmed up a bit, bass can be caught on spinnerbaits and
crankbaits fished over shallow areas. Patuxent River — Travis
Haffer at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) said the river is red hot for rockfish, speckled and some weakfish. Rockfish are varying sizes; you’ll
catch some 18- to 19-inch throwbacks before you’ll catch a keeper. A good size right now is 28 to 33 inches with dive-down crankbaits working well. Most of the croaker and bluefish are gone, but there are still reports of perch.
Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301932-1509) said floating grass and debris have been creating presentation problems so he recommends concentrating on hard cover that is clear of dying grass.
Square-bill crankbaits and wacky-rigged stick worms are a good bet to make contact with bass. The mouths of feeder creeks and marsh run-offs continue to produce on the last part of the outgoing tide. He reports the striper bite is strong and suggests
fishing current breaks around points, bridges and docks. Swimbaits and lipless rattle baits are working well.
Fishamajig Guide Service’s Capt. Dennis Fleming (240-538-1260) reports a good striper bite when the wind is not blowing. The fish are still shallow and respond to jigs, jerkbaits and topwaters.
Aqualand Marina is a good jumping off point to find fish. Don’t be surprised to catch a 16- to 20-inch puppy drum too. Weakfish are in good numbers in the lower river. Remember only one fish 13 inches or greater is allowed while the stock is rebuilding.
Recreational fisherman John Boyles shared the details of a northern snakehead he caught last Friday in a creek near Leonardtown on the
Maryland Angler’s Log. It measured 29 inches and weighed 7.2 pounds, and it made for a tasty dinner that night. Boyles caught the snakehead on a falling tide with a small chartreuse spinning lure.
Deep Creek Lake — Anthony Lascaris at Bill’s Outdoor Center in Oakland (301-387-3474) reports the water is around 60 degrees and clear so the fishing is better on overcast days right now. The perch are starting to school up and the walleye fishing is picking up. You’ll find the walleye at mid-depth and he recommends deep diving crankbaits this time of year. Smallmouth fishing is consistent with rocky areas being the best spots to target.
Lake Anna (Va.) — The news from High Point Marina (540-895-5249) is that the water temperature has cooled rapidly this week. Stripers are active from the Splits up to the first two bridges and around the power plant. Fish are being caught shallow in low light and early morning, then gradually they are moving deeper in the afternoon. Paddletail baits such as NABZ Swim N Minna, Sassy Shads and Sea Shads are working well casting.
The better quality largemouth bass have moved into deeper waters but sunny afternoons will bring them up in the shallows to feed where you can catch them on jigs and shakey heads. Also, baits that cover a lot of water such as spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits are catching fish in the upper flats. Crappie are getting bigger and bigger by the day. You can find them holding on docks, brush piles, rocks, and bridges.
Chesapeake Bay — Haffer said the bluefish have moved on and anglers
are concentrating on rockfish now. Trolling with heavy gear such as umbrellas and tandem rigs is picking up. Live-lining spot is a surefire way to slay some rock. Hot spots include the power plant, gas docks, and south of Point Lookout. Shore fishermen are hooking up with 20- to 22-inch rock caught from shore on cut bait such as alewife, bunker and menhaden. But Haffer’s bait of choice, if you can get a hold of it, is fresh or live peeler crab.
Atlantic Ocean — The results are in for the 24-Hour Bahia Marina Rocktoberfest Tournament that ended last weekend. Most of the action took place around the U.S. 50 bridge but some fish were caught around the South Jetty as well. Big Bird Cropper caught his 4-pound 9-ounce first-place flounder on a Gulp artificial bait. There are lots of red drum around the South Jetty and plenty of short stripers mixed in. Small bluefish are everywhere, but mostly centered around the U.S. 50 and Route 90 bridges.
Tip of the week
From Hancock: Wheatley Lake at Gilbert Run Park should have about 600 to 900 trout stocked this week. Powerbait nuggets fished near the bottom is the most widely-used technique to catch these put-and-take trout. Small, ultra-light spinners like Mepps and Rooster Tails in bright flashy colors are also popular. Fly-fishermen should give wooly buggers and small nymph patterns a try, especially after the trout have been in the lake for a few weeks and begin feeding on bugs.