Tro­phy rock­fish sea­son be­gins

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

Spring tro­phy rock­fish sea­son gets un­der­way at 5 a.m. Satur­day.

A cou­ple of 80-de­gree days ear­lier this week have the fish hun­gry and ready for open­ing day. Satur­day’s weather is pre­dicted to be in the low 70s with some cloud cover that will even­tu­ally clear in the af­ter­noon. Not too shabby an open­ing day.

The sea­son runs from April 15 to May 15 and the bag limit is one fish per day, with a min­i­mum size of 35 inches. Fish­ing is open in the main stem of the bay only and the Po­tomac River up to the Gov. Harry W. Nice Me­mo­rial Bridge. Lo­cal hot spots in­clude the Cove Point and Cedar Point chan­nel edges and the steep chan­nel edges in the lower Po­tomac near Piney Point and St. Ge­orge’s Is­land.

If you have any fish­ing news of in­ter­est or some great pho­tos of your out­ings, shoot me an email. As long as you’re not telling any tall tales, I’ll hap­pily pass the in­for­ma­tion along.

South­ern Mary­land lakes and

ponds — Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lex­ing­ton Park (301-863-8151) re­ports crap­pie, pick­erel and large­mouth bass are ac­tive at St. Mar y’s Lake.

Crap­pie are plen­ti­ful with catches of 20 or 30 per out­ing com­mon, but only about half of them are good eat­ing-size. Shad darts, bee­tle spins, and live min­nows are the baits of choice. Lamb rec­om­mends trolling up and down the mid­dle of the lake or cast­ing from shore and reel­ing in slowly to pro­duce strikes.

Bass have started nest­ing and there are many in the 5-pound class ready to take a wacky-rigged worm or swim­ming plug.

Patux­ent River — This wa­ter re­mains com­pletely closed to any kind of striper fish­ing and that in­cludes catch-and-re­lease. If you hap­pen to have a bot­tom rig tied on with a lit­tle piece of blood­worm as bait (it bet­ter not be eel), you’ll prob­a­bly find some will­ing white perch and they’re all right to fish for and take home.

For an­glers who want to bring a snake­head home for din­ner, fish­eries bi­ol­o­gists elec­troshocked four big ones up near Wayson’s Cor­ner while they were sur­vey­ing hick­ory shad.

Po­tomac River — Reel Bass Ad­ven­tures guide Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301-932-1509) con­firms that last week’s heavy rains and re­cent winds have left the river stained, but it’s clear­ing up now. An­drze­jew­ski re­ports bass fish­ing re­mains good with most pat­terns pro­duc­ing bass.

On the high end of the tide, wood cover pro­duces bass when fished with a fi­nesse worm or Ned rig. As the tide falls, use shal­low-run­ning crankbaits, spin­ners or chat­ter­baits, weigh­less, wacky-rigged stick worms and plas­tic craw­fish im­i­ta­tors in grass-cov­ered flats in creeks or on the main river. The young growth spat­ter­dock pads also hold bass that re­spond to spin­ners, traps and grubs.

Ju­ni­ata and Susque­hanna

rivers (Pa.) — Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited guide Ja­son Shay (717-507-4377) re­ports the weather has taken a toll on the fish­ing and he’s been spend­ing time in the cleaner trib­u­taries us­ing spin­ner­baits, chat­ter­baits, swim­baits and tubes.

Deep Creek Lake — The Western Re­gion Fresh­wa­ter Fish­eries pro­gram staff re­cently elec­trofished Deep Creek Lake and fish­eries bi­ol­o­gist Alan Klotz re­ports wall­eye were col­lected at a rate of 305 per hour, higher than the av­er­age of 202 per hour.

Wall­eye an­glers should be ex­pect­ing a great sea­son, which opens April 16. Most of the wall­eye col­lected in the sur­vey were 15 inches and larger, with a good num­ber in the 18- to 24-inch size class. Min­now-type jerk baits, plas­tic grubs on 1/8-ounce jigs, and live min­nows are baits of choice. Min­i­mum size is 15 inches with a 5-fish daily limit.

Fish­ing is best right after dusk and the shore­lines along Deep Creek State Park and the Route 219 Bridge are good wall­eye fish­ing ar­eas.

Lake Anna (Va.) — The guides at McCot­ter’s Lake Anna Guide Ser­vice (540-894-9144) re­port the shal­low wa­ter bite is on. The hottest zone for bass is mid­lake and down-lake. Try buzzbaits and top­wa­ter pop­pers when there’s good shal­low cover present. The fish up-lake won’t spawn un­til early May, but they can still be caught on Tiger Shad spin­ner­baits. Check out coves like Valen­tines, Duke’s, Fish­er­man’s and the coves between Dikes 1 and 2.

Two crap­pie weigh­ing 2 pounds, 12 ounces each were weighed in last week. Fish shal­low wood, rocks, and grass lines if you want the big­gest slabs. Slip bob­bers and min­nows or 2” jigs on 1/32-ounce heads are the ticket in the top of the North Anna, the up­per Pa­munkey Branch and the up­per por­tion of Terry’s Run. Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — Lamb re­ports that mod­est-sized stripers and some whop­pers around 40 inches have been tak­ing all man­ner of lures. The fa­vorite for many ex­pe­ri­enced fish­er­men is a big swim­ming crankbait, and Lamb sug­gests the Bomber Wind Cheater which many guides use too. Lamb said they’re easy to cast and the fish love ‘em, too.

Jig­gers us­ing buck­tails, metal jigs and sassy shads have found plenty of rock­fish at the warm wa­ter out­put at the gas plant above Cove Point.

At­lantic Ocean — Larr y Jock of the Coastal Fish­er­man said if you are into some light tackle action, small striped bass in the 20-inch range are still roam­ing the wa­ter around the Route 90 Bridge.

The first floun­der of the sea­son was caught last week­end. Lukas Lay­ton caught a 20-incher while trolling plas­tics at the Route 90 Bridge. Tau­tog are hot right now on ocean struc­ture and charters are re­port­ing max­ing out and throw­ing back lots past the limit.

Tip of the week

The kids have had off school all week and we’ve been hit­ting up the lo­cal pond for bass while wait­ing for the email that tells us it’s time to switch gears and get over to Calvert Cliffs Pond.

With all the rain last week, the wa­ter was stained, which made our prospects a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult than usual, but that didn’t thwart our suc­cess. And that brings me to to­day’s tip, which comes straight from my dad.

He re­ally be­lieved in this stuff called Smelly Jelly fish at­trac­tant. Use some flashy lures and smear that stuff all over your baits so fish can eas­ily find them with their other senses. Smelly Jelly comes in dozens of fla­vors in paste or liq­uid form, and gar­lic was al­ways his fa­vorite.

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