Trophy rockfish season begins
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.