It’s a great time to fish
Maybe you’ve never once held a fishing pole or it’s been so long you can’t even remember how to put a hook on the line. It’s not too late to get into fishing as this is a great time of year to give the sport a try or get yourself reacquainted with the local waters.
Tackle stores are ready to help you determine exactly what kind of rod and reel to get and there are more than enough videos on the Internet to help you learn to tie the very best knots. Once you’ve got the basic gear ready, all you’ll need is some fresh bait, a cooler with drinks and sandwiches and a fishing license to get yourself started.
But as a matter of fact, you might not need that license right away because the Mar yland Department of Natural Resources has allocated three free fishing days this year. On June 3 and 10 and and July 4, you won’t need a fishing license to fish in Maryland’s waterways.
Anyone fishing those days,
including anglers without licenses, must adhere to size and catch limits and all other regulations. And, as always, children 16 and younger are not required to have a fishing license.
Southern Maryland lakes and
ponds — Anthony Hancock, assistant manager at Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, said the bass are active from the shallows to 15 feet of water and biting all sorts of lures.
During the day, soft plastic lures like stick baits and finesse worms in brown and green colors are good choices, along with jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. On warm days, topwater lures early and late work well.
The redear sunfish will likely be starting to bed soon making them easy targets for fishermen with small pieces of worm under a bobber. Bluegill still have a couple of weeks yet before they start spawning heavily but can be found in shallow water cruising the shoreline for their meal and you can entice them onto your hook with a nightcrawler, mealworm or cricket.
Patuxent River — The boundaries for rockfish season have changed as the mouth of the river is open to rockfish anglers now through May 31. The new limit is now two fish per day 20 to 28 inches or one fish between 20 and 28 inches and one fish over 28 inches.
Bunky’s Charter Boats (410326-3241) will open its public head boat up for bottom fishing on May 27. The fishing has been a little slow lately because the water temperatures are still cool, but they expect the bite to start picking up now that we’ve had a few warmer days.
Potomac River — The river is clearing nicely and the waters have warmed into the 70s, but the bass fishing has been sporadic, according to Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509). The bass can’t make up their minds. They are chasing baits in grasses one and the next day they prefer plastics on wood cover.
trying several patterns to determine what the bite of the day will be, using a variety of baits from topwaters to bottom bouncers. When all else fails, marsh run-offs during
the last few hours of an outgoing tide have been producing bass on shaky heads and Ned rigs.
The Life Outdoors Unlimited guides remind anglers that 31 miles of the Juniata and 98 miles of the main stem of the Susquehanna are
closed to bass fishing for another month. If the law isn’t enough to keep anglers from targeting bass, the recent high water is certainly a good deterrent. The catch-andrelease season begins June 17.
Deep Creek Lake — LOU Guide Bret Winegardner (301-616-9889) said to look for schools of largemouth bass around docks as homeowners are starting to return them to the water for the summer season.
Smallmouths can be found on rocky points and shorelines four to six feet deep. Rapala suspending jerkbaits and
Mizmo tubes are the best choices for hooking into some smallies now that the water is warming up.
Not much has changed at Lake Anna over the past week, according to Carlos at High Point Marina (540-895-5249). Bass will chase faster-moving baits such as crankbaits and swimbaits. Pick your favorite ones and fish 4 to 10 feet deep over points, humps and ledges.
Stripers are all over, with the majority having been caught from the Route 208 Bridge up to Stubbs and Holiday Bridges. Most stripers are in the upper water column but a few have been caught as deep at 35 feet in some areas.
The guides from Fishamajig Guide Service have had some good days fishing from Solomons with lots of schoolie-sized stripers and decent-sized speckled trout in the shallows. Current, structure and clean water are the necessary ingredients for success.
The main bay out of Solomons has seen nice bluefish under the birds. Good binoculars are a must for finding them. Contact Capt. Dennis Fleming (240-538-1260) to get fishing while the action is good.
Black sea bass season opened this week and the news from the charter boat fleet is many anglers around the rail are catching their 15-fish limit on squid or clams fished on artificial reef structure.
Larry Jock of the Coastal Fisherman reports there are tons of rockfish under the U.S. 50 Bridge. Nearly all of them are too small to keep, but it sure is fun catching them.
Tip of the week
Did you know Maryland has more than 20 designated free fishing areas that don’t require a license year-round?
In Southern Maryland, that location is Friendship Landing, a county-owned pier and shoreline on Nanjemoy Creek located on Friendship Landing Road just off Route 425. Anglers are still required to observe all fishing laws and regulations, but no license is necessary.
Of course, nothing in life is completely free. An online state registration must be filled out online via https://compass. dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal at no cost except a few minutes of your time.