Waiting game for cooler weather
It’s Friday the 13th and that shouldn’t scare anyone who wants to do a little fishing today or over the weekend.
Although we’ve seen some unseasonably (and uncomfortably) warm weather earlier this week, temperatures will begin to feel more fall-like soon. And that’s great news for anglers who are waiting for the fall trout-stocking in our local waters.
Trout are naturally cold-water fish and don’t do well in warm water, so Maryland Department of Natural Resources must wait until cooler temperatures give them a green light to commence stocking around here. The program has about 28,000 brown, golden and rainbow trout ready for put-and-take throughout the state.
But here’s a warning that ought to scare you. Trout fishermen on the upper Gunpowder River (in Baltimore) are being asked by DNR to be extra cautious when using waders and hip boots.
A new invasive species, the New Zealand mudsnail, has been detected. Several hundred snails were collected in just a few minutes when biologists inspected the area near Bush Cabin Run.
DNR asks all anglers to decontaminate their boots, waders, fishing rods, tackle and buckets to prevent the spread of invasive species from one body of water to another. As a reminder, Maryland banned all felt-soled shoes and waders in state waters or within five feet of state waters in 2011.
Locally, the Potomac River Rockfish Tournament held at Aqualand Marina was a success last weekend. Thirty-four boats competed for the biggest rockfish in conditions that all who fished would describe as a tough bite.
Local angler Chad Barron proved to be the top angler when his crew placed first and third and another local pro known by the nickname Lt. Dan (real name: Ralph Aquaviva) took second place with the help of Mary Bowie.
The event raised thousands of dollars for the charity Hope4 Nichole which provides assistance to breast cancer victims.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Bass and bluegill are active in our local waters and the little bit of rain we had recently should make the fishing even better. Topwaters early and late are still the pattern for bass. There are still a few weeks left to fish after work before we have to fall back and darkness becomes a challenge.
Bluegill are eager to take a little piece of nightcrawler under a bobber and angling for these feisty panfish is a great way to spend a few hours with the kids on the weekend.
Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-8638151) said recent temperatures are a bit too warm still for crappie in St. Mary’s Lake, but the
recent rains and cooler temperatures should goad them into biting soon.
Patuxent River — Lamb reports excellent rockfish opportunities in the river over the past week with nicesized fish around the shoreline for anglers casting from the lighthouse rocks at Cedar Point.
Kayakers are catching rockfish on topwater lures and bucktails. White perch are starting to gather up in the deeper holes, but it’ll be a few more weeks before they are out of the creeks and into the river.
Lamb forecasts excellent fishing this weekend, predicting the rain and cooler temperatures will translate into angling opportunities galore.
Potomac River — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Capt. Kenny Penrod (240-478-9055) reports the higher than normal water temperatures have not had a positive effect on the Washington, D.C., area bite, but there’s been excellent topwater frog action in the southern tributaries.
Grass mats have been producing best on sunny days in the last hour of the outgoing tide. Many times bass will just nudge the frog with their heads on the first cast but not inhale the lure until an accurate follow-up cast into the hole induces them to strike. Topwaters and shallow-diving crankbaits are other good options right now.
Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — LOU guide Matt Greene (717-576- 3735) said fish are starting to group up this week. The main bait this week remains topwater, but when the wind picks up, spinnerbaits are a good choice.
LOU guide Jason Shay (717-5074377) recommends throwing tubes and flukes when the bite slows down. The key to success is covering water and finding groups of fish. They’ve been mostly in just inches of water and are feeding aggressively.
Lake Anna (Va.) — Carlos at High Point Marina (540-895-5249) said bass have moved into deeper patterns with the recent warmer weather. Fish topwater in the early morning and adjust a foot deeper every hour for the next 6 to 8 hours.
Sturgeon, Contrary, Mitchell, Marshall and Pigeon creeks are all places you could catch a few on Tiger Shad spinnerbaits in the afternoons. Fish will be on the crankbait holes up-lake, but are still hitting plastic worms reliably.
Anglers are targeting breaking stripers in the mornings within a mile of the Route 208 Bridge in either direction.
Chesapeake Bay — Bottom fishing for spot is winding down for the year. They can still be found in deeper water, at depths of 50 feet or more most days.
Solomons Charter Captains Association captains (www.fishsolomons.com) are catching bluefish just west of the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant trolling. Look for the birds to get you in on the action. SCCA captains live-lined this week near Cove Point with success. The key to getting legal-sized rockfish is using larger spot.
Fishamajig Guide Service (240538-1260) reports a strong striper bite in the shallows of the Honga River wherever there is clean water and moving current on shallow water points. According to Lamb, Capt. Brady Bounds has been hooking up keeper-sized rockfish to 28 inches casting lures in the Hooper Strait area.
Atlantic Ocean — There’s been good fishing both inshore and offshore this past week. The sheepshead bite is still going strong in the South Jetty with tautog occasionally part of the mix.
Anglers on the U.S. Route 50 Bridge are consistently bringing up flounder that are stacking up to prepare for their fall run. Dolphin are keeping anglers busy in the Baltimore Canyon.
Tip of the week
From Capt. Ken Penrod (240447-2206): It’s been a hot week in Southern Maryland. The lack of rain and warm temperatures have been tough on the fish and the fisherman and that combination of heat and low water can be a health risk if you’re not careful.
The low water volume means the pollution levels are elevated, and warm water lets bacteria thrive. When you’re out on the water, keep your hands away from your face and use disinfectant wipes often and always before eating.