Southern Maryland News

Fish are biting all over

- Jamie Drake jamiedrake­outdoors

It’s back. The Reel Report will be appearing in this space every Friday until the end of October.

Water temperatur­es are steadily rising and fish are biting all over the region, with something to whet every angler’s appetite this April.

There’s so much to cover on this first Friday, let’s get right to it.

Southern Maryland lakes and

ponds — Anthony Hancock, assistant manager of Gilbert Run Park said, the fish there are still in late-winter shutdown mode for the most part.

Bass are cooperatin­g on warmer afternoons but are still holding in deeper water from 10 to 12 feet deep. Fishing steeper drop-off with plastic lures, jigs and suspending jerkbaits have often been the best method for catching the rather sluggish bass. Targeting deeper wood cover near the drop-offs is the way to get bites.

Bluegill are making their way up into the shallower edges and in another week or two they will be within reach for shoreline anglers. The trout have been playing hard-to-get on sunny days since they were stocked but have been more cooperativ­e earlier in the mornings, later in the evening and on cloudy days.

Baits of choice range from Powerbait fished off the bottom, small flashy spinners and spoons, or even nymph and streamer patterns on a fly-rod. It pays to move around if you are not getting bites in one spot.

Calvert Cliffs Pond and Hutchins Pond in Calvert County and Hughesvill­e Pond and Myrtle Grove Pond in Charles County are slated for trout stocking next week.

Patuxent River — Alvin Reyes at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) reports the croaker aren’t here yet, but anglers are still hooking up with white perch close to shore using beetle spins and rattletrap­s.

Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejews­ki (301-932-1509) reports the bass activity is reaching spring peak with several patterns producing fish.

Bouncing a lipless rattle bait along main river rocky points as well as at the mouths of creeks can produce good-sized bass. Shallow hard cover in creek bays give up decent numbers of bass that will react to finesse worms or Ned rigs fished through the cover.

Creek ledges continue to hold bass that will take deep-diving crankbaits in a variety of colors as well as grubs. Main river grass beds have bass that like jerkbaits, spinnerbai­ts and especially artificial crawbaits. Crappie are leaving their deep haunts and gathering around marinas and wood cover in creeks. Crappie grubs and tiny traps work well..

Fishamajig Guide Service’s Capt. Dennis Fleming (240-5381260) reports that he and Capt. Dale Coon have been doing well on pre-spawn crappies in the Potomac River creeks north of Fort Washington.

These fish are some real monsters, with some citation size (15 inches plus) on most trips. Live minnows under a bobber are the ticket.

Potomac catfish anglers are doing well and catching a lot of stripers on cut bait, as well. Circle hooks minimize the damage to these spawning fish in the upper reaches of the river.

Lake Anna — Jim Hemby of Lake Anna Striper Guide Ser vice (540-9673313) said April is going to be awesome. Stripers are feeding all over the lake now on 5- to 15-foot flats, humps and points, however, the best action is from the splits and up. They are not selective about what they want to eat.

Hemby suggests tr ying secluded areas for more consistent action and a good pattern for now is to cast up and under docks. There’s going to be a full moon on April 11, so coupled with the recent warm weather, the majority of bass will attempt to spawn this month. Remember to release bedding fish where you catch them.

The types of baits that will work this month are endless. Just use any technique you’re comfortabl­e with and concentrat­e your efforts in 10 feet or less.

Chesapeake Bay — It’s tough to get a reliable report this time of year with captains scouting for opening day and keeping mum about where the fish are.

Some trollers have been catching rockfish near the power plant and off the navy base. And shore anglers have had success fishing with bloodworms and alewives. The tackle stores have been busy with everyone gearing up for opening day on April 15.

Atlantic Ocean — Charter and head boats are having fair to good tautog catches near the offshore wreck and reef sites. Tautog have yet to venture inshore.

Larry Jock reports good catches of catch-andrelease striped bass, all under the 28-inch mark, from the Route 90 Bridge up to the Delaware line.

Tip of the week

Fleming reports hickory shad and herring are in the creeks. The next two weeks should be prime fishing for these “poor man’s tarpon.”

Try fishing as a guest at the Mason Springs Conservanc­y property at Route 225 and Mattawoman Creek on evening after work. Light line, shad darts and small spoons are the ticket here.

Be ready to be checked by Maryland Natural Resources Police during this catch-and-release fishery as both species are under a moratorium. And take away yours and others’ trash so this property will stay open to the public.

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