Maryland Weekly Fishing Report March 07, 2012
Although it is not officially spring there are a lot of signs in nature that it is not far away. Last Thursday the spring peepers let loose in my neighborhood due to flooding in nontidal woodlands and yesterday blue-winged teal were moving through the region beautifully decked out in their breeding plumage as they headed north. Just about everyone has got the itch to get out and do some fishing now; whether it is fishing for some trout, largemouth bass or in this case fishing in the rain for yellow perch on the upper Tuckahoe River. This lucky angler definitely earned this stringer of large yellow perch.
In most areas the yellow perch are about finished spawning and egg masses can be seen hanging from submerged branches in the spawning areas. There are always a few stragglers and fishermen found themselves in many areas catching both pre-spawn and post-spawn yellow perch last weekend. Water levels have been high in the upper reaches of many tidal rivers and creeks due to heavy rain earlier in the week and no doubt there will be more rain this month so fishermen as always will deal with conditions. Just be safe since water temperatures are 50-degrees at best in most areas. Jay Fleming sent us this beautiful underwater shot of a yellow perch and egg masses in the background.
White perch have been quickly filling in right behind the yellow perch and fishing should be good for the next couple of weeks. Over the weekend fishermen encountered mostly male white perch in the upper reaches of the bay’s tidal rivers but the larger female white perch should not be far behind. The top bait choices tended to be pieces of bloodworm and nightcrawlers fished close to the bottom. Grass shrimp are usually a good choice also and it seems at times one bait will out perform another on any given day.
Fishing in the Chesapeake tends to focus on catch and release fishing at warm water discharges such as Calvert Cliffs by jigging with various types of jigs; including my personal favorite when jigging over rocks; the butterfly jig. You can make your own by placing snelled hooks at the top of most any metal jig or buy them already rigged. A few boats have been seen out on the bay trolling for striped bass practicing catch and release and testing out new gear. Striped bass are already up the tidal rivers and are staging for spawning early next month or perhaps the very end of March. Water temperatures tend to dictate the spawn and water temperatures now are right around 50-degrees in the upper reaches of most tidal rivers. Optimum spawning water temperature is 64.5-degrees but larger females can spawn at water temperatures as low as 52-degrees. Fishermen need to remember that the spawning reaches of the tidal rivers are off limits to catch and release fishing and for a good reason.
Freshwater fishing opportunities abound this week for a wide variety of freshwater fish. Fisheries biologists have been busy with pre-season trout stocking of many areas; which has been providing some fun fishing recently. Be sure to check out the daily updates to the stockings. www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/stocking/index.asp
As waters warm up in the states lakes, ponds and rivers fishermen are finding all kinds of fishing possibilities for chain pickerel to muskie and everything in between. Largemouth bass are being caught along steep edges of channels and lakes shores on grub jigs, deep running crankbaits and slow rolled spinnerbaits close to the bottom. Crappie are still schooled up in deep water near edges and structure, live minnows and small tubes and spinner jigs are good choices to catch them. Chain pickerel are very active this time of the year and spinners, spoons and Rapala type swimming plugs will catch them. Tim Campbell holds up a nice one for the camera before releasing it back into the water.
Although river levels on the upper Potomac can be high this time of the year fishing for a mix of walleye and smallmouth bass can be very good when water levels are suitable for boating and fishing. Jigs, swim shads and small crankbaits can be good lures to try when fished close to the bottom. The top dog of the upper Potomac, the muskie is always cruising out there somewhere also and offers a challenge to any angler.
Fishermen in the Ocean City continue to catch some impressive tautog offshore on the wreck and artificial reef sites. Fishermen fishing within the 3-miles EEZ Zone are steadily picking at striped bass moving up the coast. Trolling large parachutes, Mojos and Stretch plugs has been the tactic most used by the fleet out of the Ocean City Inlet.