As March sets in, fishing enthusiasts of all ages are gearing up to head to their favorite fishing spots. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is working hard to make sure these anglers have an exciting experience. Crews from the DNR are currently busy stocking trout in many locations throughout Maryland for put-and-take anglers. Meanwhile, other species of fish, such as largemouth bass, are becoming more active, providing fishing opportunities.
According to the latest forecast summary by the DNR, while spring may still be a few weeks away, the signs of crocus blooms and daffodils are already starting to show. As the days grow longer and increasingly warm, Maryland waters will continue to slowly heat up for game fish such as yellow perch that are spawning or preparing to spawn in the next couple of weeks.
The forecast also mentions that Chesapeake Bay surface water temperatures have risen to the mid-40s, while river temperatures are holding in the low 40s. Smaller streams and downwind areas on a sunny day will warm faster and often hold water temperatures in the upper 40s, which are prime locations for spawning yellow perch as they move up from their wintering areas in the downstream portion of rivers.
The DNR advises that the best fishing areas could be further refined by intersecting them with underwater points, hard bottom, drop-offs, and large schools of baitfish. For more detailed and up-to-date fishing conditions in specific areas of the bay, anglers can check out the DNR’s Click Before You Cast.
In the freshwater fishing department, the DNR trout hatchery crews and regional biologists are busy stocking thousands of trout in trout management waters across the state. Crews also stock large numbers of trout in park and community ponds located near population centers, offering easy access to waters teeming with trout this time of year.
Moreover, warming water temperatures are awakening many species of freshwater fish from a more subdued mode of activity this week. Smallmouth bass and walleye are very active and striking a variety of soft plastic grub and tube lures at Deep Creek Lake and the upper Potomac River. Largemouth bass are also feeling the urge to feed more aggressively this week and can be targeted with grubs, wacky-rigged soft baits, and soft craw jigs near channel edges, drop-offs, and deep structure.
March and April are also excellent times to target crappie, which tend to be active in cooler waters and will be found near structure. Meanwhile, chain pickerel can be found waiting in ambush near shoreline sunken wood and similar structure.
With so many options available, anglers are sure to find a fishing experience that meets their preferences. All they have to do is keep their eyes on the water and their lines in the depths.