Anglers in Maryland are enjoying the start of the spring fishing season as the Department of Natural Resources continues its weekly trout stocking program in various waters across the state. While some anglers wait for the opening of the trophy striped bass season on May 1, others are enjoying fishing for catfish in the Chesapeake Bay and tidal rivers.
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the warming Bay waters are now suitable for gamefish such as striped bass, shad, and herring, which are either spawning or have finished spawning in Maryland waters. The main Bay surface water temperatures have risen to around 60 degrees, while the Potomac River at Little Falls and the Susquehanna River at Darlington are reporting warmer water temperatures near 70 degrees.
The prolonged dry weather is affecting the Bay’s salinity levels, with low flows and higher than normal salinities. The next chance for rain is expected this weekend, which may help to bring shad into Maryland’s creeks for waiting anglers. Meanwhile, expect average clarity for most Maryland portions of the Bay and rivers, with temporarily reduced water clarity from algal blooms on the Gunpowder, Bush, Middle, and Back rivers.
Anglers can refine their fishing spots by intersecting them with underwater points, hard bottom, drop-offs, and large schools of baitfish. For the most detailed and up-to-date fishing conditions in your area of the Bay, check out Eyes on the Bay’s Click Before You Cast.
As the weather continues to warm up, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will continue to stock waters for spring fishing. The weekly trout stocking program will continue to take place across the state, offering anglers ample opportunities to catch fish.
The Department of Natural Resources stocks over 300,000 trout annually in Maryland’s streams, lakes, and rivers. The stocking program is an essential part of the department’s efforts to provide quality recreational opportunities for anglers throughout the state.
The department uses a variety of methods to stock trout, including trucks, ATVs, and helicopters. The program includes rainbow, brown, and golden trout, with many of the stocked fish averaging around 10 inches in length.
Maryland’s spring fishing season offers anglers a chance to catch a variety of fish, including largemouth bass, catfish, and yellow perch. With the state’s many waterways, anglers can find a variety of fishing opportunities, from shallow streams to deep lakes.
For those who prefer saltwater fishing, the Chesapeake Bay offers ample opportunities to catch a variety of fish, including striped bass, bluefish, and flounder. The Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, covering over 4,480 square miles and spanning six states.
In addition to fishing, the Bay offers many recreational opportunities, including boating, kayaking, and birdwatching. The Bay is also home to many unique ecosystems, including wetlands, marshes, and forests, which provide habitat for a variety of wildlife.
As Maryland continues to warm up for the spring season, anglers can look forward to more opportunities to catch fish in the state’s many waterways. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will continue to stock waters throughout the season, providing ample opportunities for anglers to enjoy the outdoors and catch some fish.
Anglers in the Chesapeake Bay and tidal rivers are enjoying a good fishing season this year. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the warm weather has improved the fishing conditions for hickory shad in Deer and Octoraro Creeks, as well as in the Susquehanna River near the Conowingo Dam pool. Furthermore, American shad populations are growing in numbers, leading to more catch-and-release opportunities for anglers in the dam pool and the Susquehanna.
The most popular technique for shad fishing is to use a tandem rig, consisting of a shad dart and a small silver spoon. Smallmouth bass are also providing some exciting fishing in the Susquehanna River, a short distance below the dam pool. Anglers have been successful using soft plastic jigs and grubs as bait.
White perch have become more common in the lower Susquehanna River, and they are being caught on small jigs and bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm. Meanwhile, flathead catfish are being caught in the dam pool by anglers using surf fishing spinning outfits and casting into the turbine wash with large pieces of cut bait. A little farther down the river, blue and channel catfish can be found in large numbers in the deeper parts of the channel near the railroad bridge and down to Havre de Grace. Many anglers are also jigging with soft plastic along channel edges and having some light tackle jigging action.
The Chesapeake Bay and other tidal rivers in the upper bay also have populations of blue and channel catfish. The Chester River, for example, has a large population of blue catfish. Fresh cut bait of menhaden, gizzard shad, chicken liver, chicken breast meat, or wild table shrimp are all effective baits for catfish. White perch are found in the middle sections of most of the region’s tidal rivers, and the channels are the highway they use as they head down to their summertime haunts near the mouths of the rivers. Bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm are the most popular way to fish for them in these deeper waters.
Anglers in the Chesapeake Bay are also excited for the opening of the trophy striped bass season on May 1. Until then, many are fishing for catfish, white perch, and hickory shad in the tidal rivers. The Choptank River holds the highest concentrations of blue catfish, from the Dover Bridge upriver to Denton. Fresh-cut bait of menhaden or gizzard shad is a popular bait, but chicken liver and breast pieces are also effective. If on a low tide, anglers happen upon some rangia clams, which are common in the brackish water sections of the Choptank River, they make excellent bait when shucked.
The tidal Potomac River from the Wilson Bridge south to the Route 301 Bridge holds great numbers of blue catfish, some of which are very large. Anglers are drifting baits into the channels or jigging with soft plastics. Cut bait of menhaden, gizzard shad, chicken liver or breast, wild grocery store shrimp, and a variety of scented baits work well. Meanwhile, the Patuxent River from Benedict to Jug Bay holds large numbers of blue catfish, and the Nanticoke River near Sharpstown also has a large population.
Hickory and American shad are providing fun catch-and-release fishing opportunities in the upper tidal Potomac at the Fletchers Landing area and Mattawoman Creek.
Some of the best places to fish for largemouth bass include the Gunpowder River in Maryland, the Potomac River in Virginia, and the upper reaches of the James River in Virginia. Anglers are also finding success on smaller bodies of water like local ponds and reservoirs.
In addition to largemouth bass, anglers are also having success targeting crappie and bluegill in freshwater bodies. These fish are starting to move into shallower water to spawn, and anglers are using small jigs and live bait to catch them.
Overall, spring is a great time to be an angler in the Mid-Atlantic region. With a variety of fish species becoming more active, anglers have plenty of options to choose from. Whether you prefer fishing in saltwater or freshwater, there are plenty of opportunities to catch fish and enjoy the great outdoors. As always, anglers should be sure to follow all fishing regulations and practice good stewardship of the environment.