Wednesday March 26, 2008
MD DNR Chesapeake Bay Report - March, 26, 2008

Upper Bay: Fishermen looking to the Susquehanna Flats/ Lower River Catch & Release fishery for striped bass action are still finding the water temperatures a little cold for the fishery to blossom. A warmer water temperature is what fishermen and fish are looking for and it will arrive soon; patience is just in order thatís all. A few fishermen are reporting success by bottom fishing with fresh cut herring bait on circle hooks in a number of locations in the flats area. Casting lures such as soft plastic jigs has not been very successful so far but as water temperatures close in on that 50-degree mark things will surely pick up.

A photo of fishing gear.News arrived this week of the first hickory shad being caught at Deer Creek and fishermen will be flocking to this location for the next month to enjoy some of the wild action that can be found there. Fishermen should remember that Deer Creek is above the boundary line for the striped bass catch & release fishery and many do; which is a good sign and indication of good fishing ethics and paying attention to details. Wayne Blottenberger who is well known as the guru and steward of the Deer Creek hickory shad fishery was kind enough to send us this report from this past Saturday. This week the spin fishermen caught their first shad at the mouth of Deer Creek. On Thursday I talked with several guys that had caught up to 5 shad each, so from now on fishing should get better ever day. My feeling is by this time next week shad fishing at the mouth should be in full swing. Today the river is still a mess with many floodgates still open. The water coming down stream is high, fast, and way off color, so high portions of the fishermanís trail was underwater. I expect fishing below the dam to be on hold for a week or more till we get back to normal flows. The creeks are in excellent shape, clear, a little low, but still on the cool side. The water temps for today, Deer Creek 46 degrees and the river coming in at 44. The magic Temperature for the creek has always been 50 degrees and above. With the warm weather predicted for the end of next week shad catching should begin in the creek up around Stafford Bridge right on target, April 1st.. Good luck to everyone this year, have fun, and play safe.

Fishermen also have been reporting that the fishing for white perch and channel catfish in the lower Susquehanna River has been very good lately and offers another choice for fishermen in the region. Shoreline fishermen are beginning to show up more now as spring brings warmer temperatures at prominent points and fishing piers. It can be a very relaxing time and easy to do at a moments notice. Bloodworms are often a favorite choice for bait this time of the year but fresh cut baits can also be an option. Sandy Point will see a lot of action in the next couple of weeks since it is so accommodating.

Middle Bay: Fishermen in the middle bay region have been venturing out into the bay waters and testing their trolling tackle along the edges of the shipping channel and shaking the bugs out of boats and gear. At times fishermen are reporting catching and releasing some nice fish while trolling large parachutes and bucktails behind umbrella rigs or in tandem. Channel edges such as the area around Bloody Point and the western side of the channel below Chesapeake Beach have been getting some attention. Light tackle enthusiasts continue to drift in the warm water discharge at the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant while jigging soft plastic jigs such as BKDís or metal jigs. The action has been described as spotty there lately and with most striped bass already up into their respective spawning reaches this should come as no surprise. There are always stragglers in any migration and anglers are of course hoping to find a few looking to take a break from their trek up the bay in the warm waters of the power plant discharge.

Lower Bay/ Tangier Sound: At present most of the talk around the docks is about casting off from the dock and trying a little catch and release fishing mostly while trolling in the shipping channel. Most fishermen seem be content with just getting out on the water with friends and enjoying some time out on the water. The bonus is catching a couple of large striped bass from time to time. The fishing has been a bit hit and miss which really is fairly normal for fishing in general if you think about it; although trolling with large parachutes and bucktails is norm for this year fishermen are also reporting some success with jigging on concentrations of fish. Hickory shad and river herring have been moving up the tidal rivers to spawn and of course are always on the menu for large striped bass this time of the year. Fishermen are reporting that they are also seeing large menhaden moving into the lower bay region; which are providing additional forage for the larger striped bass.

Unconfirmed reports have been circulating for the past couple of days that croaker have been seen in the Tangier Sound and Point Lookout area. The staff at The Tackle Box in Lexington Park has not seen any so perhaps this is just a rumor. It certainly seems a bit early; even when taking global warming into consideration. The NOAA Buoy at the mouth of the Potomac River continues to be off line (another word for broke) so an accurate water temperature is unavailable at the moment but one would suspect it is hovering somewhere in the mid-forties.

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