For the most part, the first two weeks of May have been problematic for many Maryland anglers as persistent rains have resulted in river and stream flows being well above above normal. If there have been bright spots, they have been in the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay and the near-shore and inshore areas at Ocean City.
On the bay, catches of rockfish, as well as croaker, flounder, white perch and occasional big bluefish, have been good in varying locations from the Bay Bridge to the Virginia line at Smith Point.
At Ocean City, the bluefish blitz has been on and off in the surf, inlet and back bays, flounder catches have been impressive and headboats are starting to hit well with sea bass.
In fresh water, trout fishermen and bass anglers have been beset by murky, high waters, except in reservoirs or tailwaters. But the weather forecast calls for mostly sunny and warm conditions, so freshwater anglers can expect water levels to subside and good seasonal fishing to kick in.
Upper Chesapeake -- Weather kept many boats at the docks over the past week and the charter parties that did go out often ran south of the Bay Bridge for rockfish. However, there still should be post-spawn rockfish moving through the area, and trollers using spoons, bucktails or parachutes should expect to do fairly well off Love Point, Swan Point and the humps along the western shore from the mouth of the Patapsco to the Magothy.
The white-perch run continues to be strong in the Susquehanna River, and black bass catches are improving above the Route 95 bridge, as well as in the Gunpowder-Middle River complex.
Middle bay -- The Hill and channel edges at Bloody Point, Gum Thicketts, Thomas Point, Deale and Chesapeake Beach, Stone Rock, The Gooses, Flag Pond and Cove Point continue to produce good, but sometimes sporadic catches of rockfish on trolled parachutes or bucktails. Also some bluefish to 34 inches in the mainstem have been found from Chesapeake Beach to Cove Point.
Fisheries biologist Martin L. Gary, who tracks catch reports for DNR, said there aren't many of the big blues around, but, "it's more than we've seen since the 1980s." Capt. Pete Dressler caught a 16.5-pound blue at the Power Plant, and his partner, Don Evans, caught an 18.5-pounder. In a two-hour period, they caught and released more than 100 blues.
White perch continue to be found over hard bottoms from Thomas Point to Hacketts. Croaker reportedly have moved north of Bloody Point, and also can be found in Eastern Bay, in the Choptank River up to the public pier at Cambridge, and off Breezy Point and Tilghman. Flounder catches are being reported on the edges at False Channel and the southern edge of Poplar Island.
Lower bay -- Perhaps the best rockfish catches can be found from the HS Buoy south to the Triangle, where chartreuse or white bucktails and parachutes continue to take limits of stripers to 46 inches along the edges of the main channel.
Croaker are numerous in Tangier Sound, the Honga River, Cornfield Harbor, Deal Island and the mouth of the Patuxent. Sea trout numbers appear to be increasing in Tangier Sound and at the mouth of the Potomac, and speckled trout have moved into the shallows of Pocomoke Sound, Tangier Sound and the Honga River.
Ocean City -- Inshore, a good run of 2- to 5-pound bluefish have been in the surf, inlet and back bays, along with a few slammer blues in the surf. Striper fishermen continue to do well on rockfish to 34 inches at the Route 50 bridge, where bucktails and twisters have worked best.
Flounder fishing continues to be steady from the Route 50 bridge and Thorofare, with many catches ranging between 18 and 20 inches. Sea trout are starting to show up in the inlet. Offshore, schools of big bluefish continue to roam from the 1st Lump to the Jackspot and wreck fishermen are doing steadily better on sea bass.
Fresh water -- At Loch Raven, crappie have moved into the coves; northern pike near the Warren Road Bridge. Liberty: Crappie at Nicodemus Road Bridge and in cove mouths. Prettyboy: White perch starting to hit trolled nightcrawlers and crankbaits and spinnerbaits taking smallmouth bass from the shallows. Deep Creek Lake: Live minnows have been taking smallmouth bass from 3- to 5-foot depths; crappie schooled in the Turkey Point area and scattered walleye catches. Tidal Potomac: Largemouth bass catches improve daily, and some big catfish in the mainstem can be found.
Choptank: White perch, channel catfish, bass and yellow perch are in the upper river. Gunpowder: Despite the rainfall, the river below the dam is running low and clear; nymphs, green weenies and green San Juan worms. Morgan Run: Water has been high and murky, but deeper holes could produce trout on Wooly Buggers, bead-headed nymphs and streamers. Western Maryland: North Branch of the Potomac has been high, as have the Youghiogheny and Casselman rivers. The Upper Savage River is wadable for the put-and-take fishery, and below the dam the trophy and fly-fishing-only areas are starting to turn on.
Pub Date: 5/14/98