Chesapeake Outdoors
Big Fish and Young Fish
by C.D. Dollar

Fishing is hitting on all cylinders throughout Maryland with plenty of action in fresh and saltwater to keep fishermen busy all week.

Freshwater anglers are happy because water levels have finally subsided and are back to normal on Western Maryland trout streams and on the middle and upper Potomac River. Several fishermen have been doing well fishing for bass on impoundments, as the fish prepare to spawn. Pickerel are still active in tidal fresh areas in the Severn and Magothy, among other waters, and hit soft plastics, spinner combinations and flies. White perch in the rivers and creeks are biting, and fishermen dropping bait off College Creek bridge had several nice perch to show for their efforts.

In the tidal Potomac River, Department of Natural Resources' Martin Gary is reporting that largemouth action is peaking in the shallow bays and grass flats, though anglers should be aware that all smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing is catch and release through June 15th in non-tidal waters.

DNR also has certified a new Maryland State record for brook trout, which was caught by Mike Fiorita of Falling Waters, West Virginia. He caught his monstrous 6-pound-134-ounce brook trout, which measured 22 inches long with a girth of 15 inches, on April 10, 1999 in the put-and-take area in Barnum in the North Branch of the Potomac River. This behemoth smashed the old record by nearly two pounds. DNR biologists think that this fish reached such mammoth proportions because it spent so much time near the net pens below Jennings Randolph Dam, where huge brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout also feed outside of the pens and sometimes grow to grand proportions.

At Susquehanna Flats, the catch-and-release limited fishery that began amidst much controversy seems to have quieted some (at least to my ears), probably because the spring trophy striped bass season has kept many anglers busy. DNR is reporting that as of May 2, 88.86 percent of the fish caught have been 25 inches or less, with most 20 inches. State biologists measured the smallest rock at 13.7 inches and the largest fish has been 40.4 inches.

Fisheries biologists also believe that the data retrieved to date corroborates the results of the 1998 "Catch & Release Mortality Estimate Survey," which, according to DNR, showed that most of the fish on the Flats at this time are young, staging males. A final report of DNR's monitoring efforts on the Susquehanna Flats will be posted on their web site ( in June or early July after state statisticians fully analyze the catch data.


Fish Are Biting

Croaker seem to be showing up in good numbers, particularly at night down in the lower and middle Bay. Kathy Conner from Bunky's Charters in Solomons (410/326-3241) says that bloodworms and squid fished on the St. Mary's side of the Patuxent River, Point Patience and mouth of the river are taking hardheads 15 inches and better. She also reports that the rockfishing has been very good in the Patuxent complex, from Drum Point across to Taylors Island. The first sea trout, taken on a bloodworm, checked in at 15 inches, though the location was not forthcoming (imagine that).

Rick from Rick's Marine (301/872-4355) at Point Lookout says that a fair number of bluefish are showing up, mostly skinny fish. Sea trout and croaker fishing is also improving daily, with croaker ranging from 10 to 20 inches. Anglers targeting rockfish continue to have good success at the Mud Leads, Buoy 70 and 72 and the mouth of the Potomac.

Farther north, Fred Donovan at Rod 'n' Reel (800/233-2080) in Chesapeake Beach says many undersized fish in the mid 20-inch range are being caught, along with some keeper rock. This pattern obviously bodes well for the next split of season. The headboat Tom Hooker will be sailing daily starting May 29, just in time for the evening croaker action that is picking up daily.

In waters near the Bay Bridge, Marv from Angler's (410/974-4013) near Annapolis says the rockfishing has been a little slow, but there's plenty of action in the creeks and rivers for white perch and pickerel. A couple hardhead have been caught, including some in the West River area.

| Issue 20 |

Volume VII Number 20
May 20-26, 1999
New Bay Times

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