Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, January 2022

Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, January 28 Update:

Contributor Eric Packard reports finding frozen boat ramps and ice-covered lakes in southern Maryland this week, making it pretty much impossible to pedal the kayak to the fish. Also, the Baltimore reservoirs currently have ice around most of the shorelines. On the flip side of that coin, those interested in ice fishing can head west and/or north and find some solid “ground.” 

yellow perch ice fishing
There's not much to like about the weather recently, but at least hard water means we can go ice fishing!

Deep Creek has relatively thick ice on coves and protected areas and the main lake locked up late last week. Considering that high temps never broke 30-degrees all of this week things should be prime for poking holes and hopefully pulling up perch, walleye, bass, and more. We heard from one reader who fished minnow on tip-ups early this week and had a slow pick resulting in a nice mix of (about a half-dozen) yellow perch and a few walleye plus a couple of pike. He reported six- to seven-inch thick cloudy ice in protected areas, and four inches of good black ice over deep water. Be careful out there, people, the thickness could vary quite a bit from spot to spot.

We didn’t get any first-hand reports from other potential area ice fishing venues this week but many should be fishable; just be sure to make test-holes as you go and keep ice fishing safety measures in mind. For a refresher on safety, lakes in the region that commonly offer good ice opportunities, and basic tactics, check out our Mid-Atlantic Ice Fishing Spectacular.

Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, January 20 Update:

Contributor Eric Packard reported that the local ponds in Calvert County may as well have had a big “DENIED” sign stamped on them early this week, as ice prevented any fishing. We had an identical reader report from an angler hoping to fish in Tuckahoe Lake on the Eastern Shore, who arrived to find hard water. Some larger bodies of water remain at least partially open, however, as a trip to St. Mary’s Lake proved later in the week. Packard found some crappie and a bass willing to bite despite the frigid conditions and noted that while the ramp and most of the main lake were open, several large sections of the lake were covered in ice.

crappie fish
Yeah, even the crappie look cold...

Speaking of ice: despite the chilly temps windy conditions have kept large areas of Deep Creek open up to now. Coves and sheltered areas have ice cover, but we were unable to find any first-hand intel from someone who’s walked out and poked holes to check the thickness. (Facebook chatter indicates it may be as good as five inches in places, but that's just Facebook chatter). Temperatures are predicted to peak in the 20s for the next week straight so ice fishing should be a possibility but due to uneven freezing, anglers should take extreme care and be prepared to find varying thickness from one spot to the next.

Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, January 14 Update:

Between the cold, the slush, and a pretty sub-par week of angling effort, this week’s report will be as skimpy as you probably guessed. Still, there is a bit of action to report on. Pickerel are a freshwater favorite right now. Eastern Shore millponds that aren’t iced over have had a few anglers on them slow trolling minnows and fishing them under bobbers. Last weekend Contributor Eric Packard reported that some were partially iced but still partially fishable, producing a handful of pickerel and a few bass, but the incoming cold blast is a big roll of the dice on future accessibility.

bass in the winter
The bass bite may not be "hot," but you can still get 'em on the end of the line. Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

So… is it time to think about heading west for some ice fishing? As we put the report together Deep Creek still hadn’t frozen over in the main lake but coves have a couple-few inches of ice in many places. The weather report doesn’t call for temperatures rising above freezing for the next week, so the prospects look very good for hard-water angling in the near future.

Sorry folks, but we got zero reports from sources tapping into the trout and/or river fisheries this week. Some minor stocking did take place this week (Morgan Run and the Patapsco in Maryland’s Carroll County); scroll down to last week’s report if you want to click through the links to the different state’s stocking web pages.

Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, January 7 Update:

Welcome to 2022 anglers! As the new year dawns we have plenty of fishing to do despite the chill in the air, though the recent weather has put a bit of a crimp in the gathering intel department. Still, the trout that have been released into Mid-Atlantic waters by state authorities provide a sure-fire opportunity if you check out where the fish have been planted:

On the wild trout front, as 2021 closed out Mossy Creek’s final forecast of the year was happy to see all that rain moving in as the increase in water flow should give a boost to anglers casting streamers; prior to the precipitation western stream and river water levels had been low and trout fishing grew pretty tough.

catching a bass
It may be on the chilly side out there, but a few fish are still willing to bite!

Reports from the Eastern Shore of winter fishing at the millponds continued to be strong right up to the storm, with pickerel headlining the action. FishTalk’s kayak fishing guru Zach Ditmars spent time floating around over there during the holiday and reported that minnow did the trick, not only producing pickerel but also some nice crappie. Contributor Eric Packard gave a similar report, racking up over a dozen and a half fish in an outing with three surpassing citation size on a mix of minnow and jerkbaits. Angler’s notes that a number of their customers have been heading to Unicorn, Smithville, Tuckahoe, and Johnson’s.