Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, May 2022

Freshwater Fishing Report, May 27 Update:

Lakes and reservoirs are providing steady action through the region, as many species shift from spawning mode into fatten-back-up mode. Contributor Eric Packard headed north this past weekend and hit Lums Pond, where he reported bass, crappie, bluegill, perch, and pickerel were all chewing. A square bill crankbait and wacky worms tempted the larger fish while a micro-jig under a float got the panfish biting. He noted that the best bite came from the crappie and other anglers he spoke with reported a few bass and more crappie. Later in the week he visited St. Mary’s Lake and found a similar bite, with 10 largemouth attacking his small (orange) square-bill in a short afternoon of casting. We also heard from a reader who dunked minnow in Centennial over the weekend and caught over a dozen crappie plus two bass, plus one who found the crappie in Deep Creek Lake active and willing to bite last weekend.

snakehead caught in a western side river
EJ, Eddie, and Coralyn made for a happy angling team after landing this snakehead.

A reader checked in after fishing Lake Anna, reporting that the bass seem to have spawned out and were hitting Carolina rigs fished along docks and structure with fairly deep water. In general, in the waters of the southern zone of our region bass seem to have moved fully into their summer mode of behavior and recently have been hitting wacky worms, spinnerbaits, and lipless crankbaits along transitional edges of grass beds and structure.

Snakehead have continued to increase their activity levels, too, livening up as the weather warms. Alltackle had some good reports from anglers who headed east to the Shore this week, fishing for them with white paddle tails. We had readers check in from the snake-grounds on the west side this week, too, also saying the bite has an improving tempo. The best catch we heard of was five fish up to 28-inches.

Freshwater Fishing Report, May 19 Update:

Snakehead hunters have encountered mixed results in the past week, likely a result of the unsettled weather. Last weekend FishTalk kayak fishing sharpie Zach Ditmars and contributor Eric Packard hit Blackwater with a friend and discovered chilly water with a sluggish bite, only landing two fish. Swimbaits were the productive lures. Other anglers at the ramp reported zero to three fish on the stringer. As often seems the case when the bite’s off, however, the fish that did hit were nice ones of 26-plus inches. On the west side, meanwhile, we also heard tell of a few large fish being caught with Rock Creek, Marley Creek, and Back River all mentioned as waterways providing action this week. Area tackle shops reported a strong bite on both sides, however, on warm, sunny days. As spring has been a bit delayed at times, timing your snakehead trips with warming trends appears to be a key to success.

snakehead fishing freshwater
Eric and Zach pulled these snakes out of the Blackwater.

Largemouth bass fishing has been good for many anglers sending in reports after heading to the Baltimore area reservoirs, as well as most other lakes and freshwater areas which aren’t subject to too much runoff. The folks at Clyde’s Sport Shop noted that crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and a variety of soft plastic and imitation lures are coming into play in the Baltimore area waters and crappie have been biting well, too. Largemouth bass throughout the area are moving into spawing mode or are already in it. We had more reports of fish on beds this week and anglers hitting smaller bodies of water and southern areas should keep their eyes peeled for nests. Some Way North readers have also been enjoying excellent bass action in the Havre de Grace area this week, and contributor Eric Packard found them snapping in St. Mary’s Lake early on square bills and swimbaits late last week.

Thanks to all the recent rains river anglers heading west for trout may still find turbid conditions in some areas, while others will likely have settled out but still be running high and cool. This could lead to make-or-break style trips; finding the areas that have settled should lead to an awesome bite, while areas that are still muddy will make for tough fishing — staying on the move if you spot turbid waters would be a good move. We did hear from one reader this week who found a creek in western Maryland that had settled out and reported an active bite on smallmouth bass to 16 inches, so there is some clean water to be found out there.

Freshwater Fishing Report, May 13 Update:

The bass spawn is on in many areas and at least partially complete in some smaller ponds and lakes with higher water temps, and several readers let us know that casting the shorelines had proved productive this week. Contributor Eric Packard hit sweetwater midweek, and says that after all that wind finally gave it a break the fish were in feeding mode; squarebill crankbaits, jerkbaits, and wacky rigs were all productive but he notes that the crankbaits did out-fish the worm rigs. He also said that some crappie anglers he spoke with on the lake were doing well, too. Overall, bites from freshwater areas indicate a positive bite as long as conditions are good. Although the weather over this weekend roughed things up a bit, bass fishing from the Baltimore area reservoirs to the lakes of Virginia has been great. Imitation lures such as crawfish are also getting hits this week, but wacky rigs and worms were clear favorites. We also had a reader report of excellent success on bass stacked near the shorelines while using a plastic lizard.

freshwater bass
Jace was catching crappie in the Gunpowder when this monster bass inhaled his minnow.

Northern snakehead fishing is picking up with warming water, but the big impediment lately has been finding a break in the wind and many kayak anglers have found their options limited to sheltered areas recently. As they’ve been waking up, the dragons are providing good action on chatterbaits and inline spinners. The Blackwater has an active bite, as well as many ponds throughout the Eastern Shore and southern Maryland.

River anglers have been stymied by washouts this week. The heavy rainfalls in the recent past have left most are waterways swollen and in many cases muddy. With even more rain on the way, heading for lakes and areas less prone to being flooded out is likely to be the best bet for the near term.

Freshwater Fishing Report, May 6 Update:

Freshwater anglers are enjoying good action in many areas as water temps hover in spawn-triggering ranges in larger bodies of water and have exceeded them in smaller ones. Readers hitting the eastern shore report that most fish there have entered the spawning phase and big bluegill have become very active, along with the crappie and bass. Contributor Eric Packard visited Gilbert Run and caught a mix of bass, crappie, and bluegills, with small spinnerbaits and jigs getting the action. He noted that a fly-fishing shoreline angler had a full basket of crappie, and another caught his limit of trout using a chartreuse Rooster Tail and Berkley Powerbait. Yes, there are still plenty of stocked trout out there in many waterways! They’ll likely get caught out in the coming weeks, however, so check your state’s stocking schedule and find out where that latest batch of fish hit the water while there’s still time.





nice bass for issac
Isaac picked up this nice largemouth while fishing a local pond. WTG, Isaac! Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

AIC Lenny Rudow reports hitting a lake in southern Maryland midweek, and finding water temperatures in the low 60s, but the fish had either spawned quickly and moved deep or hadn’t yet spawned, as the fish were extraordinarily scattered. Standing timber in eight to 15 feet held both crappie and bass, but so did shoreline structure in just a foot or two of water. No one area seemed to hold fish in large numbers, and when stacks of fish were located the bites were still relatively few and far between. Blue/white tubes caught most of the crappie and small spinnerbaits did the trick for a mix of bass and crappie plus a few pickerel, while crawfish-pattern crankbaits accounted for most of the bass in shallower water.

Snakehead action is on the uptick in most areas with the Eastern Shore leading the charge. The mixed-up weather has some fish in more tidal zones a bit mixed up themselves, however, and Contributor Eric Packard hit a Potomac tributary this week and said high, stained waters created conditions that stifled the bite. That said we did have one reader check in after catching four on the Rap midweek. Other anglers hitting the tribs are still enjoying some shad action in the northern areas, particularly the hotspots off the Susquehanna, and FishTalk Intern Ian Rubin had a great day at Fletcher's early in the week, but in the more southern rivers the peak has come and gone and most of the attention there has turned back to catfish, crappie, and bass fishing.