Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, September 24 Update:
In the region’s reservoirs, bass are still most active during the early morning and late afternoon, typically keeping to the shallows during these times. The bass can be easily enticed with crankbaits, topwater plugs, plastic frogs, and spinnerbaits. The Tackle Box reported that fishing at St Mary’s Lake and the Calvert County Ponds has been absolutely stellar, with anglers catching many fish in a day. They also reported that these areas are holding crappie, bluegill, and pickerel that are eager to take small minnows or lures. Loch Raven and the Baltimore Reservoirs also have a great bass bite. Deep Creek does as well, with weekend boat wakes tapering off as vacationers become less abundant. Most of the crappie are still holding deep throughout the region, over structure and around bridge pilings in 15 feet or deeper water.
Some snakehead anglers also enjoyed some action this week, and the effectiveness of big bull minnow seems to be skyrocketing as the fish are beginning to move out of the thickest cover and hunt around the periphery of lily pads and weedbeds. But FishTalk kayak sharpie Zach Ditmars reported that a weekend trip into the upper reaches of the Blackwater river last weekend proved fruitless, and we had a couple similar reader reports of low-to-no action days or just a few missed blow-ups, so it certainly seems like this species is one the move at the moment and in a time of shifting patterns. Bobbers with minnow set at a foot to 18 inches were reported to do the trick at the Blackwater bridges, where the bite is said to be improving. Spinnerbaits have also been working well. Successful snake reports also came in this week from the Bush, Susquehanna, and Mallows Bay, again with bull minnow standing out as the top bait pretty much everywhere.
Trout anglers: all bets are off. We weren't able to get any post-storm real-time reporting on the conditions in the western zone of the region and the recent storms will have affected different rivers and creeks with differing levels of impact. It'll be a roll of the dice this weekend...
Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, September 17 Update:
Snake reports from Blackwater and the Gunpowder were good this week, with excellent snakehead catches coming in. The upper Rap gets a so-so, with a couple of anglers reporting three to five bites and one or two fish in the cooler. Topwater frogs are best in the higher water/lilypad areas, while big bull minnow and spinnerbaits are producing in open water. Bridge anglers have been doing best with minnow a foot under a bobber; the bigger the minnow, the better.
In the region’s reservoirs, bass are still most active during the early morning and late afternoon, typically keeping to the shallows during these times. The bass can be easily enticed with crankbaits, topwater plugs, plastic frogs, and spinnerbaits. The Tackle Box reported that fishing at St Mary’s Lake and the Calvert County Ponds has been absolutely stellar. Contributor Eric Packard says much the same, having targeted and caught solid number of bass this week with wacky worms and square-bill crankbaits, also catching a smattering of crappie from upper-lake areas where fresh flow meets still-water. Most of our local lakes are providing crappie, bluegill, and pickerel on top of the bass, eager to take small minnows or lures. Crappie remain deep throughout the region, over structure and around bridge pilings in 15 feet or deeper water. Deep Creek reportedly had a good bite this weekend, with lots of largemouth for the catching.
Trout-targeting anglers and flyfishers continue to enjoy relatively high water and Mossy Creek says that thanks to increased flows fishing streamers has been effective. The Maryland DNR is noting that fall stockings are coming up soon with some trophy-sized trout going into the water in October, and Virginia’s DWR will resume stocking announcements starting October 1 on their Daily Trout Stocking webpage.
Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, September 10 Update:
Wacky worms and swim-baits continue to fool the largemouth bass, and Contributor Eric Packard enjoyed a great bite in St. Mary’s Lake this week. He also made a trip over to the eastern shore millponds, and found the bass there just as willing to bite plus a number of pickerel. Packard did note that fishing was tough on the algae-covered waters until a breeze cleared the surface. B&B Tackle let us know that Lake Marburg’s crappie bite is off the hook. They’re hanging around structure and widely available right now, hitting little plastic shad and spinners. The small Berkley Gulp! Minnows are working well for them and for perch as well. For the bass, chatterbaits have been getting them to bite in the lake. We didn’t have any first-hand reports from the Baltimore reservoirs or VA reservoirs this week but we’d expect the same to be true; both crappie and bass should be working hard to fatten up for the coming winter.
Snakehead hunters reported an on-again, off-again bite this week. A few fish were caught in the DC area, but we also heard from some hitting other western shore areas like the Gunpowder that the water was off-color and bites were slow early in the week. Then later in the week Contributor Packard hit a pond off the upper Patuxent and enjoyed fast action catching four and missing two more blow-ups in just 90 minutes of fishing. Chatterbaits and frogs were top picks for those finding success and Packard pointed to a Slayer Ratz Jr. as the top bait.
Reports from Mossy Creek are that the rainfall has brought up water levels significantly and while turbidity is still up a bit as well, conditions are good and terrestrials and streamers are producing trout and bugs are working for smallmouth. Speaking of smallmouth: we also heard from a reader probing the upper Patapsco that small but rather plentiful smallmouth action was excellent on Wee Craws late this week.
Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, September 3 Update:
All bets are off for the western region rivers and creeks this weekend after Ida roared through. The farther west you go the greater the likely impact, but areas of Western Maryland, Virginia west of the Shenandoah, and most of PA got blasted pretty hard. Most of the rivers are likely to be muddy and swollen (and note that Conowingo is currently in flood stage with gates open). Anglers in those severely affected areas may want to look for reservoirs and areas least-impacted by drainage when heading out this weekend. While muddy waters will be in store for some bodies of water, the cool-off may well kick the fishing in other areas into high gear but the full effect remains to be seen.
Contributor Eric Packard hit reservoir sweet-water a couple of times this week including a post-storm trip, and found the best action from largemouth bass came on a wide variety of lures including topwater (Whopper Ploppers) early in the day, then light green/pepper Wacky Worms and crankbaits.
Snakeheads? We had a smattering of reports this week with most anglers catching one to five fish. On the west side the upper Rap and the Potomac got mentions (pre-storm, so those areas may be wash-outs right about now) and Contributor Eric Packard caught a couple in a pond off the upper Patuxent on a brief outing (post-storm), but the bigger number reports came from the Baltimore area including Curtis Creek, Middle River, and Back River (pre-storm reports, again). We only heard from one angler hitting the Blackwater, who went home with three in the cooler and “a bunch of missed blow-ups.” Speaking of missed blow-ups: frogs and mice were the hot lures and as usual they get missed a lot. Don’t forget to drop your tip and give the snake a second to clamp down, before setting the hook! Several anglers also said weightless white flukes were drawing strikes on low tide when the fish were forced out of the shallowest weedy backwater spots that demand using weedless topwater, only.