Freshwater Fishing Reports

Freshwater Fishing Report, December 8 Update:

Contributor Eric Packard reports a fair bite on pickerel in the Eastern Shore millponds this week, with two big fish (24.5”) hitting trolled jerkbaits and another angler fishing minnow catching eight pickerel up to 22.5” plus a perch. The millponds will be a go-to for pickerel anglers throughout the winter and they are known for producing some of the biggest fish in the state. The pickerel bite is also good in the upper Bay tidal rivers and a reader fishing up the creeks of the Magothy mentioned that both perch and pickerel are biting. A day of fishing with minnow and darts produced about a half-dozen of each species. We also got some initial reports of cold-weather yellow perch that are starting to come in from the lower Susquehanna. A reader noted catching a 14-incher this week, along with some crappie.

pickerel angler netting a fish
Herb scored some nice pickerel this week. Photo courtesy of Eric Packard.

Trout fishing in many of the Maryland specialized trout management waters are providing good action right now. The preseason stockings in Maryland should start in January so keep a close eye on the stocking schedule for when and where fish are being stocked. Virginia DWR is still actively stocking so also check their website for up-to-date information. We also checked in with Mossy Creek who gave us their latest reports. Mossy Creek says the best trout fishing is still occurring on the spring creeks, tailwaters, and creeks and streams over in West Virginia. Some of the local lakes are still fishing well with great dry fly opportunities in the afternoons when the small blue wing olives and midges are on the water. Warm afternoons last week allowed for some big bass to be caught and the musky fishing has become easier with the overcast days, bumps in flow, and a little color added to the water. Right now is a great time to float the bigger rivers and stick a trophy bass or musky.

Freshwater Fishing Report, December 1 Update:

We had reader reports from the Eastern Shore millponds the past week of decent but not red-hot pickerel action on suspended jerk-baits. Contributor Eric Packard had a similar experience hunting pickerel at St. Mary’s Lake but reports that the crappie were stacked up and feeding. Another reader checked in after finding a slow crappie bite at a different southern Maryland lake. He said the fish were more inclined to hit live minnows under a bobber and were mostly uninterested in small Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits. Both crappie and pickerel are two or the more popular species to target in the winter for freshwater anglers. The CCA Pickerel Championship is a great opportunity to compete against fellow anglers in a few different divisions and calcutta’s. Crappie, pickerel, perch, and bass are all species eligible for prizes, too The tournament runs until the end of February, so there is still plenty of time to sign up.

freshwater angler with a bass
Andrew tied into this big bass while fishing in Cedar Lake, PA.

Some much-needed rain has finally replenished our rivers and streams that have been running low for quite some time now. The smallmouth bite on the upper Potomac has been good this week with crawfish imitations, tube jigs, and small crankbaits doing the bulk of the catching. In the tidal Potomac, anglers are enjoying good fishing for largemouth bass by targeting moderate depth waters near drop-offs and the deeper waters beyond the drop-offs. A mix of spinnerbaits, craw jigs, and jerkbaits are all good choices for lures. The warm water discharge near Marbury Point is a popular winter bass fishing location and it tends to hold some quality fish. We also checked in with Mossy Creek who let us know that it is a great time to load up on midges and blue wing olive patterns. Size 18-20 flies on the spring creeks and lakes have been working well. They also recommend fishing a size 16 caddis and drop a zebra midge or small nymph off the back for picky fish. There are some overcast and rainy days ahead and the streamer fishing in the rain last week was tremendous. This is a good time of year to find some giant trout so if you have your pick of days try to find those blanket overcast days.

November 3, 2023
Freshwater fishing report, November 24 Update: The colder months will make fishing slow for some species, but one fish that get very active in the colder weather are chain pickerel. Contributor Eric Packard has been targeting pickerel quite a bit… Read more...
October 5, 2023
Freshwater Fishing Report, October 27 Update: It has been a cool start to fall, but this recent warm up is making it seem more like summer. It doesn’t seem like the fish aren’t minding the heat at all. Contributor Eric Packard reports that the bass… Read more...
September 1, 2023
Freshwater Fishing Report, September 29 Update: There has been a lot of wind and rain this week across much of the region which has limited fishing opportunities for many anglers. Most of the larger bodies of water have been tough to fish but the… Read more...