Freshwater Fishing Reports

Freshwater Fishing Report, June 23 Update:

Bass are more active than usual for the time of year in freshwater locations, possibly because of the cool weather recently, providing tons of action for anglers hunting them. The morning and evening bites were especially good this week but the fish have even been hitting midday, and a few anglers we checked in with mentioned that the bass were willing to hit topwater consistantly. Contributor Eric Packard reports an active bite in the reservoirs, and a couple of hours one afternoon at St. Mary’s Lake produced four bass, two yellow perch, and a crappie. Pumpkinseed swimbaits and an orange square-bill did the trick. And FishTalk Graphic Designer Royal Snyder fished with the fam for Father’s Day at a pond in Delaware and reported the bass and crappie were biting there as well.

royal with a bass
Nice bass, Royal!!

The Rudow family checked in from up the Marshyhope after a Father’s Day weekend of snakehead hunting and reported mostly channel catfish and largemouth bass with one 23.5-inch snakehead in the basket. A small chartreuse spinnerbait was the top-producing lure, chicken livers were murder on the cats, and a topwater mouse also triggered multiple attacks, mostly from the bass. As with many other freshwater areas, bluegill are also on here: they were hitting small shad darts over the week.

Freshwater anglers will also be excited to hear that on June 25th the Snakehead Derby is ON at Gunpowder Falls State Park. Returning for the second year, this free event focused on slammin’ the snakish invasives will be held at Dundee State Park. The Derby will feature a fish filleting demonstration, fishing lessons, door prizes, and much more! We didn't hear a peep from Blackwater this week but the bow guys have been taking plenty, so the fish may have been a bit off recently as they prepare for a spawn (Rudow noted his snake was practically bursting with roe, and had an empty stomach). Look for those fry balls, people!

Freshwater Fishing Report, June 16 Update:

It seems like snakeheads are the main target all around the dial recently, with oodles of reader reports of them all over the place and Herb's reporting that this week a 10.8-pounder, a 11.2-pounder, and another "hefty" one showed up from the Susquehanna and the North East. While we didn't hear about any massive-number catches, the sizes are certainly impressive. Interestingly we didn't have any solid reports from the Blackwater this week. Other photo-documented snake catches of fish in the upper 20s to 30-inch-plus range came from Rock Creek, the upper Patuxent, and the Rappahannock near Hopyard. Productive baits that were noted included topwater and inline spinners.

snakehead in rock creek
Mark pulled this chunky snake out of Rock Creek.

We didn't hear much chatter from the western rivers this week, maybe a result of all the storms and the resulting runoff, but both The Tackle Box and Contributor Eric Packard are reporting a good bite in southern Maryland reservoirs and St. Mary's Lake has held good bass action plus panfish. Packard also noted that fishing Mattawoman he found bass active, but only had one snakehead willing to bite. Blue catfish, on the other hand, were so numerous that even when casting paddle-tails and chatterbaits he couldn't keep them off the hook. Additional blue cat reports came in from too many upper tidal river areas to list, including fish up to 36 pounds. We also had a reader report from the Eastern Shore that bass were hitting topwater in the Marshyhope and the Whopper Plopper was a winner.

Freshwater Fishing Report, June 10 Update:

A FishTalk kayak team of Production Manager and kayak sharpie Zach Ditmars, Contributor Eric Packard, and intern Ian Rubin hit the Little Blackwater last week ISO snakeheads, and reports a decent-to-middlin’ bite with seven snakes captured and several jumped off, plus bass on white swimbaits and topwater frogs. They noted that the fish were widely scattered and staying on the move was key. FishTalk reports editor Mollie Rudow and the AIC both probed the Marshyhope last weekend and hooked into a couple of snakes and lots of largemouth bass. Small spinnerbaits and swimbaits on jigheads both drew plenty of strikes.

snakehead jumping
Ryan discovered the hard way just how tough it can be to keep a firm grip on a feisty snakehead!

Speaking of bass: with the spawn past and the uber-hot summer weather not yet upon us largemouth are in absolutely prime form. We heard from readers throughout the region this week who caught them on shoreline structure and near-shore drop-offs on spinnerbaits crankbaits, and wacky worms. Contributor Eric Packard checked in after fishing multiple lakes and a southern Maryland river this week and caught plenty of bass plus some pickerel; square-bill crankbaits were the top producer, with a wacky rig coming in second place.

West-zone river anglers will be happy to hear that the midweek storms were localized enough to have only moderate, localized impacts. Upstream areas of the Rap, Potomac, and most of the Shenandoah complex are still running on the clean side (with the North Fork Shenandoah something of an exception in some areas) and while we didn’t get any first-hand intel on the bite in those zones this week, fishing should be strong.

Freshwater Fishing Report, June 3 Update:

In larger bodies of water in the region, the largemouth bass have moved into transitional edges heavy with grasses and structure, where they’re taking wacky worms, spinnerbaits, and lipless crankbaits. A variety of topwater lures are working well, especially in the morning. Lake Anna, Deep Creek, the Baltimore reservoirs, and St. Mary’s Lake have all had been reported with good bites this week. Note: Across DelMarVa, we’re hearing that the ticks are now out. Just remember, folks — DEET is a proven fish repellent. Getting bug spray on your hands and then handling your tackle is a surefire way to reduce your catch. If you’re going to use it, throw on some gloves and make sure you’re not spraying anywhere close to your gear. According to research done by Berkley, Bass can detect DEET at concentrations of less than one part per million.

largemouth bass angler
Lenny reeled up this nice five-pounder on a chatterbait.

Speaking of DEET— Fishing Reports editor Mollie Rudow and contributor Ryan Gullang spent a day fishing a creek on the Marshyhope for snakehead this week to no avail. Maybe it was a lack of snakehead prowess, but they're blaming the bug spray. Other snakehead hopefuls this week had more success. Reports from the Blackwater and many of the tidal tributaries were positive, with anglers reporting a strong bite on topwater and imitation lures. Plastic frogs were the easy favorite. Along with the Blackwater, readers chimed in with good snake reports from the lower Susquehanna, North East, and Potomac rivers. Contributor Eric Packard also targeted the snakes this week in Mattawoman Creek and reported active blue catfish instead (surprise, surprise!), so many that casting a paddle-tail for snakehead, he reeled in five of them. The one snake he hooked came unbuttoned.

Trout fishermen continue to catch a few leftover stockers, though this action is petering out at this point. Flyfishers and anglers using spinners while looking for native fish are enjoying a healthy bite, although water levels are expected to be little high and conditions cloudy in some areas this weekend post-rain. Mossy Creek is reporting good brook trout fishing in the mountains, and also noted that parts of the Shenandoah were running high with relatively poor visibility early this week. As usual for post-storm periods, conditions are likely to vary quite a bit from one area to another but those that took the brunt of Thursday’s rainfall will likely be a but murky this weekend.

Crappie anglers focusing on structured areas also enjoyed some good fishing this week. The fish have moved back into deeper areas as the water temps continue to climb and a reader fishing Piney Run put them in the 10- to 15-foot range.

August 6, 2021
Freshwater Fishing Report, August 27 Update: DelMarVa freshwater fish are in their typical modes of summer behavior. Bass are keeping close to shore in the mornings, and can be located in structured areas before they move into deeper areas as the… Read more...
July 2, 2021
Freshwater Fishing Report, July 30 Update: Snakes are as unpredictable these days as the thunderstorms — they can be hot, or not. FishTalk team member Zach Ditmars, contributor Eric Packard, and some friends hit Blackwater late this week and caught… Read more...
June 4, 2021
Freshwater Fishing Report, June 24 Update: As the cicadas wind down we’re still hearing of some interesting bug-impacts on the fishing, this week from the western rivers and creeks where the trout have decided that it’s time to put on the feed bag… Read more...