End to a Great Fishing Season
December 21, 2015 | The 2015 fishing season ends with a flourish of great rockfishing in the Potomac where the action has remained consistent with smaller fish on the top breaking and bigger fish on the bottom.
The Maryland season is now over and the fall fishing was terrific up until the last week when the fish played hide and seek.
We have the spring season to look forward to. The rockfish will begin the third weekend in April and we should have plenty of big spawning stripers for trollers in all Southern Maryland waters.
Croakers could be in early if the waters stay warmer than normal. We have had the croaker come into the lower Potomac in late March and caught in St. Clement's Bay and off the pier at Bushwood Wharf when warm springs trigger early migrations from the ocean.
The spawn of rockfish was very good in Maryland this spring and the yearlings will be in the 14-inch range in 2016. These young stripers are the building blocks for great fishing in the next couple of years. The multitudes of 19 and 1/2 inch fish we experienced in 2015 will all be over the 20 inch minimum next year.
Spring seasons for trophy rockfish have been very good for the last decade; fall seasons have not been good (for big fish) since 2009. This year, the fall season produced just a handfull of stripers in excess of 40 inches, but the domestic and sea run fish in the 25 to 35 inch range has been excellent in both 2015 and 2016.
White perch were very plentiful all season. Bottom fishermen in the Bay and rivers caught tons, and lure casters in the creeks had great times. One persistent fisherman who keeps meticulous records reported catching a total of 247 white perch over ten inches off a creek in the Patuxent.
The mouth of the Patuxent remained perhaps the best location in the Bay for Norfolk spot. We had them here on our doorstep from mid-June to September. Other locations in the Bay had only few passes of good numbers and then they were gone.
We had some of the best cobia fishing in the Bay from buoy 72 to the Target Ship and the Mud Leads. Trollers and sight casters found cobia in the 20 to 70 pound range all summer. Good catches at Smith Point south to the entrance to the Cut Channel were also consistent.
Big channel bass (red drum) were mixed in with the cobia from Hooper's Island south to Smith Point. Trollers using big spoons caught these big copper-colored torpedoes three or five at a time weighing 20 to 50 pounds. The tiny offspring of these big fish called a variety of names: redfish, puppy drum, etc., were in the creeks mixed with white perch rarely achieving the 18 inch minimum keeper size.
Speckled trout were a disappointment this year possibly due to a quick freeze in December 2015 that killed a great number of these fish that migrate south in the winter. That does not seem to be an issue in 2016 and may bring better numbers in the new year. Gray trout (that nearly disappeared from the Bay in the last decade) made a big comeback in small size but in huge schools. We await their return in good size in 2016.
Snakeheads are plentiful in the Potomac and Patuxent. Hook and line fishermen and archers did very well with big snakeheads which are delicious eating and fun to catch.
This is my last report for 2015, and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I will return with the first Fishing Report of the new year, probably stimulated by the yellow perch run at Allens Fresh in the Potomac in late February or early March 2016.