Fishing in Early April
April 1, 2016 | April is the real promise of spring as each day adds a minute of sunshine.
The temperatures have stayed well above normal for all of March, bringing out the leaves on the tulip poplars and the blooms on all the ornamental trees. The fish will be here early too. The striper run is well underway with fish of all ages and sizes in the Bay and rivers, eager to spawn. The trophy season opens April 16th in the Bay and Potomac with a one fish per day limit and a 35 inch minimum, no maximum and no slot! There is all kind of speculation that many of the big fish will have come and gone before the season begins due to the warm weather. In many previous years the best of the trophy season has been in the first ten days. The last several years have found the fishing best in the later part of the season due to cold March and April weather. The cold keeps the bait inactive and the fish waiting for a magic 51 or 52 degree water temperature. This year finds the water temperature well into the 50s in March and the bait surging up the Bay and into the rivers.
So, how good will it be on opening day? Very good. How long will it last? That has broken my crystal ball. There appear to be a lot of fish in all sizes everywhere. There are plenty of big spawners still in the Atlantic and they will straggle in well into the last of May, but the best fishing for the 40 to 50 inch fish will be before May 10th. Medium sized rockfish (5 to 12 pounds) will be here all summer.
Catfish are plentiful and eager to take cut bait (alewives) in the Potomac and Patuxent. Fishermen casting bait off the pier at Bushwood Wharf catch fish every day and night. Many of these fish are hefty in the 10 to 20 pound size. Boaters fishing up the Wicomico in the deep holes are landing lots of big catfish. The catfish are very active up the Patuxent near Benedict and at Chalk Point.
The yellow perch run is over, but there are still white perch spawning. We had several reports of white perch caught in good quantities in the head waters of creeks off the the Patuxent this week.
St. Mary's Lake and local ponds have crappie, bluegill, pickerel, and largemouth bass hitting all manner of lures and bait.