The Fishing Report Begins Again in April!
March 14, 2016 | Attention All Anglers! The weekly Fishing Report will return for its 5th year in April 2016, so stay tuned!
If you are looking for up-to-date information on fishing in the Bay, Potomac and Patuxent around St. Mary's, this is your report.
Spring is a fickle season. The warm 70 degree days of the first week in March are not unusual, but certainly not common. There was a spring in 1960 when temperatures soared into the low 80's for days in early March and as a teenager filled with optimism, I was convinced that summer had arrived. My memory (an untrustworthy asset as age progresses) recalls that particular spring being gloriously warm into June. Other warm spells in March have been followed by cruel cold snaps that last well into May. "Blackberry winters" that chill well into June are ugly tricks of nature. Let us hope that this season is reasonable, allowing an easy glide to sun and warmth and abundant fish and crabs starting soon.
The water temperatures in the shallows of the creeks are already into the low 50's. This may trigger an early run of croaker in the lower Potomac where some warm springs have had them show up in the Wicomico at Bushwood Wharf the last week in March. It is usually mid-April when the croaker get here from the Atlantic for shore fishermen to catch at Point Lookout, Cedar Point , and North Beach.
Yellow perch are in the middle of their spawning run and are being caught in the Patuxent at Wayson's Corner and in the Potomac at Allen's Fresh. There should be yellow perch in the headwaters of the St. Mary's River. Anyone drop a live minnow under the bridge in Great Mills at Route 5? White perch will follow in their spawn at the same locations.
The rockfish are already active. Netters in the Potomac have found 10 and 12 pound males in abundance who are positioning themselves for spawning females of 40 to 50 inch lengths. The spawners are easing into the upper Bay and will be active on the Susquehanna flats anytime. Some surprisingly small stripers in the 14 to 17 inch size have filled the nets of pound netters (all painstakingly released). That year class was supposed to be absent based on young of the year indexes of 2014.
Recreational fishermen are unleashed on April 16th when the trophy season begins. The awful slot limit has been eliminated. This year, the minimum is 35 inches and no maximum. We are allowed one fish per day until May 16th when the regular season limits kick in at two fish per day, 20 inch minimum and only one 28 inches or longer.
The news from the mouth of the Bay indicates huge schools of large stripers out in the ocean about 30 miles out. These fish will join those already here in the next ten days to spawn in the upper regions of the rivers and creeks of the Bay. This season promises plenty of action.
We have had a mild winter with only a two week period of serious cold in mid January. There was no early cold snap that caught our seasonal migrating fish still in the Bay, resulting in a big fish kill as we had the 2014-2015 winter. Perhaps our speckled trout, spot and redfish will be abundant.
The freshwater fish are very active now. Crappie, bass, and pickerel are hitting minnows, lures, and bits of night crawler at St. Mary's Lake. Local ponds are producing plenty of active fish. Early March can find all these bodies of water still frozen over, the wind howling, and temperatures in the 20's. A mild March like this with fish raring to go is a treasure not to be missed.
To see past fishing reports in the archive, CLICK HERE.