Thursday, March 28, 2013

News you can use if you're a Maryland Chesapeake Bay angler

From the Maryland Department of Natural Resources comes word through Keith Lockwood that the Chesapeake Bay's water temperatures currently run around 42-degrees, which isn't warm, but already the striped bass (a.k.a. rockfish) are moving up the Bay and into the tidal spawning rivers. 

Catch-and-release striper fishing is okay in Maryland parts of the Chesapeake Bay
The Bay is open to catch-and-release fishing and anglers have been jigging up a few rockfish at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant (Calvert County) warm water discharge recently. Catches are not guaranteed, but they do occur now and then. Keith Lockwood says, “Large soft plastic jigs and butterfly jigs are two of the most common jigs used, as fishermen drift in the current. Heavy tackle and quick releases at the boat are the drill for fishermen who care for these large pre-spawn striped bass.”

Keith also reminds striper fans who want to head to the upper Bay that catch-and-release season is now open at the Susquehanna Flats area. “But with water temperatures hovering around 41-degrees there has not been much action reported,” he says. “A few smaller male striped bass have been caught by fishermen working Rat-L-Traps and jigs along channel edges and channel catfish have even been chasing down lures close to the bottom, but so far this fishery will need warmer water temperatures to develop.”

Lockwood also reminds us that shoreline fishermen are not to be left out of the opportunity to catch and release striped bass as they move up the Bay this week. Sandy Point State Park (off Route 50 near Annapolis) is one of the most accessible and productive places to fish. Fishermen there can use heavy surf fishing tackle and bottom rigs with circle hooks and bait such as bloodworms or fresh cut bait. But anyone lucky enough to hook a big striper must be prepared with stout tackle and rubber boots to meet the fish in the water to avoid dragging them up on the sand and causing injury, says Lockwood. 

Fishermen who enjoy fishing from the shorelines of the Potomac River in St. Mary's County will find three popular fishing piers has been recently renovated to provide easier access for those with disabilities at Fox Harbor Landing in Ridge, River Springs Landing in Avenue and St. George's Island. Follow this link to find directions and locations of boat ramps and fishing piers. For the above fishing piers just click on St. Mary's County and then on each labeled fishing pier icon for directions and descriptions. 

Ocean City fishermen have been venturing out to the wreck sites when the weather permits to fish for tautog. The catches have been good and some impressive sized tautog are being caught. Water temperatures in and around the inlet are barely 40-degrees so the tautog fishery has yet to develop there. A few more weeks of warmer weather will do much to improve the chances of catching tautog at the inlet this spring.

The Maryland DNR announces that the recreational summer flounder fishery reopened at 12:01 a.m. this morning (March 28). The season will remain open through 11:59 p.m. December 31, 2013. Recreational anglers may keep up to 4 summer flounder per person per day. The minimum size for summer flounder is 16 inches in all Maryland state waters. The commercial hook and line minimum size is also 16 inches in all Maryland state waters. The Department may close the recreational season early if projections indicate the recreational harvest target will be caught before December 31, 2013.

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