We enjoyed a genuine taste of summertime this week.
With sunny days and temperatures topping out in the high 90s, it’s important to stay hydrated when you’re outside and that means drink plenty of water. Also, don’t forget to apply sunscreen and check yourself and your children thoroughly for ticks when you head inside.
If you didn’t get a chance to take advantage of Maryland’s last free fishing day on the Fourth of July, you should most certainly get yourself a license and hit the water this weekend because there’s something for everyone right now in every fishing hole from the lakes and reservoirs to Ocean City’s shores.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Anthony Hancock, manager at Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, said that with the extreme heat there hasn’t been much fishing activity going on.
Fishing early and late with topwater lures is a great way to target bass right now. During the heat of the day, most bass will find the nearest drop-off from shore and hold near available cover. Fishing around low trees and docks with lightly weighted soft plastic baits, jig-and-craw combos or creature-type baits is your best bet.
The bluegill are eager to eat small pieces of nightcrawler or live crickets. Fishing for bluegill early and late in shallow water is productive as they’ll also move to deeper, cooler water during the heat of the day.
Just a reminder that the park opens at 7 a.m. on weekends and 7:30 a.m. during the weekdays. The park closes seven days a week at 8 p.m.
Patuxent River — Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) said white perch have now moved into the creeks for lure casters and bait fishermen alike. Beetlespins, Mepps spinners and tiny crankbaits will bring strikes around structure. Bait fishermen can use bloodworms or peeler crabs. A moving tide is key.
There are plenty of smaller rockfish looking for breakfast at daybreak.
Potomac River — Scott Johnson of Scott Johnson Fishing Adventures (240-625-2550, sj-fishing.com) reports that the upper Potomac is finally at safe boating levels, although fishing may be a little tough as the fish are adjusting to drastic changes in river levels and water clarity.
Johnson recommends burning spinnerbaits near grass beds and standing ledges, as well as fishing crankbaits over large rock flats and submerged ledges. During periods of stained water, he said to look for “boils” or “swirls” on the surface of the water which will indicate good fishing areas.
During the afternoon hours, slow down with tubes or wacky-rigged stick worms to catch the more lethargic fish. As typical with summertime fishing, getting an early start on the water will give you the best results.
Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) reports that the water is as hot as a sauna, but the bass don’t seem to mind. The low light topwater bite is strong with aggressive bass hitting poppers or frogs over grass flats and in pad fields. Wood cover produces when fished with finesse worms or wacky worms.
The RBA guides report that the biggest bass caught recently were taken by flipping or pitching jig-and-craw combos around dock pilings or isolated pieces of wood.
Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Capt. Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) reports that fishing has been good, but just recently he feels like the fish have transitioned into their tougher summer patterns.
Penrod recommends fishing isolated milfoil beds with vibrating jigs or delving into frog fishing for both largemouth and snakeheads.
Soft plastics thrown to wood or pad edges on a low tide will catch fish too.
Aqualand Marina (301-259-2222) reports that the river is starting to clear. Catfish are snapping and some perch are beginning to show on Lower Cedar Point and Swan Point.
A few spot are joining the ranks. Soft crab, bloodworms or grass shrimp on bottom rigs will catch them.
Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — Johnson reports the water levels remain good for both rivers with the water slowly clearing and temperatures entering the low 80s.
Fishing has picked up slightly with daily trips averaging 40 to 50 bass. Find Johnson on Instagram or Facebook to see photos of fish from his most recent trips.
Fish are spread out with the summer conditions so covering a lot of water and fishing a variety of structure is key. Fish spinnerbaits near grass beds and shaded island banks in the morning hours. As the day heats up, swimbaits and tubes fished in submerged ledges with 3 to 5 feet of water will keep the action going.
Deep Creek Lake — This hasn’t been a good time to try your luck on the lake with the rains muddying up the water last week to the intense boat traffic during the Fourth of July holiday.
Walleye are holding deep along rocky edges and pike can be found along the edges of weed beds. Bass are often holed up under floating docks or near structure like fallen trees and brush piles.
Lake Anna (Va.) — Jim Hemby of Lake Anna Striper Guide Service (540-967-3313) reports bass are in their summer patterns and can be caught on topwater baits early and late in the day. When the sun gets bright, they retreat to the depths near the channel where bait is present.
Since the herring are huge this summer, Hemby recommends using larger baits to imitate what they are feeding on.
Striper action has been fast and furious on live bait. Hemby’s guides have been rigging blueback herring on downlines after they locate schools and often have several fish hooked up at once.
Crappie are on every bridge in the lake holding in shade anywhere from 15 to 35 feet deep.
Chesapeake Bay — Lamb said “cobia fishing is the name of the game this week in Southern Maryland.”
Chummers and chunkers using fresh alewives are finding them off Smith Point and further north near the Target Ship, the Mud Leads and on the Middle Grounds. These fish also favor live eels which can be found at specialty bait stores.
A good day means a couple of fish in the 20- to 50-pound range and an excellent day might be a half dozen fish.
Some big red bulls have been sighted in the same area.
Atlantic Ocean — Inland, anglers are catching keeper flounder on the incoming tide around the South Jetty, in the East Channel, behind Harbor Island and in the South Bay. Most have been caught on white Gulp! swimming mullet but live minnows work just as well.
Capt. Monty Hawkins (410-520-2076) said some days are hot and others not, although one day he limited-out the entire boat on sea bass in 1 hour 35 minutes.
Also, a few mahi-mahi were a nice surprise on one of his recent sea bass trips.
Flounder are just starting to show up on the reefs and wrecks.
Larry Jock of the Coastal Fisherman reports that earlier this week, the “Fishizzle” returned from an overnight trip in the Washington Canyon, near the Bigeye Hole, with six nice yellowfins and seven mahi.
Tip of the week
Keith Lockwood of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is getting the word out that a barge was recently sunk at the Tangier reef site near Fox Island Light by the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative to provide structure and habitat for fish like striped bass and possibly even some cobia.