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Maryland Fishing Report – Winter Preview 2023-24

The pre-season trout stocking program is now underway until late March 2024, when the spring trout stocking program will commence. Anglers are encouraged to check out the trout stocking website to see where they are taking place.

Trout fishing in the put-and-take areas is a wonderful way to introduce anglers of all ages to fishing with some success. During the winter many marginal trout waters in community areas provide cool enough water conditions for stocked trout to survive until the early summer. These sites can usually be reached by most Maryland without too much driving and they are relatively easy to fish. A simple bobber, hook, and bait – either an earthworm or artificial such as a Powerbait  – is all that is needed within easy casting distance. There are also some trout management waters that are set aside for our young anglers under the age of 16.

The catch-and-release and gear-specific trout management waters offer plenty of fun for those using fly fishing gear or using artificials. Many of these trout management waters are located in the western region of Maryland, offering solitude and a picturesque setting of mountain streams. In the central region there are a few similar trout management waters, with the upper Gunpowder being one of the more popular locations. 

The upper Potomac River is providing good fishing for smallmouth bass and walleye for the coming months. Water levels can change and cause hazardous conditions at times so caution should be taken after heavy rainfall. U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets must be always worn when on the upper Potomac and its tributaries from November 15 to May 15. Deep Creek Lake and the lower Susquehanna River also have populations of smallmouth bass and walleye and Prettyboy Reservoir has a healthy smallmouth bass population.

Fishing for crappie remains good during the winter, and they can be found holding close to deep structure. Bridge piers and marina docks are good places to look for them in tidal and nontidal waters. The tidal Potomac River near the Wilson Bridge is a popular crappie fishing area. 

Anglers fishing in the tidal creeks of the Chesapeake are starting to catch yellow perch in some of the deeper areas. Small minnows on a bottom rig or jig head are great ways to catch them. 

Largemouth bass can be found during the winter in a variety of waters, tidal and nontidal. One thing they will all have in common is deep water. The largemouth will be holding deep near channel drop-offs and structure. Blade lures and soft craw jigs are good choices for lures, but they must be worked slowly and close to the bottom.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces three License-Free Fishing Days

 The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers license-free fishing days for all state residents and visitors on Saturday, June 3, Saturday, June 10, and Tuesday, July 4.

Maryland’s annual license-free fishing days offer anglers a unique opportunity to explore the state’s diverse fishing without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration.

On these days, any individual may catch and possess finfish for recreational purposes in any tidal and nontidal waters of Maryland. All anglers must follow current size and catch limits found in the department’s fishing and crabbing guide.

The department also has dozens of other resources to help new or experienced anglers, including angler access maps and fish identification charts. In addition, anglers of any level are encouraged to sign up for the weekly Maryland Fishing Report, which provides up-to-date fishing information.

Aside from these free fishing days and certain license-free areas, anyone 16 or older fishing in Maryland must possess a license, which can be obtained or renewed online or on the department’s mobile app.

for any more information visit Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces three License-Free Fishing Days | Garrett News | wvnews.com

Unveiling the Best Fishing Areas in Garrett County, Maryland

Amidst the stunning Appalachian Mountains, Garrett County boasts a plethora of pristine lakes, tranquil rivers, and picturesque streams, making it a true haven for fishing enthusiasts. In this blog post, we will unveil some of the finest fishing areas in Garrett County, where you can cast your line and reel in an unforgettable experience.

  1. Deep Creek Lake: Let’s begin our angling adventure with the crown jewel of Garrett County—Deep Creek Lake. Spanning over 3,900 acres, this expansive lake offers a diverse range of fish species, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, yellow perch, and trout. Launch your boat from one of the numerous public access points or try your luck from the shoreline. Don’t forget to explore the secluded coves, where fish often gather for a feeding frenzy.
  2. Savage River: For a more secluded and serene fishing experience, head to the Savage River. Renowned for its exceptional trout fishing, this scenic river is a fly fisherman’s paradise. With crystal-clear waters and a healthy population of native brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout, the Savage River offers a challenging yet rewarding angling experience. The catch-and-release regulations ensure the sustainability of the fish population, so remember to release your prized catches unharmed.
  3. Youghiogheny River: Flowing through the western edge of Garrett County, the Youghiogheny River provides anglers with a variety of fishing opportunities. The lower section of the river, known as the Youghiogheny Reservoir, is particularly famous for its smallmouth bass, walleye, and channel catfish. If you prefer a more adventurous experience, try floating down the river in a kayak or canoe while casting your line. The stunning scenery and abundant wildlife will make your fishing trip truly unforgettable.
  4. Casselman River: As it winds through Garrett County, the Casselman River captivates anglers with its natural beauty and thriving fish population. This picturesque river is known for its healthy population of brown trout, rainbow trout, and native brook trout. You can access the river from multiple locations, including Casselman River Bridge State Park and the town of Grantsville. Don’t miss the annual “Heritage Day” fishing event, where locals and visitors come together to celebrate the river and its bountiful fish.
  5. Jennings Randolph Lake: Situated on the North Branch Potomac River, Jennings Randolph Lake offers excellent fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. The lake is well-stocked with a variety of fish species, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, and crappie. Whether you prefer fishing from a boat or casting from the shoreline, Jennings Randolph Lake guarantees a rewarding experience. Take advantage of the lake’s tranquil ambiance and immerse yourself in the surrounding natural beauty.

Maryland Trout Season Opens to Anglers on March 25

The Southern Maryland Chronicle

As the signs of spring begin to appear across Maryland, anglers are preparing for a variety of fishing opportunities throughout the state. From trout season openings to striped bass pre-spawn runs and white perch spawning runs, Maryland offers something for every angler.

Trout Season Opens in Maryland

One of the most anticipated events for Maryland anglers is the opening day of trout season, which falls on Saturday, March 25 this year. The state’s Department of Natural Resources hatcheries have been working hard to ensure generous stockings of healthy trout in put-and-take management waters across the state.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, Maryland has over 100 stocked trout streams, with many of them located within an hour’s drive of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. These waters are stocked with rainbow, brown, and brook trout, and anglers are allowed to keep up to five fish per day.

Maryland’s trout season typically runs from March through May, with some waters open for catch-and-release fishing throughout the year. To ensure a successful fishing trip, anglers should check the DNR’s trout stocking website for the latest information on stocking schedules, maps, and other trout fishing information.

Pre-Spawn Striped Bass in Susquehanna Flats

As spring arrives in Maryland, the state’s water temperatures are warming, making it a prime time for gamefish like striped bass to spawn. Anglers are expected to be out in full force, casting large crankbaits and soft plastics for pre-spawn striped bass in the Susquehanna Flats catch-and-release area.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the Susquehanna Flats area offers some of the best striped bass fishing in the state. The area is a shallow-water spawning ground for striped bass, and anglers are required to use artificial lures only and practice catch-and-release fishing to protect the fish population.

Anglers should also be aware of the regulations for striped bass fishing in Maryland. The minimum size for striped bass is 19 inches, and anglers are limited to keeping two fish per day. In addition, the main part of the Chesapeake Bay is closed to striped bass fishing from April 1 to May 1 to protect the striped bass population during their spawning season.

White Perch Spawning Runs

Spring is also a prime time for white perch spawning runs in Maryland’s rivers and streams. Anglers are picking away at post-spawn yellow perch as these fish move downriver from their spawning areas. Lip-hooked minnows will be the best bait to use. The second run of white perch is occurring in spawning rivers, and the top half of the flood tide usually offers the best fishing for them.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, white perch are one of the most popular gamefish in Maryland, with the largest populations found in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. White perch are known for their hard fighting and delicious taste, and can be caught using a variety of baits and lures.

Anglers should be aware of the regulations for white perch fishing in Maryland. The minimum size for white perch is 9 inches, and anglers are limited to keeping 25 fish per day.

Catfish, Crappie, and Pickerel Fishing

Maryland’s rivers and streams also offer plenty of opportunities for catfish, crappie, and pickerel fishing. A mix of blue and channel catfish are entertaining anglers in the upper Bay and tidal rivers, while crappie are very active this week and can be found near structure in moderately deep waters. Using small marabou jigs or small minnows under a slip bobber is an excellent way to fish for them.

Freshwater Fishing

Moving on to freshwater fishing, Saturday, March 25, marked a significant day for put-and-take trout anglers all across Maryland. The state’s Department of Natural Resources opened waters that were previously closed to trout fishing at 5:30 a.m. for those who wanted to try their hand at trout fishing. The stocking crews had been working overtime to place healthy trout in these waters, ensuring that anglers would have an enjoyable experience.

Warming water temperatures have caused many freshwater species to become more active this first week of spring. At Deep Creek Lake and the upper Potomac River, smallmouth bass and walleye are entertaining anglers. Largemouth bass are becoming more aggressive in their feeding habits as they enter their pre-spawn bulk-up of body stores. They can often be found holding near structure in moderately deep waters – sunken wood, fallen treetops, rocks, bridge piers, emerging grass, and drop-offs are all good places to find them. Working wacky rigged or dropshot rigged soft plastics and stick worms is a good choice to entice a pickup. Casting grubs, crankbaits and jigs near structure is also a good choice. On sunny afternoons, the shallower waters are good places to cast spinnerbaits, soft plastics, jerkbaits, and lipless crankbaits.

Crappie are very active this week and can be found near structure in moderately deep waters. Using small marabou jigs or small minnows under a slip bobber is an excellent way to fish for them. Fallen treetops, marina docks, bridge piers, and most any kind of submerged structure are good places to look for them.

Chain pickerel are still very much in play for anglers casting paddletails and other lures near shoreline structure. Sunken wood is a favorite ambush hangout for chain pickerel. Bluegill sunfish are active this week and can be caught on a variety of small lures or a simple worm and bobber combination.

Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays

Finally, in the Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays, there have been a few unconfirmed reports of the first flounder being caught in the back bay regions of Ocean City. Flounder are starting to show up at Wachapreague, so flounder should be showing up in the Ocean City area now or very soon.

Anglers are fishing for tautog at the inlet and Route 50 Bridge area this week. Most of the fish being caught are reported to be just shy of the 16-inch minimum, but there is plenty of action on sand fleas. Other anglers are casting soft plastic jigs around bridge and jetty structure and catching a few striped bass, but most are not making the 28-inch minimum.

The boats and anglers wishing to head out to the wreck and reef sites in search of tautog are finally seeing calmer seas. Many anglers have been catching large tautog, with some exceeding 20 pounds. These are true trophy fish, and most anglers respect how old they are and release them. White legger crabs tend to be the favored bait for these large fish, but other anglers are having good luck with jigs on smaller fish.

In summary, anglers all across Maryland have plenty of options to choose from this week. From trout fishing to chasing trophy tautog in the Atlantic Ocean, there is something for everyone. The warming temperatures and increasing daylight hours will only make for more active fish, so it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy all that Maryland has to offer for anglers.

Garrett teens to compete in finals of ‘Fishing University’ show

From The Garrett County Republican

DECATUR, Ala. — The television show “Fishing University” will feature two Garrett County teens, Jett Miller and Derek Kleppinger, as they fish for college scholarships in the “Make ME a Star” competition finals.

The team of two made it to the finals, beating out more than 500 other teams of two across the country after making the most social media posts about their fishing adventures.

The team of Miller and Kleppinger will fish against a two-student team from Kentucky, and have the opportunity to win four-year tuition scholarships from Bethel University, as well as a $10,000 cash scholarship for food and books if they finish in first place, or a two-year tuition scholarship if they finish in second place.

Kleppinger and Miller are both sophomores at Southern Garrett High School.

Kleppinger’s earliest memories of fishing were around age 5 with his dad at a family pond, as well as at Broad Ford Lake.

“My dad and grandfather both fish, as well as my sister, Rachel, and grandmother,” Kleppinger said. “I am fairly new to our high school team, but Jett and I won the second competition we were in, so I am ‘hooked,’ so to speak. And, Joe McClosky, who attended Southern Garrett, won this same competition in 2016 and is now a senior at Bethel University, where he has excelled in his fishing career, as well as about to graduate from college.

“I have enjoyed this experience and really appreciate our coaches who are so supportive,” continued Kleppinger. “My other hobbies beside fishing are learning and playing the guitar, biking, video games and recreational boating. My favorite subjects in school are science and history. I like science because it makes you think and question things, and history because I enjoy learning about the past.”

Kleppinger has worked at Patterson Boat Co. and as a dock attendant to help support his fishing hobby — buying his rods, reels and other fishing gear.

“I am so thankful and appreciative to my parents, Michael and Theresa Kleppinger, for allowing me to participate in fishing,” he said. “I am very excited over this opportunity, but a bit nervous too as I think about all the millions of people that will watch this show, and what’s on the line — fishing at the collegiate level, which would be a dream come true! Although I plan to major in engineering, fishing will always be a huge part of my life.”

His teammate, Miller, also started angling at an early age.

To read the full article click here.

Reel Report: There’s something for everyone right now

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.

for more information click here


Deep Creek Lake Boating

• Know and obey the rules.
• Display required dock number plate and use the nearest
number to identify your location in an emergency event.
• Be attentive and look out for others.
• Control your speed and dock slowly—boats have no brakes.
• Navigate carefully into narrow coves and watch for restrictions.
• Watch your wake. You’re responsible for damage it may cause.
• Never swim near a running engine.
• Always sit in a moving boat—never on it.
• Be respectful of Natural Resources Police officers, who are
there for your safety.
• Control personal watercraft speed safely—jet drives have
no steering when you cut power. Keep required distances
from other boats, docks and the shore.
• When overtaking another boat from behind, the boat in
front has the right of way.
For more click here

How does a bear cool off at Deep Creek Lake? How else?

Why did the bear cross the lake?

Video Here

We’re not sure what prompted this bear to swim across Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland, but he did reach the other side, as shown in the video captured by some recreational boaters on the water recently.

This particular bear couldn’t be reached for comment, but it certainly managed to get to the other side of the lake with energy to burn. Watch as the bear climbs ashore near a lake-side residence and jets off into the distance as boaters look on — shouting warnings to folks on land as the swimmer approached shallow water.

That video had 27,000 views as of Monday morning.

It’s not the first time a local photographer captured bears in the lake. Check out this video from 2016 here.

A bear presumably swam across the Susquehanna River last May when sightings were reported progressively more west in Cecil County before there was a report of one in Harford County.

In June of last year, there were 11 reported bear sightings in Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s County in a one-week span.

“You have a lot of young bears looking for territory to call their own,” Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson said at the time. “Male bears need a pretty big hunk of territory, females less so. They keep roaming until they find an area they can claim. It’s all territorial, trying to find a new home.”

But most of the bear sightings in Maryland take place in Western Maryland — where, according to the Department of Natural Resources, there is a breeding population in the four westernmost counties. That includes Garrett County, where Deep Creek Lake is located.

A few tips from DNR: Don’t feed bears. Don’t panic or approach a bear. Back away slowly. If you’re outside, get inside the nearest building.

If you’re in the lake, boating alongside the Michael Phelps of bears: just keep a safe distance. And maybe do the neighborly thing like these boaters did and warn the unassuming folks on land.

Oh, and capturing it on video doesn’t hurt.

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun

For more information click here

DNR to stock streams and ponds with trout raised in hatcheries

Each year, to the delight of anglers, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources stocks 131 streams and ponds with trout raised in the state’s four trout hatcheries in Garrett and Washington counties. The Baltimore Sun spoke with Marshall Brown, cold water production manager at the Albert Powell Hatchery in Hagerstown, about the spring stocking process that runs from February through May.

You place trout everywhere from the Gunpowder River to Deep Creek Lake. Who chooses the sites?

Brown: That was determined years ago by fisheries biologists. Occasionally, we’ll add or subtract a site because of changing water quality conditions or in the accessibility of a stream through private property.

How many trout will you stock this spring?

Brown: About 338,000 rainbow, golden rainbow and brown trout. Our hope is that 95 percent will be caught because most won’t survive year-round. When water temperatures get over 70 degrees, trout start to suffer.

Do hatchery fish mix with brook trout, which are native to Maryland?

Brown: Typically, we don’t release them in streams and tributaries where brook trout are prevalent.

Do avid fishermen wait at creeks and lakes for your arrival?

Brown: Some do. We publish a stocking schedule each week. Some people wait outside the hatchery and follow us to the sites. Yesterday, we hauled fish up to Wills Creek, in Cumberland, and one guy followed our tank truck all the way (70 miles).

So fishing starts on your arrival?

Brown: About 60 percent of streams are open year-round. But about one-third of them will be closed from March 6-25, during stocking, and the rest are closed March 19-25. (For more details, go to http://dnr.maryland.gov/Fisheries/Pages/default.aspx.

Do anglers themselves visit the hatcheries?

Brown: They come in daily to see the fish. Some will point to a trout and ask, “Where are you stocking this one?”

How many eggs do you purchase?

Brown: About 600,000, nearly 99 percent of which hatch.

What does each fish cost?

Brown: It’s well below the commercial rate of $2.85. For us to raise the same trout costs around $2. It’s paid for by trout stamps (which fishermen must buy) and federal funding.

Will trout eat each other?

Brown: They can cannibalize smaller fish, so we try to keep them graded by size at the hatchery.

What other perils face trout in a hatchery?

Brown: Parasites. Bacterial gill disease. Last year, we lost 20,000 fish from an outbreak of ich (white spot disease).

How do you move the fish from tank truck to streams?

Brown: Mostly, we haul buckets of trout, by hand, to the water source. Once in a while a fish (escapes), but we pick it up and go on.

Do the fish wriggle off right away?

Brown: It depends. If it’s fast water, they’ll swim; in a pool, they may sit there awhile.

Are native species smarter than hatchery-raised trout?

Brown: People who work with native ones will tell you so. For the most part, hatchery-reared trout are aggressive fish that are used to human interaction because they are fed daily. But once in a stream, they adapt quickly and avoid you — golden trout, especially, are very elusive.

How large are the fish you release?

Brown: Most are 1-year-olds, averaging 10 to 12 inches and one-half pound. But 10 percent of each load are “holdovers,” or 2-year-old fish nearly double that size, which gives fishermen a variety. We’ll also throw in a few “trophy” fish, which are 3- or 4-year-olds averaging 5 to 8 pounds each.

Do you remember the trophy fish?

Brown: You get familiar with some of them from their different color patterns or body features, like fin erosion or missing scales.

Over four years, you must bond with some trophy fish. Ever name them?

Brown: I remember one we had years ago named Steve. He was a big one, but I’m sure he’s dead now.

 for more information, click here.