Maryland DNR Fishing Forecast for this week

Unstable but warm weather this week will make for generally good fishing conditions in Maryland’s waters.

Chesapeake Bay surface water temperatures have jumped nearly 8 degrees since last week to the high 60s. River temperatures have also risen to the middle 60s, although smaller streams and downwind areas will warm faster on a sunny day and can hold temperatures even warmer. With Maryland’s part of the Bay running fresher than average, there will be abundant areas with suitable salinity for hunting blue catfish. Look for hickory and American shad in low salinity areas as they move upriver to spawn. Keep an eye out for large game fish ambushing the shad as they move upriver.

Expect average flows for most of Maryland rivers and streams. Expect poor but improving water clarity for the Maryland portion of the Bay from the Sassafras River down to the Bay Bridge, and the Potomac River from Mattawoman Creek down to the 301 Bridge.

Freshwater Fishing

Trout anglers are enjoying continued stockings in the put-and-take as well as delayed harvest waters this week. Water temperatures are still acceptable for trout survival in the central and southern regions. These trout management waters will continue to receive stockings if water temperatures support survival of the fish.

The western region’s streams and reservoirs usually do much better in maintaining water temperatures that allow trout to survive the summer months.

As the warmer weather prevails, it opens a wonderful opportunity for fly fishing in the catch-and-release trout management waters. Presentations of various nymphs, streamers, and dry flies match hatches of stream invertebrates as well as terrestrials.

Other trout management waters allow anglers to use spinning gear and artificial lures. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources website provides explanations of the various trout management areas.

Warmer weather has been very inviting to anglers to enjoy a variety of freshwater fishing opportunities this week.

Largemouth bass are in a pre-spawn mode of behavior in the western and parts of the central regions and are actively spawning in warmer waters of the central, southern, and eastern regions. The male largemouth bass can be found on the spawning beds in most areas and the female largemouth bass are either holding outside those spawning bed areas or actively spawning.

Crappie are spawning in the deeper waters of ponds, reservoirs, and tidal water across Maryland this week. Various species of sunfish are also actively spawning at this time and their nests can be seen carved out along sandy shallows.

Chain pickerel continue to provide good fishing opportunities in both non-tidal and tidal waters. Other species including smallmouth bass are providing excellent fishing in the upper Potomac, the lower Susquehanna River, and Prettyboy and Liberty reservoirs.

Warmer water temperatures are causing northern snakeheads to become very active and they are aggressively feeding, building up body stores for the upcoming spawning season. A variety of lures will entice snakeheads to strike – white paddletails, chatterbaits rigged with white soft plastic creature baits, frogs, and buzzbaits are all good choices. Grass beds are growing and are a good place to target, while sunken shoreline wood and brush also are good places to look for northern snakeheads.