Freshwater Fishing Reports

Freshwater Fishing Report, April 9 Update:

Shad runs have kicked into high gear from the Potomac south and although last week’s rains had water levels up over the weekend, in most areas it had settled out enough that water quality was more than suitable for fishing. Contributor Eric Packard spent several days on the Potomac in DC this week casting tandem rigs with small spoons and shad darts (with a split shot added for weight), catching hickories by the dozens. Silver, gold, and chartreuse spoons with a split shot added a few feet up the line (and a 15-count allowed for sinking) all produced. Angler in Chief Lenny Rudow also visited the shoreline near Fletcher’s, and reported that the rod was bent almost continually. Reports from the Rappahannock in the Fredericksburg area and the James near Richmond are ranging from strong to very strong, again with catches measured by the dozens. If you’re into shad fishing, get out there NOW! And if you’re interested in this fishery but need some intel on rigs, tactics, and choosing hotspots, check out this video Packard and Rudow shot just this week:

The snakehead continue to pick up steam on the eastern side despite the slight hiccup in the spring warm-up last week, and the waters warmed back up enough over the weekend for angler to make decent if not spectacular catches. Readers report zero to six fish on paddle tails, swimbaits, and minnow, with four- to five-inch white paddle tails rigged weedless on weighted “spring-lock” hooks being a top producer recently. Two or three fish seemed to be about average. On the western side we did hear from a couple of readers who found spring snakes, but just onsies-twosies. However, as the weather warms this action should only continue to pick up. If you're headed for snake country, don't forget to register for the Great Chesapeake Invasives Count - it's free, and you can win all sorts of prizes (this month an Engel Live Bait cooler and a bunch of gift certificates to the Woolford Store are being offered up) for catching those sneks!

Trout anglers continue to enjoy the fruits of the put-and-take fisheries. Check the links to find the fish!

freshwater fishing for crappie
Fish are biting strong in the region's reservoirs. Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

In the reservoirs and lakes throughout the region, bass are in serious spring fatten-up mode. Contributor Eric Packard fished a southern MD lake this week and in just a few hours his head-count hit 14 bass, two crappie, and a yellow perch. A pumpkinseed wacky worm accounted for most of the bass and a green paddle tail and a Beetle Spin proved effective both on bass and the other species. We also had a reader check in after fishing Lake Anna and enjoying great bass action on shallow-running square-bill crankbaits and swimbaits, with the fish now right up in the shallows; he also said people back at the ramp had plenty of crappie on their stringers.

Freshwater Fishing Report, April 2 Update:

The Blackwater snakeheads are officially awake! FishTalk kayak fishing sharpie Zach Ditmars and Contributor Eric Packard both hit those waters and caught a couple-few snakes each, including a 28-incher, plus bass. Minnow and a white paddle tail did the trick, and one fish even came up top to hit a Whopper Plopper. From the west-side hotspots like the Potomac and Rappahannock creeks, we still didn’t get any exciting snake reports this week. The warm-up on this side shouldn’t be much farther behind, however, and a few more sunny days could trigger it any time now.

trout anglers with fish
The spring trout proved cooperative for Nathan and Julianne, while fishing the pond at Calvert Cliffs. Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

Trout anglers continue to enjoy the fruits of stockings region-wide. With more and more stocked areas opening up by the day there are plenty of options and opportunities no matter where you're located, so get in on the catching before they all get caught up in:

Crappie have moved from their winter haunts into shallower waters, and even out west Deep Creek Lake was producing a fair few crappie this week. Some shoreline anglers were even able to wrangle them alongside bass, whose activity has picked up as well. Pickerel remain relatively active in the millponds, although with the crappie and largemouth bass bites on the upswing much focus has shifted away from targeting the pickerel.

The perch run has quieted down quite a bite throughout DelMarVa, but areas such as the upper Susquehanna are still experiencing a bite. Angler in Chief Lenny Rudow reports that the upper Patuxent was still producing good numbers of white perch (though many were small) plus a surprisingly good catfish bite on shad darts tipped with grass shrimp last weekend.

The shad run is officially on in many of the area rivers. Contributor Eric Packard had a solid catch in the Potomac mid-week on darts and small spoons and a reader reported good luck in the Rap at the city dock. Early word from Tochterman’s is that up the Susquehanna, which does tend to run a week or two behind, just a few early birds have been caught. However, all the recent rainfall is likely wash out some areas and cause localized messes in some of the rivers. When heading for a shad spot this weekend, it might be wise to bring some catfish baits and have Plan B in mind just in case.

March 5, 2021
Freshwater Fishing Report, March 26 Update: Spring trout stockings are going great guns, with some states pouring trout overboard to the tune of around 10,000 fish a day at times. Contributor Eric Packard got in on this action at a Calvert County… Read more...
February 4, 2021
Freshwater Fishing Report, February 25 Update: Trout stocking is now taking place quite literally all over the place. If you want to chase some stockers, here are the links to the latest schedules for each state in our zone: Delaware (downstate… Read more...
January 1, 2021
Freshwater Fishing Report, January 29 Update: From Deep Creek Lake we have multiple reader reports of solid ice in the southern coves, and mid-week there was still open water in the main lake, but as of Thursday it had solidified shoreline to… Read more...