Mid-Atlantic 2009 Fishing Calendar
October 04, 2010
Keep this guide handy and you'll have 36 top freshwater fishing picks in Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey to choose from! (Feb 2009)
At this time of year, most of the hunting seasons are over, and prime fishing is in somewhat of a state of limbo. Or is it, after all? Though most anglers will ply their favorite waters during the spring, summer and fall, there's still good fishing to be enjoyed right now. So get away from that boob tube and take a gander at 36 fabulous places to fish -- right now and throughout the year!
Round Valley Reservoir, N.J.
Looking for a place to get in some 11th-hour fishing? Round Valley Reservoir is New Jersey's premier trout-fishing reservoir and just what the doctor ordered for great wintertime angling. The reservoir covers over 2,350 acres and is approximately 180 feet deep, making it the Garden State's deepest body of water.
Round Valley is also unique in that it has no feeder streams to fill it.
Instead, its water is pumped up from the South Branch of the Raritan River below Clinton. Consequently, it remains a clear blue during even the rainiest years.
It's one of only two reservoirs (Merrill Creek Reservoir being the other) that host self-sustaining lake trout populations. In addition to lakers, brown and rainbow trout are also stocked in the reservoir. The state-record lake trout and brown trout both came from this reservoir.
A public boat launch is located north of the day-use area, which is regulated by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. There's a 9.9-horsepower regulation on the reservoir. Shoreline access is excellent for land-bound fishermen.
Deep Creek Lake, Md.
Located amid the Appalachian Mountains in Garrett County in the far northwestern corner of the state, Deep Creek is one of Maryland's largest bodies of fresh water.
Best known for its largemouth and crappie fishing, Deep Creek Lake also has a large yellow perch population that provides some of the state's best fishing for that species. And these fish are active all winter long, providing good angling during the coldest months.
Because this is a deep lake, yellow perch will often suspend along rocky areas and in 15- to 25-foot dropoffs.
When you find perch in these areas, jigging small plastic baits and jigs with small minnows will serve up some good catches.
The lake offers excellent boat-launching facilities, as well as good camping facilities for an extended stay at the lake.
Garrison Lake, Del.
If you're looking for some good early-spring crappie fishing, the 85-plus acres of Garrison Lake off state Route (SR) 13 in Delaware is an excellent early-season bet.
With a maximum depth of only five feet or so, this shallow lake warms fast in the spring. That makes it a prime spot for early crappie fishing, especially after a few days of warm, breezy weather. The layout of the lake from west to east puts a lot of sun on the water in March -- another reason why the lake warms up so quickly in the spring.
The lower part of the lake has the deepest water and is found along SR 13. Numerous scattered tree stumps hold plenty of fish. The best early-season fishing occurs before the vegetation starts taking hold.
Garrison is a prime place for using small hair jigs and tiny jigs and plastic bait combinations under small floats. The lake has an adequate boat launch and parking area, along with some shoreline fishing around the boat access. Because the lake is so shallow, it's ideal for kayak and canoe fishing, as well as from shallow-draft flat-bottomed boats.
Outboards are permitted, but the lake does have a no-wake regulation.
Patapsco River, Md.
Located in Carroll, Howard and Baltimore counties, the Patapsco River flows from Woodbine in the west to Elkridge in the east, through the Patapsco Valley State Park. The river is managed as a put-and-take trout fishery (five trout per day) through the nearly 10 miles of the Patapsco Valley State Park.
The upper trout fishery is in the South Branch of the Patapsco.
Stocking begins at Main Street in Sykesville (Carroll County) or West Friendship Road (Howard County) and extends downstream some 6.45 miles to the confluence with the North Branch.
The lower section of put-and-take trout water, located northwest of U.S. Route 1 in Elkridge within the Avalon Area of the SP, is stocked from Bloede Dam downstream 3.52 miles to the B&O viaduct.
Another popular trout fishing area on the Patapsco River is a 3.6-mile stretch from Daniels Dam (very popular with fly-casters), downstream to Union Dam in the Hollofield Area of the park. This section has a two-trout daily creel limit.
Big Flatbrook River, N.J.<
One of the most pristine trout streams in the state, the Big Flatbrook is located in the northwestern corner of New Jersey. It is a freestone trout stream from its headwaters at Sawmill Pond in High Point State Park, to its confluence with the Delaware River at Wallpack Bend in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Its remote nature makes it a good stream for anglers who like to hoof into remote areas off the beaten path. In addition to state stockings, a couple of fishing clubs own property along the river's banks, and they also stock trout in its waters.
The Big Flatbrook is considered one of the state's finest fly-fishing waters. The steam traverses terrain that shields its waters from the sun for most of the day. This helps keep its water cool throughout the summer, resulting in good fly hatches in the afternoons and early evenings, which are prime times for flyfishermen.
Early-season fishing is usually a mix of streamer and nymph fishing, while the summer months will give flyfishermen some decent action on dry flies. Anglers who don't partake in the long-rod sport can find some excellent fishing on small spinners, salmon eggs and grubs.
Some of the key spots on the river include the stretch that flows from High Point State Park to the SR 206 Bridge, which contains many shallow stretches and small pools that will give you the best action on garden hackle and small spinners.
Other good areas include:
'¢ The four-mile Fly-fishing Only stretch between the SR 206 Bridge and the Roy Bridge
'¢ The Blewett Track, which is a half-mile section north of the Roy Bridge
'¢ The Junction Pool, located at the confluence of the Big and Little Flatbrook rivers, and
'¢ The section between the Roy Bridge and the brook's confluence with the
Delaware River off Mine Road in the Water Gap National Recreational Area.
Lake Assunpink, N.J.
Lake Assunpink has consistently produced some of the best bass fishing in the Garden State. That's not surprising, because the lake has ample forages of shiners, gizzard shad and alewives. Its 225 surface acres annually produces largemouths in the 6- to 7-pound range.
Assunpink Lake has a well-defined streambed, and this is the top place to fish deep-running crankbaits and slow-moving spinnerbaits.
Over the years, the back of the lake has become silted in. Most of the fishing that takes place there occurs during the spring and spawning season. Topwater baits produce well during and just after the spawn.
Lake Assunpink (located on the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area) is also one of the state's top after-dark fishing spots. By the light of the moon, anglers will score some of the biggest bass of the season by casting Jitterbugs, buzzbaits and other constant-motion surface baits along the dam and along the shorelines.
The lake -- an electric-only body of water -- recently got a facelift with a new boat launch, dock and a paved access road. The launch and ample parking is located off the Clarksville/ Robbinsville Road, which is your main access road to the lake.
C&D Canal, Del.
If you're looking for some big bottom-hugging catfish, the C&D Canal in Delaware is one of the top spots along the East Coast. Summertime finds some good-sized cats cruising the deep waters of the canal.
Each year, the C&D Canal always produces some of the biggest catfish taken in the Diamond State.
July is prime time for the catfish, and the C&D Canal's channel cats, blue cats and bullheads will provide you with some excellent action.
Water temps are usually in the high 70-degree range, so catfish become heavy feeders right before dark and the first few hours after sundown.
The C&D Canal offers plenty of access for shoreline fishermen. The four piers located along the canal are favorite spots for catfish anglers.
While there is plenty of boat access to the canal, most serious catfish anglers prefer to fish from the banks and bulkheads, due to heavy boat traffic. Many veteran fishermen will tell you that you don't have to cast far to catch bigger catfish.
Some of the best fishing takes place in the deep water close to the bulkheads, and along the rock-lined banks where whiskerfish will wait for a passing meal.
Delaware River, N.J.
How about a crack at some of the best smallmouth fishing found along the East Coast? You needn't look any farther than the scenic Delaware River from Trenton north.
The Delaware has a well-touted reputation for serving up some of the best smallmouth fishing found anywhere, and this month is prime time for catching smallies.
Best known for its largemouth and crappie fishing, Deep Creek Lake also has a large yellow perch population that provides good angling during the coldest months.
By the time August rolls around, water temps are in the low to mid- 80s, and a normal year will produce low-water conditions. As a result, the bass stack up in the numerous eddies, pools and whitewater areas and will feed throughout the day.
After three years of record flooding on the river from 2004 through 2006, a good portion of the river has produced record catches of bass through last year. The Delaware provides a variety of structure, and August usually sees some of the best early and late-in-the-day surface fishing found anywhere.
Numerous boat ramps are available to fishermen on both sides of the river, and shoreline access on both banks is excellent. Fishing privileges are reciprocal between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Liberty Reservoir, Md.
Located in Baltimore County and owned and operated by the City of Baltimore's Department of Public Works, this 3,100-acre impoundment is one of the top bass-producing waters in the Free State.
The reservoir has an average depth of 59 feet, and is 144 feet at its deepest. Completed in July of 1954, the reservoir is fed by the North Branch of the Patapsco River, as well as many smaller streams.
September always produces some of the best bass fishing of the year. Especially in the later part of the month, the bass will be close to the surface, feeding on the schools of baitfish to fatten up for the coming coldwater season.
This is when crankbaits and swimming plugs come into their own.
As the fall progresses, live bait will produce better. Live-lining and jigging minnows will take the lion's share of fish.
Liberty Reservoir is an electric-only water. A seasonal permit issued by the City of Baltimore's Reservoir Natural Resources Office is required before you may launch a boat there.
Shoreline fishing is permitted.
Gunpowder Falls River, Md.
The Gunpowder Falls' tailwater flows through Gunpowder Falls State Park and private property. This small river has a reputation as one of the state's top trout-producing waters and is especially productive in the fall.
One reason why the river is so productive is the minimum-flow release of cold water from Prettyboy Reservoir, which has gates at 10, 55 and 100 feet from which water can be released. This provides the river with steady water flows and relatively stable water temperatures in the summer, enabling the river to hold trout year 'round.
The 7.2 miles of the Gunpowder Falls between Prettyboy Dam and Blue Mount Road are managed for wild trout under catch-and-release regulations. Only flies and other artificial lures are allowed. From Blue Mount Road downstream 4.2 miles to Corbett Road, statewide regulations for wild trout apply: two trout per day, with no size or bait restrictions.
The remaining 6.1 miles -- from Corbett Road downstream to a hiker/biker trail approximately one mile below Phoenix Road -- are stocked with hatchery rainbows in the spring and fall. They provide a popular put-and-take fishery with no bait restrictions. The stream's sheltered nature makes it a top choice for winter trout fishing.
Musconetcong River, N.J.
The Musconetcong River is the Garden State's second most heavily stocked trout stream and as such, gets well stocked in October as part of the fall Trophy Trout program.
The "Musky," as it's affectionately
known by New Jersey's trout-fishing fraternity, provides miles and miles of excellent quality water from its headwaters at the base of Lake Hopatcong to its confluence with the Delaware River near Mt. Joy.
The river offers excellent access, and over the last several years, the state has added several "fisherman's accesses." One good section lies between SR 31 near Hampton and Asbury Road. If you're a flyfisherman, the Point Lookout Stretch is a Special Regulations Area that's well stocked with trout.
Another well-known section is Saxon Falls. A third good section is the portion of the river flowing downstream from the SR 519 Bridge to the Delaware River.
Susquehanna River, Md.
Best known for its largemouth, smallmouth and striper fishing, the section of the Susquehanna down from the Conowingo Dam is a real sleeper when it comes to walleye fishing.
However, in recent years, late-season fishermen have been giving the river a lot more attention, since some real trophy fish are being taken during the late-fall and winter season.
Your main access to the river is via Susquehanna State Park, about three miles northwest of Havre de Grace in Harford County. Your main boat launch is the Lapidum Boat Ramp.
Much of the better fishing is in the section of river within the first mile below the dam. Waters in this area are turbulent, being subject to water releases from the dam.
Most of the late-season fishing is with live bait, minnows and worms. But swimming plugs and jig-plastic bait combinations will also take their share of fish.
Angling can be especially productive during years when December's weather is unusually mild.