Check your local regs before fishing below Conowingo Dam. You can't target Striped Bass from the railroad bridge up to the Dam until the season you can keep them. I couldn't find the date, it has been usually the beginning of June. You can fish for them (catch and release)on the flats from March 15th to April 19th but not in the river. It has been this way for the last 2 years I know. I heard a few years back you could fish for them below the dam but not now. Why I'm not sure, someone said its because of the high water and current will put a strain on the fish when hooked. Makes some sense since that current can be flowing at times of release. Check it out, this way you don't take the chance of a fine.
I'm hoping to get a bit of Susquehanna fishing in this year. My wife "inherited" a boat from her brother, who moved up to a larger model (and he doesn't even fish!) The boat's in Port Deposit MD, so that will put me in range of both the Conowingo (or at least as close as they'll let you get -- last I heard was 400 yds) and the Flats. I had a buddy who use to bass fish on the Redman Tournament Trail, and he was complaining about the stripers on the Flats ten years ago. They should be thicker than ever now -- however, I doubt I'll be down there before April. Besides, most of the fishermen in the Port Deposit area seem to target white and yellow perch in March (or maybe they just don't like fishing for stripers!) Anyway, most of the 'spawners' will be in the rivers in April. I know that when trophy fishing in the Lower Chesapeake Bay in early May you catch postspawn fish making a hasty retreat to the Atlantic.
Of course, at this point I'd probably welcome a toadie!
I have not fished the flats but as a dyed-in-the-wool lure fisherman it is one my "new places to fish" this year. I think I will give it a shot but probably not on opening day - too many crazy things can go wrong with fisherman lined up side-by-side casting. Reminds me of opening day for trout in NY. Arrg! Anyway, if you see a guy casting lures having fun - It's probably me!
Enjoy the new boat. Let me know if you make a trip down to my neck of the woods in Annapolis and we can do some fishing. Lots of stripers are taken under the Bay bridge by boaters trolling umbrella rigs and large bucktail/shad combos on downriggers.
My guess is that the regulation is supposed to protect fish that are actively spawning. Stripers spawn on the surface in the intertidal section of the river -- the eggs are bouyant and float in and out with the tide until they hatch. Here in PA/NJ the Delaware is C&R in the intertidal zone (and circle hooks are mandatory.)
That's one of the problems about living in Southeastern PA -- there's some great fishing, but access is terrible! So I eventually branched out to Jersey, especially for the saltwater fishing. Back in 2000 we discovered the Chesapeake, and the bay became our destination of choice. I hope all DELMARVA anglers appreciate the great fishing the bay and its tributaries provide. I plan to eventually move to the Eastern Shore (SSA has an office right in Cambridge, less than 10 minutes from the Choptank pier!)
As for the boat, it has a trailer, but it probably won't leave the Port Deposit area. My experience is that you don't really need a boat to catch fish in the Bay area. Plus charters are cheap enough if you feel the need to fill a freezer or two. I'd love to see someone bring a quality headboat to the Hooper's Island area. Maybe those Gootee brothers will do it one day....
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