Maryland Crab and Fishing Report 4/22/13

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Female crabs are up 52% according to the recent dredge survey. The general crab population is healthy and has good potential to grow. The bad news is that the male population dropped significantly over the winter. There seems to be high mortality of last year’s great hatch.

Predation from other crabs and a surge of Red Drum in the lower bay may be the problem. These drum have invaded the Virginia area of the bay where the crabs migrate for the winter. The males or “Jimmies” seem to have been the brunt of the predation.

With the protection of the females, or “sooks”, comes the re-population of future generations. The current management plan is working well. We still need more grasses and habitat to protect the crabs. Less nutrients and fertilizer runoff is necessary to guarantee a healthier Chesapeake Bay.

Lowers Crab Shack in Essex has great crabs and prices. This shop almost never runs out of crabs. You will get great service and delicious crabs that are perfect while watching “them O’s.”

The Striped Bass have finished spawning and are heading out of the Bay. These trophy fish loaf around bridges, edges, and docks. The shore fisherman can do quite well with bucktails and Storm Shads. If you are trolling, look for edges and structure. Motor noise is a problem so use

planer boards or a long line when trolling. Jigging around bridge pilings is also a great way to hook up. Make sure to check your regulations book for specifics.

Maryland trout season is in full swing. The state stocked a lot of trophy fish that are yet unaccounted for. You don’t have to wait for additional stockings to fill a limit. There are plenty of fish scattered in the designated trout waters. The crowds may show up on stocking day but actually catch fewer fish. Some trout just get full from all the free bait and need a few days to get hungry. The trophy fish seem to either hit right away, or after a few weeks in their new homes. Cover a lot of water and mix up your baits and lures.

Polaroid glasses are a must to help you see the trout. Sharpen your hooks and go with ultra light line and gear. Fish attentively and with a positive attitude. Keep your drag on the reel, set light, in case “Jaws” hits your rig. If you don’t have a decent net, beach the fish you plan to keep.

Check the MD DNR website for current information, regulations, and stocking dates. Some waters are closed due to sewage spills and erosion.