Winter Fishing Report

pickerel, delaware, milton, sussex county, pike, chain pickerel, broadkill river,
Pickerel caught by Frank Payton Sr.

Almost seems like an oxymoron to some when you say winter fishing.  No, we don’t catch frozen fish, but in some cases we all but freeze ourselves.  So far we have had some very nice, mild days and the water hasn’t frozen over too much.  Mostly a light ice coating here and there along the edges of the ponds that melts by mid morning in the sun.  Fish don’t care, they still need to eat.  The water temperatures are in the low forties on average.  The shallow areas on these warmer days are warming up enough to get fish feeding better.  The dark mud bottoms absorb sunlight and heat the water.  On sunny days looking to the shallows is a good bet, or you have to go deep.

Bass and pickerel have been decent action.  They are slow on the bite so you want to work the retrieve slower.  Pickerel will hit just as hard in winter, but not as fast.  Once they are hooked up though it’s a killer fight.  My favorite little private pond has been producing decent bass and pickerel.  Nothing like a quiet day on the water with no one there, except the noise of the highway.  The Broadkill in Milton has been decent fishing for bass, crappie, and pickerel.  All around Milton Memorial park and the pier area, both are  much better at high tide or on the incoming tide.  Bluegills are hitting the grass shrimp we are using for bait for crappie.  They are fun on an ultralight set up.  Yellow perch are not hitting heavy in the Broadkill yet,  however they are pretty thick in the Upper Chesapeake area.

The surf is quiet this time of year, but still some nice days at the beach with this mild weather.


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striped bass, maryland, chesapeake bay, tidal creeks, rivers, Brandon Shores,
Alan Battista with a nice sized bass he caught.

Speaking of the Chesapeake bay there are always resident striped bass to go catch.  You just have to know where to fish for them and how.  Alan Battista was hammering nice sized striped bass a week ago.  “I came upon a big school of ’em and it was non stop big fish for a couple of hours. They’re in the creeks that have warmed over the last week. Unfortunately, they’re moving back out again.  I don’t know many people (or any) throwing weightless plastics in the middle of winter, which is what really excites me. A few winters ago I started targeting fish in 50’ when others said the “dormant” fish wouldn’t bite. That too was the result of a special presentation. So, this new winter tactic for special situations has me rather excited. Fish in creeks with a lot of shallows, but having 10-15’ of depth.”   We have plenty of resident striped bass in our waters in the Delaware bay and inland bays.  You can get into them once you find them in the shallows or structure.  the long liners have been hit or miss for weeks now.   The tidal creeks have been producing some shorts while fishing for white perch with grass shrimp.

Fish On!

Rich King

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