Fishing has been tough at the Patapsco River warm water discharges this winter. The Constellation Energy plant is only operating at 1/3 capacity and Beth Steel is running at about 1/2 this winter. The other discharges are running about normal but nobody I know has had much success lately. I’ve been out twice with limited results and haven’t been motivated to go back; at least until I hear things are improving.
On a bright note, the Susquehanna yellow perch fishery is thriving. I fished with my buddy Bret on Tuesday and we had a great afternoon.
In order to better understand how to catch cold water fish it helps to be familiar with where the fish are holding and what the fish are feeding on. In winter months, yellow perch and most other fish living in the Susquehanna River hold in deep waters. To give you an idea, we caught yellow perch on bottom in water over 80 feet on Tuesday. Fish hold deep this time of year for several reasons:
Oxygenated water is more abundant in fall and winter months than it is during the summer. As well-oxygenated surface water cools, it becomes denser than waters below. Once water has reached maximum density (39.1 degrees Fahrenheit), it sinks to the bottom, bringing less dense water to the surface to freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This process leaves deep water well-oxygenated and at a stable temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why you find fish holding at greater depths this time of year.
On Tuesday, We launched at Perryville and broke through ice all the way to the Owens Landing area. We caught a few fish there but it was slow pickings for the first hour or so. We found them in over 80ft of water but they weren’t stacked up like we would have liked. After about an hour, we decided to run down river below the train bridge to seek out a better grade of fish. Here we found them STACKED up in 35-40 feet of water feeding on 3 inch baitfish that looked like juvenile mud shad.
We caught a limit of 12 to 13 inch perch in several hours using 3 inch double rigged grub tails with a bottom sinker until snow moved into the area and forced us to leave.