It was roughly twenty degrees when trout season opened for Newton and Tidbury ponds Saturday.
That didn’t stop about 150 anglers from trying at Newton Pond, near Greenwood, though. The air was crisp and sharp to the nose when you breathed. Nothing like going from spring February into the winter of march.
Wizards of the long wands to kids with the super hero poles all gathered to catch over three hundred stocked trout.
Everyone was using a variety of baits, lures, and flies. Braided line was freezing to spools, icicles forming on guides, and frozen fingers. That is the way of winter fishing and not uncommon during trout fishing this time of year in the great white north, but is a bit uncommon for fishing in March in Delaware — unless of course you count two years ago when the ponds froze over and trout opening day had to be delayed. Not this year unfortunately, but that didn’t slow too many people down.
I do know a lot fished, but many did not catch.
“We went at four that afternoon. My seven-year old grandson Gavin Dolly caught his first trout ever on a treble hook with a mouse tail,” said Lori Wyatt.
It was 33 with a wind chill factor of 20 degrees.
Trout season will be open April first for six New Castle county streams.
Don’t wait on weather
If you are waiting for fair weather to get out fishing, you might want to think again and just go fish. Lots of activity in all the area tidal waters and ponds. People are doing well in many of the usual spots you would find migratory bass on the move or schooling.
The bait shops are all open for the 2017 season, some more so on the weekdays than others, call ahead this time of year. There are striped bass moving into many areas already including, the Nanticoke, Choptank, Potomac, and Delaware Rivers. Now the argument is … are these migratory bass on the spring run, or holdover bass, and depending on who you ask will govern your answer.
The migration runs in phases and this being the first phase we have resident bass schooling up and moving into areas to spawn. However, the Chesapeake bass caught over the winter seem to be a lot of migratory fish that never left the area. There are striped bass 10 miles off the coast of Delaware and the main migration didn’t go much farther south than Virginia this year.
The water just never got cold enough to warrant them to move that far south, and there is plenty of food out there. Once the herring start moving in the bass are usually sure to follow and it seems that is the case. That all being said you haven’t missed the run, nor will you so don’t panic. Things are just starting early this year.
Woodland Beach and places along the Delaware River and Bay are producing fat short striped bass on bloodworms. Some folks are chunking bunker and even white perch. Make sure your white perch are legal size before you start chunking them up, and the heads do make a nice meal for a large striped bass just like bunker heads. We have been using the ones we have left over from cleaning them for the table, white perch make a tasty meal. They are hitting minnows, grass shrimp, and bloodworms.
Yellow perch, bass, and pickerel action have been on fire on the warmer days.
“My wife, Ruby and I went on our first trip of the year on Feb. 18,” said John Kwoka. “We had a pretty good day. We caught four different species. This mild winter should make for some good fishing. We caught six bass on this trip, all over two pounds. Not bad for February.
“Hopefully the weather stays mild and will extend the early pond fishing. More time on these lakes before they weed up too much means a lot more productive fishing as you can cover more water with baits like suspending jerkbaits and crankbaits, and yes even the old school in-line spinner which my wife slays fish with including citation sized pickerel and bass. We caught the bass and pickerel on in-line Colorado blade spinners and suspending jerkbaits. We caught the crappie and yellow perch on feather jigs tipped with small shiners.”
Sounds like we need to go fishing with John and Ruby!
The tidal creeks’ temperatures dropped fast the last few days with the sudden cool down to normal temperatures for this time of year. Masseys Landing is peaking around forty-four degrees, about ten degrees lower than a few days ago. At least it is leveling off and not dropping too much more but this weekend will put a damper on any increase. The Delaware Bay is averaging forty-three degrees from the mouth of the bay to the upper bay and farther up near Delaware City. Tidal creeks are averaging upwards of forty-eight degrees this afternoon and will drop as the ponds that feed them cool. The first of March these creeks and rivers such as Broadkill, were topping out at sixty degrees.
Rich King’s outdoors column appears Thursdays in the Delaware State News.