Del. fishermen out and about for spring trout

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Emilio Quiles of Dover wears a GoPro camera on his head as he nets himself a trout on opening day of trout season Saturday morning at Tidbury Pond near Dover. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

The weather did a one eighty in no time.

No more snow in the forecast, just unseasonably warm weather.

So far no one is complaining and the fish are biting.

Outdoors column logo by . The water temperature in the Delaware Bay is still around forty three degrees, but that will bump up a bit after this weeks warm up.

What we need are warmer nights to help the water warm up faster.

Blue Claw crab season for crab pots started on March 1 but we have yet to see any that have emerged from the mud bottoms of the bays and tidal creeks.

Some people will catch them right away and eat them. I like to wait until well after the first molt so they can clear the mud out of their system and fatten back up.

Clamming has been great for the commercial guys. I don’t know too many recreational folks that are willing to clam in 45-degree water. The loads I saw this week looked tasty from the big ol’ chowder clams down to the cherrystone steamers.

Opening day for trout

Opening day for trout season in Newton Pond near Greenwood and Tidbury Pond near Dover was a good time for many anglers.

“Saw several people catching along the shore (Newton Pond) but boats seemed to being doing best out in the middle the first day,” said Jay Galloway, of Harrington, “I managed four in the first 20 minutes using both chartreuse and yellow garlic flavored power baits, including my fourth fish that was hungry enough to eat both baits I had out.

“I saw people using all types of methods to catch the rainbows, from top water using bobbers, jigs, and spinner baits or various colors. My choice was a light action rod with 4-pound mono, a number 14 treble hook with a split shot 18-20 inches up using power bait. They were shoulder to shoulder on the floating pier and a lot more around the shoreline close to it.”

The action was hot in Kent County, too.

“Word has it that at Tidbury Pond the parking lot was filled by 5:30 opening day,” Galloway said. “People wanting to fish there had to park out on State Street and walk in,”

The joy of opening day for trout is fishing, however the crowds are always a bit too much, but that is the nature of any opening day.

The next couple of days after opening day the crowds subsided dramatically.

Fishing update

The fishing has been great for bass, crappie, white perch, yellow perch, millroach, bluegill, and pickerel.

Some of the anglers in the tidal rivers around Laruel and Seaford are seeing more short striped bass mixed in with the white perch.

Milton and Milford are heating up in the tidal creeks, ponds, and rivers.

Minnows, bloodworms and night crawlers are great for all of the fish mentioned. Except catching pickerel is better with lures, poppers, and flies.

The resident striped bass will school up soon and catching them will get better and better as the temperatures get a little over fifty degrees.
Best places to look for them are near structure or along the mud banks and grass lines in tidal rivers and backbays.

They are feeding on the minnows and grass shrimp that are pulled out of the grass from the outgoing tide.

A one or two ounce bucktail or small swim shad will hammer the fish once you find a school.

When you do find them, keep the boat away from the school and cast to the fish, otherwise the school will spook and regroup elsewhere. You will spend all day chasing a school if you scare them off.

Once you get into them it is fish after fish for hours.

None are keepers but they are a lot of fun to catch.

Odds and ends

The surf is quiet, but that didn’t stop several of us from hitting the beach on a seventy degree day to go through the motions.

It is fishing, you never know what you might catch and you won’t know unless you go.

Soon clams, bloodworms and fresh bunker will be the baits of choice for striped bass. Will the bluefish come in like they did last spring? We will have to wait and see if that happens.  In the meanwhile, all we can do is fish and see what we can catch.

I have been seeing a lot of minnows around the shallower areas. They are staying near the shallows for warmer water.

Turtles are out in full force in all of the ponds, soaking up some rays on these beautiful days.

Have patience, the migratory and summer fish will be here soon enough and you want it to last a while.

Rich King’s column appears Thursdays in the Delaware State News.

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