It’s still winter but fishing is starting to pick up

Striped bass mixed in with the white perch in the creeks. Submitted photo/Mike Eckert

The winter doldrums are still in full effect, but the fishing is finally picking back up for this time of year. Granted it isn’t the beast mode of the bluefish and and almost nonexistent spring striped bass run, but it is still fun catching.

At least the spring run of bass gives us better hope for catches than the fall run. White perch also make excellent table fare. I think the fish are fed up with winter, they are putting on the feedbag and hitting the creeks and rivers.

The grass shrimp are thick along the banks of the tidal creeks in the marsh grass. Scraping the grass with a fine net or the bulkheads in marinas will produce some shrimp for bait. You can set minnow traps for them too and catch both minnows and grass shrimp. Remember you cannot net or cast net near spillways (300 feet away). Dry dogfood works the best in the smaller minnow traps, it floats and won’t leave the trap.

White perch ready to go under the knife for dinner. Submitted photo/Mike Eckert

The perch and short bass mixed in the schools are feeding heavily on the grass shrimp and minnows. Bloodworms will also work well. Broadkill River, Canary Creek, Lewes Canal, and Indian River have decent perch and short bass action, you just have to be in the right area when they come through. The tidal creeks in northern Delaware are seeing better action that will pick up as the temperatures increase. If this warm out holds out for spring we could some better fishing earlier this year. Unless we get another winter blast.

Finding fresh bait has been the hardest over the winter. Icehouse Bait and Tackle on New Road in Lewes have bloodworms. Make sure you call ahead to any shop to see what they have this time of year. Some of the seasonally closed shops may open this weekend. Weather pending will govern if that happens. No point in being open if no one is going fishing. The trials and tribulations of owning a bait shop. Without local support and businesses can’t survive too well to provide fresh bait on demand.

The fly fishing is picking up a little, the wizards of the long wands have been out and about on trout and the usual sweetwater suspects. They have the best cure for the winter doldrums.

You can catch the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware club at Lewes Harbor Marina on Saturdays tying flies and telling lies until the end of March. Check them out at the Delmarva Outdoors Expo April 26th to the 28th and learn to fly cast or how to tie your favorite fly.

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

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