Spring has arrived and the fishing is picking up

Biggest seal I have ever seen, cruised through the Indian River Inlet on Sunday. Submitted photos

Welcome to spring and it couldn’t have gotten here any sooner, now slow it down so we don’t have a quick summer. Fishing is picking up, the peeper frogs are working overtime in the field puddle ponds. Hope the eggs make it before the puddles dry up.

The seasonal bait shops are all opening on the weekends, until the season kicks in, call ahead just to be sure. Lot of good deals in many shops knocking the winter dust off everything. They are all stocked to the gills with new gear arriving.

We don’t need any more rain, but it brought an excess of life. The wood frogs in the fields near my house are an all night deafening song. Now there are egg masses all over the low spots in the fields, woods, and any depression that held water for more than a week. Not too hard when it rains for months. I haven’t seen woodfrog egg masses in these numbers, we have a lot of water in places that are normally dry.

The field near me has had a field pond or puddle for a year. I might have to stock it this year. Geese, ducks and herons have moved into the pond in the last couple of weeks. Lot of frogs and grass for food in and around there.

Fishing has gotten a little better for perch yellow and white. Depends on where you are fishing. Decent short bass action has started up along the Delaware Bay and river beaches. The bass are fat looking and hitting bloodworms as usual in the early spring. Big channel catfish are hitting more and more, they dig those bunker chunks, last year’s are perfect, the older the better. That is some serious stink bait.

Bass and pickerel action has picked up as the waters slowly warm up. Bluegills are always on the hit list. The ditch pickles (pickerel) are my favorite freshwater catch on light gear. They are even more fun on a fly rod. The Saltwater Fly Anglers of

Striped bass “shorty” or “rat” I picked up in the surf, on a beach, in Delaware.

Delaware fly fishing club down in Sussex holds a pickerel tournament every year.

Trout season on tap

Spring trout season starts on April 6th, get geared up for that. If you like to fly fish or want to learn in the Sussex and Kent County area, check out the Saltwater Fly Anglers Club of Delaware. If you want to talk to a few experts, check out A Marblehead fly fisher, the only full line fly fishing store north of Wilmington. The owner Terry Peach knows his fly fishing and the waters up there are his backyard.

Maryland has been stocking on schedule all over the state. You will have to check the Maryland DNR website for trout stocking places and dates. Just search trout stocking on their site, they have an entire section dedicated to their trout stocking programs.

There are some great places to trout fish in Delaware and Maryland. It is a rewarding way to see the rest of the state. Avoid opening day, go on a weekday and have the water to yourself. Just like surf fishing the drive on beaches on the weekends, same rule applies, go on a weekday. Great excuse to blow off a day at work. Salt therapy for your lungs.

Now if we could just get some fish in the surf. There are some short striped bass hitting in the surf around big, rocky structure. I can’t be any more obvious than that. Two ounce bucktails, dark swim shads, and spoons. The action is not hot and heavy but when the schools are around it certainly picks up.

This little sapling got worn out by a few big deer. Found this while shed hunting my woods.

Delaware Bay creeks and tributaries are seeing the same action, as well as the river and bay beaches. Everyone wants to catch striped bass. The fish are schooling up and moving around their local waterways. You have to get out and fish, put in the time. The action will pick up more and more as the days progress. We are coming out of a full moon. The fish are all excited and the feed bag is on.

Book charters now

Charters are going through the Coast Guard inspections and making the last preparations for the coming season. Get booked now, for weekend trips these tend to fill up fast. Again I cannot stress this enough. The fishing is better on the weekdays. Now the catching will be different each day, that is usually a given, but fishing on a weekday is much quieter and calmer. I’m not talking about the weather, even though that also seems to be better on the weekdays. I’m talking about the crowds. Take the time off on a couple of weekdays and enjoy the outdoors even more with less. Work Saturdays and take off Tuesdays, it is the least crowded beach day.

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

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