I made my way up to the Susquehanna River NorthEast area of the Chesapeake Bay to do some Yellow Perch Fishing. This was on January 12, and the water temperature was still around 41 or 42 degrees. The air temperature was 62, and this is still pretty mild conditions for this time of the year. In about a five hour time period we were able to land over 100 Yellow Perch, although they were in the 4 to 9 inch range. Because of these warmer temperatures I believe the bigger fish are still spread out in the shallow water areas, maybe out on the flats. Last year at this time we had to break ice to get out of the ramp.
The other thing that we have not seen in previous years is the amount of commercial fish traps. In fact we saw so many traps in the area that there was basically too many to count.
The fish that we were able to catch were in areas as shallow as 15 feet and as deep as 53 ft. We found the best location was along the Perryville side of the river. Start at the Amtrack bridge and follow the river up North to the North side of Garrett Island.
A common bottom rig or a drop shot rig is all you’ll need. Use a Pan Assissan, a small tube or a small twister tail (1 to 2 inch). As far as color try the chartreuse or a red and white color and you should just be fine. I have found that to maintain good bottom contact I needed to use a 1/2 oz. weight, and staying on the bottom was the key because these fish are hugging the bottom. That was evident by looking at my fish finder as well. As an added bonus we were able to get some keeper crappie in 30 feet of water using these same methods.
If you don’t have a boat, it is possible to have good success from the shore. A lot of the good access is at the Marina’s and they may charge you a fee. Also, keep in mind that you’ll want to have your license. The DNR is getting writer’s cramp these days!