Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report
The last couple weeks have felt like we were transported to the Pacific Northwest with all the rain and wind we had! Fortunately this weekend looks to be beautiful and will afford anglers ample opportunity to get out and catch lots of fish. This Saturday, June 3rd is a FREE fishing day in Maryland and is the first of three free fishing days for the year. This gives anyone the opportunity to go out and fish without having a license. There is a “Stop the Snakehead” fishing derby this Saturday at the C&O canal and details about this event are available here.
The biggest news for this week is that starting today the Chesapeake Bay, it’s tributaries and rivers are now wide open for catching and keeping Rockfish. Great news for all anglers whether you’re fishing from shore or a boat. Size limits stay the same (2 fish per person per day over 20″ only 1 of which can be over 28″) as when trophy season ended. Chumming for Rockfish has been good lately. Some of the typical spots in the Middle Bay have been doing well. Hacketts Point, Podickory Point, Love Point, Tolley’s and the Eastern Bay have all been doing really well. All of these spots have been marking plenty of fish. Using cut bait like Bunker (LY or Menhaden) and even Soft Crab in 25′-40′ of water has been doing well. The best time of day is early in the morning or later in the evening during a moving tide.
Jigging for Rockfish over the last week has been great. Lots of reports coming out of many of the tidal rivers, Eastern Bay and just north of Love Point in 15′-25′ of water. Some larger fish have been caught in the 35″+ range but it will take working a school to find that class of fish. Using 1/2oz.-3/4oz. jig heads with 6″-10″ BKD or Bust’em Baits trailers in anything less than 30′ of water is perfect. Some other good spots lately have been LP buoy and Seven Foot Knoll.
The topwater bite has been picking up over the last week. With water temps rising and many breaking fish, you can target shallower water with walk-the-dog baits and Whopper Ploppers. Some good spots to target are Kent Narrows, and many of the tidal rivers in less than 10′ of water.
We’ve heard of and seen some nice Channel Cats being caught while chumming or chunking in many of the same areas people are targeting Rockfish. Some of these Cats are upwards of 28″ and are being caught on cut bait like Bunker or nightcrawlers. Good times to get out there are on a moving tide early in the morning and late at night.
Many people have been asking about the Bluefish run in the Bay and we’ve been hearing about nice sized Blues being caught further south near the mouth of the Choptank River. Some of the Bluefish have been 37″ and are being caught with cut bait like mullet or plugging. There have been plenty of snapper sized Bluefish caught on the coast while surf fishing or fishing off the piers in Ocean City. Jigging Z-Man StreakZ in pearl or white have been doing the trick for Bluefish as well.
The Speckled Trout bite has been on fire this year. Especially in the Lower Eastern Shore area around marsh. Many of these Trout are reported at over 20″ and are being caught with Gulp Mullet on a Bucktail or even an Otter tail. You can also fish a tandem rig with a teaser on the front to catch these fish. Many have brought out the fly fishing gear and have been catching nice sized Trout in shallow water. Some other good spots to target are Cove Point and Point Lookout.
We’re in full Summer mode when it comes to White Perch. They’re being caught nearly everywhere and often. Perch Pounders early in the morning around structure in the shallows has been doing well. Electric Chicken has been a popular color for the Perch Pounders. So popular we sold out last weekend! Fear not fellow anglers, we are replenishing our stock very soon! Bottom fishing has also been good with bloodworms, grass shrimp and even razor clams.
We want to mention our 2017 White Perch Open will be on Saturday, August 19th and is open to anyone. We will have plenty of prizes and fun stuff happening that day at our shop. One of the favorite parts of the event last year was the fish fry!
Pickerel fishing is good nearly all year in the Bay. This time of year the Pickerel are hugging structure near the bottom in shallow water. Mepps size #1 or #2 spinners work as well as Perch Pounders.
Fishing the coast lately has produced great keeper sized Flounder. Many are fishing 4″-5″ mullet on Bucktails or Otter tails. The Rt. 50 bridge and inlet have produced the best concentration of Flounder in the area. Surf fishing has produced a mixed bag of Rockfish, Bluefish as well as Skate and even Shark lately. Gotcha plugs in silver and chartreuse are great for the Bluefish and Rockfish while large chunks of cut bait have been working for Shark and Skate.
Fishing many of the reservoirs lately has been decent. Bass are definitely post-spawn now and are moving deeper as the water temps rise. You can still find a few nice sized fish shallow earlier in the morning or later in the evening when they come up to feed in the shallows but typically you’re going to find them deeper in cooler water. On nicer clear days, look to use natural colors and soft plastics in the shallows. On overcast/windy conditions look to power fish for bass with cranks and spinners. Topwater fishing for Bass is in full effect, especially early in the am or later in the evening. Loch Raven has been producing a nice mix of Bass over the last week. Because the water level in the Triadelphia Reservoir has been lowered to allow crews easier access to the Brighton Dam while they work on it, all water-related activities (boating/fishing) and some recreational activities (picnic areas) at the reservoir will be closed to the public. Rocky Gorge water level has risen 10′-12′ so targeting the newly submerged structure is a great place to start.
Crabbing over the last week has been pretty decent. We expect the next week to really take off. Look for transitioning tides, either outgoing or incoming, in 4′-8′ of water. Many of the tidal rivers and creeks are catching crabs in a variety of kinds of traps using either Fresh Bunker, Razor Clams or Chicken Necks. The best bait to use this time of year is Razor Clams and we’ve been catching 5″ crabs all week!