Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report – March 2nd, 2018

Before we get into the report, head over to the Spring Kickoff Sales Event to learn about everything that’s going on Saturday March 3rd! Huge prize giveaways, DEEP DISCOUNTS on tons of stuff, Local Vendor meet & greet, Knot Tying seminar & MORE!!

Perch Run

Patience is KEY right now when it comes to Yellow Perch! Many anglers in the Mid-Bay area are hauling in White Perch by the bucket-load and are wondering where are the Yellow Perch?! With water temps hovering in the 46º-48º range in most of the rivers (Magothy, Severn & South) in this area, we’re expecting the Yellow perch to show up in the next week or two. Once the water temps get to 50º you’ll start to find the Yellow Perch making their spawn run in these rivers.

Areas that have been productive have been the Eastern Shore (Tuckahoe Creek between Stoney Point and Hillsboro, the Pocomoke River & the Choptank River) and further south near Waysons Corner. We’ve seen and had reports of Yellow Perch in the 13″-13.5″ range from these areas.

Best baits to use continue to be shad darts or smaller jigs (1/32nd or 1/16th) tipped with Grass Shrimp or Minnows. Tandem shad dart rigs double your chances and are very effective when targeting Perch especially if you bounce this rig off the bottom near structure! You can also use a standard top & bottom rig with either Grass Shrimp, Minnows, Earth or Bloodworms.

Eric Packard found a Yellow Perch down in Southern Maryland! We’ve heard good things about Yellows coming from the Waysons Corner area for nearly a month now!


Anglers are having good success finding Pickerel in many of the same areas you’re finding Perch. Local creeks and rivers in 10′ or less of water near structure are the prime areas to target, especially near submerged or fallen trees.

Some of the better baits or lures to use are lipless crank baits. A couple that work well are the traditional 1/2oz. Rat-L-Trap in Silver/Black Back or the Johnson Thinfisher Bladebait in either Chartreuse or Silver. Anglers fishing minnows under a bobber have also had success.

We’d like to congratulate our Pro-Staffer Alex “The Pickerel” Perez for winning the Maryland CCA Pickerel Tournament (Kayak Division) this year! If there’s someone that knows where and how to catch these fish, it’s Alex. Congrats!!

Largemouth Bass

Some of the best areas to target Largemouth right now are the Potomac River, area Reservoirs and Eastern Shore Ponds/Lakes. It’s obviously still cold out so you’re going to find that the Bass are suspended or holding close to the bottom in deeper holes. In some of the areas in the Potomac these fish are being caught in shallower water but with water temps still in the mid to upper 40º range, they’re going to be hanging out a little deeper.

Look to use suspending jerkbaits, ned-rigs with 4″-6″ worms or even jigs slow rolled on the bottom.

Blue & Channel Catfish

Lots of KittyCats caught in the Mid-Bay area this past week. In nearly every river and even in the main bay we’ve had reports of anglers landing small to giant Catfish. Mostly Blue catfish but some Channel Cats mixed in. If you head out on any body of water in the area and throw some Nightcrawlers or liver chunks on the bottom, you’ll most likely end up hooking up with one!

From the Angler: “I figured I’d share info about this huge blue catfish that I caught yesterday (2-24) out of the Potomac from my kayak. It was on raw chicken using a bottom rig and measured 43” long and 40ish pounds. They are biting right now and are a blast to fight. I ended up catching 13 of them over the course of the morning.” – Matthew Stone


Pretty much the same pattern as last week. Anglers are trolling (no more than 6 rods per boat right now), jigging and chumming for them with many trips ending with no fish being caught. Some of the better areas to target are going to be warm water discharges even though those have been hit or miss lately.

Biggest news regarding Rockfish this week is the Maryland DNR has announced its nearly official (needs to go through the public comment process)…Circle hooks only for Live-lining and Chumming this year and the minimum size dropped to 19″ instead of 20″ for the Summer & Fall season. Here’s the email I received late last night:

To outdoors stores, tackle shops and Maryland fishing award centers:
I just wanted to give you a heads up that Maryland DNR is considering a change which would require use of circle hooks while chumming and live bait fishing during the summer season in Maryland’s section of Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. This may be considered a new or unfamiliar fishing gear for some folks in the Maryland charter and private boat fleet, so you may be hearing some general buzz and possibly getting some questions.
The department (MD DNR), in cooperation with stakeholder groups, has completed a process with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that will allow us to reduce the minimum size of striped bass for the recreational and charter boat summer and fall fishery in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries from 20 inches to 19 inches. The changes will require the use of circle hooks while chumming or live-lining, regardless of the target species. There is a possibility that the regulation may limit the size of the “J” hook when you are using bait (fish, crabs, worms or processed bait).
Visit our Changes to Fishing Regulations page for detailed information on the topic titled FISHING RESTRICTIONS – May 16 through December15.  Any comments from stakeholders and the angling public are needed by 11:59 p.m. March 6, 2018 and can be emailed to   .
Any questions on the proposed regulation or the regulatory language and process should be directed to Mike Luisi ( or Tammy O’Connell (tamara.o’
The summary of the proposed changes to regulations is attached.
Changes to regulations website (see “FISHING RESTRICTIONS – May 16 through December 15″):
Submit your comments to: by 11:59 p.m. March 6, 2018.
Thank you, 
Erik Zlokovitz
MDDNR Recreational Fisheries Outreach

Show us what you caught!

We’d love to see your catch! Send your photos with some simple info (your name, location, bait/technique) and any other info you’d like to share to By sending your images you are giving us permission to use them online. If there are any children under 18 we need their parents permission before posting any images online!