Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report
This past week has been a tough week on the bay due to weather. With small craft advisories and windy/rainy weather in the forecast, this weekend isn’t looking much better. If we look at the extended forecast, it looks a bit better into next week so keep your heads up! We’re nearing the end of trophy season and with the better weather coming, we’re thinking this week will be a decent one for those targeting trophy rockfish.
As of yesterday, the new regulations are in effect when it comes to Rockfish. Closed areas include the Susquehanna flats (from the mouth of the Bush River north), tidal rivers such as the Chester (from the north point of Love Point over to Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge), the Choptank, the Patuxent, the Nanticoke & the Wicomico. The catch and release area for the upper bay starts just north of Rock Hall on the eastern side of the bay and cuts across towards North Point and then south to Hickory Point. This area up to the Susquehanna flats which includes the Patapsco river is catch and release through May 15th. Other catch and release areas include the Magothy, Severn and South rivers and on the eastern side, Eastern Bay & the Narrows are C&R areas. To get the complete rundown on restricted zones go here.
We expect the trolling bite to be the same in the upper bay area over the next week. The more popular spots have been just north of Love Point and the deeper ledges off Matapeake just south of the Bay Bridge. The chumming/chunking bite has been great in this area. Podickory Point, Hackett Point and the pilings around the bridge have been holding nice fish, just not trophy sized. We’ve seen great numbers but the fish are in the 20″-35″ range. Come May 15th, these will be keepers. Fishing cut bunker or big bloodworms on fish finder rigs have been preducing as well as soft shell crab.
Trolling in the lower bay has been more successful as of late with some reports of 45″+ being caught on tandem rigs with chartreuse and white parachutes with sassy shad trailers. These fish are being caught deep in the water column near the bottom. The deeper shipping channels between Calvert Shores and Cedar Point Sanctuary have been productive in the 45′-55′ range. Further south, just east of the mouth of the Potomac has been a challenge due to poor water clarity.
Fishing for White Perch right now has been great. You can find them in their typical Summer spots on hard bottom or near structure. They can also be found in/around the tidal rivers and creeks. In deeper water, top & bottom rigs always work well with either blood worms or night crawlers. On some of the warmer days, spinners and Perch Pounders fished near piers/bulkheads in shallower water have been producing nice sized Perch, just not a ton yet. Popular areas to catch these Perch have been tidal rivers such as the Magothy at Beachwood Park, the shallow end of Hackett Point, the Bay Bridge pilings and off Sandy Point State Park have also been good.
Bluefish, Flounder, Tuna & Tautog
Many anglers on the coast have been seeing a great Bluefish blitz over the past week. Several of our pro staffers took a trip to O.C. and fished the pier with good success. They caught a nice amount of Bluefish ranging in the 27″-37″ on paddle tails and Z-Man streakz on jig heads and cut Mullet. Some of the other anglers around the area are also fishing the inlet off the Rt. 50 bridge and catching some Flounder on mullet or Gulp. Reports also have plenty of short Rockfish being caught in the inlet which makes for fun fishing! Some of the big boats have made their way deep and have come back with decent size Tuna and Tautog over the past week. Reports also have some nice Mako Shark being caught! This will all start to pick up over the next couple weeks and into June.
Largemouth Bass/Freshwater Fishing
Much of the Largemouth bass fishing going on has been decent in the tidal rivers such as the Potomac. Water temps are hovering right around 60º which means Largemouth are beginning their spawn. Target these fish on their beds with bright soft plastics like pink, white or chartreuse stick worms or craws. Swimbaits that replicate smaller bait fish on/near their beds can cause a reaction strike during this time of year as well. The main objective is to try and agitate the fish protecting its bed as best you can. Most of the time when you do that, you will get a strike. Fresh water bass fishing in the reservoirs has been productive. Targeting those drop-offs just outside of the flats where Largemouth are looking to spawn is a great place to start. Soft plastics, swim jigs and crankbaits have been producing nice fish.
Crappie and Snakeheads have been caught in some of the tidal rivers and freshwater areas. Topwater action is going to be picking up once the water temperature rises. Frogs and Whopper Ploppers are great for catching big Snakeheads. Jigging smaller jigs with minnows or worms will trigger the Crappie to bite especially around structure. Spinnerbaits such as the Mepps size #1 and Super Rooster Tails also are good for targeting both species.