Fishing Report Overview Maryland Dept of Natural Resources
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Latest Update: July 31, 2009 Next Update: August 7, 2009 (By 5pm)  
Chesapeake Bay & Tributaries Fishing Report

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click map to see larger version of Upper Bay Fishing MapUpper Bay Region

Fishermen below the Conowingo Dam have been using the mid to late day water releases to their advantage to fish for striped bass. The release of cool water always spurs on a little action in the river and smart fishermen are there to take advantage of it. Most anglers are casting crankbaits or swimDonald Gomish with striped bass shads but some guys like Donald Gomish fish from small boats or in Donald’s case, kayaks. Donald caught this nice striped bass while trolling a Rapala plug behind his kayak.

Farther down the bay striped bass are being caught in the evenings around Hart-Miller Island by chunking with menhaden or drifting peeler crab baits. Channel catfish and white perch are also part of the mix being found there. In the Inner Harbor area there are plenty of white perch on some of the hard bottom areas such as near Bear Creek and striped bass can be found near the channel edges near the Key Bridge.

Most boats that are chumming for striped bass are doing so at Swan Point, Love Point and the Triple Buoys area. One needs to slowly cruise around until fish show up on the depth finder and drop chum and anchor in one shot. The throwback ratio can be high at times but there are plenty of legal sized fish around; especially close to the bottom. Anglers are urged to use circle hooks to prevent killing fish to be released and conserve the resource.

There are quite a few spot in the upper bay now and they can be found on some of the shoals and reefs as well as the shallower waters in the river mouths. Live lining them on some of the deeper channel edges near Love Point, Podickory Point, the Bay Bridge Piers or any good deep structure that is holding fish is a good bet. Trolling medium sized bucktails, diving crankbaits or Drone spoons is another option for striped bass and small bluefish. Small bluefish are in the upper bay now and may show up in breaking fish, while chumming, trolling but hopefully not while live lining spot.

There are plenty of white perch, spot and a few croakers to be caught in the upper bay on many of the popular shoals and reefs as well as the lower sections of the tidal rivers. Bloodworms and grass shrimp on a simple bottom rig is the most popular offering. Recreational crabbers are reporting meager catches in the Gunpowder area, the Elk River and the Chester.

Click map to see larger map of the mid-Bay areaMiddle Bay Region

As usual striped bass tend to take center stage for fishermen in the Chesapeake and there are plenty of good opportunities to catch them this week. There continues to be a lot of action on the western side of the shipping channel from Chesapeake Beach south to the Gas Docks and also near Thomas Point and the Hill above Poplar Island. Most fishermen are live lining spot along the channel edges in about 35’ of water. Success has been good although sometimes the fish are prone to move around a bit. Bluefish are in the area so coming up with half a spot is part of the game.

Daniel Irons with striped bass and blue fishMore than a few fishermen are finding that they are stopping short when they encounter schools of bluefish and striped bass pushing bait to the surface. This is one of the finest kinds of fishing and is a great time to cast surface lures or break out a fly rod. A mix of striped bass and bluefish are being reported throughout the region and can offer a lot of fun. Daniel Irons was out fishing with his dad in the Eastern Bay area where they found a mix of striped bass and small bluefish while live lining spot and casting to breaking bluefish.

Bottom fishing for a mix of croakers and large spot has been very good in most of the traditional spots in the middle bay region such as the lower Choptank River near Buoys #10 and #12 and inside of Black Walnut Point. The best time for large croakers has been in the evening on the channel edges in the mouth of Eastern Bay, near the Sharps Island Flats and similar areas. During the day the large croakers are deep and the Airplane Wreck in the lower Choptank is a prime location Jim Livingston with a nice mess of crabs to check out. It has been interesting to hear fishermen complaining that many of the spot they are catching are too large to use for live lining bait. They make very good eating if filleted and fried in Panko crumbs, tempura or your favorite batter mix. Kids usually eat them up faster then you can cool them off on paper towels.

Recreational crabbers are reporting fair to good catches this week in most of the regions tidal rivers and creeks. Observations are noting a lot of small crabs and a substantial percentage of light crabs. Jim Livingston sent in this picture of a nice mess of crabs he caught in the West River with collapsible traps.

Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:

Click Map to see larger version of Lower Bay Fishing Map

Click map for larger image of Tangier Sound Fishing Map

A lot of fishermen have been focused on the excellent fishing for striped bass along the western edge of the shipping channel this week from Breezy Point south to Cedar Point. Live lining spot along the 35’ channel edge has been the most popular method of catching a limit of striped bass. Many fishermen are finding though that when they come out of their home ports they are encountering breaking fish en route and of course who can pass up a mass of breaking fish? Certainly no one in their right mind so many fishermen are never making it to live lining their spot. Casting surface lures, bucktails or jigs into a mix of striped bass and bluefish can hardly be beat. It is also an excellent time to try fly fishing and get the feel of what it is like to have a good fish on the end of a fly rod.

Trolling has been another good option for fishermen in the lower bay region and with so many bluefish around medium bucktails, Drone spoons and surgical tubing lures are good choices. Some of the larger bluefish are being found in the area of the Middle Grounds up to Buoy 72 and it has not been uncommon for anglers to tie into some of the large red drum that have been frequenting the area. Bluefish are also thick in the mouth of the Potomac and boats chumming there have been loading up. Small bluefish are also holding in the Puppy Hole area in Tangier Sound and are making up a large portion of the mixed bag that bottom fishermen are putting together when fishing for croakers.

Robert Bissell with mixed bagFishing for croakers and spot has been very good in the lower bay and Tangier Sound areas. The summer heat is driving the larger spot and croakers into deeper waters and they usually do not come up into the shoal areas until dusk. Shoal areas such as behind Buoy 72 and 72A are great places to anchor up for the evening bite. During the day some large croakers are being caught in the deeper areas such as the Puppy Hole and channel areas of Tangier Sound and the western shore. Medium sized croakers and spot have been the staple during the day in the mouths of the tidal rivers. Robert Bissell and his son Matthew traveled down from Pittsburgh and found the fishing all they had hoped for. We had a great week fishing down at "the end of the world" as the locals called the Wynne, Md. area. My son Matthew and I had three good days and one great day fishing the Cornfield Harbor area. We totaled +/- 65 fish with Wednesday being the best with +/- 35, half flounder and half croaker; two keeper flounder, one 17" and the other 18 1/2". We kept about a dozen croakers, all over 12", with a few going +/- 15"; I know for sure I'll be back down that way as much as possible. Attached photo is my son Matthew with a heavy stringer after 2 - 3 hrs on the water.

Flounder fishing has been very good in a number of areas such as Cornfield Harbor, the mouth of the Patuxent, Point Lookout and channel edges in the Tangier Sound area. Spanish mackerel are beginning to show up in the lower bay region this week with most catches coming from the Maryland/Virginia Line at the moment; so hopefully they’ll be farther into Maryland waters by the weekend. A large number of speckled trout continue to be caught by fishermen croaker fishing or working the skinny water areas of the eastern shore marshes. Recreational crabbers seem to be able to find plenty of good crabbing in the regions tidal rivers and creeks; baits are being chewed up by a lot of small crabs but the reward of a full bushel of heavy male crabs is certainly worth it.

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Click here to view recent bay satellite images at


The link below has some very valuable information for Chesapeake Bay Anglers. DNR's "Eyes on the Bay" website has data coming in from remote sensing stations in the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. It is well worth checking this out. Click on the map below.

 Thumbnail of Weather tracking Stations in the Chesapeake Bay

The Fisheries Service is pleased to have you visit, if you have any suggestions please mail them to Paul Genovese.

Click down arrow to see links.


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