Fishermen in the very upper reaches of the Chesapeake in and around the Susquehanna Flats area have been reporting good fishing in general for striped bass. The action can vary on the whims of fish, boat traffic and weather but fishermen continue to report there are fish in the area. The bulk of the fish are legal-sized with most being in the 18” to 24” size range. Topwater lures in the shallower areas seems to be producing better than trying to fish in the channel areas. Fishermen in the area are also enjoying a new found freedom as of June 1st and are no longer hampered by a size slot or areas they can fish. There are still plenty of white perch in the lower Susquehanna and adjoining areas and more than a few fishermen have been targeting them with small jigs, sinners or spoons. Sean Casey caught this 1lb, 6oz white perch recently on a small spoon near the mouth of Rock Run Creek.
Fishing for channel catfish also continues to be excellent in the lower Susquehanna and Elk Rivers. Cut bait, chicken livers or nightcrawlers have been accounting for some large cats. Largemouth bass fishermen have also been catching them now and then on lures meant for largemouth bass. Nate Hawthorne was recently fishing in the Furnace Bay area of the Susquehanna with his dad when he caught and released this nice largemouth.
Fishermen in the Patapsco River area report good fishing for white perch and that the trolling action for striped bass is picking up. The best trolling action has tended to be deep and some fishermen are getting good results with bottom bouncing techniques. The NOAA Buoy at the mouth of the Patapsco is currently showing a water temperature around 69-degees. Boats have been trolling out in front of the Patapsco and across the bay to Swan Point trying channel edges and structure such as rock piles and knolls. The action has been described by captains as a pick with most fish caught on umbrella and tandem rigged swimming shads and sassy shad dressed medium-sized bucktails. The trolling efforts continue south to the Bay Bridge with some of the better reports coming from the Baltimore Light- Sandy Point Light channel edge.
A number of fishermen have begun to chum at locations such as the channel edge in front of Podickory Point and Baltimore Light, the Mud Flats, the Sewer Pipe, Love Point with mixed results. Some anglers have done very well with some of their catch measuring over 30” in length; others have not been so lucky. Fishermen have also started to live line white perch in a few locations such as the Bay Bridge and Podickory Point. A few spot have been showing up in the middle bay region so perhaps upper bay fishermen will be able to catch spot for bait soon.
Fishermen fishing from the fishing piers and prominent points in the upper bay region have been catching a mix of white perch, channel catfish, and striped bass and in the Sandy Point area a few croakers. Recreational crabbers reported slim pickings in the form of blue crabs over the weekend with many reporting getting skunked for their efforts.
Mid Bay Region:
As most are aware wind conditions have not been very forgiving in the past week for anyone trying to get out on the open waters of the bay. Those that did get out to do some trolling found the catching part to be a steady pick. Most boats are trolling a spread of flat lines now with most giving up the planer boards. Umbrellas with swimming shads such as Storm lures trailing or tandem rigged bucktails dressed with sassy shads have been the performers lately. Each warm and dry day increases the chance of more bluefish in the middle bay region and a number of fishermen are already reporting soft plastic bite offs. The eastern side of the shipping channel from the Gum Thickets area south past Bloody Point and down to the Gas Buoy have been popular places to troll where fishermen are getting results. A number of other locations such as the False Channel, various rock piles and the sharp channel edge on the western side of the bay from below Chesapeake Beach south to the Gas Docks have also been producing. Duncan Bradbury caught this nice one near the old Gas Buoy.
The striped bass program was busy last Friday tagging striped bass in the middle bay region for their population surveys and the fish health group necropsied a small group for their fish studies. Inspection of stomach contents revealed the fish are feeding on white perch and menhaden; no May worms were seen. The bay waters are rapidly warming up and one would suspect that the overdue May worm swarms will happen soon.
There is no denying that the black drum are on the Stone Rock and boats have been slowly and deliberately motoring in the area scanning the depths with their depth finders looking for the beasts. Fishermen have been catching them fairly regularly using soft crab baits and dropping the weighted offerings on top of the prowling fish. Unfortunately when a number of captains are aggressively jockeying for position over a pod of fish it can become combat fishing in the truest sense and not for the faint of heart.
Warmer water temperatures seem to have urged the croakers to move into the middle bay region but not to the extent that fishing is good in all areas. The Choptank River seems to be about as far as they have come and even there the fishing is an unpredictable pick at the moment. Some of the better action has been coming from the Hooper’s Island area at the moment and one would suspect that the 2” of rain that the region received on Saturday and Sunday didn’t do a whole lot to urge them any farther north.
The tidal rivers are now open to fishing for striped bass and fishermen will be able to fish the shallows in the early morning and evening hours with light tackle. Casting swimming shads, soft plastic jigs, crankbaits and topwater lures are all good choices when fishing the shallows.
Shoreline fishermen have been catching a mix of white perch and croakers from fishing piers and prominent points on the shores of the bay. Locations up the tidal rivers where the water is a little fresher, such as the Choptank Fishing Pier fishermen are also catching channel catfish. Recreational crabbers are reporting catches of anywhere from a ˝ bushel to a full bushel of crabs in many of the tidal river areas such as the Miles and Tred Avon Rivers. The best reports have been coming form the tidal rivers and creeks of Dorchester County where a full bushel is not uncommon for a morning of crabbing. Collapsible crab traps and trot lines seem to be working equally well.