Fishermen in the lower Susquehanna River and Flats area are starting to see their striped bass fishery settle into a typical summer mode. There are still some striped bass around but as water temperatures rise the best fishing has been occurring during water releases and early morning and late evening. The Conowingo dam is releasing water for power generation but rather sparingly at that. Most fishermen have been trying their luck casting topwater lures out beyond the mouth of the river with some luck in the evenings and early mornings when the sun is low and the waters are quiet. A number of fishermen will begin to live line small white perch or eels in the river itself in some of the deeper holes during water releases; others will be casting swimming shad baits or crankbaits with some success.
Fishing for white perch continues to be excellent in the deeper waters of the river and the channel areas beyond the mouth of the river. Bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or small jigs and light spinning tackle work well. There are certainly plenty of big channel catfish in the area and can be caught on most any kind of cut bait, chicken livers or nightcrawlers. There is quite a bit of shore line access in the area and several fishing piers such as the ones at Port Deposit and Havre de Grace.
Fishermen are reporting some striped bass action inside the Baltimore Harbor area around old piers and breakwaters. Most of the striped bass are small but fishermen report larger sized fish out near the piers of the Key Bridge. There are plenty of white perch in the lower Patapsco/ Baltimore Harbor area also and can be caught on bloodworms or small jigs and spoons.
Fishermen in other parts of the upper bay region are also adjusting to a more summer mode of fishing now that water temperatures have reached the 80-degree mark. A few fishermen are still trolling but most have now switched to chumming and light tackle fishing near structure. The boats that are chumming are still exploring the traditional locations to see where the striped bass prefer to be this summer. Boats have been anchoring up at the rock piles at Love Point, the Love point Buoy, Podickory Point, the Muds and the Sewer Pipe to name a few. Time will tell which locations will produce and which will not. One thing that usually stands the test of time at any of these locations is the fact that a good tide, early is better than later in the day and fresh baits on the bottom usually do the best.
Fishermen have been casting bucktails and soft plastic jigs near bridge piers at the Key Bridge and the Bay Bridge with good results lately and a number of fishermen have been reporting good fishing along the shallows and channels in the Chester River/Kent Island area. The Kent Island Narrows is a good place to check out for shore line fishermen and always a good place to live line small white perch; either from shore or a drifting boat or kayak. Fishermen have been reporting a few croakers and spot are being caught in the upper bay as far north as Baltimore Harbor this past week. Brad Woodhouse who usually fishes out of the Magothy River mentioned that he caught his first spot in the mouth of the Chester River last weekend. White perch are holding to most shoal areas, lower tidal river areas and can offer some good fishing. Recreational crabbers didn’t report much action this past weekend although many of them tried.
Mid Bay Region:
Fishermen continue to enjoy some good fishing for striped bass at the Bay Bridge piers by casting bucktails and soft plastic jigs at the bases of the piers. A number of fishermen have also been anchoring up current of the bridge piers and chumming with some success. Fishermen are still trolling in many areas and are catching striped bass. The action can be a slow pick at times or total bedlam when a feeding school of fish is found. More than a few anglers reported trolling around and around likely looking spots with no action and then have all rods go down at once. Boats have been trolling umbrella rigs with sassy shads on the arms with a trailing swimming shad for the best luck; since the bluefish seem to have backed off a bit. The channel edges from bloody Point south to the old Gas Buoy and the mouth of the Choptank have been good places to troll on the eastern side of the bay. The Breezy Point area south to the Gas Docks has been getting the most attention on the western side of the bay.
More boats are chumming now as the summer mode of fishing settles into the region and locations such as Tilghman Point in Eastern Bay, near the Hill and Hackett’s have been getting the attention of the chumming fleets. Most are reporting decent catches with baits on the bottom catching the most. The spot that have moved into the region have certainly caught the attention of those fishermen who have learned the success that can occur by live lining spot in the last couple of years. Already fishermen are catching spot in Eastern Bay, Hackett’s and the mouth of the Choptank as well as other locations for live lining. A number of fishermen have been returning to their old haunts around the False Channel and time will tell if that location pays off like it did last year. Most any good channel edge, deep structure or steep point will hold striped bass and if the fish are there live lining a fresh spot will usually entice them to strike.
Light tackle fishermen are enjoying their opportunity to be able to fish the shallows of the lower tidal rivers such as the Choptank for striped bass in the early morning or late evening hours. Casting topwater lures or such things as crankbaits or soft plastic jigs is a wonderful way to wind down the day or to start a new one. Most fishermen are reporting about a 50/50 throwback ratio but plenty of action.
Fishermen are still talking about black drum at the Stone Rock, Sharps Island Flats area but lately it seems there is more talking and less catching. The croakers and spot have moved into the region and can be found all the way up to the Bay Bridge. Some of the best fishing reports have been coming from Eastern Bay and the Choptank River. Last week I had the opportunity to fish in the Choptank near Castle Haven in the evening and the croaker fishing was about as good as it gets. We found them on the 21’ edge of the channel and had to fish single hooks to manage our bait use more efficiently. There were a number of throwbacks, about 50% but we still wound up with a mess of 12” to 14” croakers. The water was slick calm and small schools of peanut menhaden could be seen pushing water and the cow-nosed rays were scooting about on the surface.
There is plenty of good white perch fishing to be had in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and creeks, if you’re fishing bait grass shrimp and peeler crab are good choices; most any kind of small spinner, spoon, mini crankbait of small jig will work equally well also. Shore line fishermen are enjoying the influx of croakers into the region and in many areas are catching a mix of white perch, catfish and croakers. Recreational crabbers did well in most tidal waters from Kent Island south to Dorchester County on the eastern side of the bay. Most reported being able to catch a full bushel of good crabs in an outing; reports from the Severn and rivers south on the western shore were a little less successful with most crabbers reporting a ½ bushel to a bushel of crabs per outing.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Fishermen in these two southern regions of the bay are finding a wide variety of fishing opportunities lately. One can troll for their striped bass along the western edge of the shipping channel from Point-No-Point to the Gas Docks or down the eastern side of the bay from the Hooper’s Island Light south past Buoy 72. More and more boats are chumming now and the Southwest Middle Grounds and the lower Potomac River between Buoys 7 and 9 seem to be the two hot spots. Striped bass can be traditionally found at the rock piles above Point Lookout and places like Buoy 72 also; it’s just a question of checking out locations and finding fish to chum on.
The bluefish seem to have limited their wanderings to the Middle Grounds/Target Ship area, the mouth of the Potomac and the Tangier Sound area. Fishermen have been catching them in their chum slicks or by trolling. They are also showing up in the small cuts and shallow areas south of Hooper’s Island and are part of the mix that light tackle fishermen are catching while casting lures or jigging.
The croaker fishing in the lower bay region and in the Tangier/Pocomoke Sound area is hard to beat this time of the year. Most fishermen have no problem catching a mess of croakers and spot during the day time hours in the deeper waters of channels. The deeper spots at the mouth of the Patuxent and the holes in the Tangier Sound area are full of nice croakers. If really large croakers up to 17” are your game, boats are finding them coming up onto the shoal areas at dark and these babies will really put a bend in your fishing rod. Peeler crab, fresh shrimp or razor clams are baits that are hard to beat and this is the kind of fishing that is made for those who rarely get to fish or children. Greg Falter sent in this picture of a nice croaker he caught in the lower Nanticoke River while bottom fishing with his son, brother and father this past Saturday.
Flounder are also being caught in the Cornfield Harbor area, the mouth of the Patuxent, Point Lookout and the channel edges in the Tangier Sound area. A few small sea trout have also been part of the bottom fishing mix in the Tangier Sound area. In these days of high fuel costs, one might consider some of the walk on party boats that are running out of Crisfield. It’s an affordable trip where one can catch a mess of fish and perhaps buy some local soft crabs or hard crabs before heading back home. Recreational crabbers on the western side of the lower bay region report good crabbing in a number of areas; including St. Jerome’s Creek and the various creeks that feed into the lower Potomac River. The tidal creeks and rivers of lower Dorchester and Somerset County are offering good crabbing also; crabbers are reporting having no trouble catching a bushel of crabs in an outing.
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