Latest Update: July 31, 2009
Next Update: August 7, 2009 (By 5pm)
Chesapeake Bay & Tributaries Fishing Report
* For catch and release tips Click Here.
* For Real-time water information at selected points in the bay Click Here.
Upper 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 swim 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.
Middle 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.
More 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
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:
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.
Fishing 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.
Click here for information concerning harmful algae blooms
Click here to view recent bay satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm
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.
Service is pleased to have you visit, if you have any suggestions please
mail them to