Per the Maryland Department of Natural Resources: Graduations and school dismissals anglers are setting our younger anglers free to spend more time outdoors. Be sure to carve out time for some fishing adventures in Maryland’s varied waters.
Maryland will host the second of three license-free fishing days June 10. During a free fishing day, a person may catch and possess finfish in the tidal and nontidal waters of Maryland for recreational purposes without an angler’s license, Chesapeake Bay sportfishing license, or any fishing stamp normally required by the Department of Natural Resources. All other fishing laws and regulations will apply on those days. Maryland’s free fishing days are the first two Saturdays in June and the Fourth of July. Ask a neighbor or friend who doesn’t fish to join you and pick up this great pastime.
Forecast Summary: June 7 – June 13: It will be a beautiful week ahead with continued warm weather and low winds. These conditions will keep water temperatures rising for game fish in Maryland waters. Main Bay surface water temperatures have risen since last week to the low 70s. Warmest Bay waters will be found near the surface as well as near river mouths.
Bay salinity is still above average. Some areas of very low oxygen are present in the bottom waters from Swan Point down to Bloody Point, as well as in the Potomac River near Colonial Beach. Avoid fishing below 20 feet in these areas. However, there are still plenty of cool, well oxygenated areas in the Bay to pursue gamefish.
Expect below average flows all week. There will be above average tidal currents through Thursday as a result of the June 4 full moon. Expect average water clarity in Maryland’s waters. To see the latest water clarity conditions, check Eyes on the Bay Satellite Maps.
As always, the best fishing areas could be further refined by intersecting them with underwater points, hard bottom, drop-offs, and large schools of baitfish.
For more detailed and up-to-date fishing conditions in your area of the Bay, be sure to check out Eyes on the Bay’s Click Before You Cast.
Spot are beginning to show up with some regularity near Sandy Point State Park, the shallower end of the west side of the Bay Bridge, and the mouth of the Magothy River in about 15 feet of water. Anglers first started to catch them while fishing for white perch, and now the spot are the target.
Fishing for white perch is very good in most every tributary to the upper Bay, from the lower Susquehanna down to the Bay Bridge. The white perch are being found in most of their traditional summer locations. Anglers are using pieces of bloodworm on a simple bottom rig in areas with 12 feet or more of water. Shallower waters near shoreline structure are great places to fish in the evenings with small spinners, jigs, and spinnerbaits.
A mix of channel and blue catfish can be found in every tidal river and most areas of the upper Bay this week. Most are being caught on cut bait but it is not uncommon for catfish to chase down a soft plastic jig or crankbait.
Anglers are finding white perch mixed in with the spot but also finding good numbers of spot in the tidal rivers and creeks. Oyster reefs, deepwater docks, and piers are good places to find them; grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm on a bottom rig or small jig head work well. In the evenings, the white perch will venture into shallower waters near prominent points and submerged breakwaters. Casting small spinners, spinnerbaits, and jigs is a fun way to catch them on light tackle.
Spot are becoming more abundant and a great way to catch striped bass is by live-lining spot along channel edges, often in about 30 feet of water. Spot can be found at the mouth of the Patuxent, Cornfield Harbor, and at the mouth of the Honga River. Cove Point, Cedar Point, Point No Point, and the channel edge on the eastern side of the bay from Buoy 76 south to Buoy 72 are all good locations to explore.
There is good shallow-water fishing on both sides of the Bay and in the lower Potomac River. Casting topwater lures and paddletails along shorelines with structure in the morning and evening hours is an exciting fishing opportunity this week. The prominent points such as Cedar Point, the cuts through Hoopers Island, and the marsh edges, stump fields, and grass beds on the eastern side of the Bay all offer light-tackle fun for a mix of striped bass, speckled trout, and the occasional puppy drum.
This mix can also be caught by drifting soft crab baits on a falling tide at the mouths of the creeks flowing out of the Eastern Shore marshes. Others are out in the open waters of Tangier Sound, the Middle Grounds, and the Mud Leads near the Target Ship, watching depth finders for schools of large red and black drum. To catch them, rapidly lower soft crab baits to the fish. Anglers have learned not to leave their bait down there for too long because it will be grabbed by cownose rays, which are a big problem in the lower and middle Bay right now. These rays will target any bait in the water and are being snagged by those trolling and jigging.
The lower Potomac River is a big draw for striped bass anglers this week because the tidal Potomac has a creel limit of two striped bass per day at a 20-inch minimum, and there seem to be plenty of legal-sized fish around. The steep channel edge from St. Georges Island to Piney Point is a favorite spot to troll, jig, or live-line spot.
There are plenty of blue catfish to entertain anglers in the tidal Potomac, Patuxent, Nanticoke, and Wicomico rivers this week. Most any kind of fresh cut bait, chicken liver, wild shrimp, or a variety of scented baits will work well. Northern snakeheads are beginning to enter their spawning phase and are showing little interest in lures at times.
Bluefish are being caught in the lower Bay this week as an incidental catch when trolling live-lining, jigging, or drifting soft crab baits. As June rolls along we will see more of them. Large red drum are filtering in this week on the eastern side of the Bay from the Middle Grounds past the Target Ship. Black drum can also be found in the same areas.
Recreational crabbers are finding better opportunities this week in the middle and lower Bay. The best crabbing tends to be farther up the creeks and rivers, perhaps due to the lack of rain; salinity values are elevated in the tidal creeks and rivers. Most crabbers are catching a half-bushel or more per outing and they also report razor clams are outperforming chicken necks on trotlines and collapsible crab traps. Catches are somewhat lower in the upper Bay tidal creeks and rivers.
Maryland had a new state record fallfish caught by youth angler Crosby Abe in the North Branch of the Potomac River near Cumberland. Seneca Landing Park in Poolesville has some new boat ramp improvements for loading and unloading of motorized boats. The boat ramp is located on Seneca Creek and provides quick access to the Potomac River.
Trout anglers are enjoying good catch-and-release fishing in several waters that cater to flyfishing. There are many hatches going on each week, and we are entering the time of the summer when terrestrials become a very good choice of flies. If you are a fly caster and happen to know where a mulberry tree overhangs a body of water holding carp, you can find some fun action. Mulberry trees are bearing fruit this week. Carp will often gather under a mulberry tree and feed on the berries as they fall on the water. Fly-tyers can use their imagination to construct a purple fuzzy rendition of a mulberry. There are several of these trees overhanging the waters of the C&O Canal in Washington and Allegany counties. Put-and-take anglers can still find holdover trout in many areas, especially in the western part of the state.
Fishing for largemouth bass is excellent this week in the ponds, reservoirs, and tidal waters throughout Maryland. The largemouth bass are beginning to shift to their typical summer mode of feeding from early evening to late morning, and these hours will constrict as water temperature and daylight hours increase. Targeting the shallower waters with topwater lures in the early morning and late evening will offer a lot of exciting topwater action with poppers, frogs, and buzzbaits. As the sun rises in the sky, largemouth bass will seek shade under thick mats of grass, overhanging brush, deep shaded structure, lily pad, and spatterdock fields. Wacky rigged stick worms are a great bait to use in these situations.
Fishing for northern snakeheads is beginning to slow down in some areas as the snakeheads begin their spawning phase. It can be tough to get them to strike a lure during this time, which will last much of June. Blue catfish are also spawning but they seem to keep their appetite and are providing plenty of good fishing in the tidal rivers throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Due to strong winds, clear water has been tough to find in the back bay areas. Good flounder fishing depends on good water clarity, since they are ambush predators. Flounder are being caught in the channels near the inlet on traditional minnow and squid baits, as well as Gulp baits in white and pink.
Fishing for black sea bass is generally good this week; trips out to the wreck and reef sites have been hampered by rough seas, but the sea bass are there waiting for anglers. Farther offshore at the canyons, yellowfin tuna have arrived and catches should be good this week. Bigeye tuna and dolphin are also being caught by the boats out trolling. A mix of golden and blueline tilefish are available near the edges of the canyons.