Way North Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, February, 2024

Way North Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, February 23 Update:

Despite the cold and wind there are still anglers out searching for a bite this time of year. We had a report from an angler in the lower Susquehanna who was out targeting smallmouth bass. They managed to catch some nice fish in the three-to-four-pound range but did not disclose where or how deep they were fishing. Since water temperatures are still very cold, the fish will likely be holding in deeper water near drop offs and rocky structure. The water at the Conowingo Dam has still been high and muddy, but conditions are improving as rainfall has slowed down. Walleye should be around below the dam and they can be caught by throwing paddletails or jerkbaits into the current.

big blue catfish in the susquehanna
Adam had a great day on the lower Susquehanna, including reeling up this fat cat.

Big blue catfish are still readily available in the lower Susquehanna and on the Susquehanna Flats. The area of the river around Port Deposit is known for producing big fish. Deeper holes and channel edges are good places to target them this time of year and a variety of cut bait should get them biting. Eel and bunker have been catching big fish around the region in recent weeks. Two readers let us know they had success this week in the area including fish into the 20-plus-pound range.

Yellow perch reports from this region slowed down this week likely due to the cold weather moving back in. The fish are likely still staging near their spawning tributaries and will begin to run when the water temperatures warm up a bit. The Northeast River and the waters around Perryville have been somewhat productive this month but fish are holding deep. Bottom rigs baited with minnows or grass shrimp should get them biting if you can locate a school of fish.

Way North Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, February 15 Update:

Fishing is finally getting back on track after a slow start to the year in this region of the Bay. More reports of mega-sized blue cats caught in the Susquehanna came in this week, including fish over 30 pounds. Cut bait fished on bottom in deep water between Port Deposit and Perryville was mentioned. There has also been a decent yellow perch bite around Perryville as we get closer to their spring spawning run. A few anglers reported finding steady bites in 30 to 50 feet of water. Small jigs and minnows dropped to the bottom caught plenty of fish, but a lot were around 10 inches. They mentioned that if you moved around to try different spots you could find some bigger fish. Smallmouth bass anglers also reported an uptick in the bite last weekend likely due to the warmer weather. Late winter and early spring are great times to catch big smallies while they are gearing up for their spawn.

susquehanna catfish
Rich struck blue gold in the Susquehanna. 

More updates to striped bass regulations were released this week by Maryland DNR. “Striped bass emergency regulations submitted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to support the spawning population was approved this week by the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review, and are effective immediately. The emergency regulations extend periods of closure to recreational striped bass fishing in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Targeting of striped bass will be prohibited from April 1st to May 15th, eliminating the Maryland striped bass trophy season. In the Susquehanna Flats, targeting of striped bass is prohibited through the end of May.” Additional information can be found on the Maryland DNR website.

Way North Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, February 9 Update:

The water has finally come down enough for anglers to fish in the lower Susquehanna River. All the rain and snow we got in January had the Conowingo Dam pumping water out of the flood gates for most of the month but February has brought us a more stable weather patterns at least for now and anglers are getting back to their winter fishing adventures. Catfish are a reliable target in the winter and there are plenty around to catch. One reader reported phenomenal catfish day on the lower Susquehanna going for blues last week, with chicken breast skewered to 7/0 hooks on bottom producing more than 20 fish from five to 30 pounds. Most were between 10 and 20 pounds and the combined scale for the day hit an eye-opening 448 pounds!

big susquehanna blue catfish
Ed, Eddie, and Jeff enjoyed nonstop blue cat action on the Susquehanna.

The yellow perch have started to get more active this week on the upper Bay tidal tributaries as more reports start to trickle in. The run hasn’t cut loose yet, but the fish are starting to stage at the headwaters of their spawning grounds. One angler had a slower trip picking away at some yellow perch in the lower Susquehanna this week. They said that despite the slow bite, most of the fish were good size. More fish should start to show up as we head later into the month. When fishing the shallows, minnows or grass shrimp under a bobber work great. In deeper water, these same baits work well on bottom rigs. Make sure you have your gear ready, because when the run gets going, you won’t want to miss it.

Way North Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, February 2 Update:

Reports have started to trickle in from anglers targeting yellow perch on the upper Bay tribs. The fish have started to stage at the mouths of the tidal creeks and are being caught in just about all the upper Bay tidal rivers from the Magothy up to the Susquehanna. The lower Susquehanna, Northeast, Bush, and Elk Rivers all hold yellow perch and should have some available to catch right now. Searching around different creeks and deeper holes until you find a school of fish is the best tactic. Live minnows floated under bobbers or dropping down small soft plastic jigs work great. If you find a thick school of perch, it can lead to a fun day of steady catching. The fish are still in pre-spawn mode, but we will make sure to let you know when they start running.

perch fishing in winter
Yellow gold is showing up in the usual winter haunts.

The Susquehanna River is still running high and muddy this week. The Conowingo Dam has been releasing a lot of water into the river due to the amount of rainfall we have received this month. Conditions are unfishable in many locations and are expected to remain that way for quite some time. Luckily, there are some freshwater fishing opportunities thanks to trout stocking efforts from Maryland DNR. Howards Pond in Cecil County and Stansbury Park Pond in Baltimore County were both stocked this week. Make sure to check the Maryland DNR trout stocking website for up-to-date information.