Way Northern Chesapeake Fishing Report, November, 2019

Way North Fishing Reports presented by Clyde's Sports Shop 

Way North Fishing Report, November 29, 2019 Update:

Catfish have been the craze in the Chesapeake’s northernmost region recently, with the striper bite seriously slowing down. Clyde’s reported that the cats are everywhere, accessible for shoreline and boat anglers. As usual they’ll eat anything tossed to them, but prefer cut menhaden or chicken breast.

big catfish caught fishing
Stripers may be getting scarce, but fat cats are still willing to play.

If you’re an angler eager to get in on the very last bit of striper season, Clyde’s recommended heading south to the mouth of the Magothy and dropping lines. The fleet has been catching some fish rigging tandem rigs with Stingsilvers and 18 to 20 inches up the line, attaching feather jigs. Fishbone’s reported that anglers trolling have been having scattered success too, pulling large BFGs and Blue Water Candy lures. Although some boats still using bucktails, most of the fleet has abandoned them.

Way North Fishing Report, November 22, 2019 Update:

Fishing is beginning to slow down with dropping water temperatures and blustery days, but fish are still showing up. Besides, chilly days on the water make for the perfect opportunity to get out the thermos, brew some coffee, and enjoy serene views of our Chesapeake country. The Conowingo Dam pool is beginning to see a drop in the action that had remained steady throughout the fall. Herb’s reported that the striped bass bite is now mostly limited to morning hours, when anglers tossing soft plastics and topwater plugs are doing well as the sun rises. Most have been schoolie-sized, with a couple larger outliers. Clyde’s Sport Shop reported the bulk of the keeper bite is coming from channel edges on the Flats and heading south throughout the open Bay. Larger fish are down low and can best be reached by jigging or trolling. Most anglers right now are favoring jigging six-inch white, chartreuse, and pearl Gulp! and BKD lures on a half-ounce jig head. Keeping a depth finder on to locate and target the fish has been essential, especially for jiggers.

striped bass angler holding up fish
Most of the fish are on the small side, but plenty of keepers can be found!

Trollers are benefiting from the stripers' taste for bucktails with plastic shad, and umbrella rigs weighted down with inline weights. It’s been super important to keep your rigs close to bottom where the bigger fish are resting. Regardless of how you’re choosing to target the stripers, make sure to be on the lookout for birds. Plenty of the catch right now is coming to anglers who have been diligent watching for them and jigged underneath fish boiling on the surface.

Anglers going after catfish are doing exceptionally well hitting the mouths of rivers and throughout local creeks. Catfish aren’t picky, and will eagerly take chicken breast or menhaden. If you’re cruising the rivers in search of catfish or perch, dropping bloodworms on a bottom rig in a deep area – perch have completely abandoned the shallows at this point – is a great opportunity, too.

Way North Fishing Report, November 14, 2019 Update:

Wintry weather is finally upon us, and while you may be a bit cold on the water, the fishing is still hot. The Conowingo Dam, Susquehanna Flats, and the lower river remain the best areas in the northernmost parts of the Bay, by far. Throughout the day, tossing soft plastics far into the dam pool is providing plenty of schoolie stripers. The best time to be fishing has been morning time at the dam and on the Flats. The topwater bite has been hot in both locations, too, and Clyde’s added that the Key Bridge area has had a fairly good topwater bite as well. Six-inch white, chartreuse, and pearl Gulp! and BKD lures on a half-ounce jig head have been doing especially well. Herb’s suggested keeping a depth finder on to locate schools of stripers near the bottom around the channel edges. Trollers are also taking advantage of the bite, and many are scoring larger fish off the bottom with bucktails, spoons, and hoses.

huge rockfish in the susquehanna
While the bulk of the catch may be schoolies, intrepid angler Dave McCollum proved there are some bigger fish around, too.

Anglers not choosing to target the stripers have been enjoying a hefty catfish bite – the cats are chunky and easy to get on the end of your line with cut bait. They’ve been strewn throughout the Chesapeake, but are especially heavy in the Susquehanna right now. Shore-bound anglers, in particular, are enjoying their presence due to their accessibility. White perch have become trickier targets if you’re stuck on land. Many have moved into deeper water throughout local creeks and mouths of rivers, but anglers who have gotten out to them report that the bite is great.

Way North Fishing Report, November 8, 2019 Update:

Consistent fishing at the Conowingo Dam and throughout the Susquehanna continues to keep anglers satisfied with the fall catch. Although the Conowingo Dam pool is currently experiencing high water levels, the fishing hasn’t tapered off or slowed down. Schoolie stripers and plenty of fat cats are still coming out of the pool, with the area near the generator still providing the biggest chunk of the catch. In the morning, casting topwater is the best tactic for the stripers by far. Clyde’s Sport Shop reported that although early in the day has been the best time to fish, the bite later in the day is picking up for anglers choosing to lob soft plastics far into the Dam pool. Six-inch white, chartreuse, and pearl Gulp! and BKD lures on a half-ounce jig head have been doing especially well. Although most stripers are schoolies, a few larger fish have been in the mix.

winter rockfish
Bundle up, and get those rock while you still can!

Boats hitting the channel edges to troll and jig have been having more success landing keepers – plenty of fish hitting or exceeding the limit are coming out of deep water. Jigging the Flats is producing as is trolling the eastern side of the Flats.

Anglers choosing not to focus on the fall rockfish bite continue to enjoy the hefty and consistent catfish bite throughout the region. Landing the cats remains easy for those equipped with clam snouts, cut menhaden, or chicken breast. Finding them hasn’t taken much effort, all over the northern Bay and tribs.

Although white perch are largely moving into deeper water, they can still be caught occasionally from shore. Blood worms on a bottom rig should do the trick. From here on out, though, parking the boat over channels, holes, and deep structure, or fishing from piers that reach deep, will be the best bets.

Way North Fishing Report, November 1, 2019 Update:

Not much has changed in the northernmost region of the Bay over the past week, with strong topwater bites at sunrise and sunset continuing to provide beautiful action, now accompanied by gorgeous fall weather and scenery. Clyde’s Sport Shop reported that most anglers have been heading to the Conowingo Dam as the sun breaks the horizon to get in on the best part of the bite, but noted that fish are now hitting lures throughout the day. This remains especially true when they’re cast far into the dam pool and near the generation unit. Although earlier in the day topwater has been ruling the catch, anglers tossing soft plastics later are having a fair bit of success but the vast majority of fish are still undersized. Despite maybe not being providing dinner for the day, they’re providing relentlessly exciting action.

fishing way north
The dam remains a top destination, for both stripers and catfish.

For anglers who have had grown tired of catching schoolies at the dam, tossing clam snouts, chicken breast, and cut menhaden on the bottom for catfish is an enticing option. Catfish pulled out of the pool have been pretty chunky, and are available throughout the day. Catfish action is also heavy throughout the Susquehanna Flats and the Tribs. With a revived topwater bite on the Flats, targeting schoolies at daybreak and then switching to catfish has been common. Cruising these areas in search of stripers suspended along channel edges has been productive as well, and once you locate the school it’s easy to jig them up. Herb’s reported that while most have been undersized, a surprising number of fish just hitting the keeper mark or exceeding it are mixed in.

White perch are continuing their procession into deeper waters, so shoreline anglers should get out and stock up for winter now.