Upper Bay Fishing Reports

Upper Bay Fishing Reports presented by Riverside Marine

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report April 18 Update:

If you or your opening day crew are fair-weather fishers, this weekends’ forecast is probably causing much dismay. Rain, high winds, and strong gusts creating choppy conditions for opening day are not what we were hoping for. Unfortunately, on top of that all of our sources reported that keeper-sized rockfish have been relatively scarce in the Chesapeake’s upper reaches, to the point that we don’t have any specific areas to recommend. To be fair, however, we need to point out that wind the past few days has been keeping boats that would normally be scouting out their best bet for an opening day trophy off the water. Hopefully the lack of boats that left the dock this week is contributing to why so few fish have been caught. Fishbone’s reported that a keeper-sized fish was caught (and released) by an angler who was going after perch and catfish, using blood worms on a bottom rig on the Bay’s western side. If you’re unsure of which areas are off-limits for fishing entirely, which are open for catch-and-release only, and which are open for catch-and-keep, check out the Maryland Striped Bass Regulations Interactive Map. (It’s pretty dang easy to use and very well-designed. Pat on the back, to whoever works on that for the DNR). On the Eastern Shore, the snakehead bite has been on fire. See the Tangier and Lower Shore report, for more details. There are also snakes being checked in on this side of the bridge, and they’ve been reported with regularity coming from Back River – where there’s also been an excellent bite going for very large carp on dough balls and corn.

monster carp
Think there are some monster carp swimming around in Back River? Um... YEAH! Kevin Donahue caught this beast on corn.

Finally, many anglers have been targeting catfish that are abundant throughout the Bay and tribs this week. Tochterman’s reported North Point State Park, Sandy Point State Park, and Fort Armstead have all been hotspots. Clyde’s Sport Shop suggested heading to Sandy Point, Downs Park, Fort Smallwood Park, or the Nanticoke, where the bite has been particularly hot. Cut menhaden and bloodworm on bottom rigs have been the most common baits, and white perch leaving their spawning grounds have been present as well. Fishbones reported that many of the whites are being caught in the Magothy are in very shallow water up the creeks, most easily accessed by kayaks.

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report April 11 Update:

With rockfish season barely a week away, we wish the striper report was a bit more consistent. Although across the Bay some anglers are catching stripers, the number of boats landing schoolies has been limited and the number landing trophies has been low. The fishing seems to be hit or miss, with the guys doing the catching being a vocal minority on social media. Tochterman’s is reporting that fishing for stripers has been so up and down that it’s difficult to nail down where the hotspots have been. This is in large part because the fish that are around have been moving and moving fast. In addition, the guys catching are unwilling to share where the heck that 44-inch fish pictured on Facebook came from – leaving us whose rods have remained un-bent to squint at the shoreline and speculate. Even though there hasn’t been any one area remarkably more consistent than another, quite a few reports are coming from the warm water discharges in the Patapsco. The Bay Bridge is also holding fish, though no biggies have been in the reports from the few jiggers out there. And if you want to give fly fishing for stripers a try, remember that Tochterman’s new fly shop grand opening is on May 18 – but they welcome you to come see their much-anticipated addition before then, too.

carp fishing
Johnny Unkart proves his dad isn't the only guy who can win a bet - and catches a whopper carp, in the process.

Meanwhile, there are several other options to ponder. Carp fishing is off the hook in the Back River right now, including some beasts up to 24 pounds. Corn and dough-balls are the best baits. White perch have remained a hot option for anglers looking to come home with a panfish dinner even as their location has changed – they’re running strong around North Point, Rocky Point, and Mariner Point. Most anglers are using blood worm, grass shrimp, or shad darts. Fishbone’s suggested spending the extra buck and splurging on blood worms over grass shrimp, as fishermen using blood worms have found them to be more productive. Guys fishing these areas using night crawlers are reporting that they’re primarily being eaten by catfish, which are prevalent throughout the Chesapeake and its tributaries right now. Blood worms on a bottom rig have also been the best bait for perch in the upper Chester, but anglers using live minnow in Millington have had crappie and even some snakehead in the mix.

With the weather warming up, perch are beginning to make their way out of spawning areas and downriver, while rockfish are heading up the Bay to their spawning areas further north. As the numbers of perch in the upper reaches of the tribs is abating, many anglers have headed to the mouths of the rivers in hopes of hooking up yellows, whites, or channel catfish, which have been throughout the Upper Bay and its tributaries. Tochterman’s reported that most guys are using minnows on bottom rigs, with the occasional grass shrimp or blood worm chunk in the mix. Going after catfish has meant bringing cut chicken breast, gizzard, or menhaden. The mouth of the Magothy and the Chester have been particularly hot. We also heard about a bite in Back River this week, with big carp, catfish, and even a snakehead all reported in the mix.

upper chesapeake bay yellow perch
The perch run is winding down, but it's still possible to catch 'em up with some effort.

Although the pre-season rockfish bite has been slow at best, most anglers who are having any catch-and-release fishing have been finding themselves hooking up with mid-range fish in these areas. Jiggers are opting to use a white or chartreuse ounce to ounce and a half jig head, with large BKD lures or similar plastics. This tactic has been popular around the Bay Bridge pilings as well, where fish in the 20-inch range are being caught off the pilings. Those targeting a pre-season trophy have been trolling the channel, with limited success.

Many anglers are also running over the Bridge to hit the Blackwater system or the upper tributaries of the Tangier Sound, to fish for snakeheads. Warm days have been setting that bite on fire recently, especially for those fishing jumbo minnow under a bobber. The FishTalk crew ran over there for a visit on Sunday and had an awesome adventure while filming this how-to snakehead fishing video. Check it out, if you think a snake hunt is in order!

March 1, 2019
Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, March 28, 2019 Update: With yellow perch ending their spawn and readying to depart, white perch are moving up the tributaries to replace them. The Magothy has begun to provide a steady white perch fishery, with… Read more...
February 1, 2019
Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, February 21, 2019 Update: As we’re starting to move into warmer weather patterns and (dare we hope!) the beginning of spring is on the horizon, the yellow perch run in upper regions of the Chesapeake has begun.… Read more...
January 4, 2019
Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, January 25, 2019 Update: Conditions for the past week were poor, with high winds, sketchy ice in many sections of the rivers especially coves and creeks, and traveling onto the waters of our local tributaries… Read more...