Fishing reports published in print are generalized and weeks may have passed before the report gets into your hands, so for timely up-to-date reports, visit our Fishing Reports online. Current reports will be published every Friday by noon — just in time for your weekend fishing adventures. In the meantime, here’s our monthly prognostication.
COASTAL FISHING FORECAST
January may not be known as the best month of the year for coastal fishing, but there are still a few bites to get in on and you’ll have very little competition to worry about. Visit one of the inshore wrecks and drop down some green crab or white leggers, and there’s a good chance a tautog will pounce. There’s also a shot that some ocean-run stripers will decide to hang out within the three-mile federal limit — who knows, they could even decide to take a winter vacation at the beach and give some surf casters a serious thrill.
FRESHWATER FISHING FORECAST
Just how cold will it get this month? There’s a fair chance at finding some hard water during January, and those who are geared up for ice fishing will be chomping at the bit. If it stays a bit warmer, on the other hand, we can count on a solid bite for pickerell, plus some bass and crappie, in the Eastern Shore millponds. Speaking of the Eastern Shore, this time of year is when the tidal rivers shine for pickerel, perch, bass, and crappie. Look for channels and holes, drop down darts with bull minnow, or fish minnow under a bobber. And don’t forget about those trout; stocked locations will see little traffic but the fish will still bite on nymphs and bead-heads.
WAY NORTH FISHING FORECAST
While many parts of the Chesapeake grow quiet at this time of year, the areas where the mighty Susquehanna meets the Bay can have downright epic winter fishing. Yellow perch are a main winter target but in recent times blue catfish have become an attraction, too. Fish cut bait for the cats, and minnow on darts tied in tandem for the perch.
UPPER BAY FISHING FORECAST
Many fishermen may be staying indoors most of this month, but pickerel anglers will be heading to the Upper Bay tribs and Baltimore-area creeks. From the Magothy up to Stony Creek in particular, pickerel have been on the upswing for several years running with bigger and bigger fish caught each season. Stick with lures that have some flash or give live minnow a shot. Added bonus: if you fish the docks there’s a fair chance of picking up a yellow perch or two as well.
MIDDLE BAY FISHING FORECAST
Will those monster rockfish show up again this winter? It’s anyone’s guess, but if it happens you’ll want to get in on the action so stay tuned to the reports. Otherwise, we’d expect pickerel fishing to be front and center. The one exception will likely be fishing the powerplant… and we all know how fun that can get!
LOWER BAY FISHING FORECAST
This zone could also see a rush from those winter stripers, but as always it’s a roll of the dice at best. There will still be plenty to go for, though. The most reliable bite will be found upriver in the tribs, where the monster blue cats roam. Last year we had some reports of awesome catches in the middle of January, including some fish topping the 40-pound mark from the James and the Rap. Look for those deep holes and channels, and drop down the chunks of mud shad or bunker.
TANGIER, POCOMOKE, AND LOWER SHORE FISHING FORECAST
At this time of year fishing in the Sounds may go quiet, but the tributary rivers get red hot. The Pocomoke is always a highlight but the Nanticoke and Wicomico can turn on as well. Look for pickerel all over the place, bass and crappie along the drop-offs, and yellow perch deep in the channels.
WAY SOUTH CHESAPEAKE FISHING FORECAST
Dare we hope that the weather remains mild enough for a midwinter speckled trout and redfish bite? It’s no sure thing, but judging from the past few years it’s a distinct possibility. There’s also a chance those monster stripers will set up shop in this neck of the woods. And you never know, if it’s mild enough that the water stays in the upper 40s there could even be a tog bite at the CBBT. But of course, it’s all riding on the weatherman (argh!).