Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, April 2021

Upper Bay Fishing Reports presented by Riverside Marine

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, April 28 Update:

The late start to trophy striper season begins tomorrow, people - sort of!! With gusts to 30 predicted for Saturday and small craft warnings likely to be extended through the day, it will probably be unfishable until Sunday morning. The limit is one fish per person at 35-inches or more. We wish we could share some intel about where the best bite is likely to be but since pre-fishing was shut down completely, in all honesty we have to say it’s anyone’s guess. What we can say for sure is that trolling umbrellas and tandems in white and chartreuse will be the main harvesting method. Light tackle anglers are likely to do best by sinking bunker chunks to the bottom, though in the Upper Bay as we all know, catfish will likely be doing most of the tugging. Anglers who couldn’t wait for rockfish to open up have been reporting a constant catfish bite from the Bridge clear up to the Conowingo dam pool with both blue and channel cats providing more or less nonstop action.

rockfish in upper bay
Let's hope the winds chill out enough to see something like THIS before the weekend ends!

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, April 23 Update:

Bunker chunks on bottom are catching plenty of catfish, including some big ones, in the main-stem Bay near tributary mouths. Salinity is still running on the low side (it’s below 8.0 clear down to Thomas Point) and the cats are making the best of the opportunity to feed out there while they can. Reader reports of good action via boat came from the mouth of the Magothy, Love Point, and the mouth of the Patapsco. Anglers casting from the shores of Sandy Point are also continuing to get ‘em, sometimes to the tune of 10 or more in a day. We’ve only heard a couple mentions of accidental rockfish jumping on the baits but remember to use circle hooks no matter what, and if you do start catching rockfish, be ready to move on to a different spot.

big upper bay catfish
Zach is back with one big, fat, Upper Bay cat!

Tochterman’s also suggested hitting up the Eastern Shore millponds, as catches other than catfish on this side of the Bay have been rather thin. The Baltimore Reservoirs have a good bass and pickerel bite right now, but not rivaling the freshwater action on the other shore.

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, April 16 Update:

The same story as the past few weeks is still happening in the Upper Bay right now, but the good news is we’re now only two weeks out from the start of striper season. Until then, anglers have been targeting channel cats, white perch, and now snakehead as well. Readers have reported snakes from the Gunpowder and Back River this week. While the snakeheads have lit up with warm weather, white perch have slowed down. We’re hearing fewer reports from the Eastern Shore, although some tribs still have a bite going. In those that do, anglers are reporting a large number of little white perch biting grass shrimp on darts, mixed in with some medium-sized fish.

upper bay blue catfish fishing
Garrett caught this 9.8-pound blue cat in Middle River. Photo courtesy of Carson Tyree

Catfish have been a prime target in the tribs and Bay alike — with plenty of hungry cats around, they’re a main focus right now with the Chester providing a highlight. We’ve also had solid reader reports of coolers filled with up to a dozen cats in the five to 15 pound range from open waters near Podickory Point, fishing bunker on bottom in 15 to 25 feet of water. Up in the rivers, shoreline anglers haven’t been hindered by their lack of water-mobility, and are still catching similar amounts of fish to boating anglers. They’re also enjoying a healthy variety of sizes right now. Keeping in line with the earlier parts of the season, most of the cats have been small to mid-sized with some whoppers mixed in.

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, April 9 Update:

Tocherman’s reported that with striper season closed down until May 1st, catfish remain the primary target in the Upper Bay. Channel cats are making up most of the catch, and aren’t hard to find. They’re spread pretty evenly across the Upper Bay and can be found in most tribs. Cut menhaden or chicken liver remain their favorite snacks. Easily available from the shore or by boat, they’ve cemented themselves as the most common catch these days. Tochterman’s also suggested heading to the Magothy or Chester if you’re looking to bring home a white perch dinner — while they can be found in most of the tribs, these two rivers are producing the fairest catch reports.

chesapeake cats
Look who's become ol' reliable, when rockfish are off-limits in the Upper Bay.

We’ll have more to report when striper season opens back up on May 1st, when the minimum size will be 35-inches and there will be a one fish per person per day limit. Until then, feel free to shoot us a report of what you’re catching at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you, as always!

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, April 2 Update:

Shoreline fishing from Sandy Point with bloodworms continued its hot streak the past week, producing a mix of stripers and catfish. Of course, as of April 1 you cannot fish for rockfish in the Upper Bay, but those cats still present a great target. If you want to go for ‘em, we’d suggest casting catfish-specific baits like chicken livers or gizzard shad, and using circle hooks just in case a striper accidentally grabs your catfish bait. If you do hook up a rockfish against your will, it’s probably a good move to release it in the water and asap without even pausing to take a picture. Tochterman’s echoed this, and added that if you’re looking to target the cats, heading to the Susquehanna would be a good move. Blue cats are abundant there and many anglers have been catching their PBs this spring.

upper bay catfish
Junior strikes again, pulling this hefty cat up onto the beach at Sandy Point.

Further up and throughout the tribs, we’re also seeing a healthy amount of white perch leaving the water. They’ve provided dinner and steady bites for many throughout the past couple weeks in some places on bloodworms on bottom rigs and in others on grass shrimp. The Chester has had an iffy perch bite, with hot and cold days.