Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, May 2021

Upper Bay Fishing Reports presented by Riverside Marine

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, May 28 Update:

White perch have moved in around the docks and shoreline structure on the western shore, and many readers are reporting getting them on grass shrimp on bottom rigs and small twisters and spinnerbaits. Tochterman’s confirmed that they’re hanging around the creeks, and mentioned that Beetle Spins have been an excellent lure for landing them. They also mentioned that shoreline anglers have been enjoying the bite — with plenty of perch around near-shore structure, they’re easy to find and cast to.

kid caught a white perch
The white perch are around and some anglers are VERY psyched about it!!

Chummers looking for rock are finding a few, but several readers let us know that it was catfish that put a bend in their rods. Spots that got a mention were the Key Bridge zone, Seven Foot Knoll, and Podickory. Tochterman’s echoed this, noting that it’s near impossible to chum without catching cats right now. They suggested trolling or jigging to deal with the catfish overload.

Crabbing report: We’ve heard from locals on the Magothy that even in upriver areas the crabs have come on in the past week. Dock owners with pots have been getting two or three keepers a day. No confirmed reports from trot-liners as of yet.

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, May 21 Update:

Chummers using bunker have reported some success from areas above the bridge, with Podickory being the hotspot. Catches have been a mixed bag of catfish and stripers, with most of the rockfish coming in at the just-keeper to low-20-inch ranges but some of the catfish topping 10 pounds. The catfish-to-rock ratio seems to be running about three to one. At the bridge there has been some action, but most of the fish are just on the cusp of being legal or undersized. The fishing certainly isn’t as great as further south, however, there’s still plenty of action to be found. Catfish are making up for lulls in the striper bite for those using bait and there are so many around that a few have also been reported by trollers.

snakeheads in the magothy
The snakehead population explosion continues, with the latest catch of note coming from a creek off the Magothy — where five-year-old Lincoln caught an eight-pound, 12-ouncer!

Stripers, catfish, and white perch have all come up around the Key Bridge. The mixed bag of species is drawing anglers to the area, which produced plenty of catches in the past week. Just like near the Bay Bridge, most of the stripers are undersized or slightly above the limit. There were also reports of catfish caught in Stoney Creek, Gravelly Point, and Smallwood, including large ones. Speaking of large - check out that monster Lincoln caught! Snakehead reports from just about all the trib creeks from the Magothy to Back River have remained consistent and most anglers who are targeting them are not being disappointed. If you catch snakes or blue cats, don't forget to register for the Great Chesapeake Invasives Count (which takes all of 30 seconds) and snap off a picture - this month's prizes include 10 $25 gift certificates to Island Tackle Outfitters, and that would be a sweet win for just going fishing and taking a picture of the catch!

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, May 14 Update:

Striper reports in the Upper Bay right now are just “meh” for trophies at the moment but there are still a few leaving the water. The good news is that anglers who are hitting Podickory, the Key Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and Snake Reef have reported plenty of mid-range fish that’ll fall into keeper territory when the size limit drops to 19-inches on the 16th. Just remember if you’re headed out this weekend, you’ve gotta use non-offset circle hooks when live-lining or chumming and and targeting striped bass. All the places mentioned above should be producing fish over the 19-inch mark, and have seen some in the upper 20s. Trollers are producing larger fish, although they’ve been fewer. The Love Point area and the channel between 38 and 42 feet of water are best for trollers right now, according to Fishbones. Most guys are pulling tandems or umbrellas dressed with white and chartreuse. White is the standout color this season, and has easily brought in the most keeper fish.

big blue catfish in the upper bay
Junior keeps reeling up fatties, this one from Sandy Point.

In other news, catfish can still be found in the Harbor area, as well as by the Key Bridge and at Podickory. They’ve been chunky this year, and are a nice surprise when striper fishing is slow. Soaking fresh cut menhaden or white perch is popular right now. If you’re looking for the freshest of fresh bait, heading out early for white perch is a solid bet. The catfish are loving them and you’ll have some extra fish in the cooler.

For those who tried to tune in to Live With Lenny last night we apologize for the technical difficulties, evidently we broke the internets. The show has been rescheduled for next Wednesday evening at 5:00 p.m. when we'll have a striper season update and discuss targeting invasive species like snakeheads and blue cats with David Sikorski from the CCA.

Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, May 7 Update:

We did receive multiple reader reports of success on trophies in the Love Point zone, the only area north of the bridges we heard about to produce catches. Most were single fish but a couple of doubles were also mentioned, with white tandems producing most of the catch. Chummers looking for trophies reported a decent catfish bite plus a few undersized fish in the vicinity of Podickory. Tochterman’s had a similar report, mentioning plenty of undersized fish being caught but a lack of keepers. Midweek, we had some readers report that nice fish were caught in the 40-inch class between Love and the Dumping Grounds. White tandems and a #19 Tony spoon did the trick. Additionally, white perch have moved into the Key Bridge area and harbor where they’ve been accessible to anglers fishing with bottom rigs and bloodworms.

upper bay striper trophy season
Dave picked up his first trophy, a 39.5-incher, in the shadows of the Bay Bridges.

If you struck out on trophies last weekend during the Maryland Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River rockfish season openers, don’t feel bad — you weren’t alone, and not by a longshot. We ran an informal poll in multiple Facebook groups to find out the ratio of boats that came home with versus without fish (though we note that several anglers did report releasing their trophy-sized fish, and for that folks, you have our kudos). After asking folks to report on the number of keepers they caught including skunk trips, waiting for the posts to remain up for 24 hours, and counting keeper fish only (multiple boats did report undersized fish), here are the results: 18 boats reported catching two or more trophies, 44 boats reported catching one trophy, and 113 boats reported a skunk in the box.