Middle Bay Fishing Reports

Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, March 1 Update:

RED ALERT for Perch Anglers: We have received multiple phone calls and emails this week about anglers perch fishing with minnow on bottom rigs (in tidal areas) being issued warnings by the NRP for not “live lining” with circle hooks. Please spread the word, if you fish minnow for perch this weekend with shad darts or standard bottom rigs you are at risk of being cited!!! Even more important, when we reached out to the DNR about this we were told large numbers of floating/dead perch were spotted when and where this occurred. Since this is certainly not the norm we worry something else may be amiss - if you are out there fishing this weekend and see a fish kill occurring it should be reported to the Maryland Department of the Environment hotline, 800/285-8195.

white perch showing up early
White perch already? We had readers check in this week with reports of them showing up on the spawning grounds.

Both yellow and white perch have begun showing signs of spawning, and are beginning to show up in shallow areas upriver of their pre-spawn wintering grounds. Minnow on tiny bucktails and darts were doing the trick, but we don’t know that there are any with circle hooks which would satisfy this new form of rule interpretation/enforcement. One reader mentioned that the whites he’s beginning to see are hammers in the 12-plus inch range. Contributor Eric Packard hit the Patuxent near Jug Bay early this week but didn’t have minnow, and said he caught blue cats up to 28” on cut menhaden. He also spoke with several other boats but only one had found a lone perch and the other’s catches were all catfish.

The striped bass action in the Middle Bay picked back up this week with many light tackle anglers finding success. Fish have been found anywhere from Chesapeake Beach to the Choptank and down to the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. Open water jigging in 40 to 70 feet of water has produced the best results. There were even reports of bird shows picking back up giving away the location of the fish. One reader wrote in to let us know they got out for the stripers last weekend and found schools of fish in the lower Middle Bay. They mentioned that fish were glued to the bottom and preferred a subtle jigging technique over more aggressive retrieves. They didn’t catch any giants, but fish ranged from 18 to 32 inches. Certainly, a good day of striper fishing for February.

The catch and release striped bass fishing regulations are getting stricter as we head into March. The main stem of the Bay is still open for catch and release fishing, but many of the rivers will be closed to targeting striped bass. In the middle Bay, the Choptank River and Patuxent River are closed to targeting. The main stem of the Bay will remain open to catch and release fishing from the Brewerton Channel to the Virginia line, including the Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. Maps of the open and closed areas can be found on the Maryland DNR website.

November 3, 2023
Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, November 24 Update: The Angler in Chief says there are plenty of spots with bird action, including just south of Poplar Island, the mouth of the Choptank, outside of Franklin Manor, and off the Chesapeake Beach… Read more...
October 5, 2023
Middle Chesapeake Bay fishing report, October 27 Update: Summer is trying to make a return with near record high temperatures hitting the region late this week and over the weekend. The heat is going to make for some excellent fishing days. AIC… Read more...
September 1, 2023
Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, September 29 Update: AIC Lenny Rudow reports that there were bluefish boiling water near Poplar Island before all this wind set in, and they were a better class of fish than we’ve seen in recent years with two… Read more...