Way North Fishing Reports

Way North Chesapeake Fishing Report, July 30 Update:

Everyone’s surely looking forward to being able to catch rockfish once again starting August first. Until then, however, perch, catfish, and snakeheads are the only games in town. We heard from readers having snakish success this week in the Havre de Grace area, with catfish action taking place in the deeper areas surrounding the flats and up in the river near the 95 bridge. Cut fish or chicken livers work just fine.

chesapeake blue cats
Rich Gray encountered this monster creature on cut bait fished near Port Deposit.

Perch have been a bit finicky with the weather, sticking to deeper or shaded areas once the sun is high in the sky. Spinners and small spinnerbaits are great in the shallower areas, and lugworms or grass shrimp do the trick on bottom rigs in deeper waters.

Way North Chesapeake Fishing Report, July 22 Update:

Without stripers, most action up north has been catfish related. The Conowingo Dam Pool continues to produce an exceptional number of cats for shoreline and boat anglers. They’re happy to slurp up chicken liver and cut menhaden or gizzard shad. Clyde’s reported that the Flats bite has been good as well.  

They may not be the prettiest fish in the world, but while the rock are out, the cats are IN! 

Up the rivers, white perch are still providing plenty of action. The best time to go after them remains mornings and evenings, due to a midday stall when temps are high. Perch Pounders and bottom rigs baited with bloodworms (if you can get them), shrimp, or FishBites are popular.  

Way North Chesapeake Fishing Report, July 16 Update:

STRIPER ALERT: as of the publishing of this report on July 16th, striped bass fishing will be closed in Maryland through the end of the month. This includes targeting them for catch and release fishing. We have received many reader requests for more detailed information about the closure, such as specific lures or tactics that may or may not be used, but we can’t expand beyond the DNR’s latest guidance and unfortunately have no further information on how the state will determine enforcement of the regulations. The best we can do is to suggest taking all reasonable measures to comply with the law while enjoying your pursuit of other species.

catfish fishing in the bay
Vitu and Kondwa found some big ‘ol blue cats on the Sassafras. Nice job, guys!

The Conowingo Dam was a fan favorite this week, providing plenty of striped bass before the closure. Most reported in to Clyde’s were schoolies, but there were plenty of them to keep action going strong. As they’ve closed out, we’re expecting that many anglers will be shifting their attention to catfish around the dam pool. And fortunately, this week saw the steady stream of cat catches continue. Many guys who were targeting them managed to hook up on multiple fish throughout the day. The most impressive catches we heard of this week were a few cats in the mid-30s, caught on cut baits on the bottom. The same is true on the Flats right now, although Flats-going anglers will be missing out on the awesome topwater striped bass bite morning had been bringing. Hopefully the fish will stick around for another few weeks!!!

In the Tribs, perch remain a stable staple. Tochterman’s let us know that the northern tribs have a strong perch run going, primarily around structure and creek edges. Occasionally, they’ve been hiding out in deeper pockets and holes, however, water temps are high right now and for the most part fish are sticking to shaded areas.

Way North Chesapeake Fishing Report, July 9 Update:

Hello, northern anglers - just as with the bulk of June, the Chesapeake’s northernmost waters continue to provide while areas further south have fallen victim to stagnant bites. Tochterman’s reported that many anglers are making the trip up north to enjoy the excellent bite that the Conowingo Dam Pool is putting on. So, so, so many chunky catfish were retrieved from the area this week on cut baits. We’re expecting that when striper season shuts down on July 16th, there will be a shift in focus towards other species, including and especially the cats. If that’s your plan, now would be a good time to head out and hone in on their patterns before the water gets crowded up there. Stripers are still a-okay to target for now though, and many guys are absolutely loving the topwater bite right now. The Dam Pool provides an excellent one early in the morning and as the sun sets, as does the Flats. The Flats are a go-to for many topwater savvy fishermen and those who are simply trying to beat the afternoon heat by tapping into the methods of the early morning bite. Still, no area is holding as many rockfish at the Poole's lumps/Tolchester/Hodges zone. Countless anglers are zeroing in on this destination from up and down the Bay. Just be forewarned: while there's a mass of fish here, there's also a mass of boats! 

big worm fishing
Anglers are coming from the north, south, and all around to get in on the bite in the Poole's/Tolchester/Hodges area - including this happy crew on the Big Worm. Photo courtesy of Capt. Drew Payne

As for the perch, most rivers, creeks, and coves are enjoying an abundance of them. Just about anywhere you can find to park up and soak a bottom rig or toss a Perch Pounder should be getting hits, given that you aren’t fishing an exposed area during the crushing afternoon heat.

For all you snakehead-hunting anglers— Tochterman’s let us know of an awesome opportunity for kayaking and boating anglers to go fishing while helping clean the Bay of invasive species… and to win some cash! The first-annual Snakehead Bash is being held on August 14th, 2021 at Flying Point Park in Edgewood, Maryland. While there is a payout for the tournament, the snakeheads caught must be turned in dead and the DNR will examine the stomach contents of the presented fish. This will give the DNR a chance to perform their fisheries science magic that benefits recreational anglers fishing the Chesapeake area, given that the snakes feed on our most beloved species including largemouth bass and white perch. Additionally, proceeds from the tournament will be used to acquire DNR-approved largemouth bass, which will then be used to restock the Middle River. Here’re the double-double bonuses: there’s a $1,000 prize for first place kayak angler and a $2,000 prize for first place boat. Almost better? They’ll have a chef on hand to prepare these delicious invasives. Entries are limited and must be in by August 1, so act fast if you want in.

Way North Chesapeake Fishing Report, July 2 Update:

Sarge’s Bait and Tackle was buzzing about the big, big blue catfish across Flats and in the rivers this week, taking pretty much any sort of cut bait. Herb’s echoes this report and also says to look for them in the deeper channels. Many anglers, however, are still focused on the striper bite. It’s mostly a morning topwater thing on the Flats and they’ve been finicky during daytime, when spinners and other subsurface lures can still earn some hits. There have also been largemouth bass mixed into the catch at the Flats, for some anglers. Many anglers looking to fill the box with stripers are still running down to the Poole's Island zone, where there's a better pick on keeper fish.

catching rochfish
Dylan, Carson, and Payson racked up a nice catch fishing the northern Bay, including a mix of stripers and catfish.

Rockfish are also still at the dam pool, and Tochtermans mentioned that some guys have been catching 30-plus fish in a day. Many are throwbacks but there are some keepers in the mix and again, the best action is usually at dawn and dusk.

June 4, 2021
Way North Chesapeake Fishing Report, June 24 Update: This week continued the trend of excellent reports from the Susquehanna Flats: as many stripers have moved far, far north, they’re covering them. Sarge’s reported that the stripers are happy to… Read more...
May 7, 2021
Way North Fishing Report, May 28 Update: Well, when there’s stripers on the Flats, that may be where you’re headed! This week anglers continued to catch keeper stripers across the Susquehanna Flats and in the Dam pool, although the Flats are… Read more...
April 2, 2021
Way North Fishing Report, April 28 Update: Catfish! Catfish! Catfish! Old Mr. Whiskers is still eating just about anything dropped to the bottom in the dam pool, near the 95 bridge, and on the flats. We also had reader reports of good catfish… Read more...