Way North Fishing Reports
Way North Chesapeake Fishing Report, May 26 Update:
Largemouth bass are in post-spawn mode in the northern tribs, and we had a couple of reports of fantastic action in the Northeast and in the Gunpowder, including the beautiful catch pictured here before the fish were released. Post-spawn fish will be feeding hard to build up their body reserves again. Water temperatures are in the 60s so the bass should remain active throughout the day. Along with the bass, there is some great snakehead fishing going on in the upper Bay tidal tributaries. Anglers are enjoying good fishing at the Conowingo Dam and at the Susquehanna Flats. White paddletails have seemed to be the hot lure recently but the snakeheads will also hit crankbaits, spinners, and topwater lures.
Anglers targeting rockfish at the Susquehanna Flats have been finding some success now that the season is open. We heard of a report from a few anglers who went out for a late afternoon trip targeting rockfish on the western side of the Flats. They were jigging in four to 12 feet of water and caught 31 fish between 16 to 24 inches. The bigger fish were hitting just after sunset. Currently the Susquehanna Flats has a rockfish slot of 19 to 26 inches where anglers can keep one fish per day. There are still areas in the upper Bay that are closed to targeting rockfish while other areas are catch and release only. Maps of the open and closed areas to targeting striped bass can be found on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.
Blue catfish are biting good this week throughout tidal waters and can be caught while bait fishing or jigging. Dropping down chunks of fresh menhaden on fish finder rigs will likely get the catfish biting but there is also a good chance of picking up a rockfish while drifting these baits too. There will likely be a lot of boat traffic during the holiday weekend but getting away from the crowds to less disturbed waters will increase your chances of catching fish.
Way North Chesapeake Fishing Report, May 19 Update:
Largemouth bass fishing on the Susquehanna Flats has picked up this week as water conditions have improved. Last weekend was the third tournament for the Susquehanna Flats Trail and there were some impressive bags brought to weigh in. The top three fishing duos all had bags over 20 pounds. Anglers Todd Corry and Rob Toti Jr. brought in the winning bag weighing 24 pounds three ounces. They also landed the big fish of the day at six pounds, four ounces. Along with the bass, snakeheads are entertaining anglers throughout this region. The snakeheads are very active and striking baits in the tidal rivers, creeks, and at the Conowingo Dam. Paddletails tend to be one of the favorite lure choices but large minnows under a bobber work well also.
On the topic of catfish: more big blue catfish are being reported from the Perryville area, including one this week pushing up close to the 40-inch mark. Catch ‘em up, people, pull those beasts out of the water! White perch are also still plentiful this week in the areas around Havre De Grace and Perryville. Those fishing from shore are doing well casting out bottom rigs baited with bloodworms. Perch have also shown up below the Conowingo Dam and there are still a few shad hanging out too. Things are looking good in the upper Bay, so make sure to get out there.
The Susquehanna Flats rockfish season opened on Tuesday this week, but there is still a closed section of the Bay below the Flats. It is a good idea to check out the striped bass regulation maps on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website to avoid any confusion. Anglers are allowed to keep one fish per day between 19 and 26 inches on the Susquehanna Flats until the end of the month. We didn’t receive any reports from anglers targeting rockfish, but we expect some reports to start rolling in after this weekend. A popular technique is to chunk for these fish. Throwing out cut menhaden or peeler crab works well and you can often pick up a steady mix of rockfish and blue cats.
Way North Chesapeake Fishing Report, May 12 Update:
Fishing near the Flats was difficult last week due to rain and the outflow from the dam that stained the water. Now that the waters have started to settle, white perch have moved into this region in droves. Bank fishermen are doing very well at the Havre De Grace lighthouse and the Lock House. An angler fishing the pier just to the left of the lighthouse reported that he couldn’t keep the perch off his hooks last Saturday. He was able to catch between 20 and 25 on night crawlers. Another report came in from the near the Lock House earlier in the week. It appeared the perch were the only fish biting, but one fisherman nearly filled a bucket, also catching them on night crawlers. Boats heading out of Lapidum are finding the perch as well from the boat ramp up to the Route 40 Bridge. Bloodworms and night crawlers are catching fish with equal success.
Herb’s Tackle Shop told us that snakehead fishing has improved greatly in the upper Bay as warm temperatures have returned this week. Anglers fishing at the Conowingo Dam are doing well casting crankbaits and paddletails. Almost all tidal creeks and rivers on the upper Bay have snakeheads that you can catch with enough time and effort. Home in on grassy areas, pad fields, and other structures where the snakes will be waiting to ambush bait. Topwater baits have been working especially well since they are in pre-spawn mode and are feeding aggressively. Remember to pause a few seconds after a strike before setting the hook, as the snakeheads love to short strike.
Our whiskered friends are always abundant in this region of the Bay and the big blue cats are entering spawning mode which means it is a great time to fish for them. Whether bank fishing or soaking baits from a boat, fresh cut menhaden works great to get the cats biting.
Important Notice: The Maryland Department of Natural Resources made an announcement regarding striped bass regulations this week. New regulations change the size limit for the striped bass recreational and charter boat summer and fall fishery for the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. Starting May 16th, 2023, the minimum size for striped bass is 19 inches and the maximum size for striped bass is 31 inches. Note that for the Susquehanna Flats and river areas, striped bass caught beginning May 16th must measure between 19 inches and 26 inches. All other rockfish regulations for the Bay remain the same. See Striped Bass Minimum Size Capped at 31 Inches-Update MD Regs for the latest news on this development.
Way North Chesapeake Fishing Report, May 5 Update:
Trophy striper season opened May first for the portion of the Bay below the Brewerton Channel, but the Susquehanna Flats is still closed to rockfish until May 16. Many of the big breeders have already headed out of the Bay but there should be a fair number of smaller fish around when the Flats open back up for rockfish. Maps of the rockfish regulations can be found on the Maryland DNR website. Wind and rain didn’t make fishing easy this week, especially on the Susquehanna. The waters should be starting to recede by now, but they will likely be stained for a few more days. The catfish bite continues to provide lots of action and big bends in the rod, and we heard there was a solid bite from a couple of readers fishing the lower Susquehanna in the past week. Dropping anchor over a channel edge or hole within sight of the 95 bridge and sinking bunker chunks to bottom is always a good move.
A reader fishing for tributary bass noted that they were feeding hard, and unlike the bass in some areas a bit farther south, had yet to begin spawning. He also mentioned that the evening bite was strong. Another angler said he resorted to bank fishing since the river was flooded out and had a great day. He was able to catch around a dozen catfish (mix of blues and channels), three snakeheads, some white perch, a slab crappie, and a four and a half pound largemouth. Fishing at the Conowingo Dam was great before the rain and an angler fishing the Dam on Monday said that they caught a few shad but that snakeheads were everywhere. Most were throwing Rat-L-Traps, but he noted that one angler was just netting the snakes as they came up to the surface. A security guard from the Dam made everyone leave around midafternoon because they were scheduled to open the dam due to all the rain. Fishing should start to get back to normal over the weekend and the forecast looks promising for hitting the water.
A major update to the coastal striped bass fishery was announced by The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Atlantic States Striped Bass Management Board who voted to take emergency action to reduce coastwide harvest of striped bass. This action requires states to lower the top end of the slot limit to 31 inches. Learn more about the measures in Striped Bass Maximum Size Capped.