Maryland fishing report: Wide choice of fishing fun available

By Keith Lockwood Special to Dorchester Banner
Posted 6/6/24

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland anglers have a wide choice of fishing adventures this week, whether in the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, or the fresh waters of our western counties. One thing that …

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Maryland fishing report: Wide choice of fishing fun available


ANNAPOLIS — Maryland anglers have a wide choice of fishing adventures this week, whether in the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, or the fresh waters of our western counties. One thing that many recall is the first fish they caught, which for many was the feisty bluegill sunfish.  

Maryland offers license-free fishing days for all state residents and visitors on June 8 and July 4. These annual events provide anyone a unique opportunity to explore the state’s diverse fishing without needing a fishing license, trout stamp or registration. It’s a great opportunity for anglers to introduce someone to fishing. 

Middle Bay

Anglers seeking striped bass in the middle Bay have been focusing quite a bit of fishing the shallower waters near structure with soft plastic jigs. Many believe the surge of bottlenose dolphins in the area is pushing them out of the main Bay. Those jigging and trolling also remark that they don’t know when they’ve seen so many cownose rays, which are constantly being snagged by jigs and trolled lures. The shallower areas around Thomas Point. Poplar Island, Eastern Bay, the mouth of the Choptank, and the Little Choptank are some of the best places to fish this week. Casting topwater poppers and paddletails are very popular. Most say a good running tide during the morning and evening hours offers the best fishing opportunities. Shallow water anglers are also delighted to find a mix of puppy drum and speckled trout near the mouth of the Little Choptank. 

Bay water temperatures at the Gooses are about 72 degrees this week and salinity values are low at 7.1 mg/l. To learn more about how water salinity and dissolved oxygen values are determined, check our Angler’s Log for an article titled “Measuring Salinity and Dissolved Oxygen in Water.”

White perch have moved into their typical summer habitat areas near the mouths of the tidal rivers and creeks. Oyster beds, deepwater dock piers, and breakwaters are great places to look for them. A bottom rig baited with grass shrimp, minnows or pieces of bloodworm is a good way to fish for them. During the morning and evening hours, working shorelines with small spinnerbaits, spinners and small soft plastic jigs is a fun way to fish for them. 

A mix of channel and blue catfish can be found in the region’s tidal rivers and can be caught on cut bait. Menhaden is one of the easiest baits to acquire at bait shops and its oily nature tends to draw catfish from afar. Chicken liver is a good substitute.

Lower Bay

Bluefish are becoming more common in the lower Bay and a few flounder are being caught along hard-bottom shoals next to the channels of the Pocomoke Sound and Point Lookout. 

There are always plenty of blue catfish to be caught in the Potomac, Patuxent and Nanticoke rivers. The Wicomico and Pocomoke rivers are also showing increasing numbers of blue catfish. Fresh cut menhaden is a bait that is hard to beat but alternatives such as chicken liver can work well.


Recreational crabbers report that they are seeing more crabs shedding recently and these hold promise in a couple of weeks for meaty crabs. Catches have been typical for this time of the year – a lot of the 5.5-inch crabs that were available have been caught so future shedding holds the key to better catches as the summer months progress. The larger crabs are coming from deeper waters in the range of 15 feet, while shallower waters hold a lot of smaller crabs.


In many areas Chesapeake channa (northern snakeheads) have regained their appetite after spawning – as if they ever lost it – and are crashing topwater lures. Buzzbaits, frogs, chatterbaits with soft plastic trailers and the ever-essential white paddletail account for some outstanding catches in the tidal rivers of the Chesapeake. The Middle, Bush, Patapsco and Susquehanna have been real hotspots lately for large fish. The many tidal creeks of the lower Eastern Shore also hold large numbers.

Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays

Surf anglers have had to deal with some heavy surf conditions recently, but things seem to be settling down and allowing rigs to hold bottom with less weight. Large striped bass are at the top of the list for anglers this week. Although most exceed the 31-inch maximum size, it is the ultimate thrill for a surfcaster to catch and release a large trophy-size striped bass. Most are being caught on cut menhaden or mullet. Large red drum are also being caught and released and taking the same baits as are the occasional bluefish and inshore shark species. Those putting out more than on rig are baiting one with clams or sand fleas and catching medium-sized black drum. Using small rigs and baiting them with bloodworms is attracting a mix of kingfish, spot and croakers. 

Ocean and coastal bays

At the Ocean City Inlet and Route 50 Bridge area, a mix of striped bass and bluefish are at the top of the list for anglers fishing the area with soft plastic jigs and Got-Cha lures. Many of the striped bass miss the mark of the 28-inch minimum but they come close and put up a good fight even though they must be released. Bluefish in the two-pound size category have moved into the area and make for some fun fishing and good eating.

Flounder are constantly moving through the inlet and filling in the back bay channels and creating good fishing. The summer season is now upon us and with that comes a lot of boat traffic so be careful when fishing the channels. Traditional baits of squid and minnows are popular baits, and white or pink Gulp baits tend to catch the larger flounder. 

Anglers venturing out of the inlet are finding some large flounder near the shoal areas and inshore wreck and reef sites. Black sea bass are being caught at the offshore wreck and reef sites; fishing has been generally good although anglers report some days are better than others.

Maryland Fishing Report is written and compiled by Keith Lockwood, fisheries biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

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