Maryland Fishing Report – July 10

Photo of girl holding a fish

Ron McClain loves taking his granddaughter Savannah fishing and she has earned the nickname “Rockfish Barbie,” as evidenced by this keeper-size striped bass. Photo by Ron McClain

It is time for summer vacations. Our youngest anglers are off from school and many parents and grandparents are creating lifetime memories with them, often through fishing together.

As a reminder, all striped bass fishing in the Chesapeake Bay will be on hold from July 16-31 , in order to protect the fishery during what is statistically the hottest part of the year. But even when it is legal to catch one keeper-size striped bass per day, the Department of Natural Resources advises following our Striped Bass Forecast Advisory and avoiding catch-and-release fishing for striped bass on hot days. 

Anglers should also be aware of Myobacteriosis, an infectious disease often seen on striped bass when fish are more stressed by high water temperatures. Infected fish may show visible signs of disease including skin ulcers and severe muscle loss. Anglers should release diseased fish when caught, and take precautions when handling fish to avoid infection. Washing hands or using waterless hand sanitizer after handling diseased fish is advised. More information on Myobacteriosis is found on the Department of Natural Resources website.

Striped Bass 7-Day Fishing Advisory Forecast for July 10-16, with a red flag days Wednesday and Monday, yellow flags Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, and green flag day on Friday. Striped bass fishing is closed Tuesday.


Forecast Summary: July 10 – July 16:

Continued scorching temperatures with low winds and a chance of T-storms on Friday and Saturday dominate this week’s forecast. Main Bay surface water temperatures have risen to about 84 degrees while Potomac and Susquehanna River temperatures have risen to the low 90s. Maryland’s part of the Bay continues to run fresher than average. Areas with suitable amounts of oxygen – 3mg/l or higher – have moved towards typical summer conditions, but when combined with high water temperatures, current conditions are stressful for many Bay gamefish. On the Potomac River, avoid the low oxygen areas below 15 feet between the Wicomico River and St. George’s Island. On the main Bay, from Tolchester south to the state line, avoid areas deeper than 30 feet. As always, the best fishing areas could be further refined by intersecting them with underwater points, hard bottom, drop-offs, and large schools of baitfish. 

Expect average water clarity for the Maryland portion of the Bay. To see the latest water clarity conditions, check Eyes on the Bay satellite maps. There will be above average tidal currents on Thursday and Friday as a result of the new moon on July 6. Expect average flows for the Maryland rivers and streams.

For detailed and up-to-date fishing conditions in your area, check the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Click Before You Cast website.

Upper Chesapeake Bay

Photo of man with a fish on his line.

Blue catfish, photo courtesy of Zach Nantz

Anglers fishing the Conowingo Dam pool and lower Susquehanna Flats areas at dawn and dusk are finding some slim pickings regarding striped bass. Water temperatures are increasing and power generation releases at the dam tend to be limited to the afternoon and evening hours. Casting paddletails and crankbaits in deeper waters and topwater lures along the edges of the Susquehanna Flats grass beds has been the best way to fish for striped bass. 

The next locations anglers are looking for striped bass are near Pooles Island, the Patapsco River, and Baltimore Harbor areas. The best time to fish for striped bass has been at dawn near old piling fields, and promising shorelines. Anglers are casting a variety of lures including topwater, crankbaits and paddletails. At the mouth of the Patapsco River and Pooles Island areas, using spot and eels for live lining along channel edges are favored ways to fish for striped bass.

Water temperatures in the upper Bay are now in the mid-80s and anglers are urged to keep catch-and-release of striped bass to a minimum. The striped bass are under increasing amounts of stress as water temperatures climb. The striped bass season in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay will close next Tuesday July 16 and will reopen on August 1. This closure is an effort to reduce striped bass release mortalities.

With the striped bass closure coming soon, anglers are encouraged to target invasive species. Blue catfish are spread over a wide area of the upper Bay, showing up in tidal rivers and in the Bay itself. A variety of cut baits and chicken liver tend to be good choices, but cut menhaden tends to be the most popular bait. Chesapeake Channa, or northern snakeheads, can be found in the thick grass beds of the tidal rivers and casting frogs, buzzbaits, and chatterbaits are good ways to target them.

Fishing for white perch is good this week in the region’s tidal rivers and out in the Bay on several shoals and knolls. Fishing with pieces of bloodworm and peeler crabs are the most popular baits being used on bottom rigs when targeting them.

Middle Bay

Photo of girl holding a fish

Harper Burton is happy with this Choptank River white perch. Photo by Seth Burton

Fishing for striped bass in the middle bay region is mostly relegated to being out on the water in the pre-dawn hours and ready to fish in the shallow waters near promising shoreline sites before sunup. Once the sun clears the horizon the shallow water striped bass fishing tends to end abruptly. Anglers may find a little action by casting soft plastic jigs along drop-offs or live lining spot along channel edges. The striped bass action picks up a little before dark in areas where a good tide is running. Eastern Bay, Thomas Point, the Poplar Island Rocks, and the mouth of the Choptank are good locations to explore. 

Striped anglers are urged to limit the catch and release of striped bass during these times of hot weather and rising water temperatures. The striped bass season will close on Tuesday July 16 and will not reopen until August 1 in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay to help lessen catch and release mortalities. This is the time for anglers to focus on alternate species of fish, including summer visitor species and invasives. 

Fishing for spot and a mix of small croakers has been good at several locations around the middle bay region this week. The waters near Holland Point and Chesapeake Beach continue to be good places to find a mix of spot, white perch and small croakers. Pieces of bloodworm and artificial bloodworm baits work well for catching spot, peeler crab is an excellent bait for white perch. 

Most of the croakers being caught fail to meet the 9-inch minimum but there is hope on the horizon. In the early 1990s we saw the same population dynamics in croakers and by the middle of that decade, 14-inch croakers were the norm and there were plenty of them. It was such a delight to anchor up on a channel edge on a summer evening with good friends and a good supply of peeler crab and catch a mess of croakers. 

White perch can be found in the tidal rivers this week, during most of the day, and fishing peeler crab baits over promising deep water oyster bars is a good tactic to catch them. The largest white perch tend to be found along promising looking shorelines during the early morning and late evening. Fishing grass shrimp or small minnows under a bobber near shoreline structure works well as does fishing those same baits near docks and piers. Casting small spinnerbaits near points, rock jetties, and submerged sea walls is a fun way to target the larger white perch.

Lower Bay

Photo of woman on a boat holding a fish

Christina Ziegler caught this nice striped bass near Hoopers Island recently. Photo by Dave Ziegler

Anglers in the lower Bay are enjoying some exciting fishing for a variety of species this week. In the early morning and late evening, anglers working the promising looking shallower waters on both sides of the Bay and Tangier Sound are finding a mix of striped bass, speckled trout, and puppy drum. Most are casting topwater lures over grass beds and working paddletails, jerkbaits and spinnerbaits where grass is not as thick. The slightly deeper waters near Point Lookout, Cedar Point, and the cuts through lower Hoopers Island are excellent places to fish. With the striped bass summer closure starting on July 16, this is the time to enjoy the diversity of alternate species in the lower bay.  

Bluefish are being caught along channel edges in the Tangier Sound area and the channel edge from Buoy 76 south to the HS Buoy. Most anglers are trolling a mix of Drone Spoons behind planers and inline weights for the best catches. 

Fishing for cobia is steadily improving and chumming has been the most effective way to fish. The area near the Target Ship and Smith Point are popular places to fish this week. Windy conditions have made it difficult for sight fishing. Most are fishing with live eels or fresh cut baits in the back of their chum slicks. Cownose rays are always a pesky problem and there have been reports this week of bull sharks showing up in the area around the Target Ship.

Sheepshead are reportedly being caught near the Target Ship, and it is certainly time for them to show up. Peeler crab is a popular bait to use and can also entice speckled trout, striped bass or puppy drum. Flounder are being caught by those who target them in the Tangier Sound area and near Point Lookout. 

Spot are a popular target at the mouth of the Patuxent River, the lower Potomac River and near the Honga and Nanticoke rivers as well as Tangier Sound. In many locations white perch and small croakers are part of the mix. Pieces of bloodworm or artificial bloodworm-scented baits are the ticket for spot. Peeler crab works well for white perch and croaker. 

Recreational crabbing is good this week; catches are up, and the extra-large crabs have filled out in many areas. The reports from the middle and lower Bay find a full bushel of choice crabs for most who are deploying collapsible crab traps or trotlines. Chicken necks are fine but nearly everyone reports that it is hard to beat razor clams. The only note to that is what many have learned, it is best to keep baits in waters 12 feet or deeper. The shallower waters of 8 feet or less are swarming with small crabs that will eat baits up in no time at all. 

Freshwater Fishing

Photo of man on a boat holding a fish

Rodney Derricot holds up a northern pike for a picture before slipping it back into Deep Creek Lake. Photo courtesy of Rodney Derricot

Anglers are enjoying a variety of freshwater fishing opportunities this week throughout Maryland. At Deep Creek lake, anglers  are enjoying fishing for a mix of smallmouth and largemouth bass near floating docks, fallen treetops and rocky points. Wacky rigged worms tossed under or near floating docks is a great way to fish for them. Fishing deep grass lines with minnows can account for a wide variety of fish. 

With high temperatures this week, trout anglers are cautioned to not play trout to exhaustion and to release them quickly without taking them out of the water. Due to low water conditions in the upper Potomac River, anglers fishing for smallmouth bass are enjoying wading in the river and casting to likely looking pockets in the river. Caution should be exercised, since it is easy to slip on underwater rocks. Casting root beer-colored tubes, small crankbaits and spinnerbaits are excellent lure choices for this type of fishing. 

Largemouth bass tend to be the most popular target for freshwater anglers, especially during the summer months. Water temperatures are elevated and largemouth bass are now feeding at night and loafing in any cool shade they can find during these hot summer days. The best fishing occurs during the early morning and late evening when the bass are still on the prowl for food in the shallows. The grass beds often hold the key as to where their food source might be found. Frogs, buzzbaits, and chatterbaits worked through the grass beds can often work well. Casting spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and lipless crankbait around the outside edges can be a good tactic. 

If the floating grass mats are over enough water largemouth bass will seek shade underneath and dropping weighted wacky-rigged worms is a popular tactic to entice them to pick up a bait. Fallen treetops, overhanging brush and docks can offer shade and the bass will often take up residence in provided shade. Other bass will go deep and hold near sunken wood or thick lily pad fields. Wacky rigged worms are usually a good bet if worked slowly. 

When fishing those thick grass beds in tidal waters, Chesapeake Channa, also known as northern snakehead, can offer an explosive strike. They seem to be in various stages of spawning during the summer months, some are done, others might be protecting a fry ball. If a fry ball can be spotted, an adult is usually nearby. Aggressive moves with chatterbaits, frogs, or buzzbaits can cause a strike at a perceived threat. 

All the tidal rivers flowing into the bay and the tributaries to the Potomac River hold channel catfish and blue catfish. Both species offer fun fishing, but the blue catfish tends to be in greater numbers in most areas and a preferred catch for those looking for table fare. Cut menhaden is the most popular bait at this time, but other cut fish and chicken liver works well. Chicken livers brined in non-iodized salt will toughen up and stay on the hook longer.

Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays

Photo of man holding a fish

Sea bass, photo by Monty Hawkins

Anglers fishing the beaches of Assateague Island report that fishing for a mix of kingfish and spot has been good but best during the morning hours. Pieces of bloodworm, strips of spot or artificial bloodworm baits have worked best for kingfish. Anglers fishing with finger mullet rigs are catching a few bluefish. A variety of sting rays and inshore sharks continue to go after large cut baits of menhaden or mullet. Casting Gulp baits with a strip of squid is a great way to catch flounder in the surf. 

At the inlet and Route 50 Bridge area, casting soft plastic jigs near jetty rocks, bridge piers and bulkheads is a good way to catch striped bass during the early morning and late evening hours. Those casting metal jigs and Got-Cha lures out in the main current are catching bluefish. Sheepshead and tautog are being caught near the jetty rocks, bridge piers and along bulkheads on peeler crab and sand fleas. The early morning and late evening hours offer the best and safest fishing. It is summer and boat traffic is heavy going in and out of the inlet, so be careful. 

Flounder fishing has been good in the back bay channels, some days strong winds can churn the water up and cause cloudy water conditions that can put a damper on the flounder bite. Most anglers want to drift in the channels and boat traffic is busy so be careful. The coastal bay areas behind Assateague Island and in front of the Ocean City Airport tend to have less boat traffic. 

Fishing for black sea bass has been good at the offshore wreck and reef sites, and anglers are doing well with traditional baits or with butterfly jigs. There has been some discussion lately and some guidance may be forthcoming about the proper way to measure a sea bass. Usually, it is relatively easy to measure a sea bass using total length, but anglers are urged not to include the trailing caudal fin streamer that some fish will possess when measuring.

The boats heading out to the canyon waters are finding a mix of yellowfin tuna, gaffer size dolphin, white marlin and recently the first reported blue marlin release. Deep drop anglers are bringing some impressive catches of blueline and golden tilefish back to the Ocean City docks.

“There is nothing clinical about fishing…there is nothing about it that can be viewed in a clinical vacuum. Everything- as in everything else- relates to everything else; and the deeper down one goes, the nearer the quick of life one draws.” – Brian Clarke, 1975.

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

Click Before You Cast is written by Tidewater Ecosystem Assessment Director Tom Parham.

This report is now available on your Amazon Echo device — just ask Alexa to “open

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