Maryland Fishing Report – June 5

Photo of woman on a boat holding a fish

Chesapeake Channa, photo courtesy of Brooke Wolf.

Although the season doesn’t officially change until June 20, it sure feels like summer, and everyone is enjoying the outdoors, especially their favorite fishing adventures. A popular pastime is fishing for invasives like blue catfish and Chesapeake Channa, also known as northern snakeheads, which provide a wonderful dinner item. 

Maryland Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists are busy studying striped bass; interested anglers can keep up on the latest striped bass findings and other current news on our website.

Two license-free fishing days remain for the 2024 fishing season, on June 8 and July 4. This is a wonderful opportunity to invite someone who has never fished before or has given it up, don’t let the opportunity pass – you just might find a new fishing buddy.

Forecast Summary: June 5 – June 11:

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 a person holding a fish

Photo by Steve Fischer

A lot of fishing action is happening at the Conowingo Dam pool and lower Susquehanna River. Anglers continue to catch large Chesapeake Channa (snakeheads, and flathead catfish in the dam pool. Fishing for striped bass in the area has been very good since the season opened there on June 1. Fishing with cut bait has been popular as is casting soft plastic jigs and paddletails. There have been reports of striped bass mortalities, especially those over the 24-inch maximum, so anglers are urged to limit their catch-and-release activities and to release striped bass in the water as quickly as possible. Water temperatures are climbing into the low 70s and there is virtually zero salinity in this area. 

Striped bass are being found throughout the upper Bay; the mouth of the Patapsco River, Baltimore Harbor, Love Point, and the mouth of the Chester River are a few of the better places to fish this week. Trolling with bucktails dressed with sassy shads or twistertails has been popular as is jigging. At the Bay Bridge, jigging and drifting cut bait, soft crab or live spot near the pier bases has been working well.

Fishing for blue catfish continues to be excellent in the lower Susquehanna River, the surrounding tidal rivers, and in the upper Bay south to the Bay Bridge. The most popular bait is fresh cut menhaden due to its oily nature, and fish finder rigs coupled with circle hooks are the most common rigs being used.

White perch have moved into their summer habitats in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers and creeks. They present good summer fun when fishing from docks with grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm. Fishing channel edges and oyster bars from boats is also fun and productive. On summer mornings and evenings, casting small spinnerbaits, spinners, and jigs along shorelines that present some kind of structure in the form of rocks, old pilings or prominent points is always a fun way to fish for larger white perch. 

Middle Bay

Photo of a man on a boat holding a fish

Photo courtesy of Brandon Tammaro

Some of the best striped bass fishing in the middle Bay is occurring in the shallower waters along shorelines that offer prominent points, submerged rocks, grass beds, old piers, and areas with good current flows. During the morning and evening hours, casting a variety of topwater lures in the form of poppers or Zara Spooks are providing plenty of fun topwater action. Water temperatures are in the low 70s in these areas currently so the action lasts a little longer during the morning hours and starts earlier in the evenings. As temperatures rise, the best action will begin to narrow to a small window at dawn and after sunset.

Anglers are also trolling for their striped bass along channel edges and the edge from Buoy 83 south past the Sharps Island Light, Thomas Point, near Tolly Point, and off the mouth of the Little Choptank are just a few locations to check out this week. Now that spot are available in the middle Bay, anglers are also using them for live-lining. The 30-foot channel edges at Thomas Point and Hacketts are two good places to look for suspended striped bass. 

Blue catfish can be found in all the region’s tidal rivers this week and fresh cut menhaden is one of the most popular baits, while chicken liver can be a good substitute. Channel catfish are also being caught in the middle to upper sections of the tidal river this week.

White perch are now in residence at your favorite deep-water pier in just about every tidal river and creek within the middle Bay. They can also be found on oyster reefs. A bottom rig baited with grass shrimp, small minnows or pieces of bloodworm tend to be the best baits when using bottom rigs. During the morning and evening hours casting small spinnerbaits and spinners along shorelines with structure in the form of submerged rocks, sunken wood or areas with good current flow can offer plenty of fun fishing for a larger grade of white perch.

Lower Bay

Man in a kayak holding a fish

Photo by Eric Packard

Many species of summer migrant fish are becoming more prevalent this week, giving anglers more variety than just targeting striped bass. Red drum, black drum, speckled trout, bluefish, and spot are moving into the lower Bay. Some of the best fishing is occurring in the shallower waters around the region by light tackle anglers.

The shallower waters of the Bay, Tangier Sound, Pocomoke Sound, and the lower Potomac and Patuxent rivers offer plenty of fun and exciting fishing opportunities. Most anglers are casting topwater lures; poppers with internal rattles and off-white Zara Spooks are at the top of the list. Casting over grass beds and into stump fields are two favorite targets to find a mix of striped bass, slot-size red drum and speckled trout. Other anglers are having good luck by casting paddletails and jerkbaits near docks, submerged rocks, and bulkheads where grass is not a problem.

Striped bass fishing has been good in the lower Potomac where anglers are live-lining spot near Point Lookout.  Trolling bucktails dressed with sassy shads or twistertails is working well and when fish can be found suspended near channel edges, jigging with soft plastic jigs is a good option. Bluefish are becoming more common for those trolling or live lining. 

Using spot for live lining has been a good option along the 30-foot channel edge at Cove Point, Cedar Point and Point No Point to name a few sites. Anywhere where striped bass can be found suspended along channel edges is a good place to live line spot. Spot can be found at the mouth of the Patuxent River, Cornfield Harbor and Tangier Sound. 

In the area of the Middle grounds up past the Target Ship to the HS Buoy, anglers are having excellent luck catching a mix of red drum, black drum and speckled trout by fishing with peeler or soft crab baits where concentrations of these species can be located with depth finders. Unfortunately, cownose rays like the same baits. 

White perch are being caught in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers and creeks this week, often mixed in with spot. Bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm are one of the most popular baits when fishing over oyster bars and hard bottom in the open waters of the tidal rivers and sounds. Bridge piers are an excellent place to target as are old piers and piling fields. Casting small spinnerbaits along promising looking shorelines during the morning and evening hours is always a fun option to target larger white perch. 

The tidal Potomac River from the Wilson Bridge to the mouth of the river offers plenty of opportunity to catch blue catfish. The same can be said for the Patuxent River and the Nanticoke. Lower Eastern Shore rivers such as the Wicomico and Pocomoke also have populations of blue catfish. 

Recreational crabbers are reporting fair to good catches of 5-inch to 5-½-inch crabs in about 10 feet to 15 feet of water. The tidal rivers and creeks of the lower Eastern Shore tend to be providing some of the best catches this week. The tidal rivers and creeks of the middle bay region are worth an effort with decent catches. Crabbers are also reporting seeing some recently shed crabs, that hold promise in another week or so. Crabbers are reporting small crabs being found in shallower waters. 

Freshwater Fishing

 Photo of a man holding a fish

Largemouth bass, photo courtesy of Jason Paugh.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources presents its annual fishing derby, Snakes on the Dundee III, at Gunpowder Falls State Park on June 8.  A free-to-enter public outreach and fishing derby event to educate and encourage harvest of Chesapeake Channa (northern snakehead), there will be demonstrations and activities. For more information check visit the Maryland DNR Snakes on the Dundee webpage.

Chesapeake Channa (northern snakeheads) are being caught this week by anglers throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay system. The tidal rivers and creeks are home to ever expanding populations, which are in various stages of spawning. Casting frogs, buzzbaits and chatterbaits over and through grass beds is a great way to target them. White paddletails are a good lure to use in open waters outside of the grass beds. If they are protecting fry balls, annoying them with topwater lures is a good way to get them to strike.

Last week we mentioned the opening of Group 1 delayed harvest trout management waters.  Group 2 waters, which include the Casselman River and North Branch of the Potomac, will open  June 16 and close on September 30. The exact area boundaries are defined in the Maryland Fishing Guide and trout anglers need to be aware of the sections that are open to harvest.

Largemouth bass seem to be transitioning from their post-spawn doldrums to becoming more active and feeding aggressively. Grass and structure tend to be the key target for many bass anglers this week. Water temperatures are still moderate enough that largemouth bass can be found feeding later during the morning hours and starting earlier in the evening hours. In shallow waters with grass, buzzbaits, frogs and soft plastic creature baits are good choices for lures. In deeper waters with thick grass, dropping weighted stick worms and creature baits down through the grass can get a loafing bass to pick up a bait. Deeper cover in the form of sunken wood or fallen treetops can be worked with crankbaits and craw jigs. The outside edges of grass and spatterdock fields can be a good place to cast spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. 

Crappie are now schooled up in deep waters near any kind of structure they can find. Bridge piers, sunken rocks, and marina docks all offer this kind of structure. Drifting small minnows of marabou jigs under a slip bobber at the proper depth is the best way to target at this time of the year.

Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays

Man on a boat holding two fish

Photo by Monty Hawkins

Along the beaches of Assateague Island, surf casters are catching a mix of black drum and red drum by using sand fleas, cut bait, and peeler crab for bait. Bluefish and striped bass are also being caught on cut mullet and menhaden baits. Most of the red drum and striped bass being caught are above the maximum lengths allowed and being released, which is a big thrill for any angler. Anglers using smaller baits of bloodworms are catching kingfish and spot, flounder, and blowfish are being caught on squid. 

At the Ocean City Inlet and Route 50 Bridge area, anglers are catching striped bass and bluefish by casting soft plastic jigs or by drifting cut bait in the current. There was a report of a couple of sheepshead caught at the South Jetty on sand fleas. Flounder are always moving through the inlet on their way to the back bay waters so the inlet and the channels leading away from the inlet are excellent places to intercept them. Traditional squid and minnow baits as well as pink and white Gulp baits work well.

Outside the Ocean City Inlet, anglers are catching large flounder on some of the inshore shoals and inshore wreck and reef sites. At the offshore wreck and reef sites fishing for black sea bass has been very good with limit catches being common. Anglers are also catching a few flounder at these sites to round out the mix. At the far offshore waters near the canyons, anglers trolling are catching a few dolphin and the season’s first yellowfin tuna and the first white marlin of the 2024 season. Deep drop anglers are reporting good catches of blueline tilefish.

“The love of angling increases with the lapse of years, for its love grows by what it feeds on.” –James Henshall, 1881

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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