Welcome to Reel Chesapeake’s Weekly Fishing Report, our interpretation of what’s biting and where throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to share updates and photographs of your recent catches for potential inclusion in next week’s column.
Weather windows have been the name of the game for the past, oh say…ten days or so. It feels like it’s been raining forever and a day in the Chesapeake Bay region, especially in and around the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore corridor. So, getting on the water has been more difficult than getting on the fish.
With temperatures finally hitting summer highs in the upper 80s and “real feels” approaching mid-90s, the rain has been somewhat relieving. (And has kept surface water temps in the high-70s.) But when the blow-through storms brought high winds, lightning, some hail, and inch-plus downpours, the risk of boating in the open Bay kept many anglers off the water. Those that have been fishing hard through poor conditions have been rewarded with some quality catches.
We still see charters playing in the middle and lower Patapsco River. It’s simply been the place to be for guides and captains like Tom Weaver (Fish With Weaver) to target topwater action early in the morning and later in the evening for schooling stripers. He’s been putting clients on fish using large spooks and poppers. Sunrise mornings have offered the best weather windows the last several days, so it’s nice to see fish hitting on top. Most have been in the high-20s range. Jigging during mid-day has also produced fish, but with the near-100 percent cloud cover persisting, the topwater and subsurface bite has been in play well beyond normal, pattern periods. That will change as the sun begins hitting us hard over the weekend and into next week.
Targeting structure, especially the rockpiles at Thomas Point and Poplar Island, and the Bay Bridge pilings, are always options for stripers in the 17–25” range, although we haven’t heard of much action there in recent days (probably because of fewer anglers on the water). Try 3/4 to 2oz jigheads tipped with 4–6” paddletails or BKDS and letting them drop in as close to the gnarl as possible without getting snagged for a shot at pulling up a fish. Color combos of white/chartreuse, white/red, blue/white have been producing so far this summer. Live lining spot is another tried-n-true tactic.
If wind becomes an issue in the open Bay, try running into the rivers on either side. The middle Chesapeake tributaries are holding lots of schoolies up to the mid-20s in size. If you can position a drift along a line of deep water docks, there’s a good chance that you’ll find fish by pitching and swim-jigging similar lure combos (but lighter in 1/4 to 1/2oz weights) around the ends of them. Go even lighter and smaller with beetle-spins, perch pounders, kastmasters, and microplastics if you want to target the plentiful white perch. Next week’s stable weather (fingers crossed) should help a fair-to-good sunrise topwater bite for schoolies develop on the sandbar points adjacent the rivers’ feeder creeks that are loaded with baitfish (we see this in the Severn River).
Further south, reports continue to filter in of a solid speckled trout bite at Point Lookout on the western side and Tangier Sound on the eastern. Bright and fun 3–4” paddletails (electric chicken) on 1/4oz heads have produced. We’re also anticipating more bluefish in the mix around the lower-80 buoys as the fish push into the Bay. (Spanish macks on their heels?)
With the Fourth of July holiday and a decent forecast coming next week, boating traffic will heavily increase. Please keep your wits about you when on the water. Good luck!