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Weekly Fishing Report

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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 to share updates and photographs of your recent catches for potential inclusion in next week’s column. The leading photograph (above): Chain pickerel that hit a Rapala DT4 worked along a shallow point in the Severn River this week.

Mild weather, cold but mostly sunny, has helped improve water conditions throughout the middle Chesapeake watershed. We’re seeing average to above average water flows and clear water in the feeder creeks and headwaters of rivers, which is providing rich oxygenated water into multiple systems and, ultimately, the Bay. 

Fishing for hulking, migratory striped bass has settled into the more typical late-winter challenge of finding a needle in a haystack, as reports are few and far between within the expanse that is the Chesapeake Bay. Fish seem huddled in packs in more southern reaching waters around the Point Lookout vicinity. Charters are putting many miles in to find the fish. Rec anglers tend to probe popular warm water discharges or well-known major points jutting toward the main channel (Bloody Point, Franklin Point, Cedar Point, and the like). Deep water jigging with 1.5 to 2 ounce jigs and larger plastics up to 10 inches long, in depths 35 to 70 feet, is the name of the game. 

We’ve seen a few anglers trying shallow water flats and river shoreline, hoping to hook into a feeding hog or resident schoolies, but we haven’t seen much success thus far. If February weather patterns hold as is—with sunnier days outnumbering cloudy—then perhaps, the shallow bite will improve. Try lighter jigs up to 3/4 ounces with smaller bodies (3 to 5 inch plastics). You’ll also likely entice pickerel, which are hitting fairly well right now. 

We had success running a small crankbait diving 4 feet, off shallow points with some dead vegetation in the Severn River this week, catching pickerel up to 20 inches in length. Any cover is worth probing in well-known pickerel waters, which includes the Magothy, Choptank/Tuckahoe, and Nanticoke/Marshyhope. If the bite is tough, try bringing along a bucket of live minnows. A lip-hooked minnow on an 1/8 ounce jighead under a bobber can entice the fish to  bite.  

A nice stocker rainbow trout caught in the Little Patuxent this week at Savage.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources continues stocking a mix of rainbow and golden trout in lakes and rivers throughout the state, with a concentration in Howard, Frederick, Carroll, and Washington counties this week. We took a few more rainbows on the fly (white buggers and egg imitators) in the Savage area of the Little Patuxent this week. Check the Department’s Trout Stocking page for updates. 

With some cloudiness predicted this weekend coupled with a new moon and strong afternoon tides, this could be an excellent opportunity to get on the water and try your hand at yellow perch fishing. The fish should be staging to spawn upriver in many tributaries. Try small offerings like spoons, beetlespins, and microplastics worked in deeper holes and river bends.

Lastly, we have seen a few reports trickle in of the year’s first northern snakehead being caught in well-known waters such as the Blackwater Refuge. Chatterbaits and beefy inline spinners appear to be the chosen lures for this season’s first few strikes. We also saw a catch that came on an A-rig. Go figure. Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore, the Patuxent River at Jug Bay, and north-Baltimore rivers, such as Bush and Middle, are worth trying. Good luck!

This report appears within On The Water magazine’s weekly collection of Chesapeake Bay fishing reports.