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DNR Issues End Of August Fishing Report

August 28th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

As the summer vacation time for kids begins to approach the end, I could not help but notice many of them are enjoying more simple things to do with the week or so left before they go back to school. Summer camps and other organized types of children’s activities are winding down, or already over for many families. With the exception of some last minute family vacations, parents and kids are left to do simple things together, and closer to home. While taking an evening cruise around local waters I could not help but notice more than a few docks were occupied by kids and adults fishing or crabbing, and the number one fish for entertaining kids in the Chesapeake Bay is the white perch. For those more landlocked, the bluegill sunfish is ready and willing to step up to the task. The white perch tends to be found near any dock or oyster bottom and a simple bottom rig baited with peeler crab, grass shrimp or bloodworms is hard to beat. Many aspiring fishermen can chalk up the white perch as the first fish they caught, and through their lifetimes continue to pursue them for their fighting entertainment and table fare. Let us all pay tribute and respect to the white perch; truly a wonderful gift from the Chesapeake.

Little Girl with Catfish

Angler: Alexis Donlin, Photo by Patrick Donlin

Before we get into this week’s fishing report, I wanted to remind everyone that they can submit their own fishing reports and photos to the Maryland Angler’s Log via email at fishingreports.dnr@maryland.gov. To post a report please email yo​​ur name, hometown, photos, location information and additional content for your report. All information is optional, but encouraged.​​​​ New reports are posted daily during the busy fishing seasons.


Presently there are large midday power generation releases at the Conowingo Dam causing higher water levels and turbulence in the dam pool and adjacent waters. Much of this water is discolored and is causing water clarity issues in the lower Susquehanna River. The best fishing for striped bass continues to be in the early morning hours; casting swimshads, topwater lures or drifting live eels have been effective ways to fish. Farther down the river and near the Susquehanna Flats the early morning bite is the best and cloudy water conditions will hopefully improve shortly. Topwater lures have proven to be the best way to fish for striped bass and anglers will find largemouth bass will be part of the mix. Channel catfish are abundant in the river and channels leading away from the river mouth. Cut bait, chicken livers and nightcrawlers are some of the best options for bait on a simple bottom rig.

White perch fishing continues to be good in the upper bay’s tidal rivers and the best daytime fishing opportunities during this time of the year has been by bottom fishing in deeper areas with good bottom structure. Peeler crab, bloodworms and wild caught grocery store shrimp have been good baits to use. In the early morning and late evening hours it is best to cast small jigs and spinners near shallower shoreline structure. Channel catfish are abundant in the same regions of the tidal rivers and out in the bay and will take most any kind of cut bait.

The striped bass fishing action in the upper bay continues to focus on chumming and live lining spot at Swan Point, the Love Point area and between Sandy Point and Baltimore Point Lights near Podickory Point. Just about all of the action is occurring along the 30 foot to 35 foot channel edges. In recent days, the largest part of the upper bay fleet tended to be in the Podickory Point area. Despite crowding and a high amount of throwbacks, catches of fish over 20 inches have been good. Small bluefish have been part of the mix and being fairly pesky in regards to biting off mono or fluorocarbon leaders and cleaving spot craftily behind just the hook.

Natasha Hartman caught this nice striped bass

Natasha Hartman caught this nice striped bass on her birthday at the Bay Bridge piers. Photo by Jay Hartman

Trolling for striped bass in the upper bay region has been best described as a slow pick along channel edges. Most are trolling a mix of small spoons, red surge tube lures (hoses) and bucktails behind inline weights. Small bluefish offer some action, most often on small spoons. Breaking fish are being spotted now and then, most often in the evenings. Casting or jigging to breaking fish is always fun when one has a chance or trolling around the outside edges of breaking fish.

The Bay Bridge piers are always worth a look when in the area and jigging at the bases in the 40 foot depth range or drifting live spot to suspended striped bass. If drifting live spot or chunking to fish holding near the pier bases, someone will need to tend the helm since it is often suicidal to anchor near the bridge due to hang ups. Spot are being caught in the shallow portions of the bridge, in front of Sandy Point State Park and south of the bridge inside of Dolly’s Lump. White perch can also be part of the mix along with a few small croakers.

The middle bay region has been offering some good fishing for striped bass this week with striped bass spread out over a wide area but there are several areas of greater opportunity. There is some successful live lining of spot taking place on the outside 35 foot edge of Hackett’s Bar and Thomas Point. The best action has been taking place down at the False Channel at the mouth of the Choptank and it has been fairly crowded there. Spot are easy to find inside the Choptank so just about everyone is live lining and there is very little chumming going on. If one pokes around to similar channel edges such as south at RN2 suspended fish can be found. Small bluefish are ever present and can be pesky at times. Cutting up expired spot and chunking can often pay off when bluefish make it hard to send live spot down. Yes, bluefish will swarm on the chunks but if some weight is added, there is a better chance to get below the bluefish to striped bass. If nothing else you can even up the score and fill your smoker with some bluefish.

Breaking fish are being spotted at times in places like the mouth of the West River and near anchored ships. It is not uncommon for striped bass to hang out near the ships, especially since they’ll have lights on all night attracting bait. Trolling near breaking fish or near the ships and channel edges can produce a mix of striped bass, bluefish and the occasional Spanish mackerel. Salinities are somewhat depressed in the upper and middle bay so that may be keeping the Spanish mackerel back, surface water temperatures are about 81 degrees.

Bottom fishing for a mix of white perch and spot with a few croakers tossed in has been good in areas south of Kent Island and off Chesapeake Beach as well as in most tidal rivers where good hard bottom can be found. Peeler crab and shrimp have been working well for white perch and croaker; bloodworms will work especially well for the spot.

The lower bay region continues to offer some exciting fishing opportunities for everything from cobia to spot. The cobia continue to be found from the Middle Grounds north to the Target Ship and chumming has been the most popular way to fish for them. Cut bait or live eels are allowed to drift back into the chum slick and usually resting on the bottom is the best zone for the baits to be. Bluefish will of course be attracted to the chum slicks along with cow-nosed rays and occasional small inshore shark species.

Striped bass are being found in the lower Potomac River in the St. Georges Island, Piney Point area along the steep channel edge there and also on the channel edge at Cove Point. Live lining spot has been the most popular way to catch them but some have been having luck with jigging and trolling.

A hungry terrapin inside a collapsible crab trap

A hungry terrapin inside a collapsible crab trap. Photo by Rich Watts

There have been good trolling opportunities in the shipping channel for a mix of bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Trolling with small spoons behind inline weights or planers has been the best way to get down to the fish. Most trolling has been blind, since there has not been much breaking fish action lately.

Bottom fishing has been good on both sides of the bay for a mix of species. Fishing for spot has been very good in the lower Patuxent River and the lower Potomac River and tributaries. Bloodworms has been the bait of choice although some report good success with artificial the bait, Fishbites. White perch are being caught on peeler crab and shrimp along with croakers, kingfish and a few blowfish. The action is much the same on the Tangier Sound side of the bay with speckled trout tossed in. Those specifically targeting speckled trout have been casting peeler and soft crab into marsh creeks, areas of fallen trees and bayside marsh edges. Casting Gulp Mullet soft plastics also have been catching fish as well as topwater lures in the early morning hours.

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