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Maryland Fishing Report – May 29

Maryland Fishing Report – May 29

Photo of girl holding a small fish on a line

Everleigh Zerance is all smiles with her bluegill. Photo by Kayleigh Zerance

Maryland anglers have a wide choice of fishing adventures this week, whether in the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, or the fresh waters of our western counties. One thing that many recall is the first fish they caught, which for many was the feisty bluegill sunfish.  

Maryland offers license-free fishing days for all state residents and visitors on June 1, June 8, and July 4. These annual events provide anyone a unique opportunity to explore the state’s diverse fishing without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration. It’s a great opportunity for anglers to introduce someone to fishing. 


Forecast Summary: May 29 – June 4:

Warm, sunny with low winds this week will make for stable fishing conditions in Maryland’s waters. Main Bay surface water temperatures have warmed to the low 70s.  River temperatures have also risen to the upper 60s to low 70s. With Maryland’s part of the Bay continuing to run fresher and warmer than average, there will be abundant areas with suitable salinity for hunting blue catfish. There is also plenty of cool, oxygenated waters in the lower portion of the tidal rivers as well as the Bay for searching out striped bass. On the Potomac River, avoid the low oxygen areas below 15 feet between the Wicomico River and St. Georges Island. From the Bay Bridge south, avoid waters deeper than about 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 flows for most of Maryland rivers and streams. 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 from Sunday through Tuesday as a result of the new moon June 6. In addition, during nights in June near the new moon will be a great time to see horseshoe crabs along Bay beaches in the evening. For more detailed and up-to-date fishing conditions in your area, continue to check out Click Before You Cast.


Upper Chesapeake Bay

Photo of man holding a fish on a rocky shoreline

Robert Schoonover shows off a huge Chesapeake channa (northern snakehead) at the Conowingo Dam Pool. Photo courtesy of Robert Schoonover

The Conowingo Dam is on a mid-day power generation schedule on most days, so the dam pool waters are more turbulent during the afternoon and evening. Anglers have been enjoying catching flathead catfish in the dam pool on cut bait and Chesapeake channa, or snakeheads, by casting paddletails and spinnerbaits.

Farther down the Susquehanna, blue catfish are taking center stage with anglers fishing with cut bait with circle hooks and fish finder rigs. Many of these fish are quite large. The bulk of the blue catfish extend all the way to the Bay Bridge and every tidal river within the upper Bay. Warmer Bay waters have the catfish spread out and they can now be found on channel edges as well as nearby shoals and flats. 

White perch are moving out of the lower Susquehanna and moving into their typical summer habitats. The lower sections of the tidal rivers are an excellent place to look for them near structure such as channel edges, rocks, old dock piers and bridge piers. Grass shrimp, minnows, or pieces of bloodworm on a bottom rig is a popular way to fish as are dropper rigs with small flies or jigs. In the morning and evening, casting small spinnerbaits near shoreline structure is a fun way to fish for them. 

Fishing for striped bass is good this week for those live-lining, trolling, or jigging near channel edges and the Love Point rocks. Jigging in deeper waters and casting paddletails in shallow waters is a popular way to fish this week. The Bay Bridge Piers are also attracting anglers who are jigging or drifting back to the pier bases with live spot, cut bait, or soft crab. The east side of the bridge near the 25-foot to 30-foot drop-off edge is one of the most popular places to fish. The sewer pipe on the northeast side of the bridge is a good spot to troll. All waters of the upper Bay will be open to fishing for striped bass starting June 1. The mouth of the Patapsco River will certainly draw the attention of anglers based on last year’s good fishing there.

Farther down the Susquehanna, blue catfish are taking center stage with anglers fishing with cut bait with circle hooks and fish finder rigs. Many of these fish are quite large. The bulk of the blue catfish extend all the way to the Bay Bridge and every tidal river within the upper Bay. Warmer Bay waters have the catfish spread out and they can now be found on channel edges as well as nearby shoals and flats. 

White perch are moving out of the lower Susquehanna and moving into their typical summer habitats. The lower sections of the tidal rivers are an excellent place to look for them near structure such as channel edges, rocks, old dock piers and bridge piers. Grass shrimp, minnows, or pieces of bloodworm on a bottom rig is a popular way to fish as are dropper rigs with small flies or jigs. In the morning and evening, casting small spinnerbaits near shoreline structure is a fun way to fish for them. 

Fishing for striped bass is good this week for those live-lining, trolling, or jigging near channel edges and the Love Point rocks. Jigging in deeper waters and casting paddletails in shallow waters is a popular way to fish this week. The Bay Bridge Piers are also attracting anglers who are jigging or drifting back to the pier bases with live spot, cut bait, or soft crab. The east side of the bridge near the 25-foot to 30-foot drop-off edge is one of the most popular places to fish. The sewer pipe on the northeast side of the bridge is a good spot to troll. All waters of the upper Bay will be open to fishing for striped bass starting June 1. The mouth of the Patapsco River will certainly draw the attention of anglers based on last year’s good fishing there.


Middle Bay

Anglers seeking striped bass in the middle Bay have been focusing quite a bit of fishing the shallower waters near structure with soft plastic jigs. Many believe the surge of bottlenose dolphins in the area is pushing them out of the main Bay. Those jigging and trolling also remark that they don’t know when they’ve seen so many cownose rays, which are constantly being snagged by jigs and trolled lures. The shallower areas around Thomas Point. Poplar Island, Eastern Bay, the mouth of the Choptank, and the Little Choptank are some of the best places to fish this week. Casting topwater poppers and paddletails are very popular. Most say a good running tide during the morning and evening hours offers the best fishing opportunities. Shallow water anglers are also delighted to find a mix of puppy drum and speckled trout near the mouth of the Little Choptank. 

Bay water temperatures at the Gooses are about 72-degrees this week and salinity values are low at 7.1 mg/l. To learn more about how water salinity and dissolved oxygen values are determined, check our Angler’s Log for an article titled “Measuring Salinity and Dissolved Oxygen in Water.”

White perch have moved into their typical summer habitat areas near the mouths of the tidal rivers and creeks. Oyster beds, deepwater dock piers, and breakwaters are great places to look for them. A bottom rig baited with grass shrimp, minnows or pieces of bloodworm is a good way to fish for them. During the morning and evening hours, working shorelines with small spinnerbaits, spinners and small soft plastic jigs is a fun way to fish for them. 

A mix of channel and blue catfish can be found in the region’s tidal rivers and can be caught on cut bait. Menhaden is one of the easiest baits to acquire at bait shops and its oily nature tends to draw catfish from afar. Chicken liver is a good substitute.


Lower Bay

Photo of two women on a boat holding a fish

Christina and Grace Ziegler fishing recently near one of the Hoopers Island bridges. Photo by Dave Ziegler

The lower Bay is open to a wide variety of fishing opportunities this week. Large red drum are showing up in the Tangier Sound area providing some exciting catch-and-release fishing. Most anglers are targeting schools of fish, once detected on a depth finder, by jigging with large soft plastic jigs. Trolling with large spoons behind heavy inline weights will also work well. The area from the Middle Grounds to above the Target Ship has been a popular area to look for large red drum. Black drum are also being found in the general area, often on oyster reefs. Most anglers use soft crab baits when fish are located. Cownose rays are a big problem in the lower Bay and fishing with bait draws their attention.

The shallower waters around the lower Bay are some of the best areas to fish for a mix of striped bass, speckled trout, and puppy drum this week. The Cedar Point rips, the lower Patuxent River, the western side of the Bay shorelines, the shallows of Tangier and Pocomoke sounds, and the Hoopers Island cuts are just a few of the excellent places to fish with soft plastic jigs, soft crab baits or paddletails.

Others are finding good numbers of striped bass in the lower Potomac River along the steep channel edge between St. Georges Island and Piney Point. Now that there are good numbers of spot in the region, using them for live-lining is a popular way to fish in these deeper waters. Cove Point and Point No Point are also holding striped bass in about 35 feet of water. 

White perch fishing is good this week in the tidal rivers and sounds. The lower Patuxent River is a good place to catch white perch and spot, as are Tangier and Pocomoke sounds. Bluefish are becoming more common in the lower Bay and a few flounder are being caught along hard-bottom shoals next to the channels of the Pocomoke Sound and Point Lookout. 

There are always plenty of blue catfish to be caught in the Potomac, Patuxent, and Nanticoke rivers. The Wicomico and Pocomoke rivers are also showing increasing numbers of blue catfish. Fresh cut menhaden is a bait that is hard to beat but alternatives such as chicken liver can work well.

Recreational crabbers report that they are seeing more crabs shedding recently and these hold promise in a couple of weeks for meaty crabs. Catches have been typical for this time of the year – a lot of the 5.5-inch crabs that were available have been caught so future shedding holds the key to better catches as the summer months progress. The larger crabs are coming from deeper waters in the range of 15 feet, while shallower waters hold a lot of smaller crabs.


Freshwater Fishing

Photo of boy holding a fish next to a large lake

Luca Tucciarella caught this rock bass recently. Photo courtesy of Vincent Tucciarella

Starting Saturday June 1, the delayed harvest trout fishing areas in Allegany, Frederick, Carroll, and Howard counties will open to a creel limit of five trout per day with no tackle restrictions. These locations include Catoctin and Little Catoctin creeks, the Middle Patuxent River, Town Creek, and the South Branch of the Patapsco River. The Maryland Fishing and Crabbing Guide can provide exact locations. 

Special trout management waters that provide catch-and-release or fly tackle only fishing are providing good fishing this week and will continue to do so throughout the summer months. Fly fishing anglers will have to match the numerous hatches of aquatic insects and terrestrials that are common in the western and central region waters. 

The put-and-take trout management waters have not been stocked this month but there is still plenty of chance to find holdover trout that have spread out distances from where they were stocked. Casting small spinners, spoons and jerkbaits is a great way to cover water in your search for them. 

Many anglers who fish for largemouth bass lately are remarking that they’ve had little action due to the bass being in a post-spawn slump. This is of course not always the case but a general observation. Hopefully fishing will pick up soon as the largemouth bass get their appetite back. Targeting the shallower areas with soft plastic creature baits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits is a good tactic. Deeper water can be targeted with crankbaits and hair jigs.

In many areas Chesapeake channa (northern snakeheads) have regained their appetite after spawning – as if they ever lost it – and are crashing topwater lures. Buzzbaits, frogs, chatterbaits with soft plastic trailers and the ever-essential white paddletail account for some outstanding catches in the tidal rivers of the Chesapeake. The Middle, Bush, Patapsco, and Susquehanna have been real hotspots lately for large fish. The many tidal creeks of the lower Eastern Shore also hold large numbers.


Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays

Photo of man holding a fish on a beach

Photo courtesy of Jamie Benko

Surf anglers have had to deal with some heavy surf conditions recently, but things seem to be settling down and allowing rigs to hold bottom with less weight. Large striped bass are at the top of the list for anglers this week. Although most all exceed the 31-inch maximum size it is the ultimate thrill for a surfcaster to catch and release a large trophy-size striped bass. Most are being caught on cut menhaden or mullet. Large red drum are also being caught and released and taking the same baits as are the occasional bluefish and inshore shark species. Those putting out more than on rig are baiting one with clams or sand fleas and catching medium-sized black drum. Using small rigs and baiting them with bloodworms is attracting a mix of kingfish, spot, and croakers. 

At the Ocean City Inlet and Route 50 Bridge area, a mix of striped bass and bluefish are at the top of the list for anglers fishing the area with soft plastic jigs and Got-Cha lures. Many of the striped bass miss the mark of the 28-inch minimum but they come close and put up a good fight even though they must be released. Bluefish in the two-pound size category have moved into the area and make for some fun fishing and good eating.

Flounder are constantly moving through the inlet and filling in the back bay channels and creating good fishing. The summer season is now upon us and with that comes a lot of boat traffic so be careful when fishing the channels. Traditional baits of squid and minnows are popular baits, and white or pink Gulp baits tend to catch the larger flounder. 

 Anglers venturing out the inlet are finding some large flounder near the shoal areas and inshore wreck and reef sites. Black sea bass are being caught at the offshore wreck and reef sites; fishing has been generally good although anglers report some days are better than others.


“The expert angler isn’t necessarily a guy who always does the right thing at the right second. But one thing he necessarily is, and that’s a fishing man!” – Philip Wylie, 1950


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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