DNR Maryland Fishing Report – June 19


Automated News Bot
Staff member
Photo of man and boy holding a fish near a lighthouse
John Miller celebrated Father’s Day with his son Garret and father Jack, three generations of anglers doing what they love. Photo by Jack Miller.

Father’s Day was a wonderful day for people to spend time with family – and many chose to go fishing and enjoy the day together. As summer officially begins this week, we can look forward to many more opportunities to join friends and family in the great outdoors.

For anglers who catch striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay, remember that summer heat can be deadly for fish that are not keeper sized and must be released. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources provides a weekly striped bass fishing advisory forecast during the hottest months, using “warning flags” to let anglers better plan their fishing to help protect our state fish.

Striped Bass 7-Day Fishing Advisory Forecast for June 19-25, with a green flag day Wednesday, yellow flag Thursday, red flags Friday through Sunday, yellow flag Monday, and green flag Tuesday.

Forecast Summary: June 19 – June 25:

Warm and sunny weather with moderate winds this week will make for stable fishing conditions in Maryland’s waters. Main Bay surface water temperatures have warmed to the upper 70s. River temperatures have also risen to the mid to upper 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.

Areas with suitable amounts of oxygen, greater than 3 mg per liter, have improved since last week. However, on the Potomac River, avoid the low oxygen areas below 20 feet between the Wicomico River and the mouth of the Potomac River. On the main Bay, from Tolchester south to the Chester River, avoid areas deeper than 20 feet. From the Chester River south to the state line, on the east side, avoid waters deeper than about 15 feet. On the west side, avoid fishing deeper than 40 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 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 all week as a result of the full moon June 22. Expect average flows for the Maryland rivers and streams.

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 boy with a large fish landed next to a large structure
Luca Tucciarella caught this impressive blue catfish in the Conowingo Dam pool recently. Photo by Vincent Tucciarella

The Conowingo Dam is releasing water for power generation on a typical midday to evening summer schedule this week. The cool water is of course attractive to many kinds of fish, including resident walleye, smallmouth bass, flathead catfish, blue catfish, and the striped bass that move in and out of the lower Susquehanna. Anglers can catch an interesting mix at the dam pool and the river just below the dam pool. It is getting a little warm for walleye, but a few can be caught, and the smallmouth bass are active and taking small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs. Flatheads and blue catfish are being caught on cut bait.

Chesapeake Channa (snakeheads) are being caught in the dam pool and in the grass of the Susquehanna Flats. Most anglers who are targeting them are casting paddletails in open water and using frogs, chatterbaits, and buzzbaits in the thick grass. Fishing for them has been very good in many of the western tidal rivers of the upper Bay, with many large ones being caught by the anglers.

The cool waters of the lower Susquehanna are attractive to striped bass this month and anglers are finding them in good numbers from the dam pool, in the river and the edges of the flats down to Spesuite Island. Casting a variety of paddletails, soft plastic jigs, crankbaits, and jerkbaits, are working well, as is drifting cut bait. Anglers are advised to be careful when practicing catch and release since the absence of any salt in the water is very stressful for striped bass and the added stress of angling can add to mortalities, especially for striped bass above the maximum slot size of 24 inches. Hot weather is in the forecast and will only make matters worse.

Oxygen levels in the upper Bay are low this week, the Tolchester side of the Bay is showing poor oxygen values below 10 feet and 15 feet in many areas. The Baltimore Harbor area on the south side is showing poor oxygen values below 20 feet this week. The Patapsco River and up into the harbor is attracting a lot of fishing boats due to the concentrations of striped bass there. Most anglers are jigging, live lining spot and a few are trolling. Fleet Week was last week, and anglers may still see naval ships and vintage sailing ships in the Patapsco River area early this week as they depart.

Anglers are fishing on the east side of the Bay Bridge near the 20-foot drop-off. They are drifting live spot or soft crab baits back to the bridge pier bases during the morning hours. Other anglers are casting soft plastic jigs at the pier bases in the shallower portions of the east side of the bridge. A good running tide is essential to good fishing.

Anglers who plan to use spot for live lining have been fishing for them off the beach at Sandy Point State Park, the mouth of the Magothy River, and some of the knolls and shoals in the upper bay. There are a few white perch mixed in, but most white perch are being found in waters less than 20 feet on the west side of the Bay Bridge. The tidal rivers are holding white perch and anglers are finding them near oyster bottom, old piling fields, channel edges and piers. Bottom fishing with grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm works well. During the morning and evening hours casting Beetle-Spins, small spinnerbaits and small soft plastic jigs work well along shoreline structure is a fun way to fish for the larger white perch.

Blue catfish are moving up the tidal rivers to spawn as salinity values in the Bay begin to rise. Warmer waters will cause blue catfish to hold farther up the rivers during the summer months and they will be seen venturing into shallower waters at night to feed.

Middle Bay
Photo of fish being released in the water
Herb Floyd takes one last look at a beautiful Choptank striped bass as he releases it. Photo by Herb Floyd

Water temperatures in the middle Bay are now in the mid-70s and salinity values in the main part of the bay are still low at around 7 mg/l (7 ppt) but will start to rise as fewer rain events occur. Unfortunately, rain is the delivery system for excess nutrients flowing into the Bay and we are seeing the results in very low oxygen values below 20 feet in many places and 10 feet in some areas.

It is no wonder that anglers are reporting the best striped bass fishing is occurring along the shallower shores of the middle Bay. The morning and evening hours offer the best opportunities for those casting topwater lures, jerkbaits, or small crankbaits and paddletails. When fishing over grass topwater lures are a must and poppers and such always offer the most exciting fun when striped bass attack. Anglers are reporting catching a few speckled trout and slot-sized red drum in the lower Choptank and Little Choptank. Some of the traditional locations to check include the lower Choptank River, Poplar Island, Eastern Bay, the Kent Narrows, and in front of the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

For those who have a notion to do some live lining for striped bass, spot can be found in front of Chesapeake Beach and on the back side of Black Walnut Point. Fishing for white perch has been good in the tidal rivers and creeks of the middle Bay this week. The mornings and evenings when a strong tide is running tend to offer the best fishing. Casting small spinnerbaits, Beetle-Spins, spinners and small soft plastic swimbaits along shorelines with some type of structure offers plenty of fun on light tackle. Small chartreuse Clousers in a chartreuse flashy pattern on sinking tip fly line and a 5-weight fly rod can be an exciting way to fish for white perch. The white perch holding along shorelines tend to be of good size. Fishing with grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm on a simple bottom around docks and piers is always a fun summertime pastime.

Blue catfish can be found in the Choptank River, often in the channels during the day and in shallower waters at night. They tend to be spread out this time of the year and many have moved farther up the rivers to spawn in the past few weeks. Fresh cut menhaden of white perch baits are hard to beat, chicken liver will work well if you don’t have to cast far. A hefty heave from shore may see the soft chicken liver going in one direction and your bottom rig in another as they part ways.

Lower Bay
 Photo of man holding a fish on a boat
Photo courtesy of David Phemister

The lower bay region is experiencing some low dissolved oxygen problems this week, but they tend to be localized. The east side of the shipping channel off Hoopers Island south to Smith Island shows areas where there are poor oxygen levels below 10 feet to 20 feet. The west side fares better with adequate dissolved oxygen levels to 35 feet and the tidal Potomac above the Wicomico shows poor dissolved oxygen levels.

Anglers are enjoying good fishing in the shallower waters of the lower Potomac and Point Lookout area for a mix of striped bass, speckled trout and slot-sized red drum. Anglers are casting a mix of topwater lures, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, soft plastic jigs and paddletails. Grass beds and shoreline structure are good targets.

The Patuxent River offers good fishing for striped bass, speckled trout, and slot-sized red drum in the shallower waters; trolling has been an option also with small spoons and medium-sized bucktails. The Cedar Point rocks has been a good spot to explore, and the shallow water areas are most productive in the morning and evening hours.

Tangier and Pocomoke sounds are offering good fishing this week, as water quality is good there. Anglers are catching a mix of striped bass, speckled trout, slot-sized red drum in the shallower waters. Topwater lures are an excellent choice over grass beds and stump fields. Drifting peeler or soft crab baits in current areas at the mouths of marsh creeks is an excellent way to target red drum and speckled trout. Bluefish are becoming more common and can be found in the more open waters near channel edges.

In the more open waters anglers are spotting schools of large red drum and black drum and jigging with large soft plastics for the red drum or both can be caught with soft crab baits. Cobia season is now open, and anglers are out chumming for them and fishing with live eels in the back of their chum slick or sight casting. When sight casting, large soft-plastic jigs or a live eel are cast to surface-roaming cobia.

Recreational crabbers are reporting the best catches of crabs are coming from waters less than 8 feet. Catches have been fair in most parts of the bay. The medium-sized crabs that measure less than 6 inches have been heavy with meat and their bottoms show the distinct stains of a crab that has not shed in a while. The larger crabs in the range of 8 inches are generally light.

Freshwater Fishing
[IMG alt="Angler Billy Londeree
Photo by Eric Packard"]https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/53790734576_33268cb766_n.jpg[/IMG]

Billy Londeree sure looks like he is having fun wading in the upper Potomac and catching smallmouth bass. Photo by Eric Packard

Water flows tend to be moderate to low this week in the upper Potomac and with steaming temperatures in the forecast; wading and casting a variety of lures for smallmouth bass seems to be a very inviting proposition. Casting soft plastic jigs, small crankbaits and spinnerbaits out to current breaks, underwater ledges and large boulders is a great tactic for smallmouth bass.

At Deep Creek Lake, fishing the floating docks and shoreline structure in the early morning hours for a mix of largemouth and smallmouth bass is a fun option. Casting wacky rigged worms is perhaps the most popular tactic near and underneath the floating docks. Drifting along deep grass edges with minnows is a good tactic for a mix of smallmouth bass, yellow perch, crappie, chain pickerel and perhaps a walleye.

Trout fishing is now in summertime mode in western Maryland mountain streams, and a few select central region tailrace waters. This is the time of the year when fly fishing with dry flies, emergers, and terrestrial flies comes into its own. Anglers will find peace, plenty of elbow room and cool waters to enjoy a summer morning or evening fishing adventure.

Fishing for largemouth bass is very good this week and anglers will begin to see the largemouth shifting to a summer mode of behavior as daytime temperatures rise along with water temperatures. Largemouth bass will be most active at night as they roam the shallower waters in search of food, and they will find a shady and cool location to spend the heat of the day. Early mornings and late evenings will offer some of the best fishing opportunities in the shallower waters for anglers casting frogs, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, and lipless crankbaits.

During the day, dropping weighted wacky rigged worms down through thick floating grass over moderately deep water is a great way to entice a loafing largemouth bass to pick up a bait. Skipping the same wacky rigged worm under docks and overhanging shoreline brush is another good option. Casting soft craw jigs, crankbaits and waacky rigged worms near deep structure is another good option.

Chesapeake Channa, also known as snakeheads, will be part of the bargain when fishing topwater lures near or over shallow grass in the tidal rivers of the Bay. The upper Bay and the western tidal rivers are giving up some astounding sized fish this year to anglers.

Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays

Surf anglers who are fishing large baits continue to catch some large striped bass and red drum this week; most are over the maximum slot lengths, but offer a real trophy catch even if they must be released. A mix of inshore sharks and stingrays are also part of the mix. Anglers fishing with smaller baits are catching kingfish and spot on bloodworm baits and flounder on squid and a few bluefish on finger mullet.

At the inlet and Route 50 Bridge area, a mix of striped bass and bluefish are being caught by casting soft plastic jigs near the jetty rocks and bridge piers. At night anglers are having good luck by drifting cut bait in the current form the bulkheads and the Route 50 Bridge. A few sheepshead are being caught near the jetty rocks and bridge piers on sand fleas.

Flounder fishing has been very good in the back bay channels, boat traffic has become a menacing problem so be careful out there. Sinepuxent Bay offers less boat traffic and in front of the airport is always a good place to fish for flounder. Anglers are reporting Gulp baits are catching the largest flounder. The shoal areas outside the inlet are also producing some good flounder catches.

Black sea bass catches have generally been good at the offshore wreck and reef sites this week. At times it takes moving from one site to another to find engaging fish. Flounder have been part of the mix. Farther offshore at the canyons the yellowfin tuna have finally arrived and boats that are trolling are enjoying good catches this week. Deep drop fishing for blueline tilefish has been good and helps round out many a canyon fishing trip.

“A father is a guy who has snapshots of his family in his wallet where his money used to be.” – An anonymous father

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