Anglers are catching a few striped bass in the lower bay but most are fishing for other abundant species. The Potomac River mainstem remains closed to all targeting of striped bass until Aug. 20, and all Maryland waters will close to the targeting of striped bass from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31.
Cobia are being found at the Middle Grounds, the Target Ship, and the Mud Leads this week. They might not be as plentiful as they are in Virginia waters but there is enough action to make fishing for them a worthwhile endeavor. Slow trolling live eels, green hose lures or sight casting with live eels has been the most productive way to fish for cobia. Chumming is reported to not be very productive as small bluefish and cownose rays tend to dominate chum slicks.
Speckled trout fishing has been a wonderful boost to the fishing opportunities in the lower bay this week. Despite the recent rains, the eastern side of the bay should still have good water clarity so anglers can expect good to excellent fishing in the shallower areas of Tangier Sound, and to some extent in the Point Lookout area. Soft plastic paddle tails and similar soft plastics in pink, white, or pearl sparkle combinations are among the most popular lures to use. When fishing over shallow grass, the jig heads being used are very light.
The Spanish mackerel are often caught by casting into breaking fish with soft plastics or metal and then speed reeling. Other times it is just the luck of the draw whether a bluefish or Spanish mackerel gets to the lure first.
Fishing for white perch is great on the tidal rivers and creeks. White perch are holding over oyster bars and near shallower structure in the tidal creeks. Docks, piers, fallen trees, and bridge piers are all good places to find plenty of white perch. Small croakers can also be part of the mix in the deeper waters, along with some eating-sized spot.
Recreational crabbing is improving, as the crabs have been moving up the tidal rivers. In the lower parts of the tidal rivers some of the largest crabs are coming from oyster bar edges in about 15 feet of water. Catching a full bushel per outing with a trotline or collapsible crab traps is certainly achievable right now. Razor clams remain the most favored bait but chicken necks are working just fine. Doublers will be a more common site this week during the full moon.
Fishing for northern snakeheads is best in the morning and evening hours. They will be holding near grass wherever they can find it. Frogs and buzzbaits are good choices to fish in the grass. White paddle tails and similar baits work well along grass edges and sunken wood. The creeks feeding into the tidal Potomac River, the Nanticoke River, and the backwaters of lower Dorchester County are popular places to fish for them. As populations of northern snakeheads expand throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, anglers are finding new areas to find good fishing success.
Blue catfish are also rapidly expanding their range in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and are now spread from the tidal Potomac to the Susquehanna River. The Elk, Chester, Choptank, Nanticoke, and Patuxent rivers all hold increasing populations of blue catfish.