Southern Maryland Fishing Reports

January 16, 2020

Preseason Trout Stocking

Calvert County 
  • Calvert Cliffs Pond: 300 golden and rainbow trout  

Charles County
  • Hughesville Pond: 300 golden and rainbow trout 
  • Wheatley Lake: 900 golden and rainbow trout 

Prince George's County 

  • Allen's Pond: 600 golden and rainbow trout 
  • Cosca Lake: 650 golden and rainbow trout 
  • Melwood Pond: 450 golden and rainbow trout 
  • Tucker Pond: 450 golden and rainbow trout 

December 19, 2019

The rockfish season is out in Maryland waters and it was great right up until the last day on December 15.  

The Potomac remains open for two fish per day with a minimum on 20 inches until December 31st. The lower Potomac on the Virginia side continues to produce excellent catches. Trollers are doing very well off Vermar Beach in the 40 foot depth using small umbrella rigs. The fish are from 20 to 28 inches on average. The cold, clear weather on Wednesday found the fish not as eager to bite. Warmer, overcast days can be very good.

The main stem of  the bay below Smith Point has plenty of fish up to 32 inches, and some of the big sea run stipers are in the mix. The Virginia season is open until the end of the year, but the minimum is 20 inches and there is a maximum of 36 inches. There is a one fish per day limit in Virginia.

Hardy fresh water fishermen are catching some fine chain pickerel in ponds and at St. Mary's Lake. Crappie are still hitting live minnows at St. Mary's.


December 12, 2019

The exciting striped bass action continues this week and will most likely prevail until the season’s closing bell on Dec. 15. There is a lot of bait in the form of menhaden being seen around the mouth of the Potomac River to Smith Point, and north to the mouth of the Patuxent River. The striped bass are holding in about 40 feet to 60 feet of water along the main channel edges, feeding on the schools of menhaden. The area from R72 south to G65 has been a very popular location.

Jigging with large soft plastic jigs around 8 inches and metal jigs that are 1 ounce or heavier are needed to get down to the depths required. Trolling is also a good option when covering water along these deep channel edges, but requires heavy inline weights, often 12 ounces or more, with umbrella rigs and trolling speeds as low as 2 knots. Rigging the umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse sassy shads with a chartreuse bucktail and sassy shad has been effective. There is always hope that some large ocean run striped bass will come up the Bay this week, so more than a few anglers have been adding large parachutes and bucktails to their trolling spreads.

White perch are being found in some of the deepest holes near the mouth of the Patuxent River and Tangier Sound. They are nestled down close to the bottom in 40 feet of water or more. It will take a fair-sized sinker to hold bottom with a two-hook bottom rig baited with pieces of bloodworm, but the rewards are there.

Fishing for northern snakeheads will generally be limited to fishing with bobbers or popping corks trailing a large minnow. Sunny afternoons with little wind offer the best fishing opportunities. The tidal Potomac, Patuxent and Nanticoke rivers along with the Blackwater area in lower Dorchester County will be some of the better places to give it a try.

Blue catfish are one species of fish in Maryland that are also eating large numbers of native fish. When they become large they will prey on adult species such as yellow perch, river herring, hickory shad, and many more species of fish. 

Blue catfish provide good fishing through the winter months and the medium-sized ones are a welcomed addition to anyone’s freezer. They will tend to move towards the deeper waters of the channels of the tidal rivers as water temperatures become colder. The tidal Potomac River is loaded with them, and the middle region of the Patuxent River contains a large number of them, as does the Sharptown region of the Nanticoke River. The lower Susquehanna River is a good location for them in the upper Bay.


December 5, 2019

Fishing for striped bass is focused on targeting the deeper channel edges by jigging or trolling. It takes a lot of weight to get down to the fish so heavy inline weights are required when trolling. Umbrella rigs are the most popular item being trolled this week, usually with a Storm Shad type trailer or a bucktail dressed with a sassy shad in chartreuse or white.

Some of the best and most consistent striped bass fishing in Maryland waters is found here. The waters around the Point Lookout area are just a little warmer than farther north. The striped bass are suspended close to the bottom at depths of 30 feet to 40 feet along the major channel edges.

The shipping channel edges along the west side of the Bay and the mouth of the Patuxent and Potomac rivers are excellent places to find striped bass, and even a speckled trout now and then.

Most are jigging with ¾-ounce to 1-ounce skirted jigs with 8-inch to 10-inch soft plastics in shades of chartreuse, pearl with sparkles, and white. Those that are trolling are using umbrella rigs behind heavy inline weights to get close to the depths where the fish are holding. Various Storm type shads and bucktails dressed with sassy shads are popular trailing lures.

Those seeking out a little different fishing fun are probing the depths near the mouths of several tidal rivers. Large white perch are being found in about 40 feet of water in the lower Patuxent River. Fishing with a two-hook bottom rig baited with pieces of bloodworm is a favored way to fish for them.

Yellow perch are providing an increasing amount of fishing opportunities in many of the tidal rivers and can be caught by fishing small minnows or casting small lures close to the bottom.

Largemouth bass are feeling the cold and have retreated to the deeper waters at the base of drop-offs. Fishing slowly with blade lures, jigs and grubs close to the bottom is a good tactic. The pickup will be very subtle, so watch for the slightest movement in the line. On sunny days they may be found in shallower areas seeking a little warmth from the sun, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits can be good choices to fish.


November 22, 2019

The nor'easter last week kept a lot of fishermen off the bay with small craft warnings. We also had high tides bringing our water back to summertime levels.

The stripers responded by returning to the shorelines where fishermen caught them on top water poppers, live bait, and swimming plugs. Goose Creek, Hog Point, and the Navy Recreation Pier in Solomons had some good catches.

Bait fishermen on the Point Lookout Pier using cut alewife caught some keeper rockfish in the rough surf. 

Trollers and jiggers continue to catch stripers in the Potomac and the Patuxent with breaking fish drawing diving gulls. 

There are plenty of rockfish in the triangle area out the mouth of the Potomac. Breaking fish are in the Point No Point area to marker 72, the Target Ship and on the Mud Leads.

The weather forecast for the end of the week calls for sunshine and temperatures approaching 60 degrees. The winds will calm and the fishing will be great.

Striped bass can be found scattered along the shipping channel edges and channel edges in the lower Patuxent and Potomac rivers and Tangier Sound. On most days it is easy to spot bird action as baitfish continue to move out of the tidal rivers and travel down the bay. The most common bait being seen are 4-inch to 5-inch juvenile menhaden.

Light tackle jigging is one of the most fun and productive ways to fish for striped bass in the fall and this year is no exception. Using half-ounce to 3/4-ounce jigs skirted with six inch soft plastic bodies in white, pearl, or chartreuse is the ticket to this fun. Metal jigs with single hooks are also a good choice, and braided line is a real asset in regard to sensitivity and line drag.

Trolling is a great option along channel edges and wherever bird action is spotted. Trolling with umbrella rigs and heavy inline weights is the most popular trolling option to get down deep to where the striped bass are holding.

White perch can be found deep — often 30 feet or deeper — in the lower parts of the major tidal rivers over good hard bottom with some amount of current flowing through the area. It’s best to use bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm or dropper rigs holding small jigs or a metal jig with a dropper fly-rigged above. Anglers are reminded that rigs may not have more than two hooks per rig.

Speckled trout can still be found along the eastern and western sides of the Bay in deeper holes, but it’s hard to get them to bite due to cold water temperatures. This is a great time of the year to target blue catfish in the tidal Potomac River, the Sharptown area of the Nanticoke River, and the Patuxent River. Fresh cut bait or items such as clam snouts work well, and channel edges are a good place to look for them.


November 15, 2019

It is a great time to be on the hunt for rockfish in Southern Maryland.

Fishing fortunes are very good this week as striped bass can be found chasing baitfish. The lower Potomac, St, Marys, Patuxent, the Hoopers Island area and Nanticoke rivers are great places to light-tackle jig as baitfish travel down the rivers and into the Bay to head south.

Pulling umbrella rigs with a swimshad or a bucktail dressed with a twister tail or sassy shad have been very popular; inline weights are a must to get them down. Spoons and hoses are often part of a mixed spread and deep-diving Rapala-type crankbaits can work well also, especially when trolling a couple of flat lines in the shallower tidal rivers.

The stripers are in the Patuxent, Potomac, and bay in good numbers everyday. The fish are breaking drawing plenty of seagulls to mark the schools. The keeper fish are either under the top frothers or off aways from the gull frenzy. The fish range up to 30 inches, but most of the keepers are in the 22 to 24 inch range. Trollers using small umbrellas and ten to twelve ounce in line weights can catch them two at the time.

The opportunities for shore fishermen to get in on this abundance of fish is finding and ever decreasing window as the water cools, the waterline recedes, and the water becomes crystal clear. There were stripers caught off the Point Lookout Pier several evenings last week by both bait fishermen using blood worms or cut bait, and lure casters using surface poppers, bucktails and jigs.

Some hefty rock are in the mouth of the St. Mary's River off the Potomac for trollers in both the shallows and on the 20 foot edges.

The air is full of birds over breaking fish in the lower Potomac from Ragged Point to Vero Beach.


November 8, 2019

Some of the best striped bass fishing is occurring in the lower Potomac, St Marys and Patuxent rivers. Casting a variety of topwater lures, swimshads, and crankbaits near shoreline structure is accounting for a very nice grade of striped bass. The best action tends to occur during the morning and evening hours.

During much of the day, jigging with soft plastic jigs takes center stage along channel edges. Fish can be found suspended on depth finders or jigging with larger soft plastic jigs underneath surface breaking fish. There continue to be large numbers of small 2-3 year old striped bass chasing bait along channel edges on top along with the last of the season’s bluefish. Most of the bluefish tend to be near Point Lookout and the mouth of the Potomac.

Anglers who are jigging have also been catching speckled trout on both sides of the Bay. The Point Lookout area, St. Marys River, and the lower Patuxent are popular on the western side, while the region from Hoopers Island south to Pocomoke Sound are offering great speckled trout fishing on the eastern side. The grassy shallows, creeks, guts, slightly deeper holes, and stump fields are all excellent places to look for speckled trout. Soft plastics such as grubs in the 4-inch to 6-inch range with chartreuse, yellow, and pearl flashy sparkle combinations have been popular choices.

Striped bass are being found up the Potomac River far past the Route 301 Bridge, but by far the most numerous fish in the tidal Potomac are blue catfish. They can be found almost everywhere along the edges of channels and adjoining flats. The medium-sized ones make a great addition to anyone’s freezer for the winter months ahead.

White perch fishing opportunities are good in the tidal creeks and rivers. They can be found holding near some of the deeper shoreline structure areas and out in the deeper open waters. Working small spinnerbaits and jigs are a good tactic with light spinning tackle. Bottom rigs baited with grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm also work well.


November 1, 2019

Trolling can be a good alternative near breaking fish or along channel edges where suspended striped bass may be found. Medium-sized bucktails, spoons and red or green hoses have been a few of the most popular choices for lures. The use of umbrella rigs has been popular and most everything is being pulled behind inline weights to get the offerings down to where the larger fish are holding.

The shipping channel edges on both sides of the bay are a good place to explore this week as well as the lower Patuxent and Potomac rivers. Striped bass can be found north of the Route 301 Bridge on the Potomac, and the Morgantown Power Plant warm water discharge is always worth a peek.

Live-lining spot can still be a good way to target striped bass this week along steep channel edges when they can be found suspended. The steep edges from St. Georges Island to Piney Point in the lower Potomac River remains one of the best places to give it a try.

Casting topwater lures along shoreline structure such as points, shallow water grass, docks in the lower Patuxent, Potomac and St Marys rivers has been offering some fun fishing action during the morning and evening hours during high flood and high ebb tides. In deeper areas crankbaits, swimshads, and jerkbaits can also be very effective. On the eastern side of the Bay there is similar action with striped bass and the added bonus of speckled trout. The Hoopers Island area down to Pocomoke Sound all offers fun fishing with light tackle.

White perch fishing is good in the lower sections of the region’s tidal creeks and rivers. often over living oyster bottom. Bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm or grass shrimp is one of the better ways to catch them. Small jigs and beetle spin type lures can also be a good tactic when worked deep. Yellow perch can be part of the mix as more of them enter the tidal rivers. 

Note to anglers: Point Lookout State Park will not be open for night fishing from Nov. 12, 2019 to April 15, 2020. During this time, the fishing pier will be closed. Boaters will still be permitted to use the boat launch after sunset during that time, but should contact the park to arrange access.

The 2019 recreational crabbing season is coming to an end as cooler water temperatures prevail. Most crabs are moving into the deeper waters in the lower sections of the tidal rivers, often in 15 feet of water or more. They will continue to move into even deeper waters as they prepare to burrow into a mix of sand and mud for the winter. Those who just have to try and put one more catch or so together are able to this week if one finds the right spot. The experts are evenly split between razor clams or chicken necks for bait.


October 24, 2019

Those fishing in Eastern Shore rivers and in the lower Patuxent and Potomac have been enjoying some good light-tackle action for striped bass in the early morning and late evening. Casting poppers, crankbaits, and jerkbaits near shoreline structure and prominent points is a good tactic and a fun way to fish. Others are trolling a mix of bucktails, and spoons along the channel edges with some success. In the lower Potomac the steep channel edge between St. Georges Island and Piney Point still is a draw for those wishing to live-line spot. There tends to be a fair percentage of sub-legal fish in the mix but most agree it is worth the effort.

Speckled trout have been a fun diversion for many, as they are showing up on both sides of the bay and are a welcomed addition to light-tackle fishing. Casting a mix of topwater lures and shads has been a great way to catch them along marsh edges, prominent points, creek mouths and hard-bottom shoal areas. Most of the trout being caught are ranging from about 15 inches to 20 inches in length.

White perch are beginning to school up on hard oyster bottom in the lower sections of the region’s creeks and tidal rivers, providing plenty of fun fishing opportunities. Most are opting for bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworms or grass shrimp in water 10 feet or deeper. Deep-water piers and docks are great locations, as is fishing out of small boats.

The middle sections of the Potomac, Patuxent and Nanticoke rivers have large populations of blue catfish that are hungry for fresh cut bait or other items such as clam snouts. Most anywhere along the channel edges and some of the medium-depth holes are holding plenty of medium sized blue cats which make for the best eating fresh or frozen.

Recreational crabbers who are itching for that last fall batch of large and heavy blue crabs have been working the deeper waters of the tidal rivers, often as deep as 18 feet. Collapsible crab traps are the best option and one may have to add some extra line to those buoy lines. Razor clams and chicken necks have been the baits of choice.   


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