Maryland & Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report- May 25, 2023

Striped bass fishing is good along the Eastern shore, bluefish show around the inlets and Atlantic beaches, flounder bite in the coastal bays and black sea bass season is off to a steady start.

Tochterman’s Fishing Tackle Report — Baltimore, MD

The Tochterman’s Fishing Tackle Fishing Report is written by Tochterman’s team member, Kevin Trupia.

Memorial Day weekend is upon us a great time to get out with family and friends and do some fishing. Snakehead fishing has been great all over the Chesapeake Bay and it’s tributaries but especially good at the Conowingo Dam. Striped bass season has been good too. There is a new slot limit where these fish have to be between 19 to 31 inches to keep. Check the areas you are fishing to stay on top of the regulations. June 1st opens all over with the same slot limit of 19 to 31 inches. Catfish and white perch are also being caught all over the bay and its tributaries, and June 3rd offers a free fishing day in MD.

Kevin Trupia with a large Northern snakehead caught while casting along grassy marsh edges.

Additionally, snakeheads are being caught on inline spinners, chatterbaits and flukes, while other anglers are live lining spot on the flats for striped bass. Cut bait is best for the catfish species, and white perch are being caught on small jigs or using lugworms or night crawlers on a top and bottom rig.

The Tochterman’s Fishing Tackle Fishing Report is written by Tochterman’s team member, Kevin Trupia.

Maryland DNR Fishing Report

Maryland Fishing Report is written and compiled by Keith Lockwood, fisheries biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Upper Chesapeake Bay

Anglers are enjoying some spectacular fishing for northern snakeheads in the Conowingo Dam pool and just below. The dam is the end of the road for snakeheads migrating up the Susquehanna River and they tend to pile up there. Casting white paddletails tends to be the most popular way to fish for them but they will strike other lures. Fishing for flathead catfish in the dam pool has also been good; fresh cut gizzard shad or with live bait small live white perch and bluegill sunfish are good baits.

Brett Wilt recently caught this large northern snakehead on the Susquehanna Flats. (Photo courtesy of Brett Wilt)

The Susquehanna River is open to striped bass fishing with a slot of 19 inches to 26 inches and one fish per day per angler. Most anglers are jigging with soft plastic jigs or casting crankbaits, others are chunking and enjoying a mixed catch of channel and blue catfish, along with that coveted striped bass measuring within the keeper slot size.

Anglers must fish below a line drawn from the Lapidum boat ramp to Twin Rocks and to Tome’s Landing Marina in Port Deposit south to a line drawn from Sandy Point to Turkey Point. Some other areas of the upper Bay are catch-and-release only and others remain off-limits to any type of striped bass fishing, until June 1. For exact information, please check the map on the Department of Natural Resources website and a complete list of regulations for striped bass fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.

In the portion of the upper Bay below the line from Hart-Miller Island to Tolchester, the slot size is 19-31 inches. In that area, jigging has been very popular along the steep edges of the shipping channel, the Love Point Rocks, and the Bay Bridge piers. Most anglers are using ¾-ounce jig heads and a variety of soft plastics, either skirted or not. Drifting with small live white perch or soft crab baits back to the bridge pier bases is working well for anglers targeting striped bass.

Trolling for striped bass along the channel edges is certainly a viable option for anglers this week. Trolling with umbrella and tandem rigs is a good way to cover plenty of water along the shipping channel edges. Depending how deep the fish are suspended, it may take significant weight to get down to where the fish are holding. Medium-sized bucktails dressed with sassy shads are popular, Storm shads are a good choice and spoons work well also. When fishing with spoons and shads, the drag may be minor enough that planers can be used.

White perch are being found in the lower sections of the region’s tidal creeks and rivers this week and providing excellent fishing opportunities. Many anglers are using bait in the form of grass shrimp, live minnows, or bloodworms or casting small jigs and spinners along shoreline structure.

Blue catfish can be found throughout the upper Bay and in every tidal river, the Susquehanna and Chester rivers hold some of the largest populations. At times they will also be mixed with channel catfish. Fresh cut bait tends to be popular – menhaden, gizzard shad, white perch, and bluegills will all fit the bill; chicken liver, shrimp, and nightcrawlers will work well also. An increasing number of anglers are now jigging along channel edges for blue catfish, and it is not uncommon for them to chase down a crankbait.

Middle Bay

The middle Bay is providing plenty of striped bass opportunities this week. The annual spring mating ritual of clam worms, commonly called May worms, usually occurs around this time on the new moons in May and June when water temperatures are in the upper 60s. The next new moon is June 18. Anglers should keep watch if they have access to a dock light to witness the swarms. When the mating hatch occurs, the worms rise from the bottom to the surface and striped bass and white perch gorge on them. Using red or pink plastic jigs in the 5-inch size range is the ticket if a striped bass is looking for one more clam worm.

(Photo by Travis Long)

Anglers are jigging along the edges of the shipping channel this week, and the drop-off at Thomas Point is always a popular stop. The rocks on the west side of Poplar Island are a great spot to cast soft plastic jigs or paddletails in the early morning or evening hours; poppers are a fun and exciting way to get into the action. Eastern Bay is still catch-and-release till June 1 and the Choptank River is closed to all striped bass fishing above the line from Holland Point to the west entrance of Chapel Creek. Legal striped bass must measure between 19 inches and 31 inches, and the catch limit is one fish per day per angler in Maryland waters.

Trolling is a good option this week and a great way to cover a lot of water along the edges of the shipping channel and the False Channel. The shipping channel edge in front of the Gum Thickets and across the bay at Hacketts Point, the edge along Buoy 83, and out in front of Chesapeake Beach and Breezy Point are a few popular places to troll. Umbrella rigs and tandem-rigged bucktails or shads are good choices, and small red teasers on an umbrella rig is a good way to imitate a May worm swarm when their hatch takes place.

More than a few anglers are chumming or chunking for striped bass at traditional locations such as the outside edge of Hacketts, Thomas Point, and the Clay Banks. Blue catfish are not as common barging in on a chum slick this far down the Bay, but cownose rays are in abundance this week. Those jigging and trolling have been snagging them and when they’re thick, it is hard to avoid them. They are reported to be tearing up the shallow grass beds in the Kent Island area, most likely feeding on razor clams and crabs.

White perch have moved into their typical summer habitat areas and will be providing fun fishing till the fall. Docks, piers, jetties, and oyster beds are good places to look for them. The perch will usually be holding under a pier or close to it if the water is deep enough. Grass shrimp and pieces of bloodworm are the best baits to fish for them on a simple one-hook bottom rig with a half-ounce to 1-ounce weight and a No. 4 hook rigged to hold about 5 inches off the bottom. In the evenings they can be found along shoreline structure; casting small spinners, spinnerbaits, and small jigs is a fun way to fish for them with light tackle. If fly fishing, it is hard to beat a silver flash and chartreuse Clouser.

Lower Bay

Fishing for striped bass is alive and well in the lower Bay, where there are a variety of ways to fish for them. Many are finding good opportunities for jigging along channel edges when their depth finders spot the fish suspended off the bottom; soft plastic jigs in shades of chartreuse and ¾-ounce jig heads are the most popular offering. The shipping channel edges and the edges of the main channel in the lower Potomac River are excellent places to look.

Trolling these same edges with umbrella rigs, tandem-rigged swim shads, or bucktails dressed with a sassy shad or curly tail with sufficient weight to get them down to where the fish are holding. A small spoon behind a planer can also be effective and a lot easier to reel in. The daily limit is one striped bass per person per day measuring from 19 inches to 31 inches in Maryland waters. In the tidal Potomac the daily limit is two striped bass per day per person, and the slot size is 20 inches to 31 inches.

Anglers who can get out fishing early in the morning or in the evening are being treated to some excellent shallow water fishing for striped bass along shorelines and places with structure such as the Cedar Point rocks and locations on the lower Potomac. On the eastern side of the Bay, the cuts through Hoopers Island are open to catch and release fishing and the marsh edges and creeks of Tangier Sound are open to possession of striped bass.

Anglers near Tangier Sound are enjoying good shallow-water fishing for a mix of striped bass and speckled trout. Many are either casting paddletails or drifting soft crab baits with good success.

Cownose rays have been particularly pesky in the lower Bay the past week and they can really get into the way when fishing. Snagging one while jigging or trolling is no fun and if you’re fishing with heavy braid, make sure you have a lighter mono leader so you can break them off more easily. Cownose rays have few redeeming qualities when present in such great numbers; they love chowing on blue crabs and clams and are a real pain if they pick up a soft crab bait. Bull sharks also can be troubling, but they can help control the cownose rays by eating them.

White perch can now be found in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers and creeks, providing fun fishing near dock piers, rocks, and oyster beds. Grass shrimp and pieces of bloodworm on a bottom rig tend to be the most popular way to fish for them when they are holding in deeper waters. In the evenings they will move into shallower water and can be caught by casting small spinners near shoreline structure. Spot are beginning to show up on traditional areas near the mouth of the Patuxent River.

Fishing for blue catfish in the region’s tidal rivers is a sure thing in most areas. There are large populations of blue catfish to be found – their population continues to expand and grow, and the catfish are getting larger.

Recreational crabbers are out in force in many tidal rivers, especially on the eastern side of the Bay. Catches have been poor to fair in most areas, with success improving the farther south one goes on the Eastern Shore. The reports from the southern waters do tell of smaller crabs, but a lot of them, which gives hope for next month. There are reports of larger crabs in the middle Bay that are paper shell and light, and it makes no sense to keep these crabs, as it will take another week or two for them to fill out. There is good news from farther up the creeks where the larger crabs are reported to be heavy. The results of the winter blue crab dredge survey were released last week and can be viewed on the Department of Natural Resources website.

Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays

There are good surf fishing opportunities along the beaches of Assateague this week. Striped bass are being caught, many are large and over the 31-inch maximum, but they provide some exciting catch-and-release fishing. Red drum are beginning to be caught and most are over the maximum of 27 inches, so they also must be released.

Medium-sized black drum are still being caught now and then as are a variety of inshore sharks. Anglers are using a variety of baits including cut menhaden, sand fleas, clams, and bloodworms. Cownose rays continue to be pesky bait stealers but will keep anglers from dozing off. Kingfish should show up soon.

Fishing for school-sized striped bass is very good this week along the inlet jetties, bulkheads and the Route 50 Bridge area and coastal bay bridges. A large proportion of the striped bass fail to meet the 28-inch minimum but not by much, so eventually one will be legal sized. Bluefish can also be part of the mix. Casting soft plastic jigs tends to be the most popular way to fish although some are having good luck with paddletails near the coastal bay bridges.

Flounder fishing in the channels leading from the inlet has been good on a variety of baits. Many anglers opt for Gulp baits when targeting larger flounder. Traditional baits of minnows and squid strips will never go out of favor. The Thorofare Channel has been a standout place to drift for flounder.

The charter and party boats heading out of Ocean City are focusing on black sea bass this week and the catches are good. It is not uncommon for limit catches and some boats have reported boat limits. The daily catch limit per angler is 15 per sea bass at a minimum length of 13 inches.

A quality black sea bass. (Photo by Monty Hawkins)

Freshwater Opportunities

Trout fishing is beginning to slow down in the central and southern regions. As we move into June, water temperatures become too warm to continue stocking trout, but there are holdovers. Exploring the previously stocked waters by casting small spinners and spoons is a great way to cover a lot of water looking for that holdover trout. The delayed harvest waters that are catch and release will be open from June 1 through September 30 with a limit of 5 trout per day.

Now that Memorial Day weekend is upon us, anglers will begin to see more boat traffic on Deep Creek Lake, so be careful out there. More floating docks are deployed, which is a good thing for largemouth and smallmouth bass anglers. Skipping wacky rigged stick worms or soft plastic under the docks is a great way to hook up with a loafing fish holding in the shade of the dock. Bluegill sunfish get quite large at Deep Creek Lake and always provide plenty of fun for anglers along the shorelines and floating docks.

This week is a great time to take our younger anglers out fishing; those that are just starting will do fine targeting various sunfish species at local community ponds with a simple bobber and worm rig. There are several youth fishing events taking place throughout the summer; check the Department of Natural Resources website to search for youth fishing rodeos.

In the many ponds, reservoirs, and tidal waters of Maryland, largemouth bass are aggressively feeding in their post-spawn modes. Water temperatures are still moderate enough that the fish are active throughout the day, especially near cover in the form of grass, spatterdock fields, lily pads, or fallen treetops. A wide variety of lures will work well – soft plastics, stick worms, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and crankbaits are all good choices.

Maryland Fishing Report is written and compiled by Keith Lockwood, fisheries biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Angler’s Sport Center Fishing Report – Annapolis, MD

The Angler’s Sport Center fishing report is compiled and written by Anglers Team Member, A.J. Lewis.

Upper and Middle Bay

Sandy Point and Matapeake continue to be excellent places to target catfish! Anglers are reporting great success with alewife, soft crab and even bloodworms.

Key points along the Susquehanna River are perfect for targeting fish like blue catfish, hickory shad and even snakehead! Anglers are still reporting HUGE blue catfish around the Conowingo Dam. You can find a good mix of large sized snakehead at the dam as well.

Areas like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge are proving to be hotspots for striped bass! Anglers report that jigging and live-lining are the 2 best tactics for getting the big ones. Anglers who are trolling for for rockfish are having good success in shallow water, as shallow as 10 feet!

The white perch are consistently being caught in shallower waters around their usual summer spots. Anglers are finding the perch spread out during the day, and grouped around structure in the early mornings and evenings. Anglers are also reporting large white perch around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge using bottom rigs!

South Bay

Striped bass can be found in large numbers around the mouth of the Potomac River. Jigging, trolling and chumming are always a solid bet when it comes to targeting these fish.

The tidal Potomac is absolutely perfect for targeting blue cats. Places like Fletcher’s Boat House is still a prime spot for catching your fill of blue catfish! Anglers in that area are finding success using jigs with plastics.

White perch are being caught around the mouths of rivers while moving through the channels, top and bottom rigs are your best bet. Perch are hanging around structure such as sunken logs or wood in the shallow areas. Try using small spinners like a Perch Hounder or a smaller Mepps inline spinner in the shallows.

Additional Info.

Anglers may keep one striped bass per person per day, with a minimum length of 19 inches and a maximum length of 31 inches. A smaller maximum size of 26 inches is in place in the Susquehanna Flats, Lower Susquehanna River, and North East River from May 18 through May 31, then the bay-wide size limits apply. Remember to check DNR’s website often to keep up with the current striped bass regulations!

We have a great selection of bait, lures, trolling combos, planer boards, umbrella rigs, tandems rigs, and so much more. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are here to help you select the best equipment and bait to fit your specific fishing needs.

The Angler’s Sport Center fishing report is compiled and written by Anglers Team Member, A.J. Lewis.

Reel Chesapeake Fishing Report – Annapolis, MD

The Reel Chesapeake Fishing Report is written and compiled by writer and media professional, James Houck. Find the full report here, at

Mid-Bay water temperatures remain at the 67 to 70 degree mark in the main channel and finger tributaries. The region has felt stable, consistent weather all week with mild overnight temps in the 50s and daytime highs hardly eclipsing 75. Tides have been running strong, especially around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge pilings, with mornings seeing the highest flood and evenings the secondary peak. What does this mean for fishing? Well, the fish are everywhere. Quite scattered. Find the fish and you’ll have a nice outing.  

Striped bass continue to be the main draw, even in catch-and-release tributaries. Reports of solid morning and evening topwater bites for school-sized fish up to 30 inches are getting anglers, myself included, excited to give the plugs a try. But locating the fish can be a chore and take up valuable fishing time. Most successful reports came from the mouths of rivers and main stem points, jutting in the Bay proper. Between the South and West Rivers, especially the Thomas Point area, you should be able to find marks. Be careful between Thomas’ point and lighthouse, as there are scattered rock piles within the shallower water. Upwards, the Patapsco area around the Fort Carroll sanctuary has produced several solid striper reports. Even further north, a good report came in of a dynamite evening topwater bite in the Susquehanna Flats (catch-and-release through May 31st). 

Your best opportunity for topwater stripers will be casting points/sandbars and grasslines (the transition from grassbed to dropoff) during the very early sunrise or sunset. The Eastern side of the Bay is especially lush with these features. When the sun reaches four fingers above the horizon plan to switch to jigging the fish that have moved into deeper environs. A classic bucktail with split-tail trailer still works wonders. Large-eyed jigheads tipped with Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ, BKDs, and the like are also effective. 

We’re anticipating the nicer-sized schoolies to continue pushing further into and up the rivers, following the peanut bunker that are marking everywhere right now. This should make the topwater bite more accessible, especially for small craft and kayak anglers. Right now, we’re still only seeing small fish in the 12 to 15 inch range. In the meantime, the white perch bite is moderate. Deepwater dock fishing is an excellent option if your casting skills are up to snuff. Find a run a docks that transition from shallow (3 to 5 feet) to deep (10 plus) and try skipping perch-sized lures (Kastmasters, Perch Pounders, small jigs/grubs) under and around them. Every river of the Chesapeake has this structure where perch can be found. 

The other two big bites that anglers are chasing are bull red drum and spotted sea trout. Most reports continue to come from more southern waters near the mouth of the Potomac and across the Bay to the fertile Eastern Shore islands, Honga River, and Fishing Bay. When all else fails, there are blue, channel, flat, bullhead, and white catfish willing to take a soaking chunk bait. The entire Potomac watershed is renowned for them. Same for northern snakehead, which are spawning or finishing up, making the bite challenging but doable.  

At the Atlantic beaches and inlets, a mix of spawning-sized stripers (the last of the run pushing out of the Bay and northward) and a good grade of bluefish are being reported. In the back bays, the flounder bite appears consistent. Good luck! 

Small schoolies are biting in the upper reaches of most Chesapeake rivers. Larger fish following peanut bunker should push upward in the coming week to two. (@reelchesapeake)

View the full Reel Chesapeake Fishing Report, written and compiled by writer and media professional James Houck, at

1 thought on “Maryland & Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report- May 25, 2023

  1. Harold Harder

    Would be very helpful if you provided a photo of the various lures!

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