Maryland & Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report- August 31, 2023

Striped bass take topwater lures along the Eastern shore, bluefish, cutlass fish and Spanish mackerel blitz on bay anchovies, and surf anglers catch flounder, kingfish and red drum.

Maryland & Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report

  • Bluefish, Spanish mackerel and cutlass fish blitz on bay anchovies
  • Good topwater striped bass fishing along the Eastern shore
  • Red drum, flounder and kingfish entertain surf anglers
  • Bottom fishing yields white perch, croaker, spot, kingfish and more

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 casting a mix of topwater lures and paddletails into the turbine wash of the Conowingo Dam around dawn and late evening and catching striped bass, and at times, flathead and blue catfish are chasing down lures. Drifting fresh cut bait in the dam pool is a surefire way to hook up with the catfish that reside there.

The lower Susquehanna River continues to provide excellent fishing for blue catfish. There are many locations to fish from along the shores of Havre de Grace and Port Deposit, and all you need is a sturdy fishing outfit and fresh cut bait. Anglers on the river at dawn and late evening are working the edges of the Susquehanna Flats with topwater lures and paddletails for striped bass.


The striped bass fishing fleet continues to focus on using spot and eels for live-lining near the mouth of the Patapsco River. Anglers are also venturing into Baltimore Harbor and finding good fishing there along channel edges and the piers of the Key Bridge. Most are succeeding with live-lining, but others are having good luck jigging with soft plastics. Anglers are urged to record the measurements of striped bass they release and keep on the Maryland striped bass angler’s survey. The survey is found on the Department of Natural Resources website by searching Volunteer Angler Surveys.

Anglers are finding striped bass near Pooles Island and the Love Point rocks. Most anglers are using eels and spot for live-lining at Pooles Island and at Love Point rocks, and jigging is also popular. Trolling deep umbrella rigs and tandem rigged paddletails and bucktails dressed with curly tails is another option along channel edges.

Spot can be found in several locations inside the lower Patapsco River, the Magothy River, and other areas within the upper Bay – these are good for live-lining and many are now large enough to eat. White perch will be mixed in these same locations and pieces of bloodworm or artificially scented baits are popular.

Middle Bay

Anglers traveling in boats near the Bay Bridge are advised that a 6-knot speed limit zone has been instituted for boats of all sizes, as crews make repairs to the eastbound span. The speed limit is in force until March 31, 2026, to reduce boat wake interference with barges carrying crews and equipment.

Anglers are finding some striped bass action along the eastern side of the Bay Bridge at the pier bases near the 25-foot drop-off. Most are using spot or eels for live-lining, but some are having good luck with cut spot.

Anglers are finding striped bass along shoreline structure during the early morning at locations throughout the middle Bay. The shallower waters in the lower sections of the Choptank River, Eastern Bay, the rocks at Poplar Island, the Naval Academy, and Thomas Point are just a few of the locations holding striped bass. Most anglers are casting poppers, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, or paddletails. Speckled trout and puppy drum can be part of the mix.

A mix of Spanish mackerel and bluefish are being found throughout the middle Bay along channel edges. The shipping channel edges from Buoy 83 south past the Sharps Island Light and the False Channel area are excellent places to look for them this week. Trolling small Drone Spoons or gold Clark Spoons behind No. 1 planers at 7-8 knots is a popular way to catch them.

Anglers can sometimes spot breaking fish by watching for diving gull activity, and then enjoy some fun casting action if they approach carefully. Small heavy and flashy metal jigs or Got-Cha lures cast into the fray and retrieved quickly can catch Spanish mackerel, while a slower retrieve will catch bluefish and cutlass fish. Bay anchovies are the primary prey species.

White perch offer plenty of fun fishing for those casting small spinnerbaits, roadrunners, and beetle-spin lures along shorelines of the tidal rivers and creeks. The early morning and late evening offer the best opportunities near shoreline structure.

Reed Earnshaw holds a big 13-inch white perch he caught recently. (Photo by Marty Earnshaw)

Submerged rocks, bulkheads, jetties, and breakwaters are just a few structures that can hold white perch. Casting small minnows under a bobber near shoreline structure can also work well on larger white perch. Fishing in deeper waters off docks and piers is often done with a simple bottom rig baited with grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworms or peeler crab.

Lower Bay

Anglers fishing for striped bass in the lower Bay are working the shallower areas of the region’s tidal rivers, creeks, sounds, and bay shorelines. The best opportunities tend to be during the early morning and late evening. Casting a mix of paddletails, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits – and in some areas, poppers – has been working well. Anglers are catching a mix of striped bass, speckled trout, puppy drum, and cutlass fish.

Spanish mackerel and bluefish are a big focus for anglers this week. The waters at the mouth of the Potomac River, Cedar Point to Point Lookout, the area from Buoy 72A past the Target Ship, and Tangier Sound are all popular places to find Spanish mackerel and bluefish.

Fishing for spot at the mouth of the Patuxent River could hardly be better. Anglers are filling ice chests with large spot. They are also catching a mix of kingfish, white perch, small croakers, and sea bass.

Sheepshead (Photo courtesy Andrew Phemister)

Anglers are finding some large sheepshead along with a few cobia near the Target Ship. This past week has seen better opportunities for cobia by chumming and fishing with live eels as well as trolling surgical tube lures near the Target Ship and Smith Point areas. Large red drum continue to be found near Point Lookout and near the Target Ship and Middle Grounds. They can be caught by trolling large spoons or jigging with large soft plastics where a school can be located.

Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays

Surf anglers continue to enjoy a summer mix of kingfish, spot, bluefish, and flounder this week. Bloodworms and artificial bloodworm baits are catching the kingfish and spot. Cut spot or finger mullet is being used for bluefish and cut spot or squid for flounder. A few large red drum are being caught and released during the evening, along with inshore sharks, usually on large cut bait.

At the Ocean City Inlet, sheepshead are being caught near the jetty rocks and bridge piers on sand fleas, while flounder are taking Gulp baits worked along the bottom. Drifting with live spot or finger mullet is working well for the larger flounder. Anglers casting soft plastic jigs or Got-Cha plugs are catching a mix of bluefish and striped bass.

Flounder can be found in the channels near the inlet and back bay waters. Drifting with live spot or other small fish, or with pink or white Gulp baits, is a good tactic for targeting the larger flounder. Squid strips and minnows work well for flounder, but juvenile sea bass can be pesky when fishing with squid.

Outside the inlet those trolling with small Clark and Drone spoons behind No. 1 and No. 2 planers are catching bluefish and Spanish mackerel on some of the inshore shoals. The boats headed out to the offshore wreck and reef sites are finding a mix of sea bass, flounder, and small dolphin for their anglers.

At the offshore canyons, anglers are catching and releasing both white and blue marlin and there was a report of one sailfish release recently. A mix of bigeye and yellowfin tuna are being caught and small dolphin are being found near floating debris and lobster buoys. Deep drop anglers are catching a mix of blueline and golden tilefish.

Dolphin fish (Photo by Monty Hawkins)

Freshwater Opportunities

In the trout waters of western and central Maryland, low flows are creating a situation where stealth and long casts with light tippets are necessary to fool resident trout holding in deeper pools and lays. On the upper Potomac River, water levels are low enough that anglers, if careful, can wade out to reach areas inaccessible by boat. Long casts with light lines during the early morning or late evening offer the best opportunities for smallmouth bass when casting a mix of tubes, small crankbaits, and poppers.

Northern snakeheads are beginning to leave their fry balls this week and they are thinking more about feeding as water temperatures begin to cool slightly. The thick grass beds in the shallows of the tidal rivers and creeks of the Chesapeake Bay are holding snakeheads that will charge buzzbaits, chatterbaits, and soft plastic frogs.

Largemouth bass are still holding to a summer pattern and will do so until water temperatures cool down in late September. A good tactic is fishing in the late evening or early morning using topwater lures and various soft plastics in the shallower waters where grass beds exist. As the day wears on, dropping wacky rigged plastic worms down through floating grass mats is a good way to entice lounging fish to pick up a bait. Largemouth bass will seek cool shade wherever they can find it – docks, fallen treetops, floating grass, deep water near sunken wood, or the shade of bridge piers and overhanging brush, all provide some relief from the hot sun.

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

With cooler morning and evening temperatures, the white perch bite has improved. Anglers are finding success casting spinners or very small paddeltails around shallow structure like piers or rocks. The bigger white perch can be found towards deeper structure such as reefs and channel edges. The favored method is jigging with a Chesapeake Sabiki Rig tipped with either live or artificial bait.

The Susquehanna River continues to be the perfect place for targeting species like catfish or striped bass. All along the lower Susquehanna’s shorelines there are large amounts of blue catfish being caught from either shoreline or from smaller water vessels like kayaks. The Conowingo Dam is the perfect place to get some topwater action from striped bass! Anglers are having huge success targeting rockfish in the early morning hours using either topwater lures or smaller paddletails.

The west side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is providing lots of live-line worthy spot. Jigging areas around the bridge pilings with a Chesapeake Sabiki Rig tipped with either live or artificial bait is the perfect way to net tons of spot, croaker and white perch.

Spanish mackerel are being caught anywhere from Taylor’s Island to the Severn River. Anglers are either casting into mackerel breaking the surface chasing bait fish or trolling at speeds around 8 mph. Anglers are finding the best luck casting Sting Silvers or Epoxy jigs into schools feeding with a fast retrieval. You may even find some bluefish mixed in as well!

South Bay

Trolling for Spanish mackerel or bluefish in the south bay is a HUGE hit this week! Anglers are finding success trolling smaller Clark spoons under a #1 or #2 planer. Popular areas to troll in include Cedar Point, Target Ship and the mouth of the Potomac River.

Striped bass fishing has been decent in the early morning/late evening hours. Anglers are finding striped bass and speckled trout around shallow structure, shorelines and creeks casting topwater lures, smaller paddletails or even live-lining spot.

Anglers are getting a good amount of live-line worthy spot at the mouth of the Patuxent River. Chesapeake Sabiki Rigs are proving to be an easy way to not only catch lots of spot, but white perch and croaker as well.

Additional Info.

This weeks weather is proving to be PERFECT for crabbing. Crabbing is at its peak in areas like the Magothy River and Severn River. The prime depth to focus on is around 8 to 10 feet.

A 6-knot speed limit zone has been instituted around worker on the eastbound span of the bridge. The speed limit is in force until March 31st, 2026, to protect worker safety aboard the barges.

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 reelchesapeake.com.

Oh glorious autumn…it’s inching ever closer to us. If this past week has shown anything, it’s that fall patterns are in the emergent stage throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Anglers fishing for stripers, snakehead, largies, perch, blues, macks, and more species are reporting success and predictable patterns coinciding with the moon, tides, and temps becoming of late-August/early September. Autumn is near folks and now is a great time to start testing some of your favorite methods for catching fall fish.

With the full moon having arrived Wednesday night (8/30)—a rare blue supermoon, which won’t be seen again until the year 2037—the fish have activated and should remain in feeding mode throughout the week. This is welcome news for those chasing the striped bass bite. Bay schoolies are showing themselves in droves, pushing baitfish into surface blitzes during dawn and dusk hours. A few 30-inch class fish have been caught in the middle bay, with one angler reporting a topwater catch just outside of Annapolis (try Tolley Point south to Thomas) and another on the eastern side (Eastern/Prospect Bay area) by means of trolling tandem bucktails. Most of the fish I’m hearing of and seeing firsthand are 17- to 22-inch fish—some smaller, a few larger—busting mini-blitzes in the rivers. I joined angler Derek Sadowski for two solid mornings this week in the upper Severn River, with overcast skies extending the morning feed. Run and gun fishing across the deeper water made for exciting outings; look for floating gulls and hang near them. When they move, follow quickly to find the blitz, then carefully ease within casting range. We threw Rapala SXR10s into the mix—perfect peanut bunker imitators. Your choice of lure may vary, but those that work just below surface avoid the gulls but not the fish! And try casting just outside the blitz edge for the rogues that are sometimes a few inches larger.

Schoolie striper caught from a mini-blitz on the morning of 8:29, with a 4” jerkbait. A near-100 percent overcast sky extended the bite. (@reelchesapeake)

Working the shallow shorelines around docks, points, and rip-rap also has been consistent. River anglers are reporting a great paddletail bite, hitting their preferred spots with 1/4- to 3/8-ounce jigheads tipped with the boot of choice (3- to 5-inch plastics are key). Well-known Capt. Tom Weaver has started putting a few clients on stripers by means of fly. All the middle rivers are producing, especially in the lower sections as some of the bay schools begin to move in them to begin the fall feed. We’re all hoping to hear of slightly larger fish soon. 

Those jigging 7- to 10-inch plastics, like BKDs and large shads, on heavier lead are still having success in the Patapsco River, from the Key Bridge to mouth. I expect more and more Ptap anglers to begin pursuing the topwater bite in earnest though. Meanwhile, those trolling the channel edges from the Bridge down to Bloody Point, and even below that, are doing so mostly for bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Good quantities of both fish are coming in, though nothing prominently larger than about 16 inches, 20 inches max. These fish we begin migrating south toward the Atlantic during September, so try to get on them now. And cutlass fish are still being caught in the South River/Thomas Point area.

White perch and croaker fishing has also been excellent. Again, upriver water is where an abundance of fish is still prospering. I speak directly for the Severn River, in which a number of SRRKC members are enjoying outfishing one another for their largest perch aggs in the club tourney. Lots of 10.25 inch and above fish reported. (Even a couple yellows have been caught.) If you read me weekly, you probably know I’m a proponent of micropaddletails on 1/16- to 1/8-ounce jigheads fished around relatively deeper shoreline cover and shade (water could be from 4 feet up to 15 feet or so). My evidence is the stringer caught from last Sunday morning. As overnights cool ever-so-slightly over several weeks, these fish will begin moving downriver and congregating in deeper bay water, where most of the larger croaker are right now. Start probing oyster beds and deep structure with baited, small-hook dropper rigs.

The other multi-reports this week: snakeheads are slamming frogs and hitting flukes in several western shore tribs and their creek waters (Patapsco, Patuxent, Potomac especially). And largemouth bass are being taken on large worms, either Tex- or wacky-rigged, from the southern Maryland lakes to the Eastern Shore creeks, proving that the fish know, as well as we do, that autumn is around the corner. Good luck!

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

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