The highly anticipated summer rockfish season has officially opened, allowing anglers to reel in the coveted striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River. Anglers can now keep one striped bass per day in the bay, with a minimum length requirement of 19 inches, while the Potomac River permits two striped bass per day, with a minimum length of 20 inches. Experienced fishermen are reporting good quantities of keeper fish in the shallows throughout the region.
For trollers, success is expected with small umbrellas and tandem rigs along the edges of drop-offs and oyster bars. The Patuxent River is now open for stripers as far up as Point Patience. Jiggers will likely find ample opportunities around the pilings of the Solomons bridge and along the rocks of West Basin at the Naval Air Station. Trollers in the mouth of the Patuxent can target keeper rockfish in the great circle from Town Creek to Fishing Point, approximately 25 feet deep. It’s worth noting that the entire Patuxent River will open for stripers on June 1.
Shore fishermen have promising prospects, with rockfish found from West Basin to Hog Point at the Naval Air Station, as well as at the mouth of Goose Creek. The Calvert County side offers perch, spot, and rockfish near the Public Pier next to the boat ramp under the Solomons Bridge. Anglers seeking rockfish, spot, perch, and even croaker can head to Elms Beach Park at the end of Bay Forest Road in Spring Ridge. Additionally, the pier at Point Lookout is expected to yield similar catches.
In recent reports, numerous speckled trout have been caught in various local spots, and there has been a sighting of an 18-inch puppy drum in the mouth of the Patuxent River.
Anglers should also prepare for the arrival of skate, particularly cow-nosed rays, in Cornfield Harbor and the mouth of the Patuxent. These large and robust creatures are known to take bait or lures with great force, so fishermen are advised to exercise caution and remain attentive to their gear to avoid any unintentional loss.
Bushwood Wharf has become a hotspot for catfish enthusiasts, where plentiful catches weighing between 30 to 50 pounds are being reported. The upper Potomac and Patuxent Rivers are also teeming with catfish. It is worth noting that Senator Jack Bailey’s bill, which recently passed, allows anglers to purchase a $15.00 license to sell their catch of blue and flathead catfish. This measure aims to curb the population of these invasive species in the region’s waters while providing anglers with an opportunity to enjoy these fish as a source of protein.
Snakehead reports have been rampant, particularly among nighttime giggers and archers who are finding plenty of action in the creeks and rivers. Anglers specifically targeting snakeheads are likely to encounter them in these areas.
For those who prefer freshwater fishing, St. Mary’s Lake offers excellent opportunities, especially for smaller-sized largemouth bass, pickerel, bluegill, and crappie.
As the summer rockfish season opens, anglers are greeted with an abundance of keeper fish and a wide variety of species to pursue. With favorable fishing conditions across the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, fishermen are expected to enjoy a fruitful season ahead.