As the fall foliage reaches its vibrant peak across much of Maryland, anglers are reaping the rewards of mild weather, turning outdoor recreation, particularly fishing, into a delightful experience. The forecast for the week of November 8 to November 14 promises cool temperatures persisting throughout the week, accompanied by windy conditions until Friday.
Chesapeake Bay’s surface water temperatures have dipped into the upper 50s to low 60s, prompting the movement of baitfish from rivers into the warmer bay waters. Salinity levels remain average, with suitable oxygen conditions prevailing in all Maryland Bay areas. The state’s rivers and streams are expected to maintain average flows, while tidal currents are set to be above average due to the upcoming new moon on November 13.
For anglers seeking the latest fishing conditions, Eyes on the Bay’s Click Before You Cast offers detailed and up-to-date information in specific Bay areas.
Upper Chesapeake Bay: In the lower Susquehanna River and surrounding waters, blue catfish take the spotlight this week, compensating for the slower striped bass action. Fresh cut bait, including gizzard shad, menhaden, white perch, bluegills, or similar fish, proves effective in enticing blue catfish, which are exhibiting increased activity in response to cooler water temperatures.
While striped bass fishing has been sluggish in areas like the Conowingo Dam pool and the lower Susquehanna, patient anglers using soft plastic jigs, lipless crankbaits, and paddletails are still managing to land a few.
Middle Bay: With water temperatures dropping to the middle and upper 50s in tidal rivers, juvenile menhaden are making their way down the Bay. Striped bass are strategically positioning themselves along channel edges at tidal river mouths, presenting exciting opportunities for anglers.
Prime locations for striped bass include the mouth of the Choptank River, Eastern Bay, the Severn and West rivers, and the edges of the shipping channel. Trolling with umbrella rigs remains a viable option, albeit a challenging one requiring stout tackle and braided line.
Lower Bay: The lower Potomac River steals the spotlight this week, offering anglers pursuing striped bass a two-fish per day limit with a 20-inch minimum. Main channel edges in the lower river, especially from St. Clements Island State Park south to Piney Point, prove fruitful for jigging or trolling. Suspended striped bass are a common sight on depth finders, with anglers employing soft plastic or metal jigs for successful catches.
The edges of the shipping channel near Cedar Point and the mouth of the Patuxent River on the western shore are also hotspots for striped bass. Light tackle anglers relish the action of breaking striped bass, casting a variety of jigs for an exhilarating experience.
Freshwater Fishing: While the fall trout stocking program has concluded, trout can still be found in put-and-take waters. Anglers using spinning gear are advised to switch from Powerbait to small spinners and spoons. Fly fishing enthusiasts can opt for bead head nymphs, wooly buggers, and streamers.
Low water flows continue to be a concern in freshwater bodies, affecting the smallmouth bass fishing experience. Largemouth bass, however, are aggressively feeding in transition waters between shallow and deep areas, providing ample opportunities for anglers. Chain pickerel and northern snakeheads are also active near structures, with various lures proving effective.
Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays: In Ocean City Inlet, anglers are enjoying a mix of striped bass and bluefish by casting soft plastic jigs and drifting cut baits. Sheepshead and tautog are being caught near jetty rocks and bridge piers on sand fleas and crab pieces. Flounder are making their way out of back bay waters, heading for offshore wintering grounds.
Offshore activities yield excellent results for black sea bass around wreck and reef sites, while boats venturing into the canyons target swordfish and tilefish. Exciting prospects await as bluefin tuna are expected to pass through the region in the coming weeks.
As Maryland’s fall fishing season continues, anglers can expect diverse and rewarding experiences across the state’s waterways. Whether chasing blue catfish in the upper Chesapeake Bay or targeting striped bass in the lower Potomac, Maryland’s waters offer a bounty for those seeking a memorable autumn angling adventure.
For more information and real-time updates, visit Eyes on the Bay’s Click Before You Cast.