Chesapeake Bay Fishing: A Complete Guide

Studying Time: 10 minutes

You’d count on the largest estuary in North America to be an angler’s haven. And nothing fairly compares to a Chesapeake Bay fishing journey. Hit the tons of of rivers that flood into this prolific fishery, head to the bay itself, or discover the nearshore treats that await at its mouth. Mainly, wherever you look there’s a prize on provide. 

Each angler value their salt will relish a visit to the Chesapeake Bay. Inshore and nearshore rewards like nowhere else fill these waters, so that you’re in for a productive day everytime you go to. 

On this article, we’ll cowl all the things you should find out about fishing the Chesapeake Bay. We’ll run by the highest catches, the way to land them, and the place to go to get the largest bang in your buck. By the point you’re accomplished studying this, you’ll be able to seize your rod and reel to forged your line. So with out additional ado, let’s dive in. 

What can I catch when fishing the Chesapeake Bay?

We’ve talked about that fishing the Chesapeake Bay is sort of a who’s who of inshore fish. You will discover a few of the similar species throughout, with just a few choose creatures hiding specifically spots. Whereas we couldn’t presumably cowl all of the creatures that decision these waters house, right here’s a rundown of the highest catches. 


Chesapeake Flounder fishing is an establishment. In case you fish right here, likelihood is you’ll come throughout one in all these tasty critters. Whereas they’re not probably the most enticing fish to have a look at – and neither are they the hardest to catch – they supply loads of enjoyable and are a surefire method to fill the cooler. 

Concentrating on Flounder is a good way to introduce the little ones to angling. They usually’re additionally a scrumptious reward for any skilled angler who’s spending the day focusing on one thing extra tough. Whether or not on shore or on a constitution, you’ll be able to land Flounder galore, as they feed close to the shallow bottoms inshore.

Bluefish and Redfish

One of many beauties of fishing the East Coast is that some colourful creatures rub shoulders inshore. Bluefish and Redfish provide up an thrilling battle for all anglers, and it’s two for the worth of 1 when casting your line within the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow waters. They develop to unbelievable sizes right here, making you’re employed onerous to reel ‘em in. 

Anglers of all ranges can follow their abilities in opposition to these beauties, however fly fishing particularly produces some world-class battles. Redfish, specifically, present some scrumptious meat, too. Spend your day working onerous to reel lots in, and finish it with a well-deserved deal with to take house. 

Spanish Mackerel

One other species prized for his or her scrumptious meat, but in addition their readiness to combat are Spanish Mackerel. And like all of the creatures we’ve talked about thus far, you’ll be able to catch them everywhere in the Chesapeake Bay. Whether or not trolling on a ship or fly fishing within the river mouths, there’s at all times the possibility you might land one. 

Small but agile, they supply enjoyable for all ages and ability ranges. They arrive to the bay in spring and keep till October. Then, they head off south to hotter climates for the winter. Don’t fear, although. Spring by fall is peak fishing season within the bay (extra on that later!), so that you’ll most probably have the possibility to land this creature whenever you go to. 


Identical to Spanish Mackerel, Cobia additionally migrate to the Chesapeake Bay in spring and keep till fall. Nonetheless, these creatures are solely obtainable within the decrease portion of the bay, nearer the Atlantic Ocean. They arrive able to spawn in summer season, that means they’re lots hungry in your bait. They usually swim in colleges, so prepare for hit, after hit, after hit.

Identical to all the things we’ve talked about thus far, additionally they present some tasty meat. Nonetheless, these creatures are a lot larger than all their counterparts. Touchdown only one may see you dine for months to come back! Strive trolling the open water or backside fishing round constructions. You’re in for surefire enjoyable and loads of rewards. 

Striped Bass (Rockfish)

Striped Bass – or Rockfish, because it’s identified regionally – is the gem of the Chesapeake Bay fishing scene. As with the entire East Coast, anglers go wild for these monstrous, meaty creatures right here. And for good purpose! Chesapeake Bay Rockfish are among the many finest on the planet, with creatures rising to unbelievable sizes. Anticipate common catches as much as 40 kilos, with 50-pounders not unusual.

Not solely that, however you’ll additionally discover an abundance of Rockfish year-round (though they’re closed for harvesting in January and February). In actual fact, this creature is so plentiful right here that Maryland even named it its state fish! Everytime you come, forged from shore, a pier, a bridge, or boat, and you might find yourself with the battle of your life – and a prize to match!

And Extra!

That’s simply the tip of the iceberg relating to the lengthy checklist of creatures you’ll be able to land when fishing the Chesapeake Bay. Hit the rivers and there’s the possibility of touchdown Panfish similar to Crappie and Perch.

Inshore, Noticed Seatrout, Tautog, and Seabass are additionally on the menu, with Spadefish, Amberjack, and Weakfish all inside attain. And there’s the possibility for one of many Chesapeake Bay’s best-kept secrets and techniques. 

In case you’re close to the Chesapeake Bay and fancy an offshore journey, there’s additionally lots in retailer. Head out to the Atlantic on an extended constitution journey, and you might land prizes similar to Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and prized Marlin. In brief, no matter you determine, you received’t go unsuitable!

How one can Fish the Chesapeake Bay

Now you recognize what you’ll be able to catch, the following factor to search out out is the way to go about doing so. As with each nice fishery on the planet, there’s multiple method to forged your line within the Chesapeake Bay. Right here, we’ll offer you a rundown of a few of the hottest methods to go fishing. 

Chesapeake Bay Shore Fishing

We’ve spoken in regards to the rivers and the shallows, so it’ll come as no shock to you that you could fish the Chesapeake Bay from shore. Get again to fundamentals and arrange camp for the day, as you forged your line to entice all of the creatures that come shut sufficient to dry land.

Fly anglers specifically favor this fashion of getting in on the motion, with the rivers and flats making for productive looking grounds. Nonetheless, with such an abundance of fish obtainable, rookies and professionals alike can get their fill. Carry some waders to stand up near the motion or sit again in a chair and let your bait do the work. There are such a lot of fish that just about any lure will entice one thing!

Chesapeake Bay Pier Fishing

In case you like casting your line from shore, then you definately’ll love pier fishing within the Chesapeake Bay. These purpose-built constructions prolong out into the productive our bodies of water the place the fish stay, they usually collect vitamins and bait fish for all of your favourite targets to feed on. Add your bait to the combo, and also you’ll fill your cooler with ease. 

There are dozens of piers everywhere in the Chesapeake Bay, so wherever you might be, there’s the possibility of heading out on one. They’re often free to fish from, or a nominal charge is charged, so it’s an economical method of getting your fish on. And, you’ll have the added bonus of being surrounded by like-minded anglers. You could make a pal alongside your prized catch!

Chesapeake Bay Kayak Fishing

Each critical inshore fishery is consistently creating, and the Chesapeake Bay isn’t any completely different. This calm physique of water is ideal for exploring by kayak. So, some progressive fishing fanatics determined to mix the journey with angling, too. In actual fact, loads of particular kayaks have been developed for ease.

Fancy a critical exercise on the open waters? Or possibly you need to uncover a few of the Chesapeake Bay’s extra hidden spots and land one thing tasty. Kayak fishing is a good way to get energetic and check out one thing new. All of the bay’s favourite species can be found. Simply be sure that to begin small and work as much as the larger fish, in your sake and for the fish!

Chesapeake Bay Constitution Fishing

Whereas all the above are enjoyable methods to discover the Chesapeake Bay, one technique of fishing is hands-down the most efficient. We’re speaking about hopping on a constitution boat! With the help of knowledgeable information, you’ll hit the candy spots and forged your line in a wide range of methods. If the fish aren’t biting, you simply whizz off to a spot the place they’re.

Sure, journeys aboard a constitution are on the pricier facet, however there’s actually one thing for everybody. Hop aboard a small vessel and hit the inshore waters solely, be a part of a celebration boat and discover the middle of the bay, or rent a personal offshore constitution and head offshore. With these choices and all the things in between, you’ll be able to’t go unsuitable. 

Chesapeake Bay Fishing Spots

With 200 miles of fishing grounds, we’d want a ebook to stipulate even half of the spots the Chesapeake Bay has on provide. Locals cut up the bay into three sections, the higher, center, and decrease parts, and listed below are our high spots in every.

The Higher Bay

  • Baltimore: The house of fishing within the higher bay, you’ll be able to forged a line from the harbor, seaside parks, or hop on a constitution. Go away the hustle and bustle of town behind, simply minutes from downtown.
  • Rocky Level Park and Seashore: Due east of Baltimore, this park affords entry to the river, creeks, and open bay. Chill out and spend your day in stunning nature, whereas going after some prized fish.
  • Invoice Burton Fishing Pier
  • Tea Kettle Shoals: Out within the coronary heart of the bay, these underwater constructions are prime feeding grounds for all of the well-known fish of the Chesapeake Bay. 

The Center Bay

  • Annapolis: Maryland’s capital is a fishing haven for all types of anglers. Right here, you’ll discover one of the best Tarpon fishing on the flats and entry to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, together with loads of charters. 
  • The Chesapeake Bay Bridge: This construction attracts such a melting pot of fish, that it deserves a bullet level in its personal proper. This is likely one of the greatest Striper hotspots within the bay, so prepare for a few of the finest angling round.
  • Invoice Burton Fishing Pier: Throughout the bay from Annapolis, this is likely one of the finest constructions to forged a line from within the bay. Anticipate beautiful views and loads of motion, all of the whereas surrounded by like-minded anglers. 

The Decrease Bay

  • The James and Bush Rivers: These parallel rivers within the south of the bay provide a few of the finest inshore motion round. Goal all of your favourites from shore, on a kayak, or on a constitution, and also you received’t go unsuitable. 
  • Kiptopeke State Park: Sitting reverse from the place the rivers circulate to sea, this stunning inexperienced space stands out into the bay. With loads of constructions round to draw the fish, it’s an incredible place to sit back and get your fishing repair.
  • Virginia Seashore: Probably the primary place to hop aboard a fishing constitution within the Chesapeake Bay, there’s one thing for everybody in VB. Inshore, nearshore, and offshore journeys are all obtainable, so come and check out no matter you need!

When to Come Fishing within the Chesapeake Bay

When individuals speak about one of the best time to come back fishing within the Chesapeake Bay, many point out that it’s “seasonal.” Truly, with the altering local weather and unpredictable climate, that’s not truly right. Whereas fishing right here may be very weather-dependent – the fish go into hiding when the situations aren’t nice – it’s nonetheless a 365-day-a-year fishery. 

The rivers and creeks are your finest wager for those who come within the colder months, with summer season providing choices throughout – as we’ve already talked about. Constitution operators additionally are likely to run solely through the conventional “season,” so if you wish to observe knowledgeable information, then you may also reap the benefits of one of the best climate, too. 

The bay’s most coveted fish, Rockfish, is barely obtainable to take house from March onwards, so if you would like your fill of tasty meat, you now know when to come back. 

Chesapeake Bay Fishing Rules

Talking of open seasons, there’s one factor left to debate when speaking about this unbelievable fishery. As with in all places, there are bag and dimension limits on all fish. Every angler can hold one Rockfish through the season, which is at all times good to know. However if you would like a full rundown of what you’ll be able to and may’t catch, take a look at the laws for Maryland and Virginia. 

You’ll additionally want a fishing license to forged your line within the Chesapeake Bay. You’ll be able to fish in Maryland with a Virginia license, supplied you’ve signed as much as the MD Saltwater Angler Registration, and vice versa. Learn how to get a VA license with our helpful information, or head over to the Maryland DNR web site to use in your MD license.

Chesapeake Bay Fishing: World-Class Angling Awaits

And there you will have it. Now you’re able to forged your line on this unbelievable fishery. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see why we’ve hyped the Chesapeake Bay up a lot. After all, the one actual method to learn the way good it’s is by attempting it out your self! Seize your rod and reel and head out, or discover a constitution that fits you, and away you go. Among the finest inshore and nearshore fishing on the planet will likely be on the tip of your line. 

And now over to you! Have you ever ever been fishing within the Chesapeake Bay? How was it? Have any suggestions for different anglers? We’d love to listen to from you within the feedback beneath!

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