Winter 2023-24 Maryland Fishing Report: A Human-Crafted Preview

Discover exciting winter fishing in Maryland! Explore Chesapeake Bay for blue and flathead catfish, perfecting techniques with bottom rigs and fresh-cut bait. Explore tags like Maryland Fishing, Winter Fishing, and Fishing Tips for comprehensive insights into this season’s piscatorial delights.

Forecast Summary:

With the onset of winter and the conclusion of certain fishing seasons, Maryland’s anglers can find abundant opportunities for a rewarding fishing experience this season, provided they know where to focus their efforts.

Chesapeake Bay

Blue Catfish:

In the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay, winter presents an excellent opportunity to target blue catfish. Despite being labeled as invasive, these catfish offer an exciting angling experience. Found in various rivers, including the Potomac, Patuxent, and Susquehanna, blue catfish tend to gather in deeper channels during winter. Anglers in small boats can use depth finders to locate these hotspots along high banks and river curves.

Flathead Catfish:

Abundant in the Conowingo Dam pool and the Lower Susquehanna River, flathead catfish share similar fishing tactics with blue catfish.

Winter 2023-24 Maryland Fishing Report A Human-Crafted Preview
Credit: Google

Fishing Techniques:

Various bottom rigs, including three-way swivels, sinkers, and J-style hooks, are effective for catfish. Fresh cut bait, such as menhaden or shrimp, is popular, and chumming with ground fish enhances success, especially from a boat.

White Perch

White perch can be found in deeper waters across the Chesapeake, with notable spots like the Bay Bridge rock piles offering excellent opportunities. Bottom rigs with grass shrimp or bloodworms are recommended baits.

Other Fishing Opportunities

  • Black Sea Bass: Anglers in the middle and lower Bay are catching black sea bass, providing an additional option with a 15-fish creel limit until December 31.
  • Striped Bass: Catch-and-release is enforced in Chesapeake Bay waters, except for the Potomac River, which remains open until December 31 with a daily limit.
  • Recreational Oystering: Winter is an opportune time for recreational oystering, following regulations outlined on the DNR website.


Trout Fishing

The pre-season trout stocking program is underway until March 2024, offering diverse opportunities for anglers. Simple setups with earthworms or artificial baits work well in put-and-take areas.

Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Crappie, and Yellow Perch

The upper Potomac River provides good fishing for smallmouth bass and walleye. Crappie can be found near bridge piers and marina docks, while tidal creek areas yield yellow perch.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass, found in various waters, are accessible during winter in deep areas near channel drop-offs and structures.

Winter 2023-24 Maryland Fishing Report A Human-Crafted Preview
Credit: Google

Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays

  • Striped Bass: Larger striped bass are moving offshore beyond Maryland’s jurisdiction, but smaller ones offer enjoyable catch-and-release fishing near the Route 50 and Route 90 Bridges.
  • Tautog: Anglers are having success catching tautog around the inlet jetty rocks, bulkheads, and bridge piers.
  • Black Sea Bass and Bluefin Tuna: Excellent fishing for black sea bass continues until December 31, while bluefin tuna are moving south through Maryland waters.

In summary, Maryland’s winter fishing season promises diverse opportunities for anglers, spanning freshwater and coastal environments. Stay informed, follow regulations, and enjoy a fulfilling fishing experience this winter.

Q1: What are the primary targets for winter fishing in Chesapeake Bay?

A1: Blue and flathead catfish are excellent targets, with various rivers offering productive locations.

Q2: What baits are recommended for white perch fishing?

A2: White perch responds well to grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm on bottom rigs.

Q3: Any safety precautions for fishing in the upper Potomac River?

A3: Caution should be taken after heavy rainfall, and U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets must be worn from November 15 to May 15.


As winter unfolds, Maryland’s waters invite anglers to explore a variety of fishing options. Be mindful of regulations, adopt sustainable practices, and make the most of this rewarding season. Whether casting lines in freshwater or braving coastal tides, Maryland’s winter fishing promises a memorable and fulfilling experience for all enthusiasts.

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