Fishing Maryland Freshwater TidesPosted on: March 6, 2019 By: FHMD
For decades, world-class fishing in Maryland freshwater tides has attracted the attention of United States presidents like George H. Bush, and nationally-favorited sport fishing organizations like Bass Angler’s Sportsmen Society (B.A.S.S.). It offers hotspots for all of the highly talked about targets including largemouth bass, northern snakehead, striped bass, perch and catfish. Anglers can target all these popular fish in one day, or spread out trips over multiple days.
Maryland is a unique state where it is not difficult to find these fish swimming around history, like sunken World War I warships in Mallow’s Bay on the Potomac River or explore prime fishing spots along the 125-mile-long Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway along the Eastern Shore. By including nearby historical sites and some of the nation’s most photographable streams at your fingertips, snapping selfies of your fishing adventure can chronicle your premier fishing destination during your next vacation.
Fish for the Right Guide
Hiring a fishing charter or guide can be a great way to experience everything Maryland has to offer. Yes, they can take you to some good fishing spots, show you new ways of targeting fish, and be your river tour guide for a full day of fishing. But they’re so much more than that – most charter boat guides are also one of the best sources to find out what’s going on in the area. Because most guides live there and have for decades, consider asking their advice for finding good food and drinks, local history lessons, or maybe a recommendation for local seafood and craft beer or wine.
How can you find a great charter boat guide? The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has a list of licensed guides available on-line, along with an on-line Map to help pinpoint your destination. You can also find services by visiting our Plan Your Trip section. All licensed guides should have the appropriate training in both boating and lifesaving skills. Interested in what they are required to have? The department also has a website with an easy-to-follow Guide Licensing and Requirement Flow Chart. There are guides of many types, those who kayak, use high speed bass boats, use larger vessels, or even bowfishing pontoons. If you need more information on finding the right guide for you, feel free to contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and they’ll try to find you the match for your needs.
Book early! Charter boat guides often have their schedule set early in the year. I usually book my summer charters by February or March. The cost of a typical guiding experience for the day (or night) can cost several hundred dollars. The price often includes tackle, boating gear, and gas, but also remember it includes the knowledge of an expert who can showcase some beautiful, historically wonderful treasures ebbing in the Chesapeake Bay’s freshwater tides.
Fish a Bass Tournament
It’s no coincidence that Maryland has made BASS’ Top 100 list of lakes to fish for bass, twice! This year will welcome more high school and college fishing clubs than ever recorded by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Both Flying Point Park and Smallwood State Park will host these nationally recognized events in late spring. Come out for the day and support these young adults as they act as both competitor and stewards for Maryland’s premier fishery.
For decades, Organizations such as Bass Angler’s Sportsman Society, Fishing League Worldwide, and American Bass Anglers have competed in the sporting arena of the Chesapeake Bay. In fact, hundreds of bass tournaments are held each year in the Chesapeake Bay, from small clubs to massive events like the FLW Costa Series or Bassmaster Elite Series. Find a tournament to join by contacting a director from a List of Registered Tournaments, or start your own club! Organizations and anglers from all over the country and even the world come to the Chesapeake Bay to fish the challenge and bounty of by black bass species. Maryland offers the nation’s most popular sport fish, largemouth bass and the sometimes elusive and rarer, smallmouth bass.
Fish the Right Season
Personally, the best season to fish Maryland freshwater tides is summer, when the weather is warmer and I have more free time with my friends and family. The most popular fishing seasons are spring (April – May) and fall (September – November) for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Because the Potomac River is home to a lot of migratory fishes, spring is also a great time to hook into yellow perch (March – April) and white perch (April – May).
Year-round residents like northern snakehead are also commonly caught in late April and May. Watch the weather and stream flow because high flows mean lots of debris coming down river causing opaque or cloudy water conditions, both of which can affect where an angler goes and where they can be successful. Picking the right season can be the gateway to catching more fish and more types of fish, making anyone competitive for one of many Maryland Fishing Awards.
Fish the Best Spots
Plan a trip to one of Maryland’s over 500 public fishing spots. Maryland makes finding fishing spots easy with its Fishing Access Map. It highlights spots for lake and river fishing, so you will have no trouble planning a trip close to one of Maryland’s many premier fishing destinations.
Learn more about whether there is a cost for use, a boat launch, a fishing pier, and of course, what can be caught there. For those interested in catching the nation and state’s most popular inland sportfish, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources not only provides the charter boat guides’ best locations for bass fishing, but their own data on catch. Of course, for further information on the best fishing spots in the state, feel free to contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and read its weekly Fishing Reports.
Ready to start planning your fishing trip in Maryland? Be sure to visit Maryland Department of Natural Resources online for information on fishing licenses and regulations. Also, check out the Plan Your Trip section of our website to find lodging options, fishing charters and guides, and outdoor retailers to get the most out of your fishing trip in Maryland.
If you’re looking to turn your fishing trip into a road trip, there’s no better way to experience the beauty of Maryland than travelling its scenic byways.
This article was written by Joseph W. Love, Ph.D., Fishing and Boating Service, Tidal Bass Program Manager
Images courtesy of the author