Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing & Its Place in History

Chesapeake Bay is a vast bay on the Atlantic coast of Virginia and Maryland. According to a Maryland government website, this historically important fishing area is 4 to 30 miles wide and gives you plenty of fishing opportunities. Sport fishing in Chesapeake Bay is influenced by the fresh water it receives from watersheds in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia.

When fishing in Chesapeake Bay, keep in mind that it’s a huge estuary where freshwater from rivers such as the Susquehanna, James, and Potomac mingles with the sea, creating a multitude of fishing spots and opportunities in Chesapeake Bay. Brackish water fishing allows you to experience both freshwater and saltwater worlds in one place, depending on the time of year and the species you want to target.

In his book “The Blitz,” fly fisherman Pete McDonald wrote: “The Midwest is known as the bread basket of the country, and if there is a marine equivalent, it’s Chesapeake Bay.” Sport fishing in Chesapeake Bay includes species such as redfish, black drum, speckled trout, bluefish, croaker, and American shad. Perhaps the most famous species of the bay, however, is the striped bass. Thanks to better management and restoration projects, the striped bass population, which can exceed 40 pounds, appears to be recovering. And McDonald announced that 80% of the strips on the Atlantic coast come from Chesapeake Bay. So this is water that needs to be protected.

With an estimated coastline of 18,000 km, the choice of fishing spots in Chesapeake Bay is wide. A good place to start is with our fishing spots map tool. It also has locations of bait shops, boat ramps, and fishing license providers. When you have narrowed down your choices of locations and species, receive a copy of that state’s fishing regulations. It contains tips and helps with planning, both seasonal and tidal. No matter which Chesapeake Bay sport fishing method you prefer (spinning light tackle, fly fishing, charter boat, etc.) there is something for everyone. And what could be nicer than going fishing in Washington DC? I’m going to a sport fishing spot in Chesapeake Bay in October. Did you fish Chesapeake Bay?

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